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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Say Bye Bye!

One of the things I've learned since having twins is that they are not nearly as rare an occurrence as I thought they were.  It seems everybody is a twin, has twins, knows a twin or knows someone who has twins.  They all want to talk to me about it, too.

Everywhere we go, we are stopped.  Twins, apparently, remain a novelty forever. 

These conversations don't usually go smoothly.  I don't mind stopping and talking, but when I'm out with my toddlers, time is of the essence.  The babies have to be amused, and mommy talking another adult they don't know isn't exactly scintillating conversation for them.  Too long and they get restless, they get restless and the remaining portion of the outing is ruined.  This leads me to be less engaging than I otherwise would be.  A conversation typically goes like this:

"Oh!  Are they twins?"

"Yes."

"They're beautiful!"

"Thank you."    Pause.

"... They must be a handful."

"Yes, they can be, but they're usually good."   Pause.

"... You know I'm a twin (my niece has twins, my aunt has twins, my dog's cousin's roommate has twins)."

"Really?  A lot of people have twins; it's crazy!"  Pause.

"... Are there any other twins in your family."

"Nope.  These are the first ones."

Insert personal story of twins running in random stranger's family or not.

Pause.  Pause.  Pause.

"Um, okay.  Well, say bye bye, babies"

"Bye bye! Bye bye!"

"Oh, okay, bye!"

I feel horrible letting people linger like that, but I simply cannot respond to their incredibly interesting anecdotes with the proper enthusiasm while I have two babies staring up at me, wondering when we're going to hit the road.  Surely this must happen to parents of toddlers regardless of whether they're singletons or twins or triplets or what have you.

My thought process is that since our babies inadvertantly get us into these conversations, they can get us out.  Depending on their mood, we have anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes to have a conversation with someone we don't know.  The key is this: "Say bye bye, babies!"

This key phrase can be inserted into a conversation at any point.  If the babies are showing signs of crankiness, I can tell them to say bye bye after the first compliment is given.  The best part of this solution?  It isn't rude.  Or, if it is rude, the rudeness is forgiven because the emphasis remains on the babies.  The stranger is usually appeased by having the babies talk to him or her, even if it's only to end an unwelcome conversation.  It is my best trick.  I have never seen it not work.  The babies' bye bye is final.


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7 comments:

  1. I saw what looked like quadruplets (18 months?) at the park the other day. I don't want to be one of THOSE people who asks a million questions about the kids and the parents' personal lives, but the kids kept running up to me and showing me stuff, and so I was talking to the kids and asking them questions, to which they only giggled or gestured in response. One of the little girls ran up to me with a ball in each hand. She held them up in delight. "Oooh, how many do you have?" I asked her. A woman standing behind me, obviously used to hearing those words, answered, "There are 5, but one is home sick." "Oh," I said. "I was actually asking about the balls, but wow, five must be an adventure." It really clued me in to how often these parents must be asked those questions, because I wasn't even talking to the woman, I never had made eye contact with her, and I didn't even know she was behind me, yet she answered the question without hesitation. I think I would fall over with teh cute if 5 little babies shouted "bye bye" in unison at me, though.

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  2. My girls aren't twins but I get that question more often than not "Are they twins?" Nope 15 months apart is my typical answer. What gets me though is that they don't even look alike. One has dark hair dark eyes the other has light hair and blue eyes. Yes the look like sisters, but by far they are not twins lol.

    We do the bye bye method alot. Say bye-bye so I can walk out lol. Glad I'm not the only one.

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  3. I can't wait until my twins are old enough for this trick. At 6 months old, we're stuck in the stage where people touch them without any warning; I swear I'm about ready to start biting hands that come anywhere near my babies.

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  4. ah! the things people say when you have twins. I have heard some crazy stuff - it takes up so much of my time some days :)

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  5. Ohh the awkward pauses. I used to fear them, now I just sort of embrace them. (And I *always* look to the toddler for my "out" in a conversation, like with the "okay, say bye!" thing or whatever. Babies: useful every once in a while!

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  7. I have identical girls; I always tell people we are like a traveling sideshow.
    One time I was grocery shopping with a friend, and we each had one of my girls in a shopping cart. A stranger stopped, did the stare back and forth from one cart to the other, and then said, "Are you two together?" My friend, without missing a beat, looked puzzled and said, "No! I've never seen them before in my life!" and strode off down the aisle leaving us behind. I laughed about it for months!

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