The former reality star tweeted the picture to celebrate his oldest daughters

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Credit: Courtesy Jon Gosselin

Jon Gosselin is reaching out to his kids in their own language: with an all-powerful #TBT.

The former Jon & Kate Plus 8 star wished twins Mady and Cara, his two oldest daughters with ex-wife Kate, a happy birthday Thursday by tweeting a sweet Christmastime throwback photo of a festive-sweater-clad Gosselin with the girls on his lap.

Kate also tweeted about the girls, saying in one of her two messages that she didn’t join in the #TBT fun because the twins “wouldn’t approve any pics for me to post so no pics lol!” (Hopefully Jon’s throwback was adorable enough for Mady and Cara let that one slide.)

Although Jon, 38, has expressed in the past that he believes being on reality TV for much of their early lives has harmed his eight children, Kate, 40, has adamantly disagreed, and Mady and Cara, now 15, told PEOPLE last year that this isn’t the case at all.

“People expect us to be damaged,” Cara said.

“People think we’re supposed to be messed up, like, ‘Oooooh, the poor Gosselin kids, they’re going to be scarred for life, waaaaah,” Mady continued. “Here’s the big news: We’re not messed up.”