Oo Double Trouble?
The subtitle of this blog - 'Double Trouble in Middle Age' - refers not just to my age but to a phrase that all parents of twins have to endure. Every. Single. Day.
Twins are, even these days when they're everywhere it seems, still quite the novelty to a lot of people. I get it. Two little things in a pram, looking lovely, possibly dressed the same (not here, I might add - we think that's weird), smiling. Adorable, right? Everyone loves twins.
But I really wasn't ready for the daily - no, make that constant - comments from complete strangers in the street who can't wait to say something. "Twins!" is a classic, shouted with excitement into your face as if you hadn't noticed, until that very moment when they mentioned it, that you have, in fact, got twins. "Aww so sweet" tends to be the preserve of the elderly woman, although one lady in her 90s once came up to me, saw the boys and said "Bad luck!". It turned out she was a twin. And she never got on with the other one.
"Look kids, look at the twins!" is another common one, from mothers with older children unaware that we are not a sideshow.
Other twin mums and dads say nothing; just a knowing nod is all that's needed. They understand. But one twin mum, coming towards us in the opposite direction, waited until she'd just got past us before offering "Don't worry, it'll be OK!" My favourite was delivered, sotto voce, by a small boy - no more than 4 years old - who passed by us with his mother and said to her, within adequate earshot, "That poor man". Even he knew.
But the one I get, on average, twenty times every day - the one every twin parent gets - is "Oo, double trouble?" At first, it's an amusing way into a lighthearted conversation about how they keep us awake all night, do the funniest things etc etc. Eventually, though, you can practically see it coming. There's the slight cock of the head as they look at the twins in the pram. Then they look at you, only you are resolutely NOT looking at them because you know it's coming. And then it comes. "Oo, double trouble?" After the one thousandth time, I could still manage a little smile and, if they were lucky, a comedy eye-roll. Now, ten million times later, I simply ignore them and move on. Once, in a cafe, I got "Oo, double trouble?" 8 times. 8 TIMES. I was only there for about 20 minutes.
And what really confuses me now is that people say "Oo, double trouble?" even when my lads are behaving PERFECTLY. So no, actually, missus, they're NOT double trouble since you ask.
I mean, they are. But I'm not going to tell THEM that.