Twin Stories
What's it like being a twin?
Share some of our experiences of twinship

If you have a twin story you would like to share please email it to us


Our closeness/Twin bond

The closeness we experience being twins is hard to explain. While we may have our ups and downs (like everybody), they never last very long and deep down we know we can always rely on each other. We know each other ridiculously well; we often joke with each other "you're so unoriginal, I was just about to say that".

We have a strange sense of being identical and yet still different individuals. Lots of people have trouble telling us apart when they first meet us but when people get to know us well they can't understand other people mixing us up, instead they say "but they're both so different", we just laugh and say "yeah but I do look a lot more like her than I look like you don't I?"

We saw this TV documentary (The Secret World of Twins) in which a set of identical twins had married another set of identical twins. They seemed to have things pretty well worked out. When trying to explain their twin bond one twin said "you can always get another partner but you can't get another twin". Her partner wasn't jealous or upset because he understood exactly what she meant.

We've always had a close bond. Growing up we were the only children in our family. We now have a wonderful little half brother who is 18 years our junior (photos).

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Bond with other twins

Even though we've haven’t known many other twins, we feel an affinity with all twins. We're really keen to get together with other twins and one day we are definitely going to get to the Twinsburg Twins Day Festival.

We've tried to find local twin groups but in Australia it seems to be limited to groups for parents of twins (ie. The Multiple Birth Association) or the Australian Medical Twin Registry (who certainly don't offer social events!).

So we've decided to start up Twins Realm (the first Australian business specifically for twins) and will be organising lots of fun social gatherings for twins and heaps more. Check out our Twins Club page for more details.

We'd be really interested in getting in touch with any twins you might know, so please pass our web address on to them (www.twinsrealm.com) or send us an email with their details - Thanks.

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Twins & the internet

When we first got onto the Internet (back in 1994) we thought we would finally get in contact with other twins. Much to our dismay our many searches instead brought back endless references to the Minnesota Twins (baseball team), Twin motorbike engines and Twin Peaks (the TV series). At least we did like Twin Peaks so some of the sites were still interesting for us.

Now days there are heaps more twins on-line (including us!); personal homepages, twins day pages, mailing lists and more.

The number of twins visiting our web site has shown us there is a definite affinity between twins - lots of twins write to us just to say "Hi" – which we love; it's great to be able to make contact and to swap stories.

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Mirror Image Twins

Identical (and mirror image) twins come from the one fertilised egg splitting into two whereas fraternal twins come from two different eggs being fertilised. If you are mirror image twins it means that you are also identical twins.

Mirror image twins are created when the fertilised egg splits later (around day 9-12), any later than that and twins can be co-joined.

Mirror Image twins have small mirror image differences but are actually genetically identical; this means you have the exact same DNA!

Some parts of the body can be mirrored; but not the appendix or heart or other internal organs as far as we know. We have some examples of our own mirroring: 

  • We are opposite handed (Flame is left and Lake right)
  • We tend to have mirror image dental problems
  • Our cowlicks (tuft of hair at fringe) are on opposite sides
  • Where people often have different size feet, with us the opposite foot is larger
  • We look very similar to each other but the resemblance is even stronger if we stand facing each other (as though in a mirror) rather than side by side; or get both of us facing into a mirror and things all start to look very confusing.
  • Our finger prints don't seem to conform to being mirror image – instead they are nearly identical (only one pair of fingers has any major difference)

We've had emails from many other mirror image twins who tell us they also have these types of physical similarities.

We don't really seem to experience mirror image aptitudes. We both studied the same subjects at school and received nearly identical marks. We are very complementary in some areas (Flame is slightly more outgoing) but overall enjoy the same subjects, books and movies etc. We seem to have about the same aptitude for music (not much!) and maths, science, art etc.

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Who's Older?

We don't know which one of us is older!

As seems surprisingly common with twins, the doctor could only hear one heart beat and assured mum that she definitely wasn't having twins - even though she was hugely pregnant and fraternal twins ran in her family. Our parents decided to have a home birth with a midwife present. All their careful planning went out the window when we arrived two months early. We were born on Boxing Day 1974 in a little farm house 40 miles from the nearest town (Wanganui NZ). It was too far to get to the hospital and there was no phone so mum and dad ended up being the only people at the birth. Not surprising, only expecting the one baby, when the two of us were born they immediately managed to get us mixed up.

To this day we really have no idea who was born first and no way to find out but we like the view (that lots of other twins hold) - that we are exactly the same age because being identical twins, we were conceived at exactly the same moment. :-)

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Dressing Alike

Our parents generally didn't dress us identically. If we did have the same outfit it would usually be in different colours (photo). It can be very difficult for parents to make presents seem totally equal for their twins (particularly if you are giving them different things) so we got lots of the same things in opposite colours. Now that we're older that's not such a problem though.

We do actually own some identical clothes now; mainly because our tastes and figures are similar so we tend to like the same clothes. We deliberately try to make sure we're not wearing the same thing on the same day but sometimes it does still happen by accident.

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At School

The most common 'school' question - whether to separate your twins at school or not? If so when?

We weren't separated at school. Our family moved around a lot and so we went to lots of different schools. It was always a bonus to have each other – especially as we'd always be in the same class. We never asked to be separated and any attempt to do it didn't usually last long. In grade 6 (age 11) our class was a grade 4/5/6 combined and then split into two across a double classroom with two teachers. The school insisted on separating us but we still got to do about half our class activities together.

We went to the same high school and socialised with the same friends. We were separated for about a year, half way through high school (aged 14 - when Lake went back to NZ with mum) but we ended up finishing high school (photo) back together in Australia, doing all the same subjects with nearly all the same teachers and getting nearly exactly the same grades. <grin> For more details on separation at school check out our Twins FAQ page or our Parents Page.

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A friend for when you move

We moved around a lot when we were younger. We were actually born in New Zealand but came out to Australia when we were only three years old. We lived in Sydney (the capital of New South Wales) for a few years which is where we started school (photos). We spent the next four years living around the Northern Rivers area (in northern NSW) before moving to Toowoomba in south-east Queensland. We only stayed there a year before we moved to Brisbane (the capital of QLD) in 1986 and we've lived here pretty much ever since.

We went to TWELVE different primary schools!! (kindergarten - grade 7) but we were always in the same class together. The impact of moving and starting a new school so often was not nearly as bad as it could have been because at least our best friend always came with us! It's great to always have a friend on the first day at a new school.

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We have always been very competitive. Luckily for us we have very similar aptitudes and always scored nearly exactly the same marks at school. While we do compare ourselves against each other we don't really want the other person to do badly (just exactly the same is fine!).

Even though we are identical twins, being also mirror image we are very complementary to each other and work really well as a team. Sometimes competition can be a problem but hopefully it's something most twins grow out of as they mature.

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Telepathic Experiences??

We haven't had anything that we'd say was a "telepathic" experience, although we do know of some twins who have (check out stories from other twins). We often talk in semi-unison and finish off each other's sentences and we often know what the other person is saying with very few words - when other people have absolutely no idea what we're talking about.

We put these experiences down to the fact that we are so close and know each other so well. We have lived together nearly all our lives (out of 27 years we've only been apart for about a year) so we have had very similar life experiences. Also we are genetic clones and it's pretty amazing the types of things that seem to be genetically determined. Overall it means that we are unbeatable at word association games, Pictionary etc - nobody who knows us will ever let us play as a team!! :-)

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Sharing as young adults (a house and a car)

We rent a house together in sunny Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. We have constantly shared a house since we moved out of home nine years ago (1993). We live together really well and don't argue over who's turn it is to cook dinner or do the dishes or whether the house needs vacuuming etc. In fact we hardly argue about any of that kind of thing.

Until recently we also shared a car; it was an automatic because that's all either of us can drive! It was great being able to share the running costs of the car. We now have a car each which is very convenient but a lot more expensive!

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Working Together

We have been lucky enough to get to work together a couple of times. After leaving school we ran a computer services business together for a couple of years. Later we were employed in the same Quality Assurance Consultancy for about a year but unfortunately when we left there we ended up working apart from one another for about four years. It was really great getting to work together; it saved us lots of time because you both know exactly how your day at work was, and you usually got to have lunch together.

We recently worked in the same government department but we were in different offices so not quite the same as actually working together (although at least when we were unwinding together after work, it made it very easy to understand how each other's day has been.)

We're still hoping that we'll get to work together again sometime in the future - it's great fun!

UPDATE: We have now made this happen by starting up our own Twins business - Twins Realm. It's the first Australian business specifically for twins (and we run an adult twins social club). We also run an international dating site (Exclusively Twins) for twins to find other single twins to date from around the world. Our business not only allows us the fun of working together but also has the added bonus of getting to link up with hundreds of other twins from across Australia and overseas. :-)

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Identical or not? (Zygosity testing)

We've never been zygosity tested (we're happy to rely on our identical looks) but there is a lot of discussion about it among other twins (and parents of twins). If you're in Australia and interested in finding out about testing you can contact The Australian Twin Registry (phone 1800 037 021).

"The Australian Twin Registry receives many queries from twins and their families regarding genetic testing to determine whether a pair is identical (monozygotic, MZ) or non-identical (dizygotic, DZ). This is called zygosity testing, and can be performed either from a small blood sample or samples of cheek cells obtained from a mouth wash or swab. Both twins need to be tested, and in some cases samples from biological parents can be helpful. Several companies and institutions now offer zygosity testing for a fee (about $150+). Please contact us for further details." 1999 Twins Registry newsletter

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Click here to check out the stories from other twins.

page last updated April 2002back to home