Yes, twins are a blessing. They truly are. I love being a mum of twins. It really is twice the smiles, and twice the love that other mums of twins bleat on about. Twins are also something special to others too, and sometimes this can be a bit of a drag. Within the first few days of the twins being born, I was starting to hate all the extra attention. I’m a very private person normally, and havingany attention is a bit unsettling. Twin attention is way off the scale.
It started at the hospital. Complete strangers coming in to see their relatives’ babies, would stop by the door and try and get a look as soon as they realised it was twins. They would get more excited at my arrivals than those of their own flesh and blood, which was a bit wierd. But then things got worse. Our first trip out to a local shopping centre was a minefield. People (usually old ladies with their sheepish-looking husbands) would stop right in front of the pram with a squeal of ‘Oooh, twins!’.(if I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that, I would be out and about a lot more often, I can tell you).
When I tried politely to escape by smiling, nodding and trying to maneoveure the extra-wide pram around them, they seemed to have developed a forcefield right in front of me. Then you start getting the questions – ‘Are they identical?’, ‘How old are they?’, ‘How much did they weigh?’ etc etc – I even toyed with the idea of getting a handout printed out and just distribute it to anyone who so much as glanced our way. Then there are the people who seem so surprised by the sight of twins they stop dead right in front of you like a rabbit in headlights, usually when you are trying to get out of the exit with at least one screaming, hungry baby. Excuse me lady if I mow you down – GET OUT OF THE BLOODY WAY!
And so its gone on now for four long, tedious months. It’s the pointing that gets me. Or the talking amongst themselves like you can’t hear them – ‘Oooh, poor Dad with all those girls!’, ‘Gosh, I wonder if they were IVF?’ (the answer being no BTW).
This week we have been at Butlins. Now it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I suppose the high number of families with kids of their own to worry about has meant I’m not that noticeable, or much of a novelty. Though one family of mum and grandma at the next table were discussing us and didn’t think I could hear them. It’s only because I’m so polite that I didn’t go over there and tell them that no, we didn’t have extra children because we were ‘trying for a boy’, and no, we didn’t plan on having twins (like anyone does or even can), and no we won’t be having any more just so poor dad can have someone to play football with. I suppose we could’ve discussed how we thought it was necessary for other people to have fat, ugly, whiney children, but then, like I said, I’m too polite.
But overall, not too bad, until the last day. On the walk back to the chalet, as I approached an extended family coming in the other direction, the pointing started. They didn’t acknowledge me and just talked among themselves. The mum discussed with the grandma about having seen some more sets of twins, and even a set of triplets earlier in the week. The mum suggested that there might be some sort of gathering, or something like that, she couldn’t find the words to explain to her mother what she meant. Let me help you, random stranger, in completing your all too-loud discussion – is the term you’re looking for ‘Freak convention’ perhaps? Because, lets face it, that’s what you meant. Inconsiderate cow.
Now, if you see twins or more when out and about, look by all means, smile if you make eye-contact and just keep on walking by. Don’t under any circumstances do any of the following – point, tell your husband/wife/friend that they have to look too, say ‘Oooh, twins!’, try and stop the poor harassed mum to ‘chat’, ask questions that the poor harassed mum has probably heard at least once already that day, discuss the prevalence of twins with your mates, ever use any of the terms ‘IVF’, ‘premature’, ‘planned’, or ‘hereditary’, and never, ever under any circumstances, try and give advice to the mum, especially if, like most people I’ve met over the last few weeks, you have no experience of twins yourself.
On the positive side, if you’ve had twins yourself or you are a twin, please let the mum know as soon as possible at the start of any conversation you manage to wangle from her – you will find you will get a lot more of the mum’s time, and a lot less frazzled stares.
As it is, I’ve gone almost four months now without punching anyone in the mouth. I think I’ve done quite well.
A guest post by the very lovely Trouble Doubled don’t forget to go & see what else she writes about on her blog.