The chances of having twins are about 1 in 33. The chances of having three sets of twins in the same small Playcentre are considerably more remote. At Lincoln Playcentre, however, this phenomenon is a weekly occurrence.

Justine Hogan, the mother of one of the sets of twins, moved to Lincoln from Christchurch just two weeks before her boys were born. Like many, her family’s move to Selwyn was due to the Christchurch earthquakes, their home in the central city having been red stickered.

“I met the Mums of the other twins via the Multiple Birth Club when they were pregnant,” she begins. “People who join the Multiple Birth Club are put in touch with someone from the club who already has twins, so they can share advice and offer support for issues which are largely multiple birth related. The other families had their twins about the same time as each other, and those sets are now around 18 months old.”

Justine’s own sons, Finn and Thomas, have been attending Lincoln Playcentre since they were 17 months old and will be three at the end of the year.
While you might expect three sets of twins to be a bit of a handful – not to mention confusing – Justine loves seeing them play in the same space. “We all attend Playcentre on the same day, which is nice. Although our boys are a bit older, so don’t really play with the other twins as such, seeing them together is a real hoot.”

As a multiple birth mother, Justine finds Playcentre to be especially welcome. “It’s a great place to take twins. It offers lots of play ideas, an excuse to get out of the house, and the opportunity to partake in activities which may be too messy for home. It also provides my boys with the opportunity to play with children other than each other. It’s based in a lovely modern building with a fantastic outdoor area and plenty of fun activities for all ages, both inside and out.”

Initially Justine didn’t know a lot about Playcentre; her search necessitated by a long Canterbury winter and the need for a new indoor activity.

“We started going because a winter inside with twin toddler boys seemed a bit daunting,” she laughs. “Getting out the door in the morning still has its challenges, but once we are there it’s well worth the small effort. The boys get to burn off lots of energy without destroying our beautiful house!”

But Playcentre isn’t just about the kids. For Justine the centre provides a valuable support network, and is as much about the parent community as it is about the children. “The other Mums and I enjoy having a catch up at Playcentre,” she says. “Occasionally we take our catch ups down to the local bar or restaurant, minus the children and husbands!”

Part of that community involvement includes helping run the centre. Playcentres are staffed by parent volunteers, with only a part-time supervisor sometimes being paid. “I’ve recently taken on the role of Secretary,” Justine says. Unable to avoid the work required to operate, her husband pitches in as “the unofficial gardener.”

Playcentre has opened up a world of opportunity for Justine and her busy family. All are involved. Whether you’re the parent of twins, of one, or of many, you will find people at Playcentre who can share in your parenting journey. And your children will love the opportunity to grow and learn with new friends.

Come and visit your local Playcentre to find out more.

By Frances Martin
Originally published in the Lincoln Community News