8 things that happen when you have Irish twins

I know that the term Irish twins is not exactly the most PC term in the world but as I’m half Irish myself and have daughters just 11 months apart I’ve decided to ‘own it’ and use it anyway. It was my youngest’s birthday two days ago and the other half and I are now, for the next four weeks, parent’s to two two-year-olds! So I thought I should do a post about the things that happen when you have Irish twins:

1. You will be asked if they are twins. A lot. I get this all the time. People often stare at the girls for a while and you can see them trying to work it out before they even ask you. even though I’m usually sure by that stage that they know they are not, but just want to check anyway. At this time of year, when they are the same age, the ensuing conversation usually goes something like this:

Random person: “Are the girls twins?”

Me: “No, just sisters.”

Random person: “Oh, how old are they?”

Me: “They’re both two.”

Random person: “Oh. What’s their age gap?”

Me: “11 months.”

Random person: “Oh.”

2. People will judge you. This usually follows the conversation above. I’ve talked on this blog before about most new people I meet not realising that I am gay if it’s just me and the girls. So after asking if they are twins and me telling them that they are 11 months apart I usually get a ‘look’.

I’ve even had one mum (and it’s always the mums) say to me “oh, your poor wife”, as if this imaginary person would have had no choice in the matter! Although I think it’s probably worse if you are a woman as I imagine you’d probably be asked all sorts of personal questions that I wouldn’t.

3. It’s really hard sometimes not to treat them as if they are twins. Maybe it’s because of our situation – we got the girls only four weeks apart, with the youngest actually coming first (long story, which one day I’ll write about), so we’ve kind of always had the two of them. Sometimes I find myself treating the girls the same to make life easier and have to remind myself that they are different ages. It’s made harder by the fact that the youngest always wants to do what the eldest does. We have managed to do the big milestones separately though e.g. moving to a big bed and potty training.

4. Your youngest will probably appear quite advanced early on. People are often astounded when I tell them how old my youngest is. Her speech and sentence formation is often more developed than children quite a bit older than her. As my eldest learns new words or phrases my youngest usually picks them up within a few weeks.

5. Your children will probably be close. The girls, even though they had never really met until we adopted them, have such a lovely bond. Yes, they can fight like cats and dogs at times but other times they are so adorable together it brings a tear to my eyes. When my youngest started at nursery she was in the baby room but left to join the bigger kids after just three weeks because she spent the whole time wanting to be where big sister was.

6. Getting out and about can be hard. We have a double-buggy, which was fine for a while when the youngest wasn’t walking. Then we added a buggy-board for the eldest, which was fine too and meant the youngest could move to the front of the push-chair which kept her happy. Now my youngest is no longer happy sitting in the seat and wants to be on the buggy board. However, my eldest still struggles with walking any great distances. Either that or they both want to walk and I end up pushing a double-buggy whilst trying to herd two toddlers, capable of running at different speeds, along the street. Not easy.

7. You can re-use a lot of things. As one child stops using/playing with something the other is pretty much ready to start using/playing with it straight away. In our case, with 11 months apart, and the fact we have two girls the seasons even match; so something my eldest wears one summer my youngest can usually wear the following year. Yay for saving some money, because…

8. You’ll need two of all the expensive stuff. Just like with twins there is no escaping the fact that you’ll need two of pretty much all of the big stuff like cots/cot-beds, car-seats, high-chairs, travel cots. The oldest won’t have finished using these things before the youngest requires them and that can make things pretty expensive.

Our children are meeting their other siblings for the first time

It doesn’t feel like we ever stand still at the moment. Having returned from our holiday on Monday afternoon, then started back at work for the first time in a year on Tuesday; tomorrow we are taking the the girls to meet their two older brothers (who have been adopted together by the same family) for the first time.

We met up with the boys adoptive parents a couple of months ago, I suppose with the idea that we’d suss each other out and check we were all normal before introducing our children. They are a lovely couple and we got on really well with them and were both keen for our children to have direct contact with each other. To be honest they had me once they suggested they open a bottle of champagne!

We did actually end up meeting the boys and they were adorable, so well-mannered and there was definitely something about them that reminded us of our girls. Hopefully ours will turn out similarly well-behaved! We shared lots of photos and stories about our experiences, the boys asked us a few questions, which to my surprise didn’t include ‘why do they girls have two dads’ (maybe they saved that one for their parents). We all agreed to meet again soon to introduce the girls.

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Now that it’s approaching I am getting a bit nervous. I’m not sure what to expect to be honest. We’ve tried doing some very basic life-story work with the girls, mostly drawings with the girls of our little family and the boys with their parents and tried to explain that the boys are also a part of their family but it’s quite hard when they are both so young. They’ve not that long been used to the idea they themselves are sisters (they only met for the first time a year ago), let alone that they have these two older brothers that we’re only just mentioning.

We’re not sure how the boys, both at the older end of primary school age, will react to having two little sisters running around and probably attempting to climb all over them! Hopefully though it will be the start of a lifetime-lasting relationship. It’s really important to us for the girls to know who they are and where they’ve come from and knowing their older brothers is an important part of this.

Have you been in a similar situation? How has it all worked out? Any advice? Let me know in the comments.