DEAR ABBY: "Proud Mama of Two Different Boys" (Feb. 23) should know she is not alone. Your response was right on, too. People will argue what they want, and sometimes it's easier to nod, "agree" and walk away.
When my twins were newborn, I would have them in their double stroller to run errands. People would stop me, look at them and then say, "Oh, twins -- how cute! They're identical, right? They just look identical!"
I would look them straight in the eye, smile and say, "Oh no, not identical. He is a boy, and she is a girl." Now, Abby, if the pink/blue clothing did not tip anyone off about their different genders, then paying attention might have. My son had black hair, dark brown eyes and creamy olive skin. My daughter was as pale white as possible, with big blue veins noticeable across her nose and forehead, piercing blue eyes, and so bald she hardly had eyelashes! Identical -- absolutely not! -- JESSICA IN NORTH CANTON, OHIO
DEAR JESSICA: When I printed that letter, I had no idea how many parents had had the "identical" experience. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Many people who make these comments are just looking for a way to make conversation as they admire your family. Although I am adopted, many people would say how much alike my mother and I looked. We would simply say "thank you" and share a secret smile. That worked for us! -- JOYCE K. IN LONG BEACH, CALIF.
DEAR ABBY: I have two sons, and although they don't look alike we get those same comments. Normally I just smile and say, "I sure hope so -- or else I have some explaining to do to my husband!" Then we enjoy a good laugh and that ends the conversation. -- MELISSA P., EDINBURG, TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: I have two handsome sons who are now 17 and 19. A lot of people have told me how closely they resemble each other, although I always see them as very different. But there had to be something to it because they were recognized as brothers on sight without being introduced that way. I have learned that people look at my kids with different eyes than my husband or I do. We focus on nuance; they focus on the generalities.
Oddly, a few weeks ago, my youngest was performing in a school play, and as I saw him up on stage, for the first time in 17 years I thought he looked exactly like his brother! -- B&E's PROUD MOM
DEAR ABBY: My sister and I are two years apart and have very different personalities. We were always asked if we were twins when we went out together. (She is now 37 and I'm 35.) Back when she and I were in our 20s, we had some pictures taken together. We had our makeup done similarly and were dressed alike. That was the first time we saw how much alike we looked.
Please remind "Proud Mama" that she "sees" the personalities of her children, not their looks. Our mother was as amazed as we were at how alike we were in those pictures. -- JENNIFER C., EASTPOINTE, MICH.
DEAR ABBY: As the mother of seven children, I always chuckle when people tell me they all look alike. I smile and reply, "Well, we did make them with all the same ingredients."
People are just making conversation. Why put them on the defensive by disagreeing? -- LISA V., CAMILLUS, N.Y.