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♂Choosing the perfect name for your twins
♂2008 and 2007 Most Popular Names for Twins - Baby Names for Twins (煦鹹惘﹜躓惘)
♂7 Things You Didn't Know About Raising Newborn Twins
♂Should your multiples share a bedroom?
♂Top 8 Ways to Help People Tell Your Twins Apart
♂Twins/Multiples in School
♂Top Tips for Disciplining Twins & Multiples
♂Encouraging Individuality in Twins/Multiples
♂Top 10 Things Not to Say to Twins
♂Frequently Asked Questions About Parenting Identical Twins
♂Twins Terms and Acronyms

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Choosing the perfect name for your twins

We parents all strive to select the perfect name for our babies, but parents of twins or multiples may find particularly challenging to make the right choice for two, three or more children. Naming one baby is hard enough, but in this case, you've got twice the work to do!

To help you get started, we offer a few popular strategies for choosing names for twins. They are not rules, but they can help you discover new ideas, weight every option, and then select the one that you really like.

1﹜Names Using Anagrams

You can get truly creative here. Take one name that you like and rearrange the letters to make another name. With traditional baby names your choices are slightly limited with this option, but, if you don't mind bending the rules a little, you could play around with this idea forever.

A few examples of this:
Amy & May, Abdel & Blade, Myra & Mary, Abel & Elba, Abelie & Bailee, Amy & May , Adan & Dana, Alan & Lana, Alfred & Fardel, Alyce & Lacey, Antonia & Ionatan, Ira & Ria , Arlie & Ariel, Ashley & Elysha, Athanas & Natasha, Evan & Neva.

2﹜Names In Reverse

There are not many names that work easily with this concept. But it is a distinctive way to go about naming twins. This will only work for a small selection of names, but if you have the time and some patience, then you will eventually find some great names.

Examples: Heaven & Nevaeh, Aidan & Nadia, Noel & Leon.

3﹜Names With The Same/Similar Meaning
This variety of names will have either the same meaning or be different names for the same type of thing. Sound confusing? Just look at some of the examples.

Examples of names with the same meaning: Corinne & Corrina (both mean maiden in Greek), Chad & Kellie (both mean warrior in Celtic and Irish), Brian & Carl (both mean strong in Celtic and Old English).
Sarah & Almira - both meaning "Princess", Bernard & Brian - meaning "Strong", Lucy & Helen - meaning "Light"

Examples of names for the same type of thing: Rose & Daisy (both types of flowers), Aspen & Laurel (both types of trees), River & Sky (both types of things in nature).

4﹜Names That Sound Similar Or Rhyme

Another common choice for twin baby names, these will typically sound very similar or even rhyme. They may or may not start with the same letter.

Examples of names that sound similar: Taylor & Tyler, Jade & Jayden, Christian & Christopher, Megan & Morgan, Ava & Olivia, DeeAnn & AnnDee.

Examples of names that rhyme: Jason & Mason, Zoe & Chloe, Jayden & Hayden, Zane & Cain, Sage & Gage.

5﹜Names That Start With The Same Letter

Choosing baby names for twins that start with the same letter seems to be the most popular preference. And it's probably the most straightforward way to keep a bit of similarity between twin names.

Examples: Jacob & Joshua, Madison & Matthew, Hailey & Hannah, Ethan & Evan.

6﹜Names That Are Completely Unrelated

The sky*s the limit when you just want to choose two names for your twins that you are particularly keen on. Certainly, many parents will go this route.

Future parents can get so wrapped up in trying to choose the perfect name for their twins that forget the fact: they can choose names that have no connection at all. It's fun to treat your twins as a pair, but when naming twins it's important to give them each a unique identity.

Examples: Dion & Sherry, Michael & Lola, Frank & Kevin, Marie & Pheobe.

You can also find inspiration from the list of the most popular names for twins compiled by the US Social Security Administration.

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2008 and 2007 Most Popular Names for Twins - Baby Names for Twins (煦鹹惘﹜躓惘)

Every year, the Social Security Administration compiles data and issues a "Most Popular Baby Names" list. The list reflects the frequency of the first names as they appear on applications for Social Security cards. Here is the list of most popular twin name combinations for 2008.

1﹜2008 Boy Name Combinations

Here are the most popular names for boy twins, as compiled by the Social Security Administration in 2008.

Jacob & Joshua (also #1 in 2005, 2006, and 2007)
Daniel & David (#3 in 2006 and 2007)
Ethan & Evan
Isaac & Isaiah (also #4 in 2007 and 2006)
Elijah & Isaiah
Logan & Lucas
Matthew & Michael (#2 in 2005, 2006 and 2007)
James & John
Brandon & Bryan (or Brian)
Nathan & Nicholas
Caleb & Joshua
Christian & Christopher
Joseph & Joshua
Andrew & Matthew br]Benjamin & Samuel
Jacob & Matthew
Jordan & Justin
Nathan & Noah
Alexander & Andrew
Ethan & Nathan
Gabriel & Michael
Jacob & Joseph
Joshua & Justin
Joshua & Matthew
Alexander & Nicholas
Logan & Luke
Aaron & Andrew
Andrew & Anthony
Jacob & Lucas
Kyle & Ryan
Nicholas & Noah
Alexander & Benjamin
Alexander & Christopher
Benjamin & William
Christopher & Matthew
Daniel & Michael
Jake & Luke
Matthew & William
Samuel & William
Aiden & Austin
Benjamin & Jacob
Benjamin & Matthew
Caleb & Christian
Caleb & Jacob
Elijah & Ethan
James & William
John & William
Mark & Matthew
Matthew & Nicholas
Maxwell & Samuel

2﹜Girl Name Combinations

Here are the most popular names for girl twins, as compiled by the Social Security Administration in 2008.

Gabriella & Isabella (#5 for Girls in 2006 and 2007)
Madison & Morgan (also #2 in 2006 and 2007)
Ella & Emma (#1 for girls in 2007 and 2006)
Faith & Hope
Isabella & Sophia
Hailey & Hannah
Mackenzie & Madison
Ava & Emma
Ava & Olivia
Makayla & Makenzie (or Mackenzie & Makayla)
Abigail & Emma
Faith & Grace
Emma & Sophie
Anna & Emma
Autumn & Summer
Isabella & Olivia
Valeria & Vanessa
Ashley & Emily
Emma & Sophia
Hannah & Sarah
Heaven & Nevaeh
Jennifer & Jessica
Addison & Emma
Ava & Mia

3﹜Girl/Boy Combinations or Names That Could be Used for Either Gender

Here are the most popular names for girl/boy twins, as compiled by the Social Security Administration in 2008.

Jayden & Jordan
Taylor & Tyler
Landon & Logan
Madison & Mason
Addison & Aiden
Emma & Ethan
Jayden & Jaylen
Emily & Ethan
Hayden & Hunter
Addison & Avery
Jayda & Jayden
Jada & Jaden (or Jada & Jayden)
Jacob & Jordan
Abigail & Benjamin
Aiden & Ava
Dylan & Tyler
Natalie & Nathan
Ryan & Tyler
Samuel & Sophia
Adrian & Adriana
Alexander & Alexis
Lily & Logan


4﹜2007 Boy Name Combinations
br]Jacob & Joshua (also #1 in 2005 and 2006)
Matthew & Michael (also #2 in 2005 and 2006)
Daniel & David (also #3 in 2006)
Isaac & Isaiah (also #4 in 2006)
Taylor & Tyler (#6 in 2006)
Landon & Logan (#5 in 2006)
Brandon & Bryan (or Brian)
Christian & Christopher
Andrew & Matthew
Joseph & Joshua
Ethan & Evan
Jacob & Joseph
Alexander & Benjamin
Caleb & Joshua
Joshua & Matthew
Nathan & Nicholas
Andrew & Anthony
Jayden & Jordan (also Jaden & Jordan)
Elijah & Isaiah
Alexander & Nicholas
Hayden & Hunter
Jacob & Zachary
Logan & Luke
Benjamin & Samuel
Christopher & Nicholas
Nathan & Noah
Alexander & Christopher
James & John
John & William
Jordan & Justin
Alexander & Anthony
Andrew & William
Christopher & Matthew
Jacob & Jordan
Joseph & Michael
Alexander & Andrew
Andrew & Jacob
Elijah & Ethan
Jacob & Matthew
Jacob & Samuel
James & Joseph
Jordan & Joshua
Matthew & Ryan
Nicholas & Noah
Benjamin & Jacob
Ethan & Nathan
Gabriel & Michael
Jacob & Justin
Jacob & Tyler
Jonathan & Joshua
Jose & Juan
Logan & Lucas
Mark & Matthew
Robert & William
Alexander & William
Cameron & Christian
Jayden & Jaylen (new for 2007)
Joseph & Nicholas
Joshua & Zachary
Parker & Preston

5﹜2007 Girl Name Combinations

Ella & Emma (Also #1 for girls in 2006)
Madison & Morgan (Also #2 for girls in 2006)
Taylor & Tyler (#4 for girls in 2006)
Landon & Logan (#3 for girls in 2006)
Gabriella & Isabella (Also #5 for girls in 2006)
Faith & Hope
Mackenzie & Madison
Hailey & Hannah (or Haley & Hannah)
Isabella & Sophia
Jayden & Jordan (or Jaden & Jordan)
Olivia & Sophia
Ava & Emma
Hayden & Hunter
Megan & Morgan
Isabella & Olivia
Ava & Olivia
Emma & Grace
Emma & Hannah
Jennifer & Jessica
Makayla & Makenzie
Natalie & Nicole
Ava & Sophia
Emma & Olivia
Grace & Olivia
Abigail & Emily
Abigail & Emma
Anna & Emma
Ashley & Emily
Ava and Ella (new for 2007)
Emily & Sarah
Grace & Hannah
Hannah & Sarah (new for 2007)
Jayden & Jaylen
Madison & Megan
Madison & Megan

6﹜2007 Girl/Boy Combinations or Names That Could be Used for Either Gender
Madison & Morgan (Also #1 on the boy/girl list in 2006)
Taylor & Tyler (#3 on the boy/girl list in 2006)
Landon & Logan (#2 on the boy/girl list in 2006)
Madison & Matthew
Emily & Ethan
Jayden & Jordan (or Jaden & Jordan)
Madison & Mason
Emma & Ethan
Hayden & Hunter
Logan & Luke (or Lucas)
Natalie & Nathan
Jordan & Justin
Megan & Morgan
Jacob & Jordan
Zachary & Zoe
Samuel & Sophia
Cameron & Christian
Emma & Jacob
Emma & William (new for 2007)
Jayden & Jaylen

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7 Things You Didn't Know About Raising Newborn Twins

Even experienced moms may not know what to expect when they bring home newborn twins.

If you are about to have twins, don*t worry. You won*t be the only one. In the U.S, about three of every 100 pregnant women give birth to twins or triplets, according to statistics from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. And by many accounts, twin pregnancies are on the rise. As a result, growing numbers of parents will be faced with the challenges of raising twins.

While it is true that twins can bring double the joy, parenting twins can also require double the work -- at least initially. The key is to be prepared.

"This is survival mode," says Atlanta-based pediatric nurse Jennifer Walker, RN, co-author (along with Laura Hunter) of The Moms on Call Guide to Basic Baby Care and the mother of twins. To better prepare yourself, here are seven things that many new moms and dads may not know about parenting twins.

1﹜No schedule means no life (for you).

"It's hard enough with a single baby, but when you have newborn twins, things have to be on a schedule," Walker says. "You want to get the babies on the same feeding and napping schedules. They will eventually learn to adapt." (You won't if the newborn twins are not on a schedule!)

2﹜You can breastfeed both babies at the same time -- really!

"If you breastfeed, you can feed both babies at the same time with one twin on each breast, but it takes great coordination and patience," Walker tells WebMD. "I personally did not like the way it felt."

She recalls that breastfeeding her newborn twins felt like she was balancing two bobbing heads. The solution? "I breast-fed one and bottle-fed the other," she says. "I would sit down on the floor while breastfeeding one infant, while the other infant lay on a pillow in front of me or on my side with a bottle, so the whole feeding experience would take me 45 minutes -- total."

3﹜One crib is fine in the beginning.

"Newborn twins can certainly remain in the same crib initially," Walker says. "If they sleep better when they know the other is close by, crib-sharing can last up until they move into their childhood beds."

Many parents may make the switch to two cribs when the twins begin to roll, bump into one another and wake each other up, she says.

While one crib is fine, two car seats and a double-stroller are absolute musts for newborn twins.

4﹜Newborn twins may be more likely to have respiratory problems.

Newborn twins are more likely than singletons to be born early and underweight. "Preemies often do have more respiratory issues because their lungs may not be as developed as babies born at term," explains Alan Rosenbloom, MD, a New York City-based pediatrician. This doesn't mean that both premature newborn twins will have respiratory issues, however. "If you have two premature twins born at 32 weeks and one needs a breathing tube, this twin may be more likely to have respiratory issues down the road than a twin who had slightly more mature lungs and only needed some oxygen via a nasal cannula."

5﹜Newborn twins share everything -- including germs.

"Twins are like all siblings in that they certainly get each others illnesses," says Rosenbloom. "If you have a contagious infection, the risk of a twin sibling getting it is just as good as if another person in the same household had that infection," he says. Parents of newborn twins may consider separating the two if one comes down with a contagious illness right after birth. "Mobility is less of an issue early on, so if one twin has chickenpox, for example, you can separate them and let the healthy twin stay somewhere else to minimize their risk," he says. "You can*t reduce the risk to zero, but you can control it better."

6﹜Twins may be similar, but they are also different.

Encourage the differences between twins and never compare twins to one another, says mom of twins and developmental pediatrician Randye Huron, MD, the chief of the section of developmental pediatrics and the director of the Institute for Child Development at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. "Most children do have their own strengths and weaknesses, and twins are no exception," says Huron. "My daughter loves ballet and art, and my son likes sports. I encourage the differences to minimize competition and comparisons," she tells WebMD. "Never say, 'Your sister is behaving, so why aren't you?'"

Separating the twins eventually is also helpful. "It is in their best interest to be separated and get their own group of friends," she says. Separate time with parents and separate play dates encourages independent decision-making.

7﹜ Parenting twins gets easier and easier.

"Young twins are easier to raise, have each other to play with, and sleep better than singletons once they turn 2," says Manju Monga, MD, the Berel Held Professor and the division director of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, and the mother of twins.

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Should your multiples share a bedroom?
Wombmates to Roomates: Twins Sharing a Room

From wombmates to roommates ... many parents of multiples find it most convenient to establish a single nursery for their baby twins, triplets or more. One bedroom houses all the cribs; one closet contains the dozens of cute infant outfits. That's a wonderful solution for babies; however, as the children grow up, most parents begin to weigh other options.

Same sex twins are often more likely to share a bedroom than fraternal multiples of different genders. Multiples who join a family with older siblings may share a space with an older brother or sister

Deciding how or when to establish separate bedrooms is an issue that most parents face at some point. Every family is different, and every set of multiples shares a unique bond, so there is no definitive timetable for making the transition. A home's space limitations may determine the final answer, or the multiples themselves may indicate a preference that prompts a change. While every family will have their own timeline, there are several stages when it is common to make the move to separate bedrooms.

In the toddler years, a shared bedroom may be a distraction during bedtime, especially once the children transition out of cribs into beds from which they can climb in and out. Naptime becomes playtime when there's a buddy in the room! So, parents may be motivated to separate their multiples in order to promote more peaceful.

However, toddlers can be very sensitive to the separation; it may feel like a punishment rather than a privilige. The presence of their co-multiple(s) may be a comfort, and the separation may create even more disruptions. If you choose to establish separate bedrooms for your toddler twins, time the move carefully to avoid conflicting with other lifestyle changes, such as potty training or starting preschool.

As multiples grow older, they are better able to communicate their feelings and desires. That's when parents can ask for input, allowing their multiples to express their preference and accomodating their requests as they see fit. Starting school is often an important milestone for multiples; they may be in separate classes for the first time and begin developing their own identity.

The school years are a common time to make the transition to separate rooms, especially as students need a private place to study and complete homework. If separate bedrooms are not a possibility, parents should at least consider establishing individual desk areas for each child to promote good study habits.

Establshing a sense of responsibility and individual accountability is another motivating factor for separate rooms. In fact, that is exactly why we decided to move my twins into their own rooms. We found it increasingly difficult to encourage cooperative cleanup of their shared bedroom; the mess was always "sister's" fault and there was endless squabbling over possessions. Once they were ensconced in their own rooms, they found it much easier to keep track of their "stuff." We found it much easier to hold them each accountable for the upkeep of their room.

Although they've had their own rooms for nearly a year now, they still choose to sleep together from time to time. They enjoy the companionship, and I don't mind, as long as they go to bed on time. Their giggles and whispers remind me of the old days, when they shared baby talk and threw their stuffed animals from crib to crib.

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Top 8 Ways to Help People Tell Your Twins Apart

Parents of twins are constantly being asked "How do you tell them apart?" As multiples enter school, it becomes important for teachers, classmates and other non-family members to be able to identify each child, especially when they are in the same class. Not only does it enhance the individual child's self esteem to be recognized, but it also reduces stress for the teachers.

1﹜Clothes: Don't Match

Dressing twins alike is a divisive issue among the multiples community. Some do, some don't. Whatever your preference, consider refraining from the practice when your kids are in the care of outsiders. It makes it easier on everyone by providing an immediate visual clue.

2﹜Start Each Day The Right Way

As you enter class each day, greet the teacher and give him/her a clear indication of who is who as the day begins. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this in a subtle way without taking up too much of the teacher's time or making the twins feel uncomfortable. A quick comment distinguishing their clothing style can suffice. ("Molly's in blue today, while Polly's shirt is red.) Or, if the children can communicate sufficiently, have them say good morning using their names. ("Good morning, Mrs. Smith. I'm Molly!")

3﹜Dress Code

Starting at birth, many families elect to use a system of color coding for their multiples. (Mike=red, Luke=blue, etc.) Consistently selecting clothing and accessories in the assigned color not only helps distinguish the individual children, but also their belongings, such as pacifiers or toys. Dressing twins in a color code when they start school can make it easier on teachers, as well.

4﹜Name Tags

As a last resort, or perhaps in the earliest days of the school year, you may wish to consider identifying your twins with name tags. A simple label pinned to the back of their shirts readily identifies them to their class. Be sure to make the tags large enough for the teacher to read from across the room.

5﹜Physical Characteristics

Even the most identical twins have some distinguishing characteristic. Many physical attributes are determined by environment, rather than genetics. Identify a telltale feature for each child, for example a freckle, mole, eyebrow arch or hair whorl. Avoid comparative features; people can't rely on them unless the twins remain together at all times.

6﹜Play A Name Game

Associate each child's name with an attribute that distinguishes him or her. For example, in our family, Meredith has longer hair, while Lauren's is somewhat shorter. We remind people of the phrase "Meredith=More Hair, Lauren=Less Hair" to help them remember the difference. Try to find a phrase that rhymes, uses alliteration, or otherwise sticks in the memory.

7﹜Shoes

Start the year off on the right foot by choosing different shoe styles for your twins! It's a quick and easy way to distinguish them, especially when they get old enough to choose their own clothes and resist the other techniques mentioned here. This worked very effectively for my daughters throught preschool; their teachers could easily recognize them by their sneaker styles.

8﹜Guess!

Reassure teachers and classmates that it is okay to mix up your multiples! It's going to happen from time to time, and most twins become accustomed to it. Certainly, it can be an annoyance, but it is preferable to the alternative of being ignored altogether. Encourage teachers to make a guess (they have a 50/50 chance of getting it right!) or to politely ask, "Are you Mark or Brian?"

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Twins/Multiples in School

* Part 1: Making the Decision

You've survived the sleepless nights of infancy and the chaos of toddlerhood. Now it's time to conquer the next big challenge in your multiples' lives: starting school. Along with this milestone comes an important decision regarding their education: should your twins (triplets, or more) attend the same class, or be assigned to different teachers in separate classrooms?

Unlike multiple choice quizzes in school, there is no single correct answer to the question of classroom placement with twins and other multiples. There are good reasons supporting both choices. However, it is an issue that can't be taken lightly, and ideally one that should be reevaluated every school year. Ultimately, the decision should be made by parents, based on recommendations from past and present teachers, school administrators, and with consideration for the wishes of the children involved.

However, many school systems would prefer to make the choice for parents, by instituting a blanket policy that covers all multiples that enroll in public school. A recent survey by the National Organization of Mother of Twins Clubs (NOMOTC) indicated that 43% of educators believe that all multiples should be separated in school, beginning in kindergarten. Generally, these policies reflect that belief, claiming that separation benefits the individual children. However, many parents suspect the policies are implemented for the convenience of educators, and are based on a misunderstanding of the true nature of twinship. Parents who believe that separation would be detrimental to their children may have to confront school administrators in order to keep them together.

So how can parents confidently make this crucial decision for their children? This article provides some criteria to consider. In recent years, psychologists and twin experts recommend that unless there is a compelling reason to separate multiples, the benefits of keeping them together -- especially in the early primary years -- outweigh the detriments.

As you go through the decision-making process, seek input from every available source: Ask questions and listen to the answers carefully.

* Talk to other parents of multiples who have school-aged children. You can meet them in your local multiples club or in our online forum. Find out what worked -- and what didn't work -- for their children, and what factors figured into their decision.

* Talk to teachers. Talk to your multiples' past, present and future teachers. If they've not yet been involved in a school environment, talk to babysitters and care givers at your daycare, church or playgroup. Ask them how your multiples interact with playmates and each other when you're not around. Are they sociable? Do they play only with each other and exclude others? Is one more shy or outgoing? You would be surprised at the discrepancy between parents' perceptions of their children and teachers' experience. Even though you know your children best, don't discount the teacher's evaluation.

Discuss the issue with administrators and counselors at the schools your children will attend. Find out what their policies are and question the reasoning behind them.

* Talk to your twins, triplets, quads or more. Ask your multiples what they want. Even if their wishes don't factor into the ultimate decisions, you should consider their feelings. You might be surprised at what they tell you. Depending on their maturity level, try to schedule a time to discuss the issue with each child privately.

* Listen to your heart. You know your children better than anyone else. Have confidence in your instincts. As your multiples grow and develop, so will their needs, and the best option may fluctuate from school year to school year. Recognize that the situation may be different next year -- and sometimes even next month! -- so give yourself flexibility to reconsider your options.

* Part 2: Reasons to Separate
Most of the reasons that would justify separation of multiples in school are focused on avoiding some kind of negative circumstance. Many of these factors are potentialities or possibilities, not certainties. However a combination of these factors or a situation where the circumstance truly does exist and create a problem, would certainly dictate separation.

1﹜Avoiding Confusion

Identical twins who look very similar may confuse teachers and other students. It's distressing for everyone when multiples can't be told apart -- embarrassing for the teacher and frustrating for the children. Teachers who demand that the children wear dissimilar clothes or use other tactics (like nametags) to tell them apart only compound the problem. So do those who ignore the issue and resort to calling both children by a common name or treating them as a unit.

Separating the twins alleviates the issue altogether, however this is a pretty weak argument for separation. In most circumstances, a sensitive and committed teacher can learn within a few days -- weeks at most -- how to distinguish between the children. Classmates will likely be able to tell even sooner!

2﹜Avoiding Distraction

Parents of multiples know better than anyone that their children's special status attracts attention. Face it, people are fascinated. The presence of multiples in the classroom, and the accompanied attention they generate, can be a distraction to the educational process. So too, can the relationship between the children themselves. Twins have a unique dynamic. Unlike the relationship between fellow classmates, these children are siblings. They share a great deal. Young children cannot be expected to leave their family "baggage" at the door of the schoolroom when their co-twin/classmate provides a constant reminder of their home situation. Thus, the multiples themselves may find each other a distraction in class. And if the teacher has to get involved to settle their disputes or control their shared antics, it's disruptive to the entire class.

3﹜Avoiding Comparison

From even before birth, multiples are constantly compared and contrasted. "She's bigger than he is." "He eats more than he does." "She has more hair,. " "She crawled first, but he walked sooner." Most of the time, the comparative statements are tolerated and accepted, but once multiples enter school, they may become distressing, especially when one twin consistently outperforms the other.

Even if no one vocalizes the differences in achievement, children are sensitive to them. For example, before entering first grade, one of my identical twin daughters started to read voraciously, selecting more and more challenging books. Meanwhile, her twin sister assumed she was a "bad" reader because she was still tackling grade level-appropriate picture books. It impacted her self-esteem quite negatively, until they started first grade in separate classes. Being allowed to develop at her own pace, out of the shadow of her sister, she realized that she was right on target. She gained confidence and quickly caught up with her sister.

4﹜Suppressing Harmful Competition

Out of comparison grows competition. Multiples are constantly in competition for even the most basic resources; from before birth they compete for nutrients and space in the womb. After birth they compete for parental attention, affection, toys, and to be "first" in every conceivable way Some competition is certainly healthy; it drives ambition, encourages achievement, and spurs enthusiasm. But constant competition can be detrimental to multiples in an educational setting, replacing the joy of learning with a pressure to outperform a sibling. Parents of multiples recognize that the competitive dynamic between their children extends beyond the drive to earn higher grades. It exists on every level, from who gets to get on the school bus first to who has more pencils to who has the better best friend. Students who rush through schoolwork simply to finish before their twin won't have much academic success.

5﹜Decreasing Dependency

Every relationship between multiples is unique. In some situations, there is clearly a codependency, with one twin or triplet established as a leader and the other(s) as follower(s). Parents who want to discourage that dynamic might consider separating the children in school, allowing the dependent child to develop on his own outside the shadow of his co-multilple(s).

6﹜Fostering Individuality

Fostering individuality in multiples is certainly an important goal for parents, and one that can be served well by separating the children in school. Separate classrooms may provide an opportunity for each child to develop their own friendships, accomplish their own goals, pursue their own interests and establish their own identity. However, multiples have their entire lives to become individuals -- and they will, at their own pace, no matter what external influence parents prescribe.

* Part 3: Keeping Them Together

Unless there is a compelling reason to separate them, the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs ( NOMOTC) and other experts advocate keeping them together, especially in early elementary years. There are hundreds of small reasons why staying together is a benefit, and one very significant factor: the unique and special relationship that multiples share with each other.

1﹜The Bond

The bond between multiples is powerful. Parents of multiples can observe it and appreciate it, but unless they themselves are also multiples, they can't fully understand it. To a child who has never known a moment of life without his co-multiple -- even before life actually began -- a forced separation can be severely traumatic.

Nonmultiples can perhaps relate the experience to a relationship with a spouse. Certainly, you could face the challenges of day-to-day life without the presence of your beloved, but doesn't it make it easier and more enjoyable when you're together? Thus it is with multiples in the school environment. Proponents of separation argue that having multiples together in the classroom is a distraction; however it can be just as distracting to sever the bond. Children who are wondering "What's my twin doing? Where is she? Why aren't we together? Were we separated because we were bad?" can't favorably focus on their school work.

Twin Services, a non profit resource and consulting service for families with multiples, explains it this way. "Twins and triplets just starting school usually benefit from the social support they give each other when they are in the same room. They seem to find it easy to engage in different activities when they have the option of being together. When they are forced to separate into different classrooms, they get the message that there is something wrong about being a twin or a triplet. They may suffer emotional stress from worry about their absent co-twin(s) and find it difficult or impossible to do their school work."

Starting school in kindergarten or first grade can be a very anxious experience for some children. The new environment, with unfamiliar faces, rules, schedules, and academic demands can be overwhelming. Young multiples simply may not be able to make the transition to the school routine without the comfort of their co-twin. Some say that forcing them to do so is discriminatory, that being a multiple is an inherent condition of birth like race or gender. Others claim that it is like denying a diabetic child access to insulin. At any rate, in situations where it is obvious that separating multiples would generate genuine distress for the children, keeping them together is certainly warranted. Forcing them to separate can have ramifications for the future too. An unpleasant early school experience sets the stage for future academic and social problems.

Many people view the bond between multiples as unhealthy -- a dependency, a limitation that excludes outside relationships, a suffocation of individuality, a font of jealousy and rivalry. However, most multiples, and their parents, recognize it as a wonderful gift. Every twinship, like every child, is unique and has to be evaluated as such.

2﹜Learning Style

Much emphasis has been focused on matching students with teachers based on learning/teaching styles. In many schools, the staff provides an excellent variety of teaching styles and personalities that meet the needs of a wide range of students. Due to genetic compatibility, multiples often have similar learning styles and aptitudes and they deserve to be matched with a teacher that will provide them the best possible educational experience. And often, especially in smaller elementary schools, there is only one teacher that makes that match. To split the multiples between classrooms would deny one of the children an optimal learning environment.

Educators tend to be very sensitive about this issue, and when addressing it, parents should recognize that teachers -- like children -- should never be classified as "bad" or "good." Rather teachers possess different styles and qualifications, and matching those characteristics with the needs of individual children makes every classroom more productive.

3﹜Convenience

Some may feel that making a decision based on convenience is selfish, foolish or maybe even hypocritical, since parents accuse educators of wanting to separate multiples simply because it's easier. But no one can deny the benefits generated by parents who are wholly committed to and involved in their childrens' education. Volunteering in the classroom or in the school, reviewing homework assignments, communicating regularly with teachers, chaperoning field trips, donating supplies ... parents of multiples can contribute a great deal more when their efforts are focused on one class, rather than two, three or more.

In some situations, particularly in half-day preschool or kindergarten programs, there is only one available class. Requiring separation would mean transporting one multiple to the morning session and one to the afternoon, or sending one child to attend a two-day session, while the other attended three days. Obviously the benefits of convenience should be considered.

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Top Tips for Disciplining Twins & Multiples

Twins and multiples provide many challenges for parents and discipline is no exception. It can be tough disciplining any child but it can be even tougher when you have twins. triplets or more to deal with. Here are some ideas to keep in mind.

1﹜Twins are Individuals
Each of your twins. even if they're identical. has his/her own personality and thresholds for frustration. anger. discomfort. etc. Resist the urge to always discipline your twins the same way. For example. if one twin likes to play computer games and the other likes to watch television. taking away television privileges for both only really punishes one of them. which isn't fair. Tailor disciplinary techniques to the personality of the child. Some children collapse into a puddle if mildly rebuked. Others need firmer explanations to get the message. Know each of your children and their needs.

2﹜Avoid The Blame Game
Twins. like all siblings. will try to blame things on each other. and/or try to convince you that you aren't being fair. Don't even enter into a debate. especially if you didn't see what happened. If neither twin will confess. discipline both by taking away a privilege. If you are being accused of unfairness by one or both twins. just refuse to talk about it. and tell them that they must drop the subject or lose a privilege immediately.

3﹜Set Firm. Consistent Limits
Make rules and stick to them. or set specific times when rules are lifted. For example. if you don't allow your kids to jump on the bed. you must discipline them every time they do it otherwise. you send the message that the rules are only in effect sometimes. which is confusing for children. You can also set specific times for the behavior. such as three minutes of bed jumping before bedtime. and only with a grown up present.

4﹜Teach Social Skills
Be an example to your children of the values you want to instill in them. Let them see you being honest. kind. polite. and in control. If your kids see you getting angry and out of control. they receive the message that they can also behave this way. If they see you telling lies. being snide. sarcastic. or mean. they will try out these behaviors on you and others. The effects are even worse when the children are on the receiving end of angry outbursts. untruths. and belittlement. If you need help learning how to cope (and we all feel that way sometimes). consider enrolling in a local parenting class.

5﹜Stay Calm !
First. if you feel angry and out of control and you want to smack your child. leave the situation if you can. Calm down and get quiet. In that quiet time you will often find an alternative or solution to the problem. Sometimes parents lose it because they are under a lot of stress which can be frequent when you are raising twins and multiples. If you feel like you are about to lose it and can't leave the situation. then mentally step back and count to ten.

6﹜Twin Escalation Syndrome (TES)
Prevelant in twins. triplets and all multiples is TES. the tendency for behavior to escalate as one multiple 'feeds' off the other one(s). The reason this occurs is down to your children competing with one another which is unavoidable with multiples. However. to save your sanity and diffuse the situation then three top tips are firstly divide and conquer - separating twins and using time-outs secondly - distraction. get them involved in different activities to move the focus away from each other and finally. reduce the competition by providing opportunities for one-on-one time so they feel they have your full attention for at least some of the time!

7﹜Use 1-2-3 Magic!
1-2-3 Magic is a parent-in-charge program that eliminates arguing. yelling or smacking. Emotional turmoil and excessive talk do not make for good discipline. In fact. you might say 1-2-3 Magic is the only discipline program we know based on the fact that parents talk too much! According to this program. the job of parenting consists of three tasks: Controlling obnoxious behavior (arguing. whining. fighting. tantrums) 2. Encouraging good behavior (going to bed. homework. eating) 3. Strengthening your relationship with your children (praise. active listening. shared fun). 1-2-3 Magic Effective Discipline for Children 2-12yrs is available in book. DVD and video formats.

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Encouraging Individuality in Twins/Multiples
Ten Tips for Twindividuality

Parents of twins and other multiples often feel pressured to instill a sense of individuality in their children. They may be dissuaded from doing anything that elevates their multiples' unity -- such as naming them with similar names, dressing them alike or keeping them together in the same class once they start school.

It's my opinion that most multiples will create an individual identity for themselves as they grow up, whether their parents like it or not! We can't control our children's sense of self, but we can encourage it. And certainly we, as parents, want to do as much as we can to support them as individual children. With that goal in mind, here are some suggestions for cultivating a sense of individuality in each of your multiples.

1﹜Spend one on one time with each child.
Without a doubt, children of all ages and stages love to have their parents' exclusive attention. When children within a family are of different ages, it seems easier to meet that need. Opportunities are built into the different routines of each child's life stage: eldest children have the spotlight until a younger sibling is born, but as they spend more time in school and activities, the younger children take the floor.

However, twins and multiples are forced to share their parents (and grandparents!) time and attention for much of their lives. Parents have to craft opportunities for one-on-one time. It's time well spent, however, as an opportunity to get to know each multiple on an individual basis. (More tips on finding one-on-one time.)

2﹜Don't refer to them as a "unit."
Whenever possible, avoid labeling your children as "the twins" or "the triplets" As you recognize that they are individual children, so will they. It's a challenge; it takes double -- or triple -- the effort to call out their names separately. Gently discourage others from referring to them as a single unit.

3﹜Reward/punish individually
When I talk to adult twins about their childhood, I often hear a common theme of resentment when they remember being punished for a crime committed by their twin. As parents of multiples, we realize that it's just far too easy to mete out punishment on an all-for-one/one-for-all basis. But we have to remember that that although they often act like a twin tag team of terror, it's vital to recognize and address each individual's role in their antics.

4﹜Select individual activities.
As my daughters have gotten older, I have strongly encouraged them to seek out individual activities and interests. One plays basketball and takes art lessons, while the other takes dance and does karate. It's not that I prevent them from participating in activities together; they both compete on the same swim team and are in the same Brownie troop. But I think it's vitally important for each multiple to pursue an interest that is unique to them. While it may make for some complicated carpool scheduling, the benefits are invaluable, offering them an opportunity to develop individual talents and explore new relationships.

5﹜Encourage individual friendships and separate playdates.
Multiples are often each other's best friends, and that special relationship should be celebrated and cherished. But it shouldn't be an exclusive relationship. Encourage your children to develop their own friendships in a healthy way. Set up playdates for each one; we find it works well to schedule them concurrently -- one twin invites a friend to the house while the other visits a friend's house -- so that no one feels lonely or left out.

Here are five more parenting tips for fostering a healthy sense of self in your twins or other multiples.

6﹜Adjust standards and expectations for individual child.
Parents of multiples have to remember that their children are individuals. While we want to be consistent in the way we treat each child, it's important to avoid imposing an unfair double standard on twins. Even though they may look and act identically, they are different people, with different needs, strengths and weaknesses. It's not easy to maintain this attitude. Early on when one of my babies learned to crawl several weeks before the other, I thought, "What's wrong with her? Why isn't she keeping up with her sister?" Eight years later, I still find myself imposing unfair comparisons between the two, and I constantly remind myself to keep my expectations in check with their individual needs and issues.

7﹜Point out and praise unique characteristics.
It seems that people are infinitely curious about how twins are alike and different. Use that curiosity as an opportunity to point out and praise unique characteristics of each child, giving each child a chance to share the spotlight. By focusing on their good, but different, qualities you build their self-esteem about themselves beyond the context of their twinship.

8﹜Celebrate individual achievements.
Last year, one of my twins won a writing contest at her elementary school. While I was bursting with pride at her accomplishment, I was very concerned at how my other daughter would react to her sister's success. I felt strongly that we should celebrate the award, despite the possibility of jealousy and hurt feelings. It was a good lesson in how to manage competition between the girls. We learned to validate each child's feelings about the situation, and when the time came, we celebrated the other's individual success with equal enthusiasm.

9﹜Preserve individual memories.
Many adult twins report a regrettable lack of individual pictures of themselves, especially as infants. As a parent, I know how difficult it is to get one photo moment captured, much less separate shots of each child. It can be even more of a challenge to identify "who-is-who" once the pictures are developed. But everyone deserves their own set of baby pictures and their own baby book. Take the time to record each child's memories through photographs and writings.

10﹜Identify possessions -- his, hers, ours.
Beginning with the womb, twins share so much in common. Parents can help strengthen a sense of individuality by making sure their children's possessions are clearly identified. Each multiple should have something to call their own, whether it is toys, books or clothes. This need increases as twins grow up, and parents can help by creating and enforcing rules that respect individual privacy and property.

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Top 10 Things Not to Say to Twins

People say the craziest things to -- and about -- twins and other multiples. Parents of twins, triplets and other multiples are accustomed to fielding stupid questions about their children, but even parents mistakenly make comments that might be hurtful or insensitive to their multiples' feelings. Here are some things that you should never say to twins or other multiples.

1. Why can't you be more like your twin?
It's difficult to avoid comparisons among twins. But even identical (monozygotic) twins are two distinct, unique individuals. Although they're often expected to be the same in every way, that's an unfair expectation. Appreciate each child for who they are, and don't ask them to measure up to each other. Each will have their own strengths and weaknesses.

2. You're the good/smart/pretty one and she's the bad/dumb/ugly one.
Twins are constantly compared and contrasted. People figure, if one is "this," then the other must be "that." But that's simply not the case. Just because one twin is physically attractive, that doesn't mean that the other is not. It's so important to appreciate each child as a unique individual, rather than evaluating him or her in relation to a co-twin.

3. I won't even try to figure out which one you are.
Every gets twins mixed up, especially if they have very similar appearances. But to say that you won't even try to identify them as individuals is really insulting. If you are confused as to who's who, just be honest. Make a guess -- your chances of being right are 50/50. Pretty good odds!

4. You were born first, you should act older.
Birth order simply isn't relevant with twins. By expecting a firstborn multiple to "act" older, you unreasonably place expectations on her. Every set of multiples will establish their own relationship dynamic. One may assume the role of leader, but it really has nothing to do with who was born first.

5. Twins aren't as smart as singletons; they share a brain.
That's simply not true. There is no evidence to support the idea that twins aren't as intelligent than singletons. Children that are multiples do sometimes have a higher incidence of speech delays but that is not a reflection of intelligence. When a fertlized egg splits, as in monozygotic twins, each half receives an equal number of cells and develops completely. The brain cells aren't "shared" or "divided."

6. Why do you need a friend? You have each other.
Multiples do have a special relationship. One of the biggest benefits of being twins is having a readily available playmate. However, it's important for twins and multiples to cultivate relationships outside of each other. Parents, especially, should be sensitive to their multiples' need to develop friendships, and provide opportunities for play time with friends outside the family.

7. Why don't you look more alike?
It's a misconception that twins should be a matched pair. One of the first questions that people ask about twins is, "Identical or fraternal?" There's a general expectation that twins should look exactly alike, and even a sense of disappointment that two individuals aren't more alike. No two individuals are ever exactly alike, and multiple birth children should be appreciated for their own unique qualities, not compared to their co-multiple.

8. Double Trouble!
This phrase is often tossed about in association with twins, but it's an unfair stereotype. Most parents would agree that twins are double fun, double joy, and a double blessing, not double trouble. No child should be labeled as "trouble," especially for a birth characteristic that they have no control over.

9. I can't remember who's who, so I'll just call you "the twins"
Multiples are individuals, not part of a set. They deserve to be recognized as such. Labeling them "the twins" overlooks their unique individuality. If you really don't know who's who, just ask!

10. What's it like to be a twin?
This is kind of a silly question to ask of twins. It would be like asking a singleton, "What's it like not to be a twin?" or "What's it like to breathe?" Twins don't know any other way of life; they've always been twins, and they always will be.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Parenting Identical Twins

1﹜How can you tell them apart if they are identical?

While many identical twins do look alike, they're not necessarily indistinguishable. Physical cues like hairstyle, arrangement of moles or freckles and their unique expressions or gestures provide clues to their identity. Here are some tips for helping others tell twins apart.

2﹜Should identical twins be in the same class at school?
Every parent should work with their school to determine the optimal classroom placement for their children. It can be a difficult decision.

3﹜Should identical twins have the same friends?
With a similar genetic background, many identical twins find that they have the same preferences for establishing relationships. They may share many of the same friends. But all twins should be encouraged as individuals, and given opportunities to develop relationships as such.

4﹜Should identical twins share a room?
Every family has to decide this issue based on their individual circumstances.

5﹜Should identical twins dress alike?
Distinguishing clothing definitely makes it easier to tell twins apart if they look alike.

6﹜How do you encourage identical twins to be individuals?
It's important for parents of twins to encourage their children's individuality.

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Twins Terms and Acronyms

If you're new to the internet, you'll notice a virtual alphabet soup of acronyms and a whole new vocabulary of twin-related terms. The definitions here will help you make sense of this new brand of twin-speak. There's also a collection of emoticons, to help you get your point across.

ADD/ADHD
Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder A disorder marked by a child's inability to concentrate, sometimes accompanied by hyperactivity. Treatment includes teaching the child coping strategies to keep him focused, and may also involve the drug Ritilin.

AFAIK
As Far As I Know... A sign that the poster has some knowledge of the topic at hand, but may not know all the details.

AFP
Alpha-Feto Protein A protein produced by the fetus which is found in the amniotic fluid as well as the mother's blood stream. Levels of AFP in the blood can be tested to check for elevated likelihood of Spina Bifida or other non closure disorders.

AFP levels are checked as part of the Triple Test, which also checks levels of HCG and Estriol. This is only a statistical test: given the levels of all three compounds, the mother's age, and the gestational age, you can determine the probability of having certain problems. Many times, the results of this test are the first indication that this is a twin pregnancy. But please note:

* Even with one baby, there is no such thing as "positive" or "negative:" the results can only indicate an increased possibility of certain problems, and point to the need for further testing.
* Also, it is not accurate for twins. As the sample is taken from the mother's blood, there's no way to isolate the results for each twin. AFP levels for each fetus can be checked through amniocentesis.

AKA
Also Known As

Amnion
The inner of the two membranes, or "sacs," surrounding the fetus. The outer membrane is the chorion. See also diamniotic, monoamniotic.

ART
Assisted Reproductive Technologies A blanket term for various fertility treatments, including IVF, FET, GIFT, etc.

BB
Bulletin Board Some web sites have a page which allows you to post a message, which will then be visible to all the world. Occasionally people refer to the Twins List as a bulletin board, although it is actually a mailing list.

BF
BreastFeeding, BreastFed, etc True, bottle feeding has the same initials, but BF always refers to breastfeeding.

BH
Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as rehearsal contractions.

Please note that while "rehearsal" contractions are normal, there is no way for you to tell whether contractions are "real" or "false." Contact your doctor if you are having frequent contractions.

BK
Before Kids As in, a lifetime ago! :-)

BIL
Brother-In-Law

Biophysical Profile
A biophysical profile (BPP) measures 4 criteria:
1. The amount of amniotic fluid around the baby/babies
2. The gross body movements of the baby
3. The tone (flexion & extension) of the baby (also grades the tone)
4. Breathing motions: The fetus must have 30 seconds or more of breathing motion in a 30 min. period.
In addition, the Non Stress Test (NST) measures accelerations of the babies' heart rate in relation to movements & contractions.

BPD
Brocnhopulmonary Displasia This is the version of CLD (chronic lung disease) most often found in preemies who have been ventilated for a lengthy period of time. Usually the condition is outgrown by the time the child reaches the age of 8. For more information, see http://www.cheo.on.ca/bpd/BPDtell.htm

BPP
See Biophysical Profile

Breech
Fetal presentation position, buttocks-first. Doctors are generally willing to consider vaginal delivery if Baby B is breech, as long as the presenting twin is vertex.

BT, DT
Been There, Done That In other words, you aren't the only one!

BTW
By The Way...

<BG>
Big grin Used to put in emotion, which is often difficult to convey via email. Other options: <G> <VBG> (V for very) :-) ;-) (winking) :-P (sticking out tongue), and many others, but that's a good place to start.

Chat
When applied to the internet, "chat" refers to a program which will allow you to converse in real time over the Internet. Some must be downloaded, like IRC or ICQ (also an instant messaging program), but other sites have chat rooms which you access through your browser.

Chorion
The outer of the two membranes, or "sacs," surrounding the fetus. The inner membrane is the amnion.

CPR
CardioPulmonary Resuscitation

CTTS
Cute Things They Say Usually used in the subject line, to let list members know that a cute story is coming up.

dh, dw
Dear (usually! ;-) ) Husband or Wife For some reason, this acronym is almost always in lower case letters.

Diamniotic
Each twin has its own amnion (inner membrane).

A developing fetus has two membranes, or sacs, surrounding it. The inner membrane is the amnion, the outer one is the chorion. Fraternal twins always have their own sacs and placentas, though the placentas can fuse and give the appearance of being one. Identical twins can have separate placentas and sacs, shared placenta and chorion but separate amnions (monochorionic, diamniotic), or shared placenta, chorion, and amnion (monochorionic, monoamniotic).

Monochorionic, diamniotic twins are at risk for TTTS, and will be monitored carefully to track any discordance in size or amounts of amniotic fluid.

Dichorionic
Each twin has its own chorion. (See above.)

Discordance
Difference. Generally used when referring to a difference in size between the babies.

DIY
Do It Yourself In British usage, a DIY shop is a hardware store.

Dizygotic
Fraternal twins. Literally, this means from two fertilized eggs.

dw
See dh.

EBM
Expressed Breast Milk

EG; <EG>
Evil Grin; also BEG (big evil grin).

FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions A FAQ is a collection of questions which come up often on a mailing list or news group, along with the answers. If you have a hunch that your question might be pretty common ("What kind of stroller should I get?"), check the FAQ page before posting. The Twins List FAQs can be found here.

Ferberize
To apply the methods of Dr. Richard Ferber, from the book "Solve your Child's Sleep Problems." Some people refer to "ferberizing" as the cry-it-out method, but that's actually the last step in the process of building good sleep habits.

FET
Frozen Embryo Transfer A frozen embryo is transferred to the uterus of the mother or surrogate.

FIL
Father-In-Law

FOT
Father of Multiples Related terms: FOM, MOT, MOM, POT, POM where P = parent, F = father, M = mother and/or multiples, T = twins, and O = of

FWIW
For What It's Worth

FYI
For Your Information

GD
Gestational Diabetes A form of diabetes which can develop during pregnancy. Chances of developing GD go up during twin pregnancy.

G, D, & R
Grinning, Ducking & Running Used after a possibly controversial joke or comment. (But be careful-- if you have to use this one, there's a good chance someone will take you seriously!)

GIFT
Gamete IntraFallopian Transfer. The gamets (sperm and egg) are mixed together, then transfered into the fallopian tubes without waiting for fertilization to take place.

HELLP Syndrome
A pre-eclampsia-like condition characterized by Hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count, which is potentially fatal to both the woman and her baby or babies. The cure is delivery.

HIH, HTH
Hope It Helps; Hope This Helps

ICSI
Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection A single sperm is injected directly into the egg. This is done when the sperm are too weak to penetrate the egg wall on their own.

ID
Identical (monozygotic)

IMO
In My Opinion Often used when expressing an opinion which others might find upsetting, as a way of showing that the author knows not everyone believes the view expressed. Variants: IMHO, IMNSHO-- in my humble opinion, in my not so humble opinion-- can be used to express increasing levels of sarcasm.

IMPE
In My Personal/Previous Experience

IUGR
IntraUterine Growth Restriction A condition in which the baby does not grow as quickly as expected. If you have one baby who seems to be experiencing IUGR, and the twins are the same sex, you can expect to be examined for TTTS.

IUI
IntraUterine Insemination Sperm is transfered to directly the uterus.

IVF
InVitro Fertilization The eggs are harvested and combined with the sperm in the lab. Fertilized eggs are then transfered to the mother. In general, at least two eggs are transfered, to increase the probability that at least one will implant.

IWIK
I Wish I Knew

Kill files
Really, it's not a threat! Often, people receiving individual messages (rather than the digest version) will set filters to automatically delete messages with certain topics (or from certain people).

LMHO
Laughing My Head Off (also LMAO)

LOL
Laughing Out Loud (see also ROTFL, ROTFLOL)

Lurk
To be a member of a mailing list without ever introducing yourself or participating in any way. In general, it is a good idea to lurk on a mailing list or newsgroup until you get a feel for the style. However, this is by no means a requirement, and if you have a pressing question, you're definitely welcome to jump right in.

Please keep in mind that you can never really tell who all the lurkers are. Be very careful about any personal information you give out, especially if it's posted directly to the list (which is archived).

Mag
Magnesium Sulfate A medication given to treat preterm labor and pre-eclampsia.

MIL, FIL, SIL, BIL
Mother-In-Law, Father-In-Law, etc.

MOM
Mother of Multiples Related terms: MOT, FOT, FOM, POT, POM where P = parent, F = father, M = mother and/or multiples, T = twins, and O = of

Monoamniotic
Having one amnion. A developing fetus has two membranes, or sacs, surrounding it. The inner membrane is the amnion, the outer one is the chorion. Fraternal twins always have their own sacs and placentas, though the placentas can fuse and give the appearance of being one. Identical twins can have separate placentas and sacs, shared placenta and chorion but separate amnions (monochorionic, diamniotic), or shared placenta, chorion, and amnion (monochorionic, monoamniotic).

The monoamniotic configuration can lead to additional complications and will require more monitoring. For more information, see the Monoamniotic Monochorionic Support Site:
http://www.monoamniotic.org/

Monochorionic
Identical twins with a shared chorion. Monochorionic twins will either be diamniotic or monoamniotic (see above).

Monozygotic
Identical. Coming from one fertilized egg.

NICU
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit The hospital ward for newborns. In England, this may be referred to as the Special Care Baby Unit.

NST
Non-Stress Test A test which measures accelerations of the babies' heart rate in relation to movements & contractions.

NTR
Not Twin Related A tag to include in the subject line of off topic posts, as a warning for those who prefer to just delete unrelated messages.

OB, OB/GYN
Obstetrician, Obstetrician/Gynecologist

OT
Off Topic Used on many lists to denote a post which doesn't stick to the list's main topic. The twins list generally uses NTR (see above).

Also: Occupational Therapy

OTI
Older Twin Issues This is an identifier you can add to a subject line to alert parents that the issue will deal with older twins. Many parents with older twins don't have time to read all the messages, and use cues like this in the subject line as a way to decide what to read.

OTOH
On The Other Hand

Perinatologist
A doctor specializing in the treatment of infants from shortly before birth till a few weeks after birth.

Preemie
A baby born before term. Term for twins is generally considered to be 37-38 weeks, as opposed to 40 for singletons.

PTL
Pre-Term Labor Contractions with cervical change occurring before term.

ROTFL
Rolling On The Floor Laughing.
Variants: ROTFLOL-- Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud
ROTFLMHO-- Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Head Off (also ROTFLMAO)

RSV
Respiratory Syncytial Virus. This is a common virus which in adults and older children is no worse than an ordinary cold, but can be quite severe in infants. Preemies and newborns are especially susceptible to long term respiratory damage as a result of RSV. For more information, see http://kidshealth.org/parent/common/rsv.html.

SAHM/SAHD
Stay At Home Mom/Stay At Home Dad

SIL
Sister-In-Law

Spontaneous
Conceived "naturally" (my personal choice for not implying that some twins might be "unnatural").

TIA
Thanks In Advance Used when signing a letter, to acknowledge the help you expect to receive. Although there's no requirement, it never hurts to send a note of thanks once you've received a reply, or a general "thank you" to the list if you aren't able to reply to everyone. (Parents of newborns are, of course, exempt, as they shouldn't be spending their free time writing email messages!)

Tocolytics
Drugs used to prevent preterm labor. You can find more information in the bedrest FAQ.

Transverse
When a fetus is lying side-to-side instead of head down (vertex) or bottom first (breech).

Triple Test
Levels of AFP, HCG, and Estriol in the mother's blood are checked, to determine the probability of certain problems (including Spina Bifida and Down's Syndrome). This is only a statistical test: given the levels of all three compounds, the mother's age, and the gestational age, you can determine the probability of having certain problems. Many times, the results of this test are the first indication that this is a twin pregnancy. But please note:

* Even with one baby, there is no such thing as "positive" or "negative:" it can only indicate an increased possibility of certain problems, and point to the need for further testing.
* Also, it is not accurate for twins. As the sample is taken from the mother's blood, there's no way to isolate the results for each twin. AFP levels for each fetus can be checked through amniocentesis.

Troll
In the land of the internet, a troll is someone who posts a deliberately inflammatory message to a list or newsgroup, hoping to create a flame war. Best dealt with by ignoring them.

TTSP
This Too Shall Pass Remember, this is only a stage. Your children will soon grow out of it-- and attempt new and even more exasperating activities.

TTTS
See Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome

Twin Skin
If you've already had your twins, and you don't know what this is, count your blessings! ;-)

"Twin skin" is the unofficial term for the saggy, droopy, stretch-marked skin which some MOTs find themselves faced with after the delivery. If you hear of any cure short of plastic surgery, let me know!! ;-)

Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)
A disease of the placenta occurring in monochorionic or monoamniotic identical twins. One twin gets more of the blood supply than the other. Early signs are big difference in size, and discrepancy in the amount of amniotic fluid in each sac. For more information see the Twins List TTTS FAQ. This includes information on treatment and links to support organizations.

UFN
Until Further Notice

URL
Universal Resource Locator The address for a web site, e.g. http://www.twinslist.org.

US or U/S
UltraSound

VBAC
Vaginal Birth After C-section

Vertex
Fetal presentation position, head-first.

WAHM/WAHD
Work At Home Mom/Dad

WOHM/WOHD
Work Out of the Home Mom/Dad

YMMV
Your Mileage May Vary In other words, this method worked for me, but it may not work for you.

ZIFT
Zygote IntraFallopian Transfer The fertilized egg is transferred to the fallopian tubes, not the uterus.

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