I wrote this piece for my local multiple-birth magazine, Duplication:
This is some kind of miracle. I sit at the Bunnings Warehouse Cafe table with my notebook out. Steaming cappuccino to my left, two sleeping babies to my right. My other children are happily entangling themselves on the playground next door. This is really happening. I am going to get some writing done.
Let me just savour this moment.
Wait. Oh no. Oh dear Lord, no.
I sensed her hovering before I saw her. My twins have an admirer. Don’t make eye-contact. Don’t make –
“Erm, hello.” dammit!
“What lovely babies! Are they twins?”
Really? What kind of question is that? Singleton babies aren’t issued in pairs, as a general rule. I consider the following responses:
- “No. They were having a ‘Buy one, get one free’ sale at Babies R Us.”
- “Nope. That one’s a decoy.”
- “No. This is what the new Baby Bonus looks like. You get a bonus baby now.”
- “No! Triplets! Good Lord! Where’d the other one go?”
- “I think you might need glasses. That’s one baby.”
But then I bite my tongue. She is a kindly looking lady after all. I remember when my eldest was born. None of my friends had children and I was new to the area. It would get pretty lonely during the day. I would go out walking with the pram wearing my brightest smile and hope that somebody, anybody might offer me a small morsel of adult conversation. Nobody ever did. I think they could smell my desperation.
It’s different with twins. Whenever strangers set eyes on my baby girls, I can actually see them drop their guards. Their features relax and they become all chatty. It’s a beautiful thing. I really should be more grateful that this well-meaning woman is interrupting the one pocket of me-time I’m likely to get this week. I summon up a grin and prepare to say something encouraging. But now the multiple-birth fangirl is reaching out to tickle my sleeping twins. Twins who are only asleep because of the four long laps we walked of this bewildering hardware superstore. I can feel the warm smile slide right off my face.
“You touch that foot and you die, lady!”