Quadruplets with their birth-order shaved into their heads

A family of quadruplets in Shenzhen, China have had the numbers 1-4 shaved into their heads by their parents in order to aid in telling them apart:

'Even now, their father can't tell which one is which.

'Sometimes, he punishes the second one for something the third one has done.'

The boys won't be able to get away with shifting the blame for much longer however with their new easily identifiable haircuts.

'Teachers and classmates can't get confused with the big marks on their head,' their mother added.

Mother gives Chinese quadruplets numbered haircuts (via Crazy Abalone)

(Image: a downsized, cropped thumbnail from a larger image by AFP)


          1. During the battle for Cawdor Castle in 1511, Muriel Calder’s nurse branded her with a hot key and bit a knuckle off one of her fingers to make her harder to replace.  Although, as the Campbell leader at the time said, “As long as there’s a red-haired lass in the Highlands, Muriel can never die.”

      1. Punishing would be cruel. It only teaches children to be afraid of the parent and follow orders without understanding why. Short-term compliance at a tremendous cost.

    1.  Yeah, I was thinking really cute…..and weird at the same time.
      In fairness, the only reason it looks cute is that the kid whose 1 looks like a mohawk is really cute.  The other two guys could be weeping for all I know.

  1. Identical Quads are incredibly rare. Even fraternal quadruplets only occur in something like 1 in every 700,000 births.

    1. The article doesn’t really get into whether they are genetically identical.  I seem to recall that the Olsen twins weren’t actually identical – just similar looking and same age.  Dressing them all exactly the same helps to contribute to the impression of sameness.

      1. This article doesn’t say but another news story I saw said “identical.” If the parents are still having a hard time telling them apart then that’s almost certainly the case. Parents are usually pretty good at that sort of thing (and I speak as both an identical twin and a parent of twins myself).

    1. Came here to ask this. It looks like there are multiple different systems of numeric symbols in use in China; perhaps they picked the one with the broadest use. And, according to wikipedia, Arabic numbers are most commonly used when writing is horizontal instead of vertical. I guess these children are more horizontal than vertical.

  2. Four is unlucky in China because in Mandarin the words for four and death are homophones. Four should be renamed five.

        1. I was thinking more like a God of Death type thing, but sure.  As long as they’re willing to behave badly on camera and have a tonne of largely pointless drama, I’m sure they could get a TV show

      1.  So you want to shave their names shaved on their heads?
        That would need some mad skills as an hairdresser…

    1. I’m surprised they put the “4” on that kid.  Chinese are mad serious about certain numbers being bad mojo, much worse than our “13” superstition.

  3. There’s certainly nothing potentially humiliating or de-humanizing about numbering one’s children. But I think an easier way of identifying the KWAD KIDS would have been to have them wear color-coded HELLO KITTY costumes until they’re of legal drinking age

    1. I know a 2nd-grade teacher who assigned her students numbers at the beginning of each year, and insisted that each student write this number alongside the student’s name at the top of each homework and classwork paper.  More than once, when a child forgot and only wrote his or her name without the corresponding number, the teacher tore the offending schoolwork to shreds in front of the whole class.  Sounds like something out of The Wall, but this was in Los Angeles, just a couple of years ago.

      There are other aspects of this teacher’s M.O. which I detest, as well.

      1. I hope that someday, when that teacher fills out complicated paperwork for taxes or insurance or something, she makes a tiny mistake and the agent tears the form up in front of her.

    1. They weren’t numbered before they were shaved like that. They just took a kid at random and shaved “1”, etc.

  4. In ancient Rome, daughters weren’t given praenomina (given names); they were known by the feminine version of the nomen (clan name [gens]) or cognomen (family name).  If there was more than one daughter, they were called by ordinals.  Mr. Roscius’s first daughter would be known as Roscia, but his third daughter would be called Tertia (Third).

  5. “Teachers and classmates can’t get confused with the big marks on their head…” until the day the boys got their hands on the hair trimmer.

  6. It’s a good thing that they stopped at four, really.

    “Six! Stop do– Wait, are you Six, or Nine?”
    “Eight! Stop lying on your side! You are NOT infinity!”

        1. SPOILER: When Number Six finally pulls the mask off of Number One he sees his own face. But the same thing happened with numbers two through five, so it wasn’t really much of a surprise.

  7. There were twin girls in my high school class who were identical until one of them got in a car accident and ended up with a small but highly noticeable scar right across one cheek. I guess God got tired of confusing them..

    1. I grew up with many sets of identical twins. I never seem to have any trouble telling twins apart. Maybe it’s just a learned skill.

      1. Maybe they smell differently (to you).  As in, identity pheromones or something?   (IE:  Perry smells like bacon, I like Perry! // Terry smells like flowers, he’s “the Other” twin). 

      2. Whereas I still can’t always tell my brother and myself apart in photos from our early childhood since that wasn’t a skill I ever had to learn.

        1. One difference is hair color and texture. They might be close, but they’re rarely identical. Plus, after a year or so of interacting with the world, fixed facial expressions usually start to diverge.

      3. I think some people are just more observant of smaller differences.  I’m an identical twin and some people couple tell us easily, while others never could.

         My dad still has problems telling us apart if it’s on the phone, or if we’re in the same room together and he’s not paying much attention, haha.

        Also, some people are better at recognizing faces than others. Are you?

        1. My mother still can’t always tell me from my monozygotic twin brother on the phone.

          Certainly by the age of six anything which helped others see us as individuals was cool. Hopefully these kids will be the kids with the cool haircuts (and a cool mum, too), and not the freaky quads.

          1.  I usually test out <65-70%, and IRL have trouble telling the occasional pair of random strangers apart. Never mind Hollywood actors, who seem to come in standardized formats.

            Needless to say, it took me quite a while to realize we had twins working at our second building. Eeep.

  8. I have a bad time with twins.  There were twin brothers who worked at my local chemist, both with the same job.  I didn’t realise until I saw them both working there one day.  I could only tell them apart when they were next to each other.

    I also taugh twins when I lived in Hong Kong, didn’t realise until quite a fair way through the year that they were twins,  I thought they were the same kid.

Comments are closed.