Sometimes if you are very good you get what you ask for. This daddy must have asked extra specially nicely because his twin boys obliged. It was a little early, but they decided to arrive just in time to let him have his paternity leave during the World Cup. They may not have brought England much luck, but I know that their parents feel like the luckiest people on the planet. Their little twins are happy, healthy and handsome to boot.
On the day I visited they were the tag team twins, because as one slept, the other one was awake. When one cried for mummy or milk, the other gurgled and grinned. In fact, when you put them down together they were much more likely to look in opposite directions rather than at each other. They just know that their little brother is next to them, kicking away, smiling up at mummy, smiling down at them.
The one thing they did have in common (apart from some super sweet knitwear) was the ability to flirt like an old pro. It could be blowing little baby bubbles, or sticking their tongue out, or even just staring right down the lens and flashing those big baby eyes at me. Of course it helps when you have a repertoire of noises to attract their attention. Because I know there’s always one that fits and that they just can’t resist. For one it was a low tone raspberry. For the other it was the sound a fish makes. In both instances, to the outside world, I would have looked quite mad.
I don’t know how you get anything done around the house having one newborn, let alone two keeping you busy. You can lose so much time just watching them be – sitting in their chairs, kicking and punching the air on their quilt or even just quietly napping. I say quietly – quietly after chatting away and resisting sleep for a while.
It was easy to forget myself for a little bit and just watch as one little twin snoozed.
Already she knows their little rhythms so well and anticipates them all. Whilst we were watching him, his mum pointed out to me how he sucks in his sleep. It’s true, he does. And for a second I catch a glimpse of her watching him. It’s so lovely to see how parents light up when they look at their kids. She says she still can’t believe it, that they are here, that they came from her beautiful bump and that they are hers. But 3 months in she is already preparing herself for the girls that will rob her of her sons in the future. And she’s right. It’s bound to happen because they are little heartbreakers.
So whilst one sleeps and dreams and blows bubbles, the other one shows me what he learnt at his baby massage class – the baby yoga swing! When his mummy stops for a second, so that I can get a shot, his little face tells me exactly what he thinks about me interrupting all his fun.
Curled up in that swing position gave me the ideal moment to capture his ten tiny toes.
Both rested, they are awake and kicking. A quick change of outfit means I have absolutely no chance of telling them apart. Especially since they both hold their arms out, with a little clenched fist, in exactly the same way as each other.
But with little boys, sleep is never very far away. You catch them alert and flirting, only for them quickly to tire again. Not before giving you the biggest yawn ever.
In between trips to the kitchen, where I’m brought bacon butties, cups of tea and danish, daddy tells me that he can’t get over the baby smell, how he loves it about them. Picking one up gives him the chance to sniff that clean baby smell. And just like that, baby reaches out and wraps his whole hand around daddy’s finger.
Already they’ve hung their images from their maternity session around the house. When you walk upstairs you follow their story in photographs. At the top there are spaces already waiting for the pictures of their boys.
Back downstairs and the boys are all worn out. Sleepy, cuddly and very, very sweet.
It was so wonderful to meet them as parents-in-waiting, a little anxious, a little nervous but so excited to meet their boys. Then I got to see how they fall into their roles so naturally and so well. I watched how the boys were held, chatted to, cuddled and loved. As a new family they were beautiful to see and wonderful to capture.
So two down, and a few more to go before dad can build his very own football team. I doubt he’ll get the full squad, but he may reach a five-aside team.