Life changed somewhat the day I heard I as having two babies! After getting used to the idea, I went shopping for the necessities. We headed to a few shops – Mamas and Papas in Blanchardstown, Kealys in Coolock and Mothercare in The Pavillions. We found Tony Kealys in Coolock Retail Park to be the best. They also offered a 5% discount for twins!
There’s limited choice for buggies, but we opted for the Out and About Double Nipper. It’s a three wheeler and folds up well to get into the car boot. It’s also extremely light considering I carry two children around in it.
After the boys arrived, we settled into our routine. For me this meant going for a daily walk. I found the walk around Malahide Castle and St Anne’s Park to be the best. All pathways are wide, and no problem for a double buggy. When I walked around the streets, I found that new estates were better as the path was wider. A lot of older streets would have smaller paths. A note of warning, if you’re out walking I’d add on an extra half hour to accommodate all the people that will stop to look at and talk to you about the babies.
When the boys arrived and I wasn’t working I took on the role of housewife as well as mother! This now involved doing a weekly food shop, clothes shopping, doctor appointments etc. Doing this with two children was an education! I found the Pavilions in Swords and Clarehall Shopping Centre in Dublin 13 to be best for shopping. They have the double trolley – although occasionally I had to drive around the car parks to find them! I haven’t seen many other double trolleys around. Pavilions has many shops for children’s clothing for all pockets. There is also baby changing facilities there which are always clean. The Pavillions has coffee shops which accommodate a double buggy. In fact double buggies – I met my friend who also has twins and Kylemore restaurant fit the two double buggies around a table! Changing facilities in Clarehall are also very good and Kay’s restaurant is perfect for double buggies, plenty of room.
Trips out as a family are very different now too. Now I generally don’t go to places when I know they’ll be very busy and at the weekends I suddenly find myself having lunch in hotels! They are usually more spacious than pubs or restaurants. At worst you can always lunch in a comfortable foyer. There are some pubs around that can accommodate a double buggy but not all can. Others like Gibneys in Malahide don’t allow buggies never mind double buggies!! Not very family friendly. I found Duffys inMalahide to be good. There’s an area just to the right of the front door, known as ‘The Library’ which accommodates a double buggy. They also have high chairs. The down side is that I couldn’t find baby changing facilities – although there is a very quiet area in the pub where I could discreetly change the boys. Another good pub is the Golf Links (formerly known as The Widows) in Portmarnock. It’s a spacious pub with plenty of room for a double buggy and has the baby changing facilities in the toilets. They also do good food.
As for doctors’ appointments… well I always need someone to come with me on those visits. Unfortunately the entrance to my doctor’s surgery is quite narrow so the double buggy won’t fit in. The nurse’s room is upstairs so help is always needed. It’s something to bear in mind if you don’t have a regular doctor or you’re new to an area.
What is good is the ease of getting into Dublin city. The new Dublin Bus buses are wheelchair accessible which means it has room for a double buggy. That’s my general rule – if it fits a wheelchair, it fits a double buggy. But my transport of choice is the Dart. There is adequate room on the train for a double buggy and there’s no problem getting on/off. There are lifts or ramps in all stations. If there’s a problem with a lift there will be a note in your departing station that will advise you on which stations have lift problems. Generally Irish Rail fix their lifts promptly.
The boys are now 16 months old and have started walking and so begins new adventures. I hope to start taking them to toddler groups shortly. I found it difficult to attend toddler groups as it’s hard to hold two babies or getting two to mix with other children.
While having two children together brings extra hassle, it really does all bring extra joy and fun. At the moment we’re having fun watching them push each other around on their cars and they are starting to interact and play with each other. But then there’s the fights…..!!
by Joanne Hartnett
The Irish Multiple Births Association www.imba.ie provide support from parents of multiples to parents of multiples. If you would like more information on the IMBA, please see our newly designed website www.imba.ie You will see a list of our many discount providers which all help keep the costs down when you have or are expecting multiples