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Mom Sparks Drama By Giving Her Son A Medical Tattoo To Help Tell Him Apart From His Twin

Jill Lehmann Photography/Getty Images

How do you tell identical twins apart?  Well, usually they have different personalities, or something looks a liiiiiittle bit different the longer you know them.

But now there are medically approved ways to tell them apart.  And in the event that one of the twins has a medical condition, this is especially useful—so that the correct twin can receive treatment.

A nameless Redditor found themselves in this situation when she finally delivered her twins.  She got a medical tattoo to tell the one with a condition apart from his brother.  Unfortunately someone in the family didn’t take too kindly to this.

Unsure if she’d done something wrong, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for clarification on her choice.

“AITA for medically tattooing my child under the recommendation of a doctor?”

Our original poster, or OP, set the stage for how difficult it was to come by her children.

“Hear me out. I (31F[emale]) and my husband tried for 5 years to get pregnant. Testing eventually revealed I have eggs of steel and without medical help I’ll never get pregnant.”

“So that’s what we did. Gave our samples, one petri dish and 9 months later I have 2 beautiful fraternal twin boys. Jack and Adam (fake names).”

One of the babies, however, needs special attention.

“Thing is Jake has a condition. Without going into detail, requires a shot once a week. Once he is older he can take pills.”

“I went back to work and MIL offered to watch the babes (shes wonderful, I trust her 100%. They were 9months.. Now 16months) during this time she would give his injection as we had a schedule.

Mother-in-law (MIL) made an error one day, which contributed to the decision.

“10am before snack and nap. Worked very well until a month ago when she gave the shot to the wrong kid.”

“Now they may be fraternal but they look identical. I’ll be honest my husband and I even mix them up sometimes. Everyone does.”

After this, MIL was upset.

“She immediately noticed her mistake called 911 and they were transferred to hospital. By the time I got there Adam had been given the reversal agent and they were both happily sipping on juice loving the attention.”

“We went home the same night told to push fluids. He was never in danger. It’s a very slow acting medication that, at worst, would have given him diarrhea in a few days.”

“MIL was beside herself. I tried to ease her worry but she refused to babysit so to daycare they went.”

After the mix-up, the tattoo decision was made.

“This daycare has a nurse cause some of the kids have medications so she new what to do but the worry of mixing up the kids was a valid concern (and they would NOT keep name tags on) Doctor recommended a medical tattoo.”

“Explained they tattoo a freckle, no bigger than the end of a pencil eraser, on an area of skin that’s easily seen while the child is under mild sedation similar to dental offices.”

“Because of the area it usually fades in 2-3yrs but by then they should have developed more personal features and may not need it redone. So after discussion with my husband we did it.”

“He has a 2mm brown freckle on his earlobe. From entering the office to leaving it took 30 minutes. Never felt a thing.”

However, MIL did not react well to this.

“MIL lost her sh*t the second I mentioned a medical tattoo. I tried to explain but she just freaked out so I put both kids on the floor and told her to pick up Jack and find the tattoo.”

“She picked up Adam So I handed her Jack and after 20 minutes still couldn’t find it. Stripped him to his skivvies.”

“I finally pointed it out and she went ‘That’s just a freckle.’ I just said… ‘My point exactly. Adam doesn’t have a freckle there.. So that’s how daycare can tell them apart.'”

And it seems like she won’t listen to reason, and others have joined in.

“She’s still pissed and ranting. Once I explain to others and they fail to find it they understand but they still think I went too far in tattooing my child and altering their body.”

“I believe I took the necessary precautions recommended by the doctor and the tattoo will fade with sun exposure and as he grows.”

“By the time he’s 5 it probably won’t even be visible or it’ll just look like a faded freckle. So… AITA?”

Redditors helped OP decide where guilt belongs by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Most, if not all, Redditors agree that OP was not at fault here.

“NTA at all, it’s literally a fake freckle. It’s not like you gave him a full sleeve of pin up girls and muscle cars.”

“Also, it’s to make it harder to accidentally kill him or his brother. You made the right call.”~Probablynotamantee

“Sorry to hijack the top comment, but had to put it here. Am an identical twin. A similar thing happened to us when we were really young, about four – I was the one who got her penicillin and nearly died.”

“(No, my sister doesn’t have that allergy, and no, nobody knows why.) I WISH someone had tattooed my ear. F**k, if they’d tattooed my goddamned forehead, I wouldn’t have cared.”

“My grandmother would never have thrown a fit like that – if she’d thought of it, she would have hauled me to the local scratcher and made them give her the gun so she could plant that freckle on me herself.”~lamante

“NTA. You took the recommendation from a medical professional and made the decision with your spouse for the safety of your child.”

“Absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially for something so small.”~Trouble-94

“I have three tiny ‘freckles’ tattooed from getting radiation and they’re not a big deal (hurt like hell because they’re on my ribs), and I forget I even have them.”

“I’d argue that it wasn’t my choice either, in a way, as it was just sprung on me as a surprise at that appointment. And unless I wanted my cancer to come back, I had to go along with it. NTA.”~fishymcswims

With the safety of the kids at stake, Redditors agree it was the best option.

“You are saving your kids’ lives. And it’s none of anyone else’s business. You said the tattoo fades, so I don’t see a problem. I seriously doubt that either of your kids is going to hold it against you.”

“You’re the mom and you’re doing your job which is to keep your kids healthy and safe. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

“I’ve read about other parents of identical twins that had dots tattooed on the bottom of their feet to tell them apart and no one has argued against that.”

“Your family is over-reacting. Be kinder to yourself and take pride in being a responsible parent.”~theoldgrayhair

“NTA. I don’t understand your MIL, the one that accidentally endangered your kids and is so upset that she won’t even take care of them now so you have to go to daycare, I don’t understand how she can be upset that you are making it so it doesn’t happen again.”

“This was done as a medical procedure. No one other than the child’s parents have any say so in this matter to keep their children safe.”

“The only thing that I can imagine is that she is feeling so guilty, she is taking on guilt that you had to do this.”

“This is not really altering his body, These same people giving you a hard time, how are they on piercing little babies ears? That is much more permanent.”

“You did a medical procedure to keep your children safe. Tell everyone giving you a hard time to go pound sand.”

“You are a great mother, don’t doubt yourself. He will not be mad at you when he learns about this, he will thank you. They both will!”~tphatmcgee

“It’s such a good idea! Not noticeable unless you’re looking for it, and extremely important if you are looking for it.”

“I had wondered how this works, because my son has a pair of identical twins in his class. Turns out, their freckles are somewhat mirror imaged.”

“One has a freckle on her left cheek, the other on her right. They were born with them, but it’s still a handy way for their teachers to tell them apart :)”

“Great idea. Definitely NTA. And as someone who had random freckles when she was younger, it’s also probably true that it’ll be gone by the time he’s ten.”~londonnah

“NTA – She gave one of the brothers a shot of medication that shouldn’t have got it. To prevent it, you had a small, minor procedure done that has no lasting repercussions for the child and in the long run will be un-noticable.”

“No, you’re not an asshole. Your MIL seems to be a bit of one. What was her thoughts on how to prevent any mix-ups in the future? Don’t answer, it doesn’t matter. They’re your kids.”~nauticalfiesta

Especially since MIL already made the mistake that lead to this, people are confused as to why she is so upset.

“As an identical twin who might actually have been mixed up… NTA.”

“We’re nearly 40 now and comfortable with our names. But my mom said she kept track of us as babies because other twin had a freckle on her foot.”

“… She doesn’t. I do.”

“Do what you need to do to keep them both healthy.”

“Nail polish also works.”~PearleString

“NTA- you did something your doctor recommended.”

“And if anyone calls yta, they better hope they don’t have a child thats been circumcised or has their ear pierced both of which are much more medically invasive and not necessary”~Befub14435

“NTA, obviously. This is a good idea, and all that matters is that your pediatrician and husband agree with you.”

“You don’t really think you’re the a**hole, do you? Why would you be? You followed medical advice with the full consent of your husband.”

“Someone being upset with you or not agreeing with your decision doesn’t make you an a**hole.”~ostentia

“First of all, NTA. Secondly, WTF to other people’s reactions? This isn’t cosmetic, like pierced ears on a baby, this is potentially life saving.”

“I know you said that it shouldn’t harm the other twin, but still…You did the right thing, absolutely.”

“Kids, babies, toddlers, whatever, are a pain to make them do what you want them to do when you are there.”

“Out of sight, forget it! They will do what they want to do, so there wasn’t anything else you could do realistically.”

“A simple conversation stopper if someone wants to rant at you about it: Not your child, not your call.”~digamma10101

Something so simple and harmless that also functions as a lifesaver for one of the twins was a good decision.  Reddit reaffirmed that time and again.

Now if anybody ever gives their baby a full sleeve of tattoos…we will have to have a different conversation.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.