I hate it when I’m wrong

Reader, I am an enormous arse. I also HATE being wrong.

It is not the end of the world that the girls are going to be in the same class. In fact, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise:

1. Their Reception class teacher is, apparently, amazing and the parents in the other class would kill for their children to be in her class
2. The other children from nursery are in the other class. If we insisted on a split now, we would upset whichever twin was in the other class, by leaving them on their own.

I’d still like to understand the rationale behind the school’s decision keep the girls together when they had been specifically told that they were to be split up. If they’d contacted us beforehand to say that they appreciated our views but wanted to put the girls in the same class for X, Y and Z reasons, I would have understood. It was a shock to find out that our views had been completely ignored, with no explanation.

As it turns out, I’m one of the few people that thought splitting the girls was an absolute necessity. So many people have commented that it would be a shame to split them, that it wouldn’t feel right, that they work well as a team, that they both rely on each in different ways, that they are individuals with different personalities and approaches to life and won’t get mixed up after the inevitable initial confusion.

I sat the girls down individually on Friday and asked them what they thought. They both said, without prompting from the other, that they would rather be in the same class as each other than be with their friends. I can’t argue with that.

Dh is going to speak to the school tomorrow. I wasn’t exactly rational when I spoke to them on Friday so hopefully he’ll make more sense than I did!

Interview with Dh – twin world

Does anything hack you off about the questions you get asked about them?

People that say ‘Ooh are they twins?’ ‘Well, yes!’. People are nice normally. It’s just that you get asked the same questions all the time.

When they were smaller I used to get ‘Is one a boy and one a girl?’

Despite them wearing dresses!

The other question that used to wind me up was ‘Which one is the naughty one?’ Erm, both of them! I remember a woman asking me how I gave birth to them and looking really disappointed that I had a c-section.

People react very differently – you can tell which ones are parents and the ones that aren’t. I suppose if you’re a mum as well you might wonder how you gave birth to them.

Not a question I’d ask someone though. It’s like the whole bump fondling thing. Do you remember when we were in Pizza Hut? I was really heavily pregnant and a woman asked me if she could touch my bump! What do you say to that?

No you freak! It was an amazing baby bump!

The other one that bugs me is ‘What’s it like with twins?’ How do you answer that?

We get that from a lot of people with one kid. They can’t quite comprehend what it would be like to have two, especially if they’ve still got a young kid.

The amount of times there’ll be a conversation with lots of parents with one child (at parties and at nursery if you walk home with a group of people) and they’ll go ‘It’s really hard with so and so at the moment because he’s doing X…but it must be REALLY hard for you with the twins!’.

It makes you slightly famous as well. Everyone knows me at work as ‘The bloke with twins’. I don’t think I’d know as many people if we didn’t have twins. I don’t mind, it’s interesting that people focus on it.

It was worse when they were tiny and we were out with two identical babies. People would go ‘Awww’.

You could almost see wombs twanging!

They looked cute…

The really strange one for me is ‘Oh I always wanted twins’…I want to say ‘Do you want these two for 24 hours?’

It’s not like we have a choice.

I was talking to someone at work a couple of weeks ago and he’s got one that’s a bit younger than the girls. He was saying that they’re at the point where they think they should have a second one. We don’t really have that because we had two at once. I mentioned that the older you get, the more likely you are to have twins and he was a bit shocked!

The big thing is that you never expect to have twins. It doesn’t occur to you when you get pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant. You just think you’ll have ‘a baby, not two or three at once.

The stats are interesting e.g. the fact that you’re more likely to have twins as you get older.

It’s the lack of knowledge you’re given. As you say, nobody expects to have twins. I don’t feel we got any support in the sense of ‘Go home and read this..’

That big baby book you had [Conception, Pregnancy and Birth by Miriam Stoppard] had one page about twins. Most books are useless!

No-one sits you down and helps you. I remember going home and reading lots of stuff e.g. the Tamba website. You become an expert because you have to be. Everyone just assumed we were having non-ID twins because they were in separate sacs with separate placentas…

…but it depends when the egg split happens. If it’s an early split you get two sacs and placentas. This was stuff we read up on afterwards. No-one tells you this stuff. All the hospital needs to interested in is how complicated the pregnancy is likely to be. They don’t care if they look the same or not!

It mattered hugely to us though! At which point did you start to think they might be identical?

When they were born, they had different hair and Ruth had the big round face. They got more similar when they reached six months. They got more and more similar to the point where no-one could tell them apart. We could because we’d got used to them. Everyone else said ‘They look exactly the same…’

I remember getting the results back from the DNA test and it said they were 99.999999 identical and all of the markers were the same. You were at work and I phoned you up and you were quite surprised.

I really thought they looked different….but they do if they’re yours! If I look back at the really early photos, I have to think ‘Which one’s that?’ Unless I can see both of their faces.

That’s why we dress them differently.

We went to that TAMBA talk, which was useful and a good thing to do, and they talked about individuality a lot.

They really hammered it home…it was the photo they showed us of the two women celebrating their 80th birthday and they were identical and dressed the same. That really, really freaked me out. That it not what I want for my children…they may want to do it, but I’m not going to encourage that.

At least if they’re individuals, they’ve got the choice. They don’t have many clothes the same. They wear similar clothes e.g. the same style in a different colour or them both wear a skirt. They tend to choose their own clothes anyway now, and have done for a while.

Would you ever dress them the same?

No, it seems a bit weird. Especially now they’re older. As babies they’d look cute but now they’re proper little people it doesn’t seem quite right. They are also quite possessive about their clothes. Ruth likes her black stuff! It’s weird if they wear each other’s clothes, which they do very occasionally. It shows how much you rely on the clothes they’re wearing to tell them apart.

I did threaten to put them in each other’s beds one night…Ruth wouldn’t give up her bed! Grace thought it was quite funny, but Ruth wasn’t having it. They wore each other’s pyjamas but she was very possessive about her bed.

Do you think that having twins has jaundiced our view of having children?

A bit. You hear of children that are more difficult, or they could be ill or have problems. Generally, though, it’s a lot harder than having one.

Right hand, left hand

R and G are genetically idential. No dispute about that. We’ve been there, had the DNA test done. However, R is definitely right-handed and G appears to be left-handed  – or at least, she seems to favour her left hand more for tasks like drawing. Dh and I are both right-handed and so we naturally give things to the girls from our right to their right and we’ve noticed that G usually swaps the item into her left hand.

I need to do some detailed research on this but a very quick trawl reveals that 20% of ID twins have one right-handed twin and one left-handed twin – I’m fairly confident that I can find some more detailed research on this subject so I’ll do a thorough literature search soon (you can keep the girl out of the library…) but it’s another fascinating twist in our twin story.

House of Twins – Q&A

So, for the benefit of any new readers and for any regulars that would like a refresher, here’s a House of Twins Q&A:

What is HoT?

I started blogging back in January 2008 on a Sunday afternoon when my five week old twin girls were sleeping between feeds and I felt like I was losing my mind. Initially it lived on a website called Babycentre, which I joined when I was pregnant. Then I moved it over to Blog.co.uk in April 2008 where it became House of Twins, or HoT for brevity.

Why write yet another boring blog about babies?

There are about twenty zillion parenting blogs out there. Many of them are shite. I’m sorry, but they are. Most are started in the first flush of pregnancy in that ‘I’m the first person to have a BAYBEE ever. Aren’t I AMAAAAZING?’ phase that only first-time expectant parents go through and list amazing achievements like ‘My baby is SMILING and it is only EIGHT weeks old. I have birthed a GENIUS’! Actually, some of my posts are a bit like that but I try to rein it in, promise. I always aimed to offer a slightly different take on things.

I actually wanted to be honest about parenting. Specifically, the difficulties associated with parenting twins. Many blogs fall into the trap of presenting a rose-tinted view of having babies and I wanted to tell people the truth. Yes, some bits are brilliant but there are also phases where everything is just horrible. I love my girls, my goodness I love them to bits but there have been many, many occasions in the last two years and eight months when I have fantasised about walking out of my house and running off to Peru. Through writing HoT I found out that this was absolutely normal.

I talk about the stuff that other people are afraid to tell you, like the horrors of pregnancy, the reality of giving birth, how debilitating sleepless nights really are, the agonies of: weaning, controlled crying, routines, potty traning; and the really nasty stuff like anxiety and depression and baby poo. I also wanted to put a vaguely humorous slant on all this stuff so as not to put off anyone that might be thinking of having babies!

I try to balance this out with cool stuff though,  like being told that your twins are non-identical and finding out when they are thirteen months old that they are actually genetically identical and feeling like a fool; becoming a (minor) local celebrity; the joys of witnessing the interactions of twins; gloating over their achievements; watching them grow up into little people and think that maybe, just maybe, I might not be quite as bad at this parenting lark as I often (and by often I mean every single day) think I am.

How do I find the time to write HoT?

Simple answer: I don’t. It used to be easier when the girls napped during the day but now I just about manage to dash on and write a post in the evening after putting the girls to bed, spending some time with DH (Darling Husband) in case you’re wondering, working (oh yeah, I work full time as well), having a (limited) social life and keeping up with current affairs like X Factor and Supersizers…

This is actually good news for you. Subscribing to and reading HoT is not going to take up hours of your time. I usually manage to write a dozen posts a month (sometimes less, sometimes more) so it’s a fairly limited investment.

Is there anything you don’t talk about?

1. I won’t refer to anyone by their full name – occasionally R and G will be referred to by their proper names – but all of the adults, and the children that don’t belong to me are referred to by first initial only
2. I won’t whinge about dh. I have never been a ‘Sex and the City’ type woman that sits with her ‘girlfriends’ and discusses intimate details of relationships and I’ve carried that practice over to my blog. My relationship with dh is private and I choose to keep it that way.
3. I won’t slag off people I know in ‘real life’ – if you’re looking for soap-style whingeing about family and friends, you won’t find it here. There have been MANY occasions when I have had a bad day, wanted to write a spleen-venting blog about someone and had to physically restrain myself from typing out something nasty and pressing ‘submit’. From time to time a real life person tells me they have been mortally offended by something I have written that they felt was directed at them. I can honestly tell them it wasn’t.
4. I won’t tell you what I had for breakfast. Honestly, who cares?

Aren’t your children going to hate you when they are old enough to read this?

Probably. They’ll hate me anyway so I may as well give them good reason…