"Twins, what a nightmare, I don't know how I'd cope."
"The first year is the worst."
"You've got your hands full."
If you are a mum of twins, or tell anyone that you are expecting twins, this is a random selection of the comments you can expect.
Anyone who hasn't had twins regards the business of dealing with two babies or toddlers at a time as akin to juggling jellies, whilst wading through mud, on no sleep. Now I will admit that from time to time it does feel a bit like that. But what the uninitiated can't tell you about are all the wonderful things about twins that more than make up for the hard work and chaos they bring in their wake.
This week is Twins, Triplets and More Week, during which TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association) hopes to raise awareness of the challenges that face multiple birth families. A laudable aim, but from my own experience there are plenty of people who are happy to share horror stories about twins with you, but precious few who will reveal what gets us twin mummies through the day.
I would never say that twins are easy, but they are so rewarding that the hard work is repaid in spades. If you are expecting twins or slogging through those early months with newborns, don't despair. In honour of this special week I have picked at random why I think having twins is a blessing, rather than a curse:
1. Watching my babies sleep, curled around each other in their tiny hospital crib. Little hands entwined as if they were still sharing the comfort of the womb, is one of my most precious memories.
2. When my babies were tiny, I would often walk in to find them holding hands on their playmat, toys discarded in favour of their twins' far more fascinating fingers. Their single brothers never had anything like such a successful toy.
3. Twins have finally made me into a good mother. With my singletons CBeebies should have charged me nanny rates on rainy days, but with the twins I can easily stick to the no television rule. They are far more interested in roaming around causing mischief together than sitting glued to the antics of Mr Tumble.
4. As much as they are quick to fight over a disputed toy, they are quick to comfort each other. If one is crying the other will often gently stroke his head as if to say 'There, there."
5. I love babies and I am greedy, so for me two really are twice as nice. There is always one ready and willing to snuggle into your arms for a cuddle, even when grandma or the ever-entertaining daddy is around.
6. I can give up the job of children's entertainer. With my older sons I still shudder at the memory of the hours and hours I had to spend modelling playdoh to keep them amused. With the twins, I am surplus to requirement. Boring old mummy is no match for another willing baby to play with – thank goodness.
7. I get to watch that huge bump I carried around for nine months grow into two, utterly distinctive little people. Like most I used to believe that twins would be the same in so many ways. How wrong was I? My boys look, act and even smell different. What a rare treat it is to watch two people develop side-by-side in such different ways.
8. Twins are special. Not everyone has them, but everyone is enthralled by them. When mine were tiny we couldn't go to the local shop without being stopped and complimented on how beautiful our two babies were. This can be annoying, but on a bad day it can be just the boost you need.
9. The sound of my boys making each other giggle is so funny. If one bursts out into baby laughter and the other is always quick to join in with his own raspy little cackle, which in turn has me in fits.
10. My boys are only one, so all these memories are from that first year that everyone told me would be the worst, which means the best is yet to come.