Interview with dh – personalities and difference

They’ve really developed their own personalities haven’t they?

They’ve been different since they were a few weeks old really. They act differently and like different things

Do you think we’ve made them different deliberately, or are they just different?

They are Identical, but they act differently, despite being genetically the same.

The great test of that was the whole Sporty Tots thing…

…which Ruth loves and Grace refuses to do. Grace did it a couple of times and hated it.

They had equal opportunity to do it and Grace was very definite about saying no. I think we have an interesting perception of them, where we think Ruth is really clever and Grace is more airy-fairy but if you look at the targets, Grace is way ahead in terms of things like number recognition and letters…

…we’re biased, but I think they’re both very clever but like doing different things. Grace will happily sit down and try to write her name. Ruth can a bit, if you can convince her to do it. She likes doing sporty things, like throwing and catching. It’s more about what they’re interested in. Ruth doesn’t like doing things she’s not already good at. She gets so embarrassed….

…for one so young whereas Grace blithely strolls through life being like Lola from Charlie and Lola.

She has no awareness of anything! She’s not self-conscious at all. Ruth is really sensitive. It makes you treat them differently as well. I find that I have to be quite careful about what I say to Ruth because she’ll get really upset.

People think that Ruth is the more confident one of the two, but she’s not.

If she’s taken away from an environment she’s comfortable in, she freaks out.

Grace would be the same if she met the tramp or the pope. She would just be Grace.

Ruth’s a bit all or nothing. There are certain people she really takes to….

….and some that she really doesn’t and she makes it very obvious!

She really loves her keyworker at nursery. She’s very choosy about who she likes and who she doesn’t. Grace is the same with everyone. She’s very bossy.

You think that Grace is really airy-fairy and then she comes out with something that reveals how sharp she really is. We’ll be looking at a book and she’ll say ‘Oh, that’s an e and a g for Grace!’ You think nothing’s going in…

It’s amazing how much they take in.


NEWSFLASH: Women who have children do not have full-frontal lobotomies.


There seems to be a perception that all women, once they become mothers, instantly dissolve into a massive puddle of hormones the moment they come into contact with a baby. Any baby. Babies in the street, babies in shops, babies in workplaces apparently reduce us mummies to gibbering idiots.

Erm, nope. To be perfectly honest I have very limited interested in children that aren’t R and G. I absolutely adore them. I also like babies and children belonging to friends and family. I’m hopeless with them, but I like them and I’m interested in their development and all-round loveliness. Babies of strangers? Not so much. My womb doesn’t twang the moment I catch sight of a baby.

Amazingly women who are mothers are also perfectly capable of having interesting conversations about things that have nothing to do with babies or children. Speaking for my people, we actually love talking about non-child things. The first thing that people tend to know about me is that I have twins. Some people move beyond that. Most people don’t.

I don’t mention R and G at work unless someone asks me a direct question about them and even then I try to steer the conversation round to something else? Why? Work is my grown-up time; my escape from family life. I have a photo of the girls on my desk and people are welcome to look and ask questions – I won’t be rude – but it’s not what I’m there for. I can’t bear women that constantly reference their children in conversation in the workplace. Do they know that they are spouting drivel? The funny thing that thingy did is probably hilarious to them but no-one else. Everyone smiles when someone tells an anecdote but you can actually see the boredom, the ‘Kill me now’ look in their eyes.

Yes, I’m a mother. Yes, I have twins. Yes, I think they’re marvellous. I also have three degrees. I’m a Librarian. I work with social workers. I’m married to Dh and we’ve been together for years and still like each other. I love music. I do cross-stitch and make cards. I love shopping. I adore handbags. I like expensive make-up. I watch television. I do some writing. I’m an avid people-watcher. I love sport (Harlequins RFC, Surrey CC and Boston Red Sox, since you asked). I’m a space geek. I love 19th Century British History. I’m a bit fond of trains. I’m a Socialist. I’m an avid reader. I love my family and friends. I like eating out. I’m fond of wine and cocktails (not together). I’m sarcastic and love nothing more than some good humoured banter. None of this has stopped being true since I had R and G.

When you pigeonhole me as ‘just’ a mother with nothing else of note to offer you devalue me and every women who also happens to be a mother on the planet. We don’t lose our minds when we have children. Our minds are enriched by children, not decimated. When you choose to define me in such narrow terms you expose the limits of your imagination.

Maybe you’re the one that has had the lobotomy.

p.s. This  post is not about *one* person or one event. It’s not aimed at *anyone* in particular. It’s a general observation. Ok?

Twins as individuals

As they (rapidly) approach their third birthday, the girls are working out their relationship with each other and carving out their personalities. They now understand that they are sisters and relate the term to each other i.e. R/G is my sister (if one wants to get the attention of the other they will shout SISTER RUTH or SISTER GRACE) and they have worked out that Aunty J is my sister and Aunty D is dh’s sister.

They sometimes call each other twins but I don’t think they actually understand what the term means. I have tried to explain that they both lived in my tummy and were born at the same time but they just look at me like I’ve completely lost it. Maybe when they’re three they’ll start to understand…

G acts like the older sister (which she is by a minute and we all know that R will be FURIOUS when she finds out) and treats R like a slightly wayward younger sibling that she has to keep an eye on. G has become extremely adept at talking R ‘off the ledge’ when she’s having a wobbler and also encourages R to join in her imaginative play, often as a distraction technique when she senses that R might be on the verge of losing her temper. G likes to help with household chores and wants to do things by herself and be ‘a grown up girl’. At nursery the carers have noticed that G watches out for R and tries to mother her a bit when it comes to joining in with games and activities. If we let her, G would dress R and look after her. We are gently discouraging this by thanking G for being so helpful and kind but encouraging R to do things for herself.

R’s attitude is very much ‘Why have a dog and bark yourself?’. We have watched open-mouthed as R has ordered G to do something for her i.e. collect a toy that she wants and dutifully bring it over to her. Again, this is something we are discouraging. R is the more physically active of the two and encourages G to join in with her running, climbing, jumping and hopping. Interestingly, when she’s on her own R becomes incredibly grown-up and sensible. I’ve taken R out alone a few times recently and she’s an absolute pleasure to be with. She listens to what I say (rare when they’re together), chats in a very knowledgeable and mature way about whatever she sees and does.

In many ways the girls complement each other: G is imaginative and R is very physical and they bring those traits out in each other. However I firmly believe that as they get older, they need to spend more time apart in order to blossom fully. At nursery their carers are making even more effort to treat them as individuals – giving them separate pegs for their coats and bags, for example and putting them in different groups for activities and reading. We’re trying to spend more time with them individually, so dh will do something with G and I’ll do something with R.

When they go to school I’m going to ask for them to be put in separate classes. I’ve already checked with the local primary school and they’re happy to do this. I don’t want to get reports about ‘The Twins’. I want to hear about R and G. They each have very strong personalities and I want them to blossom as individuals whilst still maintaining the innate twin-ness that they absolutely have, even if they don’t quite understand it yet.