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June 19, 2019

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Skilliter twins' first words were not "mama" or "dada," but each others' names

15 minutes with Jordan and Braden Skilliter

Interview by Liz Gordon-Hancock
After interviewing Theresa and Natasha Meyer last week, I reached out to other twins who grew up in Bluffton. I caught up with Jordan and Braden Skilliter.

Jordan and Braden are fraternal twins. For the record, Jordan was born first, by 10 minutes. They are the sons of Rick and Meri Skilliter. They graduated from Bluffton in 2015.

What are you up to now?|
I am currently taking classes at the University of Toledo in the field of mechanical engineering.

Braden accepted a full time position as a road deputy for the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

Do you believe in the whole "twin connection" thing, where you can read each other's minds or communicate from far away? If yes, tell us why! If no, where do you think the idea came from?
Jordan: The idea of the twin connection may apply to identical twins who were developed from the same egg, having very similar DNA and potentially being able to read the other’s mind. This twin “connection” probably stems from learning the habits and personality of your twin. That makes them easier to predict.

Braden:  I can tell you that I cannot read my twin's mind. I’m sure there are twins out there who probably can or at least they think they can. I imagine some twins said they could but they probably just know their twin so well that it appears that way.

Name one good thing about being a twin. And is there anything bad about being a twin?
Jordan: A good thing about being a twin is that you know that you’re able to ask an opinion or get the perspective of someone your exact age. A bad thing about being a twin is that you have to deal with being compared to one another, whether good or bad; that is not something anyone wants to deal with. Everyone is their own person.

Braden: Being a twin meant you always had someone that you could blame for whatever you did. The bad thing about that was so did he.

Did you ever trick anyone or confuse your teacher into thinking you were your twin?
Braden: Nope. We really don’t look alike.

Are there other twins in your family?
Twin cousins.
Braden: Not that I am aware of.

To test the "twin connection" theory, I asked both twins five basic questions about each other. For example, I asked "What is your favorite color?" and they each had to answer for themselves but also guess what their twin's answer would be.

The questions were about their favorite movie, what their dream job would be, and their strongest dislike. When I asked what their funniest memory of growing up being a twin was, Braden's response surprised me. He said "Pushing him out of a window when we were horse playing." And he guessed that Jordan's funniest memory would be "probably hitting me in the head with a baseball."

This kind of mischief-making chimed with something their mother, Meri, had commented on: "two toddlers could do what one would never have been able to."

She elaborated "the two managed to get a kitchen chair down two steps into the playroom and one held it while one climbed on it to get the puzzles we put up high and out of reach. Every puzzle box dumped on the floor and mixed together. Good times!"

The one thing the twin test did reveal was that both boys are pursuing their dream jobs, and both verified that about each other. Jordan's dream job is to be an engineer, and he's pursuing his degree; and Braden got his associate's degree and is already working in law enforcement.

Meri said, "Rick and I were recalling when the twins were toddlers how hard it was to get them to sleep.  We had a baby monitor and they talked and laughed and played together for hours after we put them to bed.  One night we were listening to their happy banter, and I said to Rick, 'Can you imagine what it would be like to have a slumber party with your best friend every night of your life?' 

And the twins' first words were not "mama" or "dada" but each others' names.  Braden said "Dordy" for Jordy and Jordan said, "Braby" for Brady. They chattered to each other and clearly understood each other before they got too many understandable words." 

"They may not see their bond as clearly as we see it, but we see it and we are so proud of them," said Meri.


• With bat in the foreground: 7 years old, Jordan (left) and Braden (right)
• Football: Braden (left) in #1 jersey and Jordan is #2
•  Dressed up for their older brother’s wedding, Braden (left) and Jordan (right) at 19 years old.

If you are a twin with a Bluffton connection and would like to be interviewed, please contact the Icon at info@blufftonicon.com