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.