So the Clooney twins are here! George and Amal Clooney welcomed their twins, a boy named Alexander and a girl named Ella, yesterday. Aww.
The happy news was confirmed by a representative of the couple, who said in a statement given to People: “This morning Amal and George welcomed Ella and Alexander Clooney into their lives. Ella, Alexander and Amal are all healthy, happy and doing fine. George is sedated and should recover in a few days.”
Oh how I chortled at that! It wasn’t just that it was funny, it was more the fact that George literally has no idea how true his little joke might turn out to be. Only he probably won’t recover in a few days, more like a few months, or *whisper it* years.
I know, because though I never thought these words would be typed out on my keyboard, I have something in common with the Clooneys. Not because I’m a Hollywood film star (as if!) or an International Human Rights lawyer (nope), but because I too am a parent of boy/girl twins.
My own little duo made their grand entrance just over seven years ago now, but I remember those foggy first days like they were yesterday.
Prince Albert, himself a father to boy/girl twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, recently shared a pearl of parenting wisdom for first-time father George, 56. “George should pour himself a good cup of coffee each morning,” the Monaco royal told People magazine. “I know that sounds pretty standard, but it’s really important.”
He’s right of course, coffee is about to become the life source of necessity choice for the Clooneys, but there are some other more specifically twin-orientated parenting advice that might just help George and Amal to survive the wonderful world of twinhood
Routine, routine, routine
“We’re not going to follow a routine,” we said. “The babies will have to fit into our lives,” we said. And for the first 12 weeks we more or less stuck to it. Not out of choice, but because it took us that long to figure out what the hell we were doing. But after a particularly stressy day, which involved a lot of tears, theirs and mine, we decided to tentatively dip our toes into establishing some sort of feeding/sleeping schedule and my goodness it was a game changer.
Wake a sleeping baby
Yep forget that golden rule of parenting about never waking the baby when he/she is sleeping. With twins that is exactly what you have to do. When one twin wakes in the night for a feed, wake the other one up. If George and Amal value their ZZZs, trust us twin parents when we say getting your tiny tots on the same feeding/sleeping schedule as soon as possible is the best thing you can do for your sleep sanity. Unless you fancy being up all night that is?
Let it go
Twins may be similar in many ways, but when it comes to being let loose on the great outdoors you can bet a pack of baby wipes they will want to head in opposite directions. So what do you do? My technique was speed-assessing the danger in each situ before picking a twin to hurtle after. I regularly had other parents asking me if its okay that one of my children is hanging upside down off the climbing frame/helping themselves to germy-laden leftovers off the floor/rolling around in dog poo. My indifferent shrug always confused them, but as you literally can’t be in two places at once, there are times when you’re just going to have to let it go. There is a positive to this kind of enforced laissez-faire approach to parenting and that’s that twins seem to learn pretty quickly how to find their own boundaries.
Twinning is winning
When you buy something for one twin and the other turns up their little nose and claims not to want it, buy it anyway! You’ll thank me when they come back to you five minutes after you’ve left the shop lips quivering as they sob that they do actually want it now that they’ve seen their twin with it.
Embrace the help
No doubt the temptation for a super-capable Amal will be to take on everything herself. In my own early days of twin motherhood, I literally micromanaged everything from loading the steriliser to changing the perfect nappy, so convinced was I that no one else could match my very much un-tested parenting skills. But in not accepting help, all I was really doing was giving myself an extra headache that I certainly didn’t need! So when help is offered, blooming well take it. The name of the game with two, is survival. Yes people will have their own way of doing things, but ultimately they will get the job done. Oh and there really is no right way to change a nappy. If it’s on, backwards, upside down or otherwise, it’s changed!
Find your twin tribe
Being a parent of multiples is something that you cannot really understand unless you are one yourself. Though other parents will likely offer you plenty of well meaning advice, there is no substitute for learning the lay of the land from other twin parents who will have been there/done that and got the under-eye bags, sick splattered tops to prove it. So sign yourself up to your local twin club Amal. You won’t regret it.
Get used to the questions
The fact is that people find twins fascinating, so the interest in Clooney twins will be off the scale. Both George and Amal can kiss goodbye to going anywhere in a hurry, mainly because they will never be able to go anywhere in a hurry ever again, but also because wherever you go people will stop to ask you about them. A. Lot. “Are they twins?” They are. “Are they identical?” Erm, one’s a boy, one’s a girl so nope. “Do twins run in your family?” My auntie’s cousin twice removed was a twin, does that count? And let’s not forget the killer Q “Are they natural?” None of your blooming business! No doubt the Clooneys are used to getting attention wherever they go, but for me it was somewhat overwhelming. Perhaps it would help to prepare some stock answers to the inevitable curiosities the pair will likely face.
Try to enjoy the ride
Yes there will be times when you’ll want to blub with exhaustion, when you’re literally tearing your hair out with the bickering and it’s been three days since you last showered. It is and will be tough, but being a fully paid up member of the twin parent club is actually a complete blessing. Two ready-made BFFs (most of the time) who have the power to make you weep with joy over their cuteness. Welcome to twin parenthood you two, you’re gonna love it.
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