'It's just a phase'

Karen is mum to 14-year-old mixed sex twins. This week she describes the differences that make her teenies unique.

Karen is mum to 14-year-old twins and it's far from a walk in the park. Every week, she reveals all the ups and downs of living with teens.

'When my twins were babies people would often ask me what sex they were. When I told them they were a boy and a girl, the next question would almost always be 'Are they identical?' 'No,' I would reply with a slight hint of sarcasm 'one has a penis.' Yet, aside from the obvious physical characteristics hidden within their nappies, the really dramatic differences were lurking inside those little grey cells. As they grew and their personalities began to emerge it soon became clear that they were as different as chalk and cheese. Where he was confident, straightforward and predictable, she was shy, complicated and intense. Now, as teenagers, nothing much as changed. My son, apart from being nearly 6ft tall, is as easy going a teenager as he was as a small boy. He needs regular feeding and watering but as long as he gets time on his X-box and a daily run around outside with a ball he is happy. (In fact, now I think of it, he has a lot in common with the family dog.)

His sister on the other hand comes with a 'handle with care' label. She has a formidable stubborn streak, strong opinions and can flip from angel to demon in the blink of an eye. I fear she rules our roost.

As a child I remember my mum tearing her hair out at my older sister's antics. My Granny used to reassure her, 'It's just a phase'. And I try to tell myself the same when my daughter is stomping around the house like Godzilla, leaving devastation in her wake.

Unfortunately, Granny with all her words of wisdom, forgot to say how long this particularly phase will last.'

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