Expert Interview: Kristin and Valerie Corrado

This week we are interviewing my college roommates, 26 year old identical twins, Kristin and Valerie Corrado. Living with them definitely helped prepare me for life with twins, I hope their insights will do the same! (By the way the above photo is Valerie holding my daughter Jillian, and Kristin holding my son Aaron)

 

You both spent a significant amount of time in NICU as newborns, have you had any long term health problems as a result of being born premature?

Kristin: Thankfully, I have not had any long term health problems as a result of being born premature (2 months). As a child growing up, we acquired temporary illnesses, but those were common for children, and were not viewed as a result of being born premature. Doctors told my parents that there may be learning disabilities down the road. But at 26, I have a Masters degree and Valerie has professional certifications on top of her BA degree, so apparently that was not the case with us!

Valerie: Well, if you consider 26 long term :)…No, even though it was in 1983 when there wasn’t all of the medical know how there is now, we were born in January but got to leave in March. We always laugh because we were born with no butts and no eyebrows and as we grew up those seem to be two features that grew a lot! LOL We also always got above average grades throughout school and always pretty healthy.

Growing up did you have a lot of one on one time with each of your parents?

Kristin: We really spent most of our time together with our parents. Our mom stayed at home, so a lot of our time was spent with her. However, we spent a lot of time as a family in the evenings and weekends.

As we got older and became interested in different activities we would spend a little more time with one parent than the other..For example, I played tennis in high school, and my dad and I would play together on the weekends, usually without my mom and Valerie. Overall though, we didn’t intentionally spend time apart with one parent or the other, just a lot of time as a family.

Valerie: From what I remember, we did a lot of things together with our parents. There are some times I recall I spent time with my Mom one on one while Kristin was in piano lessons. But I would say the majority of the time was spent together with either our Mom who stayed home with us or both of our parents. At age 4, our little sister Alyssa came along, but we did stuff as a family which was nice.

As long as I have known you both, whenever we have gone out you’ve always been called “the twins”, does that bother you?

Kristin: Being called “the twins” really doesn’t bother me. It’s kind of like people who call their neighbors or married friends by their last name. Example, “the Jones”… I actually think its fun when someone tries to come up with a variance…I heard “twinsies” the other day..Typically it is said by our friends and family members, and that doesn’t bother me. And when being acknowledged individually, people use our names…I don’t think I’ve ever been acknowledged as “the twin” or be called “Hey twin!”

Valerie: That doesn’t bother me at all as long as they can tell who is who when it comes time to. When we have friends that we have known a long time constantly put us together as “the twins” and can’t tell who is who, that really bothers me.. It just feels like they don’t bother to pay attention to figure out how to tell us apart, because after awhile, people say we don’t even look alike once you really get to know us.

Does the attention from being a twin, and looking so much alike, bother you?

Kristin: I don’t think the attention from being a twin has ever bothered me. It actually makes me feel special, and I remember how lucky I am to have my sister. She is my best friend, and someone that I know will always be there for me no matter what, and many people don’t have that or that kind of bond with their siblings.

Valerie: No, actually I kind of miss it at this time in my life. We grew up getting it a lot when we went to high school and especially in college. Just going out and talking to different people because they come up and ask us if we are twins, it’s a lot of fun. Sometimes we don’t even notice the attention, for example we will go to the mall with our Mom together and she will comment on all the people that will just look at us, but we seem to not even notice. However, now we have separate jobs, sometimes don’t go out together on the weekend and I don’t hear it as much, so sometimes I miss it. I’m just like everyone else when she isn’t there. I think its funny how people are so amazed at how we look so much alike, with strangers you can see their eyes darting back and forth trying to make out the differences, but to me we look very different. When we were single in college and when going out, we would get a lot of attention from guys about being twins, so that we never complained about!

Did your parents keep you in the same classroom or were you separated?

Kristin: We were together through Kindergarten, but in 1st grade till high school we were in different classrooms. I think we finally had the same social studies class our senior year of high school, which was really cool. From what I recall, we handled the separation well (we always found each other at recess of course) but I am happy we were in separate classes because I think it helped us learn to socialize without one another always there. Of course, it didn’t stop us from going to the same college.

Valerie: We were in kindergarten together, but once we hit 1st grade, we had separate classes until we got to junior high. We may have had one or two classes together in junior high and high school. I feel like it wasn’t a big deal to be apart all day and I think we both handled it well.

 

You always hear about “twin sense” and stories of twins who have felt the pain/joy of the other, is this true in your case?

Kristin: I think this is part fact, part fiction. I don’t think I can honestly say I 100% felt some kind of pain my sister has felt while being away from her. But I can say it may be on a similar level as sympathy pains. We are very protective of one another, when two people are as close as we are to one another, it can be easy to at least imagine what they are feeling, and thinking. We usually can finish each others sentences.

Valerie: Not very often, but since we are so in tune with each other we definitely get sympathy pains for each other. There was one time that it was kind of like a “twin sense”. Last September I was having weird chest pains and Kristin was at her boyfriend’s house, while I was at home. After awhile they weren’t going away so I called Kristin to take me to the ER.. She told me later that, while she was at her boyfriend’s, her chest was feeling weird and she had to take a couple deep breaths and it had come out of nowhere. So, maybe there is such a thing…

How are you similar/different from each other?

Kristin: As far as looks goes, if you were to take a picture of each of us, and just cut out the individual parts of our face (eyes, nose, mouth) you’ll see that each piece looks exactly the same. However, most people can tell us apart by our smiles, Val usually wears ear rings, and I had a freckle above my lip growing up. Right now, we pretty much have the same hair style, except Val has highlights.

Personality wise, we have a lot of the same values, and ideologies. However, I feel this is due to the way we were raised as a family. Just as any children, they learn and form ideas based on the principles their parents teach them. Although, I think the most different trait is that Val can be a little more high strung (and I mean that in the most positive way), whereas I can be a bit more laid back. Val likes things in a certain way; she’s very prompt, and attentive. I don’t let things stress me out as much as they might Val.

Valerie: That’s a hard question, because as much as we are similar, we are also different. We are different because I like highlights in my hair and she doesn’t. We like a lot of the same music, movies, books, but then there are some that we have of our own that the other doesn’t like. So, it really is all balanced. Even our personalities….Kristin is artistic, I can’t draw for anything….I am logical, Kris is sometimes ditzy….hehe

You both have been mistaken as identical twins, but aren’t you actually fraternal? How can someone tell you apart?

Kristin: Actually, we are identical twins, there was only 1 sac. However, the doctor told my mom if she wanted to know for sure for sure, there is a test that can be done. She never felt it was necessary, but told us if we wanted to, we could. She is convinced we are due to our looks, personalities, (we also have the same cavities in the exact same spots –the dentist thought that was amazing), plus we do not have a history of twins in our family, nor did she take fertility drugs.(See above answer on how to tell us apart physically)

Valerie: We have always been told we are identical twins, however never given an actual test to see if we were. The doctors assumed we were identically as well. Considering there are no other twins in the family, I think we are really identical. Either way, we usually keep our hair color’s slightly different…i have highlights and she doesn’t. Sometimes I wear earrings and she doesn’t. Otherwise you just have to get to know us and we will start to look different. 🙂

 

Speaking of looking alike, have you ever pulled a switcheroo and pretended to be the other?

Kristin: Actually, we haven’t really switched places, except one day in our senior social studies class. The thing is, we fool people without even trying, which is a lot less work and planning, and still really funny. Valerie’s boyfriend Bobby really just doesn’t pay very much attention, so if he comes anywhere near me, I usually back away. His hand has landed on my behind twice now…

Valerie: One time in high school, we were in the same class and we both sat on opposite sides of the class. One day we decided to switch seats to see if our teacher noticed and he didn’t. Since our voices sound the same on the phone, there would be times a guy would call for me while we were in college and if I didn’t want to talk to him I would pretend I was Kristin and it worked. 🙂

What is the best part of being a twin?

Kristin: I think the best part of being a twin is I always have someone there, that I can count on, no matter what. I had someone to walk with to the bus on the first day of school, I had someone to learn how to drive with, and someone who I know will always be there for me, and I them. Even though we may not agree all the time, (and we can definitely fight with one another as I’m sure Amanda can attest to) I know that it will never break our relationship, because I do feel Val and I (and twins alike) have a connection that goes just a bit deeper than a sibling relationship.

Valerie: I always had a best friend to go to the first day of school with, ride on the bus with…We went away to college together and I think that definitely helped in that transition. And the obvious….two wardrobes 🙂

What are some downsides to being a twin?

Kristin: I can’t think of too many downsides, because even though we grew up having to share a lot (such as birthdays, toys, etc) everything was usually doubled. There were always two birthday cakes, two doll houses to play with, and now we have two closets full of clothes we can choose from. I also don’t really know what it’s like not to have a twin, so it’s imagining my birthday as my own seems like it would be kind of lonely. Some people may say they don’t like to be viewed as a set, or not as individuals, but Val and I have our own individual interests and our own careers. Our family and friends view us as individual people, so those who think the other way just don’t really know us.

Valerie: When your friends can’t tell you apart and like to pair you up as one person. Otherwise I can’t say there are any downsides…maybe since I’ve never not been a twin, I don’t know the upsides of not being one.

What’s the best advice you personally could give to parents of multiples?

Kristin: I would tell parents of multiples to treat their kids as individuals, but don’t be afraid to let them have similar interests. Multiples will create their own identities and their own personalities will come out over time. Having similar interests will just bring them closer together. I do think having them in separate classrooms (grades 1 – high school) is a good idea. If you have same sex twins or multiples dressing them the same is cute through kindergarten, 1st grade let them pick their own clothes.(It will be fun when you see them pick the same outfit without realizing it)

Valerie: I think as long as you give both the same amount of attention, love and support that is the best you can do and let nature do the rest. Don’t put your kids on TV if you have more than 3. Let your kids find their own personalities, don’t name them similar names or ones that start with the same letter (that’s one thing I’m very grateful my parents didn’t do), and don’t make them wear the same clothes when they go to school. If they want to wear the same thing, fine…but don’t force it.

A big thank you to Kristin and Valerie for giving us some insight on what it’s like to be a twin!
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A fish shares its name with this family of five
Twins plus one keep their excitement alive!

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7 comments

  1. Oh I loved this! Great to hear about being a twin from grown up twins.

  2. Good stuff! I love the interviews you do.

  3. Loved the interview! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Missy (Two Little Monkeys)

    Great job – love the interview!
    off to go hunting!

  5. Love to hear your interviews you do such a great job! Off to go and hunt or fish!

  6. this was a great interview. I really, really enjoyed it.

  7. I think this may be my favorite interview so far! Really interesting to read their points of view, especially since I have identical daughters.

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