One of the things I’ve learned since having twins is that they are not nearly as rare an occurrence as I thought they were. It seems everybody is a twin, has twins, knows a twin or knows someone who has twins. They all want to talk to me about it, too.
Everywhere we go, we are stopped. Twins, apparently, remain a novelty forever.
These conversations don’t usually go smoothly. I don’t mind stopping and talking, but when I’m out with my toddlers, time is of the essence. The babies have to be amused, and mommy talking another adult they don’t know isn’t exactly scintillating conversation for them. Too long and they get restless, they get restless and the remaining portion of the outing is ruined. This leads me to be less engaging than I otherwise would be. A conversation typically goes like this:
“Oh! Are they twins?”
“Thank you.” Pause.
“… They must be a handful.”
“Yes, they can be, but they’re usually good.” Pause.
“… You know I’m a twin (my niece has twins, my aunt has twins, my dog’s cousin’s roommate has twins).”
“Really? A lot of people have twins; it’s crazy!” Pause.
“… Are there any other twins in your family.”
“Nope. These are the first ones.”
Insert personal story of twins running in random stranger’s family or not.
Pause. Pause. Pause.
“Um, okay. Well, say bye bye, babies”
“Bye bye! Bye bye!”
“Oh, okay, bye!”
I feel horrible letting people linger like that, but I simply cannot respond to their incredibly interesting anecdotes with the proper enthusiasm while I have two babies staring up at me, wondering when we’re going to hit the road. Surely this must happen to parents of toddlers regardless of whether they’re singletons or twins or triplets or what have you.
My thought process is that since our babies inadvertantly get us into these conversations, they can get us out. Depending on their mood, we have anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes to have a conversation with someone we don’t know. The key is this: “Say bye bye, babies!”
This key phrase can be inserted into a conversation at any point. If the babies are showing signs of crankiness, I can tell them to say bye bye after the first compliment is given. The best part of this solution? It isn’t rude. Or, if it is rude, the rudeness is forgiven because the emphasis remains on the babies. The stranger is usually appeased by having the babies talk to him or her, even if it’s only to end an unwelcome conversation. It is my best trick. I have never seen it not work. The babies’ bye bye is final.