According to rumors, and more than a few sources, Jennifer Lopez
isn’t expecting one baby, she’s expecting two! Twins are twice as exciting as one baby (obviously), and they give us so much to think about. Will they be identical? Will there be two little J-Lo’s running around? Or will she have a little boy and little girl like Julia Roberts did?
Thinking about J-Lo and how adorable her twins will be made me think about all twins. I’ve known a few sets of twins, and they are fascinating. Of course both individuals in the set are fascinating for what makes them unique, but the concept of a set makes them even more interesting.
Fraternal and Paternal
There are two kinds of twins. Fraternal twins are not identical. A set of fraternal twins occurs when two embryos implant at the same time. This means they can be the same sex or opposite sex. They might look similar, but they will not be identical. In very rate cases, fraternal twins can have different fathers or even appear to be different races if their parents are of two different races. Identical twins are called paternal twins. These twins are born from a single egg that split very early in pregnancy.
Identical twins have exactly the same DNA. They are different people and have different personalities because of their environment, but their make-up is the same. This is why the look and act so similar – at least at first. Over time, the way they are raised and their own preferences can shape one identical twin differently than the other. In fact, since they are identical, the children of the identical twins aren’t really cousins. They are considered half siblings since they share a common DNA thanks to the shared DNA of their twin parents.
There have been lots of studies on twins to determine the different effects of being a twin. Identical twins that are separated at birth are different thanks to their upbringing, but have many similarities. As the separated twins age, they actually end up with almost the same IQ and the same general personality no matter how they were raised or how different they were growing up. This is not the case in fraternal twins.
Twins also seem to share a closer bond than other types of siblings. Some twins develop their own form of language when they are babies. This language is most likely based on wrong pronunciation of words that are used by both babies, but the twins understand each other and nobody else does. As they age, twins can still communicate more closely than most other siblings. Some identical twins claim to have a tie to their sibling’s emotions even when they are not in the room or even the same country.
So why can twins feel what their twin is feeling and understand what their twin is saying? Some of it has to do with proximity. Twins are very close to each other – physically, if not socially. Twins have been together since day one, and are comforted by the other twin’s presence. In the hospital, most doctors and nurses try to keep twins together in the same bassinet or crib as it is soothing to both. Sometimes simply being near someone as special as a twin twenty-four hours a day can make a huge impact on how you relate and communicate with each other.
Identical twins also share the same genes. But they share more than basic genes from both parents. They are two halves of essentially the same person. Identical twins may be very different and have totally different friends, but they have a common DNA. This means that no matter how differently they dress or who their friends are, pieces of each twin look and act exactly alike. Twins who grew up never knowing the other have been reunited and shocked to discover that they have the same hobbies, the same jobs, and even similar looking spouses.
It will be doubly fascinating to see if J-Lo’s twins, and Julia Robert’s twins for that matter, grow up sharing more than the spotlight or if they will be as different as night and day. Only time (and genetic programming) will tell!