As babies and perhaps even more so as adults, twins, triplets, quads, quints and even larger groups of multiples always attract interest. Are they really psychic? Do they still wear matching outfits? We’ve put these questions to three pairs of the 400 sets of twins and triplets currently signed up for the UAE’s first Multiples Festival, which runs from Friday March 23 to Saturday 24. It’s hot on the heels of their JBR PR stunt, which saw a flash mob of 15 sets of twins descend on The Walk on Friday March 2. The brainchild of long-term Dubai residents Nathalie Attar and Suman Manning, both 37 and mothers to twins and triplets respectively, Manning describes the festival as ‘a family weekend to bring together multiples of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds, and celebrate twin-ness’.
Manning, who runs a support group for parents of multiples, claims the duo decided to put together the event after bumping into a new twin ‘almost every day’, and explains the event will cater to multiples young and old. ‘There are lots of activities, for the kids – bouncy castles, face painting, art classes and so on, but there are also information stands and it’s going to be a place where parents can meet nurseries, insurance companies and others promoting their services.’
Of course, that’s not all. There will be up to 10 contests for multiples to enter, including youngest, oldest, and most and least alike. Importantly, there will also be a prize for the most deserving mother (to tie in with Mother’s Day). ‘We’re trying not to be biased, but we do hear some stories and it makes you think – it’s all about perspective. I just have to think about the lady who called us the other day to tell us about having both seven-year-old twins and six-year-old twins,’ Manning laughs. The event is open to all, regardless of whether you shared a womb, and promises to be interesting, welcoming and lots of fun. Adults Dhs20, children Dhs10, family day ticket (two adults, three children) Dhs45, family weekend ticket Dhs70. Friday March 23-Saturday 24. 10am-6pm. Safa Park, www.x2-me.com (050 718 0747).
Twin clichés tested
We put the most oft-peddled stereotypes to three grown-up sets of twins.
Matching outfits: cute or cringe? Orna and Fiona Theboul, 27, Irish-Moroccan, raised in the US Fiona: I think dressing alike is cute for kids, but cringeworthy for adults. I can’t remember when our parents stopped dressing us alike, but we always had the same outfits in different colours – blue for me and red for Orna. Some of the pictures are hilarious. Dressing identically should come with an age-appropriate warning!
Orna: Dressing alike is adorable when you’re younger as twins look alike, but are a unique novelty. Parents should let children choose their clothes as each twin should be able to develop their own style. Fi and I loved dressing alike but eventually grew out of it. We often still buy the same clothes, but wear them on different occasions and are always borrowing from each other. Sometimes we even come out of our separate houses dressed in similar outfits – but I make Fiona change when that happens! You can’t control who you look like but you can choose your image.
Are twins psychic? Samir and Nabil Siddiqui, 32, American Samir: Totally, all the time. While daily incidents may be coincidental, there are certain times when we communicate through a kind of ‘telepathy’. Nobody in the family wants us on the same team for a game of Taboo or Charades – most of the time we guess the answer with just the first couple of hints.
Nabil: I believe twins are psychic. We’ve had several instances where we’ve communicated through telepathy. It’s not like I force my thoughts on my twin, it’s an everyday thing that he’s singing the song I was just thinking of, or talking about something I just had in mind, or I start a topic and he finishes the sentence. Last week we went shopping separately and came back with the same pair of jeans. Our mum’s favourite story for everyone is anout how we got identical grades throughout school.
Common assumptions? Khawla and Khulood AlRahma, 18, Emirati Khawla: I think the first assumption is that there is one more copy of me. People immediately assume that I can feel Khulood even if she isn’t around.
Khulood: They ask how people can tell the difference between us. We tell them that we don’t look particularly alike, and they keep staring.