Just say ‘burble goo goo’ to strangers

All mothers knows with a clear sense of inevitability that once you are pushing a baby around, every journey involves inane chat with strangers about how cute/old/mobile your baby is. With twins, the situation is… well, doubled. Twins attract awe and sympathy from strangers in equal measure, especially when they are as gorgeous and smiley as mine (proud mother moment).

Don’t get me wrong – for the most part I enjoy the conversations. I’ll never object to telling anyone how perfectly behaved my boys are (proud, and slightly delusional, mother moment), how they coo at each other and play (ahem… fight over toys) together. But I always have at the back of my mind a hint of caution. You see, my twins have two mummies.

My partner and I followed the utterly conventional relationship trajectory of falling in love, getting ‘married’ (civil partnership) and then, with the aid of frankly amazing medical science, having kids. The boys are growing up in a stable and loving home, and I am so used to my friends and family treating us like any other family that I forget that we are, objectively, unusual. But when I talk to strangers on the train there is always a small part of me that is assessing whether they are likely to have an issue with my personal circumstances.

And then something happens that makes me remember how wonderful people can be. I was on a London suburban train with my partner and the twins, who instantly befriended a young man by grinning madly at him. The young man told us that he was a twin too and warned us about the trouble we could expect when the boys get old enough to hit each other properly. Then, as he left the train, he leaned over the pram and whispered, “Be good for your mummies, boys.”

That was it. No double take, no raised eyebrow, just an instant appraisal of the situation and an utter lack of giving a damn. It was a lovely moment. I am not complacent about the sad fact that there are people in the world who object strongly to our family set up. But I love the way that, just like any other mother, I am approached by strangers wanting to comment on the adorable cuteness of my babies, and not on the person whose hand I am holding.

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