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This week twins appeared to be in. Elisabeth at You Can’t Call It “It”! asked people to help name twin girls; should the parents choose the names they love most, or go for something less popular, and how could they honour family members in the process? Lou at Mer de Noms pondered why parents of boy-girl twin sets so often give a more mainstream name to the male twin. My midweek sibsets featured families with twins, including a woman who had given birth to three sets of twins during her life.

So it makes sense that today’s sibset should also be a family with twins, and as I’ve been a bit slack with the celebrity sibsets, it’s time to feature another famous Australian and their family.

Brodie Holland is a former AFL footballer who is best known for playing with the Collingwood Magpies. He retired in 2008, and now plays suburban football. He has taken part on Dancing with the Stars, where he made the final four, has appeared in advertisements, been a panellist on the AFL Footy Show, and made the obligatory cameo appearance in soap opera, Neighbours.

Brodie married Sarita Stella, a former model from game show, The Price is Right, in 2008, and in 2010 they had a daughter named Stevie.

In March, Sarita gave birth to their identical twin boys, Kip and Bowie, who were 10 weeks premature. Since that time, the boys have been in and out of hospital.

Kip was born with anaemia, and required open-heart surgery, and Bowie was at risk because he received too many red-blood cells while in the womb; this condition is called twin anaemia-polycythemia sequence (TAPS), and affects one-in-twenty identical twins who share the same placenta.

After a long stay in ICU, Kip had to be rushed back to hospital when he stopped breathing due to severe reflux. Later, both babies were admitted to hospital with bronchitis.

Clearly, it’s been a testing time for the Holland family; Brodie says he and Sarita are both positive thinkers by nature, but they couldn’t help but consider the possibility their sons might not make it. Their daughter Stevie was less than 11 months old when the twins were born, so they had three children under the age of one to take care of – just like Sam and Lyndall Mitchell, who also had twins in March with health complications, and a baby less than one year old.

Kip and Bowie are now doing well, putting on weight, and only require monthly check-ups. Brodie says that they feel very lucky, and even though the feeding and changing seems never-ending, he loves every minute of it.

Kip is a short form of Christopher, or any name beginning with Kip-, such as Kipling. Although the word kip is used to identify moves in sports such as dancing, gymnastics and trampolining, it’s most familiar as British slang meaning to have a little sleep (like nap, it is both a noun and a verb).

Bowie seems to be in honour of influential British pop star David Bowie, whose real name is David Jones. He chose his stage name from the 19th American frontiersman, Jim Bowie; Jim Bowie died at the Alamo, and gave his name to the Bowie hunting knife. You could also see Bowie as short for names such as Bowen, or a variant of Beau.

I think Kip and Bowie Holland is a very sprightly twin set – the cute perkiness of Kip makes a nice contrast to the star power of Bowie. I like the way each of the Holland children has a different vowel-sound in their name: short I in Kip, round O in Bowie, and long E in Stevie.

As Bowie is connected with singer David Bowie, and Stevie with singer Stevie Nicks, it does make you wonder if Kip is named after a popular singer from that era as well. I can only think of heavy metal vocalist, Kip Winger, or Kip Herring from punk band, The Vibrators, who don’t have quite the stature of either Bowie or Nicks.

(Story and photo from the Herald Sun, September 5 2011)

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