Three sets of identical twin girls! Something in the water on Bower Street

By: Cassie Gibbons

Bower Street in Old Ottawa East is framed in the bay window of the front living room, with late March snow drifting gently before melting on the warming asphalt. Outside the window, a quiet and tranquil scene, but inside, a symphony of giggles, pattering feet, and chitchat.

According to Multiple Births Canada, the likelihood of having twins is about four in every 1000 births. The likelihood of identical twins, otherwise known as monozygotic twins, is not directly influenced by genetics; it’s influenced entirely by luck. Despite those odds, since 2006, there have been three sets of identical twin girls born on the same block of Bower Street.

Haley, Morgan, Susannah, Evelyn, Zooey, and Phoebe settle on a couch in front of the bay window. Their moms, Bonnie, Monique, and Kristi, sit in between them, beaming. The girls, and their moms, a whirlwind of blonde and raven hair, spend a great deal of time with each other, living so close together. Bonnie, a resident of Bower Street since 2004, welcomed her twins Haley and Morgan in 2006, making them 11 years old, and the eldest of the twins. They enjoy karate and reading in their spare time. Monique gave birth to her twins, Susannah, who goes by Susie, and Evelyn, who goes by Evie, in 2010, after having moved to Bower Street earlier in the year. The eight-year-old girls are full of energy and love polar bears. Lastly, Zooey and Phoebe, born to Kristi in 2015, are the youngest of the Bower Street twins at age four. The young girls enjoy playing sports, particularly soccer and skiing. Kristi moved to Bower Street shortly after Bonnie in 2004, and the two became fast friends in the close community.

“When you’re a mom, with the kids and everything else going on, having a good community is so important,” says Bonnie, whose twins were born prematurely. She had a difficult time to start, but with her community’s support, Bonnie is now able to pass on tips and tricks to the other twin’s moms. “Bouncing ideas off of each other has been really helpful,” says Monique, whose twins were also born prematurely and had a difficult start.

“It’s especially helpful as mine are younger, checking in with the other moms to see if they’re progressing and hitting milestones at the right time,” adds Kristi, “it’s been really awesome having such good friends, and I imagine it will be helpful in the future as the twins get older.”

It’s not just the moms who lean on each other for support; the kids are extremely close, and love to spend time together, whether playing or helping their parents.

“Bonnie’s girls are always helping to look after Phoebe and Zooey,” says Kristi, smiling as Phoebe sits in Haley’s lap on the couch. “It’s been such a big help having everyone so close by.”

With everyone living within sight of one another, the girls spend as much time as possible playing together. ‘Can we stay and play after?’ was repeated by each of the twins no less than several times over the 45 minute Mainstreeter interview.

Fake weddings

Being twins, the girls love that they have someone their own age to play with all the time.

“The best part is you don’t have to fight about TV shows, ‘cause everyone likes the same thing,” says Morgan. “You can play the same way if you’re the same ages,” say Susie and Evie chiming in.

The girls spend most of their time together playing board games and dress up, having fake weddings, and playing outdoors.

Currently, they love playing Harry Potter board games, being a little too young for the movies. Most notably, the girls have picked up skiing in recent years, and love to go out to the hills on quiet snowy winter weekends. Several years ago, after a particularly heavy snowfall, Bonnie’s girls, Haley and Morgan, decided to build a snow fort on their front lawn. The snow fort has grown in scale each year to take up the entire front yard of Bonnie’s house, and now has become a winter tradition for all of the kids on the street.

“Everyone comes to play in the snow fort,” says Morgan excitedly. As soon as it was mentioned, the chances of making it through the evening without a visit to the snow fort were slim, and before long, the kids were scattered on the front lawn, adorned in brightly coloured winter coats and rubber boots.

Remnants of the once mighty snow castle rise above the snow and slush, half melted chunks of towers slumped over, and collapsed tunnels sunken into the ground. The kids are already excitedly awaiting the first snow of next year so they can begin the rebuild.

“It’s a closeknit street, and with the twins it’s become even closer,” says Kristi.

Regularly hosting parties and gatherings, Bower Street is a vibrant section of Old Ottawa East with a wonderful community of parents. It really does take a village to raise a child, and Bower Street seems up to the task.

 

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