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Anyone mistake your fraternal twins for identical?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
This is so bizarre to me. I have fraternal twins (age 4), who look like brothers, but in NO way identical. One has reddish, thick hair, the other's is wispy and dark brown. Their faces are really quite different. Their personalities are like night and day. Etc. Yet, just the other day, a woman who has interacted with them significantly at least ten times told me that she thought they were identical. This has happened before. Others (most) can easily tell them apart right away. Do you think that some people just have a harder time with facial differentiation, or is it just "laziness"? I had an aquaintance with identical twins, and I worked at being able to tell them apart, whereas she couldn't tell my kids apart - in that case, I think that she really was just lazy and didn't really care (don't hang out with her anymore!).

Just a rant, I guess!
post #2 of 26
Well, so far people have a little more of an excuse with mine. Since my girls are still babies (7 months old), and a lot of people don't distinguish babies from each other well, I understand a bit more. Though one has lots of light brown hair and the other has very little blond hair, some people think they look exactly alike if you can't see their hair.

But their facial features are a lot different to me (and those who know them at all). I don't think some people really know what "identical" means; thus, they ask if boy and girl twins are identical

Michelle G.
post #3 of 26
Yes. It's nuts. It bothers me a great deal, in some situations (like their future preschool teachers seem to have trouble telling them apart - (THEY HAVE DIFFERENT SKIN COLOR PEOPLE!!!!!!!) - but in other situations it is less bothersome than it used to be. As they get older and more individual in their personalities and dress as well as their actual appearance, I find that when we are out and about we don't really turn heads anymore. That's a relief. But when people who are going to be interacting with them on a regular basis, and who know they are twins, act like they can't tell them apart, I want to offer them some glasses.
post #4 of 26
I agree with Michelle that people don't really know what "Identical" means and just associate the word with "twins" my boys have always looked very different and practically everyone who meets them exclaim "Wow, they are identical"
and we are like "...uh... no not really"
I have one that weighs about 5 pounds more than the other and is taller, hair color and skin color and eye color totally different. I usually tell people, "well, they DO look like brothers" and that makes people say "well, duh" and I just nod.
post #5 of 26
I don't have twins but just saw this thread title and wandered in. I was friends with a fraternal twin when I was in middle school. If I recall correctly, I think I could tell them apart before I was friends with the one, but I wasn't very sure (as in, "I think that one's Megan" - and I had to look for certain cues to confirm). After I befriended one of them and got to know her, her sister looked more and more different to my eyes until I could instantly tell them apart even from the back, or fairly fair away, etc.

I understand that people differentiate first based on sex, then race close behind that, then hair after that (color and style), then age markers (which is often size in children and skin in adults). Major differentiators such as a major, visible physical disability might come before any of those (i.e. you see a person in a wheelchair in the halls of your workplace, and you know only one person in a wheelchair in your company, then you identify them - possibly mistakenly, of course - without even having to see their sex or race).

Anyway I say all that because age markers are a pretty big one, and twins defy that particular differentiator. I think people "see" features (such as nose shape, lips, presence or absence of freckles, etc.) far less than we would assume, but identify a person on far less nuance than that. Did you ever have someone you sort of knew have a major hair cut (and possibly color) and when you saw them you had to spend an extra beat thinking "Oh, that's Anne" (and in that case you might not have recognized them at all out of context, say if she were a coworker but you saw her at the grocery store as opposed to work)? Therefore showing that you identified her almost entirely based on sex, race, then hair (and context, of course).

Also, I've read (I think in Reader's Digest) very recently that some people actually have a handicap where they can't distinguish people - and that handicap is on a spectrum, so some people can usually get by but still have trouble in certain situations, like twins that look like siblings but are the same age. Since hardly anyone has heard of this handicap I would imagine most people aren't even aware they have it, just find it hard to identify people in everyday situations.

Anyway, I'm sure it must be frustrating, no doubt, to have your very different looking twins confused all the time. But just wanted to throw in some perspective that people outside of intimate family literally do not "see" your kids the way you do, and while some of it is still ridiculous and probably lazy (like when your kids appear to be different races, lol), some of it probably is pretty normal for acquaintences.
post #6 of 26
I like to think I wouldn't make that mistake. But I have mistaken some fraternal twins for identicals - young ones with the same hair and eye color, but still it was embarrassing! I've also gone the other way and assumed that a pair of boy/girl siblings sitting in a side-by-side stroller were twins when one was actually 2 years older than the other. Doh!!

I've also had people go both ways with my twins. Some say "OMG, they are so identical!" And other say "Well, they're not identical but they sure do look alike" or something equally silly.

These days I try to refrain from assuming anything, but that makes for some dull conversation.
post #7 of 26
They don't confuse them necesarrily but they always ask if they are indentical even though my boy has blonde hair blue and my girl has brown hair brown eyes!:
post #8 of 26
I'm the opposite. I have identicals and everyone thinks they're fraternal. They had TTTS and still have a size discrepancy, and people will argue with me in the grocery store about it. @@.
post #9 of 26
My boy/girl twins are two and a half, and although people no longer try to convince me they're identical twins (: ), lately I've been having this conversation a lot...

Stranger: "Oh, how old are they?"
Me: "2.5"
Stranger: "Both of them?"
Me: "Yes, they're twins."
Stranger: "Ohhhh, THAT's why they look so much alike!!"

I just smile. :

Edited to add: Full disclosure: Despite my own experiences, I have guessed -- and misguessed -- the identical/fraternal status of strangers' twins. I know how annoying it is but I've done it, too!
post #10 of 26
I think some people think if they're the same sex that they must be identical twins; that only boy/girl twins are fraternal.

People tell me, "They're not twins!"

There are a lot of nanny shares in our neighborhood, too, so I think sometimes people think I am the nanny with taking care of two kids.

My two look so fraternal they barely look like sisters.
post #11 of 26
People ask if my boy/girl twins are identical, even if they are wearing clothes that CLEARLY have social markers for boys and girls. (I am not a huge fan of the "dress your girl in pink and your boy in blue" thing, but my MIL keep giving me clothes so I use them.)

Hello, people. They are both bald, and both have blue eyes, but other than that they look nothing alike. They have different skin tones, different facial shape. And, of course, there is that different "plumbing" issue.
post #12 of 26
That "In the Wombs Mulitiples" show said that boy girl twins can actually be identical. I didn't know that but what happens is the boy takes the y chormosone and the girl is then missing one. The girl ends up with some kind of disorder, I dont' remember the name of it though. It is very rare.
post #13 of 26
mary kate and ashley olsen are fraternal twins - i think it's possible to mistake fraternal twins for identical.

i went to school with fraternal twins and though to me they looked nothing alike, adults were always confusing them. i think part of it is attention/personality, etc. and part of it is people sometimes just being thrown by the concept.
post #14 of 26
Happens to us all the time. My girls look as much alike as the Olsen twins, I guess at times. Not to me, of couse, they look very different. As they get older, they become more different. A big size diff. now. My feeling is that people are LAZY and it really *ticks* me off. Esp. when good friends or family don't even try. Although, I'd rather they pretend to know than differentiate "this one's face looks more innocent than that one" or "her teeth are more crooked". Idiots. Rant!!!
post #15 of 26
People ask me all the time if my twins are identical....I stopped answering because my girls dont even look related. I am biracial (half black and half white) one of my twins looks black and the other looks white....they have two different hair types, different eyes, different face shapes, they look sooo different that people shouldnt even ask if they are identical. I think people just want to make conversation.
post #16 of 26
I think some people are just dorky. My twins are totally not identical at all. Gedalya is blond straight hair/blue eyed and Tehila is brown curly hair/brown eyed. But either I get - what? they're twins??? or 'oh twins - are they identical?
post #17 of 26
They do it with my girls all the time. "These 2 are twins and that one..."
post #18 of 26
Originally Posted by YumaDoula View Post
I'm the opposite. I have identicals and everyone thinks they're fraternal. They had TTTS and still have a size discrepancy, and people will argue with me in the grocery store about it. @@.
I have the same problem, but I haven't gotten in an argument yet, They just look at me sideways and act like I don't know what I am talking about. As if I would of missed the second placenta somehow and all of the many docs where wrong. People!!!
post #19 of 26
I'm not a twin mom, but my brother and sister are fraternal twins. People still ask me if they are identical--not necessarily in seeing them, but in relation to me answering questions about how many siblings I have. This is probably happened 100 times to me throughout my life.

Conversation goes about tlike this each time:

Me: "First, I'm the oldest, then I have a brother and sister that are twins three years younger, and two years younger than them is my youngest sister."

Them: "Oh, so your brother and sister are identical twins?"

Me: "Nooooo....."

It didn't help when that person would know our whole family, and knew that the twins happened to have a lighter hair color than me and my other sister. But still...
post #20 of 26
Mine haven't arrived yet, but the most common comment I get after telling people that we're having boy/girl twins is, "So are they identical?" :

Really just makes me .
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