Twice as Nice

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Twice as Nice

Brian Smith
Contributing Writer



            According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate of twins in the United States went up 76 percent from 1980 to 2009. That is approximately 45 to 50 sets of twins for every 1,000 live births. Given those odds, maybe it isn’t quite so unusual to have a set of twins at each grade level at North Fayette Valley High School this year.

Be that as it may, most of us will still never completely understand what it is like to be a twin. We simply haven’t had the experience of living our lives with a carbon copy (more or less) right alongside of us. The eight young men and women who attend NFV are currently experiencing this phenomenon and are learning there are some perks and pitfalls when it comes to being a twin.

            Tanner and Trey Kuhens (ninthth grade), Cody and Dillon Baumler (10th grade), Brandon and Derrick Fenneman (11th grade), and Karissa and Kerrin Meitner (12th grade) make up the four sets of twins at NFV. When it comes to the positive aspects of being twins, they all have ideas of what those are.

            “Always having someone around who is my age is nice,” related Trey.

            Tanner agreed, saying, “I like having him around if I need somebody to talk to.”

            The Meitner girls echoed those thoughts.

            “I really never get bored or lonely with my sister around,” said Karissa.

            “Having a twin means there is always someone around to do things with and have fun together,” added Kerrin.

            Brandon and Derrick Fenneman especially remember the advantages of being a twin while growing up together and playing sports.

            “It was helpful because we always had someone else who was the same age and about the same size to play whatever sport we were into at the time,” noted Brandon.

            “We were pretty competitive with one another and I think that helped us, too, as we were growing up,” explained Derrick.

            The Baumlers offered a couple of ideas on the subject.

            “I think having another person around to help you remember things is good. If one of us forgets something for school or some activity, the other one sometimes remembers,” said Dillon.

            Cody indicated an economic advantage, saying with a big grin, “We each only have to pay for half a vehicle.”

The challenges of being a twin might be considered somewhat predictable. Always getting compared, people calling them by the wrong name, never really being able to “separate” from the other one, and getting embarrassed by something that their twin might do were all mentioned as part of the downside of being a twin.

Perhaps Karissa summed it up well for all of them when she said, “Since they are always around and you see each other a lot, it can get a little annoying.”

Meanwhile, the challenge for their family, friends, and teachers is always being able to tell them apart. The physical differences are pretty easily seen in three of the four sets. The Kuhens boys are the only ones who are identical twins and present a little bit of a problem with identification.

“Trey is bigger, a little taller and wider, than I am. That is what most people use to tell us apart,” replied Tanner when asked how the two are different.

“As far as personality, I am more serious and quiet. Tanner is more easy-going and likes to laugh a lot,” explained Trey.

With the two Fenneman boys, Derrick is the one with the freckles and Brandon is a little bit taller. There are other things that set them apart as well, however.

“We both like sports, but Brandon really likes the outdoor sports more than I do,” said Derrick.

“I like to hunt and fish more than he does, but we both like the traditional sports like baseball, basketball, and football,” agreed Brandon.

Cody and Dillon are usually easy to tell apart by looking at their hair color. Cody is more blonde, whereas Dillon has brown hair. They seem to disagree on their other differences, however.

“I’m smarter than he is,” jokes Dillon.

“He thinks he’s funny,” counters Cody.

For Karissa and Kerrin, the differences seem to center around likes and dislikes. Kerrin really enjoys music and tends to be more reserved. Karissa likes sports and describes herself as a daredevil.

“I think what really sets me apart from her is singing, which I really like to do and she doesn’t,” said Kerrin.

Karissa agrees, adding that, “I am really into anything physical or athletic, and she doesn’t like those things as much.”

Then there is the question that everyone gets around to sooner or later, which is “Who’s older?” Well, if you were wondering, here it is: Trey, Cody, Derrick, and Karissa are the older siblings. The importance of this factor may very well change as the twins get older. At some point the question could be “Who’s younger?”

For now, though, these twins are enjoying life as high school students and looking forward to what the years may have yet to teach them about themselves and their unique bond. With any luck, they will be able to double their pleasure, double their fun, and continue to discover that two can be twice as nice as one.

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