So the twins have now been one whole year on this earth, and I have read back through some of my earlier posts, in particular pausing to laugh at the fact I had ever thought they might be identical. Because they are about as different as Jack Spratt and his missus, and that gap is widening every day. It makes for a wonderful mix, of both their twinness and closeness to each other (there’s a lot of hand holding going on at the moment, and the first glimmers of cooperation eg when unwrapping birthday presents), along with their distinctiveness as mini characters.
That was in evidence at their birthday tea. I was rather proud of my chocolate birthday cake, as was Charlotte, who almost choked with the size of pieces she was cramming in. Romilly instead looked longingly at the John West tuna pasta she’d had for her main, and ended up finishing that off and pushing away the chocolate. Said customer preference obviously making its appearance in Daddy’s presentation the next day! Sweet by nature, she’s distinctly savoury by appetite.
Charlotte continues to cover vast distances, mostly backwards; Romilly is perfectly content to sit, observing, or to be helped to stand. We had issues with this for a while in her cot as she hadn’t worked out how to un-sit, so would haul herself up and then be too scared to flop backwards, so cry for Mummy. That little problem has passed, and she’s realised the mattress provides a soft landing. However it is a different matter in the lounge. Our latest hilarious game is to fling ourselves backwards in a baby version of the trust game, knowing that Mummy’s arm will flick out to catch us. Except when Mummy’s not there, and she suffers the indignation of falling backwards onto the rug. In contrast to Romilly’s stillness, Charlotte has cracked perpetual motion, and is constantly fidgeting. She’ll get completely hyper, trying to do all her tricks simultaneously, so we’ll get finger clicking and toe pointing and tongue out and roaring and squealing and DaDaDa at full pelt until she falls over. Or is literally sick with excitement, which is what happened on her birthday, and this was even before the cake.
Charlotte is very VERY interested in clothes and, when getting dressed in the morning, will select the outfit she wants, being particularly drawn to anything with loud patterns, and even more so to the clothes laid out for her sister. She suits pink and red; Romilly is a cool blonde in blue or lilac.
Charlotte’s hair is much thicker than Romilly’s, who is now beginning to resemble a Hassidic Jew with her long curled sideburns, and not much else. Romilly’s much fairer and just more sensitive in general. She hates bright lights, and certain sounds (we still can’t take her into supermarkets). She’s also, sad day, just been diagnosed with eczema. Her skin had been getting progressively drier since we moved North, and I had at first put it down to a change in water. But then she had the telltale redness behind her knees. Little lamb. We’ve now ditched the bubble bath, and have an emollient to smother her with each night, and hydrocortisone for flare-ups. It doesn’t seem to be bothering her yet, which is a blessing. Daddy is now feeling VERY guilty about the teasing meted out to the school ‘leper’. Any tips on dealing with eczema warmly welcomed, particularly how to cope with the sun.
Cue Mummy pleading with the GP (and, hurrah, the new McClaren Twin Techno buggy actually fits through the surgery door!) who was brilliant and called round all the drug companies, as there’s precious little available for under 2s. We now have a Piriton-like antihistamine, which was trialled at the weekend whilst househunting. And, happy days, we were vomit-free AND had a rather drowsy, acquiescent child, who charmed all the vendors with her unusual silence. This bodes EXTREMELY well for the plane!
Because silence is unusual for Chatalotte, who has also now discovered the concept of screaming. And Mummy made the schoolgirl error of laughing the first few times, so it is now trotted out repeatedly as part of her sit-up comedy routine. She’s much more vocal than Romilly, with a pretty constant babbling commentary on her life (I can hear her now on the monitor lecturing her sister whilst they’re meant to be having their morning nap). When Romilly does talk, though, it’s in the form of a deadly serious monologue, which we’re not allowed to interrupt, and is often accompanied by slamming her hand down on the table for emphasis. It all seems very dramatic, and she’s learning about inflexion and tone. Whatever story she’s relating certainly seems to have its twists and turns and scenes of mild peril.
There are no words yet, but they’re definitely associating sounds with things. They’re obviously trying to say variations on Fred and Cat when he comes warily by. Daddy’s shirts being ironed is patently hilarious because he’s not in them, and they get a ‘Da’. They’re responding to words too, and constantly surprise me with what they understand. I asked Romilly to give a ball to Joe today, and she did, and when Charlotte was examining my fingers, I asked where hers were, and she showed me. By slapping me with them.
Romilly is borderline obsessed with her giant brother Joe, and will clap when he enters the room. She claps in a polite night-at-the-opera fashion, with one hand coming gently down onto the other. Bravo! Charlotte has much more of a Liverpool Echo Arena whoop. She loves Joe too, but mostly because of his beard, and will lie on him during The Night Garden, twiddling it dozily like a comfort blanket.
Most of all in the world though, she loves Charlie Bear, and nuzzles him as soon as she gets into the cot, and then her whole collection of plush toys get stroked against her cheek, whereas Romilly’s is really not that interested in cuddly toys, and prefers her thumb, or the labels on her blanket. Charlotte in general is snuggly and drapey and loves nothing more than sliming your face in her best attempt at kissing. Romilly is affectionate, but usually demonstrated by putting her fingers in your mouth, or examining your face minutely before clocking you one.
Romilly loves books. Sometimes they are the right way up. She’s a whizz on the xylophone already; we’ll be selling out her UK tour soon. She’s quite happy playing away on her own; Charlotte wants company.
As different from each other as any sibling would be; they just happened to be womb-mates. But then sometimes, just sometimes, their whole lovely twinniness strums a love song on your heart strings. It’s the little stolen looks, checking that the other one’s there. It’s covering their face with a muslin and playing peekaboo for their sister. It’s applauding each other when they do something cool. It’s gazing at each other at the dinner table and if one tries to hold a note as long as possible, or blow a raspberry whilst eating them, the other will. It’s when I put Romilly into Charlotte’s cot to play safely whilst I’m putting away laundry, and I turn back, and they’re snuggled up together, sucking each other’s thumbs and fiddling with their ears, and smiling, and looking into each other’s eyes.
Almost as brilliant as the fact we got their birthday card read out on CBeebies, huzzah! This has obviously led to Joe complaining that I never did that for him, to which I pointed out that I was only a year older than he is now and seeing as he insists on me accompanying him to the hairdresser still…
Finally, for any twin parents out there, I am conducting an exhaustive survey of local primary schools and their twin policies, and also speaking to the Councils as some houses we’re considering are on the Wirral and some in West Cheshire. Most primaries seem to seek the parents’ view about whether the twins should be kept together, or separated, which is encouraging. Even more so is that both Councils have said there is a special ‘twin exemption’ for class sizes (I think this was the result of a TAMBA campaign). In other words, each twin is treated as a separate application BUT if one gets into a school, the other will too, EVEN IF THAT WOULD TAKE THE CLASS OVER THE MAXIMUM SIZE. It’s so different this time around. There are SIX local primary schools that are rated Outstanding by OFSTED, and three state grammars that score the same. If we do stay here for the foreseeable – keep buying tuna, folks, and contact me for 101 things to do with a tinned sardine – then it’s going to be a darn sight less of a white knuckle ride than London.
Famous last words…