Being the dad of twins is just as weird as you’d imagine
IT'S been exactly five years since my wife and I became the parents of twins.
In other words: our twin daughters have just turned five, and you haven't wished them happy birthday yet. How rude.
When you're a parent of twins, a lot of people often feel the need to tell me that they'd love to be in our position.
"Oh, it'd be so nice to get it all done and dusted in one hit," they say, thinking that waking up at 8am on a Saturday for a house inspection or successfully rearing a dog somehow proves they're ready to unlock this extreme level of parenting that's similar to other excessive levels of parenting, but now doubled. Oh, what I'd do for an 8am Saturday lie-in.
As it happens, raising two children at once is not like scoring a two-for-one deal on energy drinks at the 7-Eleven. Sure, they cohabited the same womb once upon a time, are siblings, and share a date of birth, but they are not two of the same thing.
But this hasn't stopped us from collectively referring to them as "the twins", or schlepping them around together all the time - to the supermarket; contained environments where they can't run off in different directions; play dates with the same friends. (Whether they actually have the same friends is a moot point - it's just easier for us that way, so they don't get to decide.)
This unconscious coupling probably has something to do with the fact they're the same age and actually hate being apart. Or maybe they hate being apart because we schlep them around together all the time? It's impossible to tell at this point.
As you'd expect, raising twins presents its own set of challenges, but those are mostly related to how adults behave around them. I'm not sure what it is about twins exactly that causes it, but the very mention or sight of them provokes the same kind of excitable response people have when they see an Instagrammable pug out the front of a cafe.
"Oh my god," they'll say. "Are they twins? Can we pat them?"
At this point, I should probably let you in on a deeply held family secret. Our twins are not identical. In fact, they look nothing alike.
One has wavy blonde hair. The other's hair is dark and straight. That information is very easily gleaned from merely looking at them, but every now and again we'll get a curious follow-up question from a clearly well-meaning stranger that makes me lose faith in humanity more than the anti-vaxxing movement or politicians who continue to adamantly deny climate change in the face of hard scientific research and data.
"Wait, are they identical?" these people ask without a hint of comedy in their tone.
"Yes. Absolutely," I always respond completely deadpan. "Just look at them."
I don't get to play sport much these days, but watching someone's brain melt in real-time has quickly become my favourite pastime.
As parents of twins we've developed a fake-it-till-you-make-it mantra that's helped us through simultaneous 3am bottle feeds, double meltdowns, and those moments in the park when one runs towards traffic while the other dives headfirst down a slide and you have to decide, right there in that instant, which one you love the most.
We'll say, "Wouldn't change it for the world", and you know what? We actually wouldn't.
Darren Levin is a columnist with RendezView.com.au