Twinning August 01 2014


Do you #matchymatchy or #twinnies your kids? My boys are very close in age. Most people think they are twins. They are different builds - but the same size. The elder slim, the younger stocky. They have a similar look. Miniature versions of my husband. After a haircut I often can’t tell them apart myself and will call out a range of names, often in vain. ‘Campbell … Dougal … Tom Pocket (our jack Russell) … Smarty (horse) … Shortlegs (rooster)…’ Just kidding – I think I know the difference between the animals and the children – most days!

The 18 month age gap is however quite evident in their personalities. Or maybe birth order plays a bigger part. Mr Four-almost-five-going-on-55 is the serious type. He checks whether buckles are securely fastened on the swings in the park when no one else even bothers putting on the belts. He continuously updates me on the activities and behaviours of his siblings – a little gleefully if they are up to no good (tough for Elsie, she is only 10 months old). HE NEVER FORGETS A THING. Bad for me who forgets everything. All the time. Possibly as a throwback, Mr Three is the class clown. He delights in telling many jokes, that all have the same punchline – poo. He likes to run nude through the house pretending to be the Road Runner. He is the king of blowing raspberries, shouting gobbledegook at inappropriate times and is only interested in what you are saying if it includes the words ‘tractor’ or ‘John Deere’.

This difference became crystal clear on a recent car trip, when we were deeply discussing ambitions and life goals of all things. A change from the usual small-person small talk.

Campbell: “When I grow up I want to be a dentist during the day, a movie-maker in the night and a crocodile hunter on the weekend” (told you, over enthusiastic over-achiever in the making)

Dougal: “When I grow big I want to be the man that drives the tractor that spreads the fowl-manure on the paddocks” (for our city friends that’s a way of fertilising farmland, it should be called foul-manure, it certainly doesn’t smell nice)

I want them to be individuals. I want them to be themselves. Dougal and his love of things that go ‘Brrrmmmm’ and textbook understanding of all types of farm machinery. Campbell with his grown up wonderings and worries that often stop me in my tracks.

So this leaves me with a dilemma. They are clearly different young men in the making. There are no hand-me-downs from big brother to younger brother. Instead in their shared room we have drawers of ‘shorts’, ‘shirts’, ‘socks’. It’s all shared. They seem happy with the set up, more interested in getting their boots on and getting out into the dirt than who gets to wear what when. Most looks suit both boys. I have resisted the temptation to order matching navy sailor suits and pose them with perfect salutes for corny photos. Our albums are full of nude bottoms and gumboots. Or wranglers and variations of striped shirts and big, big hats.

Very, very rarely do I put them in the same thing. Yet Arqi has little boy living nailed with their practical, hard wearing range of shorts. The boys adore them, thinking they are dressed in khaki like their current hero Steve Irwin (‘and his best mate Terri, the one with the long hair’). In our case, they survive the paddock play, and look terrific in town. A double winner in my books. The relaxed cotton shirts too are built-kid-tough but still look nice enough to wear to tea with Nanna or something entirely more funky. They have become essential play date attire. And the boys are quite comfortable with that, in fact they are just comfortable. Period.     

I would love to hear your thoughts??