I have just seen a really good side badge on Here Come The Girls its the answers to questions about twins, it made me want to write about my experience of the grilling that sometimes comes. I am sure mums of one, or even families get asked silly questions, but I find twin queries, at best amusing, at worst daft and sometimes really personal!
A glance from a stranger, will see a husband, wife, two teenage twins, (Gone are the days of the questions that used to make me bite my tongue about twins. Now we get, "Don't they make a lovely couple, they even look alike." Answers, they are not a couple they are brother and sister.
"Do they get on?" I always wonder at this question, do all parents get asked this? They actually were very close, incredibly so for siblings, still are for teenagers, there are many reasons for this, maybe they have personalities that suit, hopefully some of my parenting skills were quite passable. ( I believe there is a fundamental reason, that is another story, I want to cover for a blog carnival I have seen! )
"Oh are they twins then?" Answers, yes they are, then come the range of questions probably common to all mums of multiple birth!!
I have more time for this assault on my family, but when Paige and Conor are sitting there, the twin factor means they become something to be talked about as if they cannot answer for themselves! Stared at and they always look so uncomfortable and end up giggling. Are they used to it, I'm not sure, I will ask Paige to post the reply later! When they were little and could not reply, it was down to Chris and I,even then, it sometimes got a bit much!
As a harried Mum of baby twins I was occasionally sharp and rude. I can be if stressed or defending a loved one, but on the whole, I like to chat to people out and about!
However, I have never gone up to a Mum who has a screaming child, let alone two to start digging about in the family history. I have held a, buggy, baby, anything to help if a woman looked like she needed a pair of hands, a friendly smile. I have never seen fit to give an interrogation on someones fertility, how do I manage and thrown pitying looks, some from Mums who have three children even!
So back to my children when they were babies, I breastfed, no mean feat, I can tell you, it was tricky. I had no extended or even immediate family at any point, to help, even just chat to (again this is for another post), which made Chris's help even more vital. He would come in from work on many days to find me weeping, once accusing him of abandoning me, that he was 7 minutes later than normal. He would say sorry, the traffic lights were on red, scoop up the babies, make me tea, hug me and say we would get through it. It was never a case of day to day, it was a life lived and only managed moment to moment!
Which leads me on to being constantly trying to get through little tasks like shopping, going to get a prescription. I did not drive, buses were totally out for me, a twin buggy, two babies made the local transport a distant memory. I walked places, the upside was great legs, after a few years of street pounding and rocking baby bouncy chairs, I never needed a gym!!
So when I got stopped and asked these questions and I mean by lots of people all in one trip, it began to make me very aloof! Head down, no eye contact and still they came!
Are they identical?...Answers "No a boy and a girl cannot be identical" Inside head " Are you a little dim, there are obvious physical differences!
Do twins run in the family? I wanted to always say "Mind your own business! But I used to just say No. Like a flowchart this lead to more.I actually had IVF, if I said this, that would end in a whole interrogation on this subject. It was still a subject then that people only knew from the news stories and tags of test tube babies! I always have been happy to discuss it, obviously as here I am, but the questions can get really personal, a total stranger asking, "Was it you or your husband that was faulty?" has to be the most ignorant!
Possibly the twin one that made me laugh a lot on a good day, but growl the most on one particular day was this. On the way to Boots to breastfeed, after some errand, with two hungry cries of "Feed me now!" I was hurtling through the shopping centre, obviously on a mission, clearly with two babies, I imagine one is a challenge, I know in fact it is from friends! Suddenly a woman planted her whole body firmly in my path and I nearly knocked her over.
She said "I just want to look at them, they are adorable!", I said thank you, I really need to go they need feeding, but thank you!
I went to go around her and she actually put her hand on the buggy, to stop me, and said
Are they twins?
I looked her in the eye, I scowled and replied through gritted teeth.
No they are triplets, but one is invisible!!!!
So if you see Mums with one baby, twins, triplets, just several children and she has a far away, distant look, let her move on. If she is sitting happily smiling, then that is the time to go over!