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Rebecca Woolf

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Rebecca Woolf is the author of the blog, Girl's Gone Child and the book Rockabye: From Wild to Child (Seal Press, 2008) and is a regular panelist on Rebecca's essays have appeared in dozens of anthologies including the recent, Crush: 26 Real-Life Tales of First Love and was a finalist in the 2011 Bloggies for "Lifetime Achievement."

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Frat Girls

By Rebecca Woolf |

We knew they were fraternal at first sight. Covered with blood and guts, their faces masked with amniotic goo, Hal and I both exclaimed “Fraternal” in unison. And then “Jinks!” and then I puked all over myself because apparently C-sections make you puke. At least they do if you’re me. (I puked for 24 straight hours, actually. Very impressive, anesthesia!) But beyond the puking and the anxiety attack (more on that later) I was struck by how different the girls looked. So different that I haven’t been able to refer to them as “twins” aloud since their birth. It’s kind of like how it took me five years of marriage to use the word “husband” when referring to Hal. “Twins” is equally confusing to me. Because I don’t feel like they’re twins. I feel like they’re babies. Two completely different baby people with completely different personalities and ways of sleeping, eating, looking, blinking, sitting, sleeping, sucking, being.

Bright Eyed Rev

Maybe it’s the word “twin” that throws me. “Twin” brings to mind “similarities” of which Bo and Rev have none. Even my dad who can barely tell me and my curly-haired much-taller-than-me seven-years-younger sister apart has never once confused his twin granddaughters.

In fact, the first thing people say when they see them is: “Are they… related?”

My response is always the same: “Yes. I was pregnant with them both at the same time.”

Kind of like how with identical twins it’s hard to “tell them apart” with Bo and Rev I have a hard time telling them alike. I look at them and see two different worlds and wonder if they feel the same way. When I was pregnant with them I felt like they were these partners … and that I was merely their shelter, the carrying case to their bonding experience. I assumed they’d be born and have these noticeable similarities. That they’d make the same sounds, sneeze at the same time, have similarly shaped fingertips…

Not these girls.

The same way Fable is Fable and Archer is Archer, Boheme is Boheme and Reverie is Reverie. Duh, right? And yet, in a way, it’s still… somewhat of a surprise. How from the same uterus and under the same parental supervision, two and now four such different beings can be. Pretty remarkable stuff.


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About Rebecca Woolf


Rebecca Woolf

Rebecca Woolf is the author of the blog, Girl's Gone Child and the book Rockabye: From Wild to Child (Seal Press, 2008) and is a regular panelist on Rebecca's essays have appeared in dozens of anthologies including the recent, Crush: 26 Real-Life Tales of First Love.

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54 thoughts on “Frat Girls

  1. agirlandaboy says:

    They’re not my babies, and I’m having a hard time calling them twins too. One thing they are equally is gorgeous, though.

  2. KH says:

    Great post, and even better tags!

  3. Elliesee says:

    I felt the same way with my twin girls, fraternal. To me identical twins take ”twinity” (twindomness?) to a whole new level. A level I will never know:-)

  4. Donna says:

    Definitely remarkable.

  5. Sally says:

    Is Bo really always or nearly asleep or does the camera just catch her that way? Rev is so wide-eyed and alert, it really feels like she looks right at you.

  6. Sarah says:

    It’s crazy to me how much Rev looks like Archer and Bo looks like Fable. Nuts.

  7. JB says:

    They are just continuing the next generation of independent, wonderful women in your family :-) .

  8. Jen says:

    first off- congrats on the beautiful babies! This post absolutely fascinates me as I look at my 9 week old twin boys who we don’t know if they are medically identical or not… (2 sacs, 2 placentas, but still could be)… and try to find subtle differences in their cries, personalities, features and am thankful for a birthmark on one face so I’m not always studying who is who… I’m thinking they may be identical after reading how clearly fraternal yours are. Enjoy them both and all of their uniqueness.

  9. Allison says:

    my cousin had boy/ girl twins… and i totally get that they are not identical but these kids hardly look related. E is blonde hair blue eyes and L is a red head w/ hazel eyes. I swear it was just a coinidence that they were born on the same day!

  10. Lauren says:

    I’m a fraternal twin… in fact at 26 my sister and I still call each other Twinny and being a twin is a pretty important part of our identity – all that to say, I can totally call your incredibly beautiful, fabulously fraternal and different and individual babies twins. but it’s also AMAZING that you can you already recognize them as individuals, not as a set. Katherine and I have always been mixed up (even though after our infancy (when we sort of looked the same) we are as night and day as Rev and Bo) JUST BECAUSE WE ARE TWINS. and people always assume twins will have the same interests and personalities and we couldn’t be any more different – my mom always had an attitude like you, and it definitely helped us become our own people, together.
    I feel like I’ve left you a million comments on GGC saying the same thing, but they are just SO beautiful! congratulations, again and again!

  11. Woodstockgurl says:

    I LOVE how Reverie always has her eyes wide open, reaching for the camera, up and at ‘em. And Bo is a little snoozer, drifting along in her own time. Thanks for letting us lurk on your great adventure!

  12. Molly says:

    I’m not a fan of the Bush family, but when I think of famous fraternal twin sisters I think of the Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna. They seem & look like total opposites, yet the world always thinks of them as the Bush twins. They both seem beautiful in their own way, and yet not yin/yang versions of each other ( I think Bo and Rev are going to teach us a whole new meaning of the words “twin sisters.”

  13. Anna says:

    My dad is a fraternal twin, and the other day I commented that his “twin brother” looks more like their youngest brother than he looks like my dad.

    My dad replied: “We are just brothers who happened to be born at the same time.”

    Good explanation, eh? :) And I think it’s great because, down the road, I think there will be less comparison and less “Are you Bo or Rev?”… because fraternal makes individuality just a little easier, I’d say.

  14. Glenda says:

    I think they will always be “the twins” because they were born the same day not necessarily the same time… a minute apart…but the fact that they are not identical and you can tell them apart is awesome. It would suck growing up “are you R or B”

    We have fraternal twin girls that are 14 now, and definitely night and day. One is outgoing. The other is on the quiet side. Don’t look like each other at all. One has light curly hair and the other has dark straight hair.

    We have twin (boy/girl) who are 14 mos. She started walking before him. He chose to chill. It helps that they are a boy/girl combo.

    I think R&B are gorgeous and little mini-me look-alikes of A&F

  15. Michelle Santagate says:

    They’re So COOL! My secret wish is for TWINS… fraternal or identical. What a party you guys must be having with two infants all at once. LOVE IT! You are so blessed. The pictures show their character differences too. Instant individuals. Have fun :)

  16. Michelle Santagate says:

    This is in reply to Alyssa’s link:
    Just goes to show… even if the odds are one in a million, it’s still possible! ;)

  17. 1) Gosh but they’re precious, Rebecca.

    2) I’ve had identical twins for 9 years now and I have never once referred to them as “the twins.” That’s what other people call them (as in, “How are the twins doing?”). I called them “the babies,” and I often call them “the girls,” but never “the twins.” It’s too specific somehow. As if their only characteristic as two humans is that they were born at the same time as another human.

  18. jessica says:

    I really don’t know what it is but Bo definetly looks like an old soul to me. When I look into her little face I feel like I’m seeing someone who really knows things. U know?

  19. megan says:

    I am a fraternal twin myself. Although, my mother has two uterus’, therefore, my sister and I were conceived and born at the same time(1 in 5 million chance).
    My twin and I look like complete opposites to the extreme, but I have to say that we have a special connection. I can remember numerous times having a feeling that something was not right or that something important was happening to my sister. It is something I will never be able to explain, but is something so amazing. Your children are beautiful!

  20. Rosstwinmom says:

    My twin boys are of the barely-look-related kind as well. At this point, one is 3 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier. It also made me sad that they were less twiny than other twins. So I still dress them identical at 4. But, the fun thing is, though they are totally their own people, they are indeed a team. They ADORE each other. They amuse the sh*t out of each other and protect each other from evil like when mom puts one in time out. That will not stand lady.

    What I’m saying is that though they lack a common face, they are indeed partners. It is so awesome, and I’m jealous of their relationship.

  21. Oh, I LOVE that they’re different! I had this crazy vision when I first saw the double-sac on the ultrasound at eight-weeks pregnant: two girls were sitting side by side on their graduation day and one had dark hair, the other was light… all I could see was the back of their heads, no faces, but it was intense and when they were born, one with black hair, the other with barely-there blonde, I was like YES! I love that they’re their own people and am surprised by how protective I am of their unique identities. I feel myself get defensive when they’re referred to as a “set” instead of as individuals, which shocked me a little bit.

  22. Aimee says:

    My fraternal twins look very different, especially as babies. But they have grown into a sibling resemblance that isn’t particularly strong, but is there none the less. with a baby picture on the right rail.

  23. Catharina says:

    Wow, you just have the sweetest, most adorable children. Whether they look like twins or not, they are sisters who are going to grow up together and be there for each other every step of the way and that alone is so, so special. So happy for you and your lovely family!

  24. Connie says:

    I found an article about skin color and why it happens. The odds are a million to one.

  25. Julie R says:

    I think Rev is Hal’s twin :) They’re both gorgeous in their own way. Just like Archer and Fable. You are one lucky Mama.

  26. Meg VT says:

    I just have to second Julie R to say that Rev is a mini-Hal! From day one, I’ve been meaning to comment that and was just looking to see if I was the umpteenth person to say it. So maybe the second in five minutes? Anyhow, it’s remarkable. You are a super-star for enduring the C with such good humor (I had one with my first and I know that it is no picnic!!! Anyone who couldn’t understand why I was SO vehement about VBAC with #2 has never had to go through that awfulness). Anyhow, have fun tuning into their ways of being and watching them turn into beautiful new people! My littlest one is just 5 weeks and we are loving every minute of watching her emerge and develop her own rhythms. She looks so much like my husband’s youngest sister that it sometimes freaks me out…. meanwhile my oldest is definitely of my clan (except where did she get those gorgeous eyes?). Genetics = a total trip, no?!

  27. Sarahtk says:

    Though, if we’re being honest, Fable is Fable, Archer is Archer, Boheme is Boheme, and Reverie is Hal. :)

    Congrats to a gorgeous family!

  28. Dari says:

    I love that they are individuals but still cute twinners. They are beautiful! I always puked for hours after my c sections. This last time it was so bad that I could hardly hold my baby even after many different kinds of anti-nausea medication so finally they gave me the nausea patch and it worked wonders. Next time I am asking for that first! Congratulations on the girls!!

  29. Kim T says:

    They are so awesome. I can’t get over how different they look too. If I remember correctly from your posts when you were pregnant, everyone thought they might be identical. Clearly not. How exciting. Having baby(ies) is truly amazing, you just never know what you’re going to get, no matter how many times you’ve been pregnant.

    I have to say I absolutely love all the photos that you’ve been posting. They are precious and beautiful. The funny thing is I always think newborns look like old men. Not Bo and Rev, they completely remind me of wise, sturdy, old country grandmothers who will give you a bunch of grief about not calling, but also spout a lot of great wisdom with a side of love. How funny. It will be fun to watch them grow and their personalities come out.

  30. Mrs. Kate B. says:

    They are so freaking gorgeous. Perfect.

  31. kate says:

    I am a fraternal twin and my sister and I look nothing alike. Yet, we are twins. I feel it in my soul. She has different features that make up half of me and I know she feels the same.

  32. Snarky Mama says:

    My brother and sister are twins. While they are obviously not identical, they actually look nothing alike. (One is tan and blonde, the other fair and freckled with dark hair.) Besides having different blood types and different birthdays (right before and right after midnight), my sister was also left-back in 1st grade, so for most of their school career they were in different grades.
    They are pretty much as different as twins can be. And yet–they both will often text me at the same time after days/weeks of not hearing from either one of them. My brother, around age 10, once totally freaked out because he thought his twin was drowning (she was at the ocean with our dad). He made my mom drive to the beach, and sure enough–the lifeguard had had to pull our sister out of the water a little earlier. Cue twilight zone music.

  33. Whitney says:

    I loved your post. My 2 month old twin boys are the same way. I tell people they are brothers with the same birthday. Although they are completely different they still have an amazing bond that I think only twins have. Just wait until your girls get a little older, you will love watching them interact.

  34. Annika says:

    When Grace was born I felt confused for weeks because she was so unlike Sam. Which is RIDICULOUS but there it is. And they are not twins at all, but 3.5 years apart – so to have trouble telling your twins alike makes perfect sense to me.

  35. Danielle says:

    My best friend is a frat twin and although they look NOTHING alike (brown hair/blue eyes and red hair/hazel eyes) they are so twinnish in their relation to each other…if that makes sense. There’s still definitely that twin thing happening :) I see Bo and Rev keeping Archer and Fable on their toes growing up!

  36. Wendy says:

    I had two students last year. It took me a full month to realize they were twins! In different classes, the red-head was outgoing, silly, and gregarious. The brunette was quiet, studious, and sweet. They were great girls and I loved that they had their own lives! Some parents try to keep their twins in the same class for ease of HW and such, but I strongly recommend letting them go their own ways when they hit middle school.

  37. Michelle says:

    They are gorgeous! I just had my baby boy 3 months ago and I could do it all again, right now, to hold a new babe like you’ve got in your arms!!! (enough exclamation marks?) I love this post. I love it. They are so different and so amazing and I can’t imagine how lovely it will be to watch all of their similarities and differences as they grow.

  38. jessica says:

    I think rev looks like fable and archer and Bo is the one in know, it is possible to have twins from a different father. I’m just saying.

  39. Dana says:

    I’ve always found my twins lack of “twinness” curious. Earlier today, I asked my son, newly 5, what he thought about being a twin, what he thought about his twin sister. “I don’t,” he said. “She’s just Josephine.”
    Then I read your post and decided, while I have my computer on my lap, to question him more and see if he could explain further. Here’s what he said:
    “It feels like I was not a twin at all. There are three reasons. First of all, it’s because mostly I forget because you don’t talk about it that much. Second of all, I don’t think I’m very good at being twins because I don’t look like her. Third of all, I don’t think I can really actually know how to be a twin or remember. Because she’s taller than me. And because she can do more things than I can. Like the monkey bars and I can’t.”
    Fascinating stuff. It sounds like he has the same stereotype of twins that most of us have, and that I need to help him understand that being a twin doesn’t mean two people have to look the same or act the same. Their specialness as twins comes from growing together, but he is unique and wonderful entirely separate from that.

  40. kathryn says:

    Okay, totally lame question: But your post on the absolute uniqueness of your girls has reminded of a question I’ve always wanted to ask mom’s of twins: does reverie have her own baby outfits and “baby style,” separate from Boheme? Do somethings just seem more Rev than Bo and vice versa? I know, weird. They’re like two minutes old. But, I’m still just wondering!

  41. Kate says:

    Congrats on your frat twins! We were fairly sure in advance that ours would be fraternal, though they did have a rare single-chorionic sac formation that almost never happens with fraternal twinning (but does occasionally, as with ours). Anyhow, the second they were born and I got to look at them, it was *immediately* clear they were fraternal! I have a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy who looks exactly like his father, and a brown-haired, green-eyed boy who looks much more like a mix of the two of us (which makes people swear he looks exactly like me, though I think it’s just the comparison effect of having my husband’s tiny clone next to him).

    When they were younger, people constantly asked if they were twins, or presumed they were. Now that they are a little older (15 mos), people sometimes look at them for a long time before asking how old they are or how far apart they are, because they just don’t look at all like twins. I had a woman comment to me, “My, they’re close in age!” and I just said, “Uh, yeah. Like a couple of minutes apart!”

    I always thought I’d be really against the whole twinny thing, and I definitely do everything I can to treat them like the individuals that they are, but at times, for the sake of my sanity, I *have* to treat them like a unit. And a dear friend of mine is a fraternal twin, and I asked her what advice she had, and she told me that I should always buy the exact same things for them, that fairness was extremely important to her and her sister, and not just like a pink version and a purple version of whatever thing, but the exact. same. thing., because inevitably, one color/version of an item becomes the preferred one, and the one who has it lords it over the one who doesn’t, and the one who doesn’t feels terrible about being left out. And to never buy them things and force them to share without asking each of them separately if they want said thing AND that they want to share said thing. Yes, a lot of that may be avoided by trying to raise them to be patient and understanding, and at a young age, they don’t know and they don’t really understand the this-is-better-than-that thing, or the sharing thing either, but all the same, I don’t want them to look back on pictures and notice some inadvertent preference– why was J always wearing tidy, tucked-in collared shirts, while I wore hand-me-down tees and ripped shorts? So I always try to dress them similarly, while never matching (if that makes sense… one wears a collared shirt, so does the other. One wears a funky-funny tee shirt, the other wears a totally different tee shirt, etc.).

    Anyhow– this absurdly long comment just to say that I have frat twins, too, and it is so much fun to watch them interact and grow together. They are totally different personality-wise/development-wise, but watching H pad around the house shouting “brub-ber!” (brother) while chasing J, and seeing J turn around and tackle H in a crazy, growling hug? Oh, man. It’s awesome, twin or not.

  42. Jaelithe says:

    All I know is, those two sets of adorable baby cheeks are practically making me want to nom my computer screen. CUTE. BABIES. NOM.

    I don’t know how you stand having that much adorable in one room.

  43. Jenny, Bloggess says:

    I kind of love that people are asking if they’re related. Now you have the perfect excuse to say, “No, I stole this one.”

    PS. Freaking adorable. All of you.

  44. Leslie says:

    First and foremost, EQUALLY ADORABLE. My cousin has twins that are similarly different…but they are still connected in that magical way that twins are, even if they look nothing alike. And I cannot get over how adorable that top picture of Rev is, nor how much (oddly) Boheme looks like one of my cousin’s twins (Will) when he was a baby. Something about that mouth…

  45. Kim says:

    I was a nanny when I was 18 for fraternal twins (boy/girl). The boy looked 100% like his mom (asian) and the girl 100% like her dad (red hair/blue eyes). There is no one on earth who would think they were related, much less twins.

  46. MKP says:

    Maybe that explains why they were born on the 13th instead of on the 22nd like you were anticipating at one point :)

  47. Amanda says:

    My husband’s grandmother and great aunt are twins and it’s the same – they look SO DIFFERENT! Marion is taller, has “the nose” that my husband’s father and my husband and all of his siblings have. Agnes is barely 5′ tall, has blonde, curly hair, slight features… I laughed when my husband first told me they were twins because looking at them it’s not at all what you’d expect twins to be.

    Your daughters are gorgeous – congratulations!

  48. Sylvie says:

    I could have sworn I already commented on this!

    I see a lot of Rebecca in Bo and Archer and Hal in Rev. They really look alike in your last post – with the profile picture and both of them awake side-by-side. Have you ever posted your own baby pictures and compared them to the kids?

  49. Holly says:

    Congratulations! I’m a fraternal twin, and the daughter of an identical twin. My sister and I are not much alike, and were rarely referred to as “the twins,” but I don’t think the special twin bond is reserved only for identical twins. We’ve still been “partners” our whole lives, even though we are not identical. (In our case, our mom didn’t know she was having twins until we we born).

  50. Zoë says:

    Such delicious girls! And I still think Bo looks like my girls when they were were newborns. Violet: and Ruby:

    Much love. xxx

  51. Ray says:

    The girls definitely are night and day to each other, but I’m sure they’ll have this insane bond that only, “twins” can have. ;o)

  52. Ray says:

    P.S. Love that fourth photo of Bo. Sway. And that photo of Rev looking at you. =o) Beautiful babes and beautiful momma. <3

  53. Amy says:

    And yet they’re both so insanely cute in their own way. Bravo mama.

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