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12Aug 13

You’re having TWINS!!

LJ:  The best thing about parenting twins is also the worst thing about parenting twins – there are two of them.  It’s incredibly difficult having two babies when, like me, you’re a first time clueless mother who didn’t know what to do with one baby.  But I found myself actually feeling sorry for parents that only had one because twins are just so incredibly gorgeous!

If you’re like me, you developed TWIN EGO from the moment you learnt you were expecting twins.  I’m not frightened to admit that I had an attitude from the day a sonographer told me, “Yes, you’re right! It’s twins”. I knew it.  My mother was told by a psychic many years ago that her daughter with long blond hair would have twin boys. The British psychic was ‘in hiding’ in West Australia in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death because the media were hounding her re whether she predicted her tragic accident. I’m sure the other stuff the psychic said will come true one day too (I’ll live in a mansion surrounded by the ocean, with a Hugh Jackman look-alike & a black Mazda RX8).  Women struck by Twin Ego would correct anybody who asked them “When are you due?” with “Well, I’m having twins!”

“Wow,” they say.  “Are twins in the family?”  (What they’re really asking is, “Did you take fertility drugs” or “Did you have IVF?”)  Twin Mums don’t mean to sound arrogant, it’s just a pride thing.  The only people they are humble around are HOM Moms (High Order Multiple), the ‘freaks’ who carry triplets, quadruplets, and more.  Nobody gives them attitude.  They are revered.  They are the only women who can stop a Twin Mum in her tracks.


LJ's twins really thrilled about a photo session

LJ’s twins really thrilled about a photo session


How to annoy a twin mum #1:

If she’s pregnant, tell her, “You’re enormous! You must be having twins!”  Or you can tell her, “You’re tiny! You can’t possibly have two in there!”  Then you need to ask her, “Was this natural?”  If she replies in the negative, you should ask her why she had fertility treatment and whether it was her problem or her male partner’s problem.  If she tells you the concept was natural, you can really annoy her by asking her, “Really? At your age? It’s so rare these days. Are you sure you didn’t get any help?” Then, she might admit to taking fertility drugs.  If she won’t admit anything, just raise your eyebrows and let her know you don’t believe her.  That’s one way to really annoy a mother of twins.


“Er, there is just the one in there, isn’t there? Ho, ho, hee, haa haa. Only joking, I mean my dad’s a twin, and my mum always joked about how un-maternal I was and how this meant I was odds on to have triplets, all boys, all a handful, but you know, haaa, haa, er, I jest. There’s just one heartbeat, right?”

This is me, trying to fill the darkened room and heavy silence with nervous prattling while I wait to hear that everything is OK with that little jumping bean thing on the monitor. “Yes, yes, just the one, and all looks fine. Here, take a paper towel to wipe the gel off.” Phew. Take that, Mum. You and your witchy prophecies. I’m having just one baby, and it’ll be fine.

Only it wasn’t. My little man was a bloody handful. Sussed me right out from the start while I was still frantically thumbing through the 25 parenting books I owned, intermittently binning them, then in sleep-deprived desperation, fishing them out again.

Fast forward two years…and phew. My little man and I have come to an understanding about most things (except sleep). It’s he and I against the world. He’s great company, most of the time: funny and very, very smart. . He goes to a child minder for a few days so I can resume writing, and he loves it. I love it. So much so that I think, “Ah, those early days were not so bad.” And “It would be a bit sad for him to be a singleton. I had great times with my sisters.” My eyes well up at the thought of him missing out on the tree climbing, den building and parent baiting that siblings enjoy so much. So, four months later…

“Just the one heartbeat, is it? I mean, there aren’t two babies in there, are there. Ha, ha, ha.” The sonographer fixes her eyes on me and says, “Do you already know you’re having twins?” Was this rhetorical? “Ha, ha, ho, ho, no, I was just filling the silence with… oh, oh, you mean you’re TELLING me? I’m. Having. Twins.”

The nervous giggling segued into slightly hysterical laughter, that made way for happy/scared/gobsmacked tears. And do you know what I thought? I thought, but I can’t be having twins, because, because I’ve already chosen my new buggy! A probe was inserted, a bit like a tampon, and it gave a better view. One placenta, two sacs. A good chance my twins will be identical. My husband was shaking his head in disbelief and laughing.

Kay just days before learning she was pregnant with twins

Kay just days before learning she was pregnant with twins

We left the clinic and he was punching the air, ringing our parents and telling everyone how very, very virile he is. I went back to work and interviewed a curator at the Imperial War Museum. I didn’t focus on a single thing he said all afternoon. I just wanted to grab him by the lapels and shout, “I’ve bloody well got two babies in here! I’M HAVING TWINS!!”

How to annoy a twin mum #2:

“Oh, you’ll be fine. It’s not like the old days when you had to hand-wash everything and then put it through a mangle. All these mod-cons we’ve got these days, means having two babies is a lot easier. I mean we don’t have to beat carpets and polish our front steps, do we? And babies sleep a lot in the first few months. Just sleep when they do.”







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