I bet you never knew that May and Ieuan are twins

Posted on Dec 4, 2011 | 7 comments

A few months ago, I read a post on Laura Willard’s blog An Uncommon Family. In the post, she talks about how she encountered a woman who insisted that her two adopted children, were twins. Besides how rude this woman was – and I would encourage you to read it for yourself – I was struck by how Willard’s first thought was, “Oh hell. Not that one again. Really?”

To which, I also thought: Really?

Because, but the only thing her two children have in common is that they are both incredibly cute. Her son is Vietnamese and her daughter is Ethiopian. They weren’t even born on the same continent – let alone are twins. How is it possible that this is not the first time she’s experienced this?

Do they look like twins to you?

Laura Willard, if you read this, I get it now. Thankfully, my experience was not full of nastiness like the one you describe, but I get it. I get how weird it is that people would think your two children are twins. Because, yesterday, it happened to me. Three times.

This despite the fact that my children are over two years apart and one of them is still a baby.

Twin remark 1: Near the bread aisle at the grocery store

A white woman approaches me with her two mixed-race children. A girl and a boy, about two years apart. She points at my children and says, “Ooooooh they are so cute! Are they twins?”

“No,” I say, not a little bit embarrassed for her. (Did I mention that one is a baby?) “but thank you.”

She continues, “I got asked that all the time about mine.” Hmmm. Now it’s getting interesting. Her children are clearly not twins either. “Maybe it’s the eyes?” I offer. Her children have the most gorgeous, green eyes. But, I think we all know, it isn’t the eyes.

What about here?

Twin remark 2: Same store at the cash register.

The cashier, “Ooooooh! Are they twins?”

Twin remark 3: Walking through Crystal Palace Park

I pass two old women on a bench while pushing my double stroller. One woman peers in, smiles in a grandmotherly way and then is suddenly taken aback. “Oh!” she says, “For a moment there, I thought they were twins!”

Now, you tell me: why do you think this happened three times in one day?

Or, here?

Here’s my thoughts:

1. They do look like each other – if over two years apart in age.

2. May is very small for her age. (She is still twice the length of Ieuan.)

3. May doesn’t make eye contact and she doesn’t greet people. This must be very confusing to them. Conclusion? She must be a baby too! Problem solved.


  1. They look so much alike and maybe at first glance, before they really think about it, they see these two adorable kids together and they think twins.

  2. I once watched two parents chase after their son, who was having a ball being free to run away from his parents safely. It was at a resort area that is normally packed with people and it’s really quite serene when it’s empty. They spotted me watching their son and I asked, innocently enough, how old he was. They commented that he was 4 and I felt like such a heel/tool afterwards. I thought he was 2. Come to find out he had Down’s Syndrome, but watching him from a distance I couldn’t tell and thought he was younger. Since then I’ve tried to limit my “asinine” comments to a minimum!


    • Doesn’t sound like any harm done Adrianne!

  3. I get the same question. I have two beautiful biracial children, one an average-sized very articulate almost-5-year-old, one a very petite (and extraordinarily skinny, but that’s a story for another time) 2.5-year-old who speaks well for her age, but nothing like her brother. How on earth are they supposed to be twins?!
    I can sort of see that the twins comment is on people’s minds when they see a double stroller, but my guys are generally either both walking or the big one pushing the little one in an umbrella stroller.
    *doesn’t get it*
    Ah well, in my experiences, at least, the people have been trying to be friendly, so I should just take it as a friendly greeting.

  4. It doesn’t make any sense, does it?! Your kids are both adorable, but one looks like a baby and the other doesn’t! It floored me the most when people would ask of my kids when my daughter was still a baby and my son was 2. My daughter was malnourished, so she was itty, bitty, tiny. There was, like a foot difference between them! I don’t even know what to say, but I will admit I’m glad it’s not just me. :)

  5. I SOOO got plenty of these comments when out with S and M – even though they are almost 3 years apart. I even once had someone (bizarrely) ask me if my three boys were TRIPLETS (the youngest is 2, the eldest is 7). I think when kids are in a pram, people don’t see much else.

  6. I agree that something about two kids in the same shopping cart/pram makes people think they must be twins. Perhaps it’s the thought that you couldn’t POSSIBLY have two kids that close together in age? Mine are 18 months apart, a brown haired, brown eyed older brother and a blond haired, blue eyed younger brother. They look nothing alike. Clearly my older son is OLDER, he’s taller, he talks far better, is social. The other is just beyond a baby. People still ask if they’re twins. Kills me.

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