Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Tiddlers lighting up Carnaby Street

A rare picture of my twins dressed the same.

Monday, 27 August 2012

The problem with toddling twins

This is the problem with toddling twins and why reigns are essential. They're like magnets repelling. I can't complain, there was were triplets at the park, I'm officially humbled.

Monday, 20 August 2012

10 Things You're Not Told About Having Kids Under Two (Part 1)

1.       Although you already know that hair loss is common during pregnancy, or just after birth, what you’ll fail to think about is when it grows back you’ll have large sections of 3cm long hair sticking up and making you look like Mr Majeika.  Don’t panic, wear a hat for 3 months and ride it out, or do a Sinead O’Conner.

Post Pregnancy Mr Majeka Syndrome
2.       You’ll develop a new super power – being able to hear a pin drop while your little one/s  are asleep.  This is a curse because you’ll pick up on sounds you’ve never noticed before, and will attack the neighbours if they so much as cough when your kids are asleep.
3.       You’ll need to wear high necked tops because from about a year on, they’ll just pull your baps right out in public.  Protect yourself, but do enjoy when they do it to someone else, it’s hilarious.   
4.       You can fart freely  in public and blame it on the kids. 
5.       You can use them as an excuse to get out of anything.  “We’d love to come but that’s Itchy & Scratchy’s nap time”, “I was going to contact you but they’ve been so ill”, “of course I still find you attractive darling, but they’ve just worn me out today”.
6.       You’ll grow a temporary toddler hump because you’re constantly bending over.
7.       Take up lifting weights after your kids are too heavy to pick up.  Otherwise those muscular mammas will turn into bingo wings as fast as you can say “corrective surgery please”.
8.       You won’t be using a small size handbag for quite some time.  You’ll envy others with cute tiny purses, while you drag your house on wheels along behind you.
9.       You’ll love them with all your heart, but just not enough to give them your biscuits/chocolate/sweets/cheese/crisps (Delete as appropriate).  You share everything with them, so need something that is just for you.
10.   You’ll need to put aside some parenting trousers – much like you may have done with some decorating trousers - because you’ll only get through a day crud-free once in a blue moon...when they are with someone else.
 The list could go on forever I'm betting.  What would you add to this?

Double Dizzy Daleks

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The straw that broke the mamma's back

I reckon I’m generally a calm parent.  I don’t get angry when they wake me up repeatedly at night and then just laugh in my face when I go into check on them.  I don’t get too stressed when they play up in public and I can feel people’s eyes boring through my back.  Tantrums from both the twins at the same time doesn’t ever phase me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Mother Teresa.  My internal dialogue can be full of the f word but I manage to remain calm on the surface, which is what counts.  But I’ve realised recently that I have my own personal kryptonite...and it comes in the shape of Weetabix.
I give them Weetabix in the morning and what they do with it makes my blood boil.  They both throw their spoons away, get a big handful and then smear it all in their hair.  Such a small thing, and something a lot of parents would laugh at and enjoy.  But I lose my rag every time.  It’s like they know it’s my weak point, and they just want to see my head explode for fun.  We’ve usually planned to see someone in the day and what pisses me off is that they always look so dirty and scruffy when we go out.  It looks like I neglect them.  Why not just put them back in the bath I hear you say?  If you’ve never tried before, bathing twins on your own is NOT easy.  When you’re drying one, the other one in variably falling over, running away, slipping on the wet and chipping their teeth.  It’s hell, and there’s no way I’m visiting the fiery depths twice in one day.
So I started to wonder if I was alone, or if other parents have an Achilles' heel.  A weak spot that if hit, they are reduce to spitting, stuttering and shouting.  I’m relieved to report that thanks to the reply I got from Twitter and Facebook, I’m not alone and I’ve included below what those kind individuals shared with me.  Thank you to all of them.

Janie Panie @ –Says what drives her nuts is her kids talking to her while she’s on the phone.  “EVERYTIME.  It’s like the phone is a beacon alerting the children to come and say mum mum mum”.
Twinstiaras&tantrums @twinstiarasblog – Hates it when she says her kids names about 20 times and they still ignore her. “ So bloody frustrating”
Clare (anon) – Clare told me that her twins now copy each other.  “If one tips their food out of their bowl and sticks it on their head, the other will do exactly the same thing.  It’s a Nightmare.  Two lots of dinner to clean up”.
S Bourne @LuckyTwinMumSam – “Mine is when they twist their body just as you go to stick the nappy tabs down.  I know what happens when nappies aren’t on right?  And that’s after I catch them first as they both scarper as soon as they see nappies and wipes.  Dirty Monkeys”.
Rachel (anon) – Finds the hardest thing is “just them physically hanging off me all the time.  GET OFF.”
Clare gray @clarebearswift – Can’t stand children clinging to her and “them not telling me what they want and just making a whining noise instead”
Anonoman – Feels like losing it “when they smack the keys on the laptop and mange to fuck something up.  Our wireless stopped working for weeks and they managed to turn Google upside down once”.
T (anon) – “I get really frustrated when the kids feed food into the video machine”.
Lucy Lattimore @loopnem – Found this whole process therapeutic I think because she kept coming back with more examples, which was great.  Here are hers.
“Mine is when they brush their teeth.  If they play up when foamy white goo is mid dribble I will throw the toothbrush in the sink in a fit of pure fury”
Swiftly followed by  - They need a comment after everything they say.  “I’m just going for a wee...I saaaid I’m just going for a wee... mum mum mum.  I SAID I’m just going for a wee”.  Me “Ok!”  Off they finally go”.
Her husbands weakest moment is when “the kids spill drinks when having dinner.  He jumps up from the table like someone just let out a wild animal.  When the fluid makes its way to the edge of the table, that’s it.  Nobody is friends.  We eat in silence not looking at each other.”

Thank you to all who shared.  I’d love to hear if you have anything to add to this list.  See it as therapy, we’re all friends here.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Stairgate Gate

Dear Kiddiecare.
You may have bedazzled me by your bargain price Baby Dan Stair Gates.   I may have scooped up 3 in a gluttonous rage and raced them to the car before anyone could stop me.  I bet you even laughed at my innocence that I believed the rock bottom prices were because they weren’t in the original packaging, and not because they had pieces missing, IMPORTANT pieces missing.  I should have put two and two together, or asked - I grant you.  But I want you to know that it didn’t defeat me, and that I stand victorious like a warrior at the end of a battle - Bloody, sweaty and tired...but proud, stronger and in need of a good cuppa.
Your first move in this fight was to withhold the instructions.  Yes I stumbled I admit it, and I bet you thought you had the advantage.  But I kept going, using what raw DIY skill I could remember from my design and technology GCSE.  Another blow from you – a missing screw.  But in a gravity defying Neo (from the Matrix) move, I replaced it with one from my tool box.  Yes you heard me right.  MY tool box.  I bet you didn’t expect me to come so prepared.   I have a drill too, THAT’S NOT MY HUSBANDS. 
And then you left your most lethal move to last.  How could you?  You didn’t provide the screw template.  I could have fallen at this news, I almost vomited with despair.  In this hard and messy battle you fought your hardest, but no matter how many balls you threw at me I just kept throwing them back in your face. But I’m here to tell you Kiddiecare, that (despite the odd left over plastic bits I have)  I STAND TALL.  I AM VICTORIOUS.  I AM DIY MUM, HEAR ME ROAR.
*beats chest*.

Kiddiecare really is a wonderful company, and an amazing store (no really - it has a whole floor dedicated to prams and even has test tracks...awesome).  It was my fault for buying the one off's and not checking the bits.  But this post was just too much fun to write, and I had to post.

Monday, 6 August 2012

I've won an award!

Liebster Blog Award

Emotional moment. I got my first blog award. I received this award from Twinmumanddad ( Well chuffed, I hope no-one else is wearing the same dress for this acceptance speech.

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. It is a way to acknowledge each other and say “you’re doing a great job”. It is for blogs with 200 or less followers, so it’s also a great way to spread the word about smaller blogs and get them more readers and followers! 

When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person(s) who nominated you. You pass the Award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions. You’re not allowed to nominate the blog(s) who nominated you! (To get the button, right click the picture on my page and save the picture to your computer. You can then upload to your blog.)

11 Random Facts about me
1.   I’d never date a man with long finger nails
2.   I sweat more on my left side then my right
3.   I dislike people touching my face
4.   I want to be a yogi
5.   The most beautiful person I've seen in real life is Julian Clary
6.   If I ate Beef, it would kill me
7.   If I could be arsed, my chosen stalker obsession would be Beyonce
8.   I've been in one fight (when I was 10), and it was because I called someone a "turd”
9.   I lost the fight because I laughed all the way through it.  Fancy calling someone a turd!
10.            I cried once at Baywatch when someone got stung by a jellyfish...I was pregnant.
11.            I see the number 11 everywhere!

11 Questions from Twinmumanddad
1.   What is your favourite animal?
2.   What did you want to be when you were a child?
A singer
3.   What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Expressing my own way of seeing things
4.   Twitter or Facebook?
Twitter.  Facebook is like a closed gate community, Twitter is a big party and everyones welcome.
5.   Are you right or left handed?
6.   What was the name of your first pet?
Had a fish called Tumour-head.
7.   Do you have any hobbies?
Meditating, Reading, Singing, Photography
8.   Can you play a musical instrument?
Yes, Violin – Grade 6
9.   If you were stranded on a desert island what would be your one luxury item?
10.           Do you have any pets?
No, just a husband
11.           What's the healthiest thing in your fridge?

I’m now going to think of 11 other bloggers who I think deserve this award too.

How Team GB are helping me to be a better parent

Like a lot of people I know, I’ve done a spectacular u-turn when it comes to the Olympics.  If you’d have mentioned it to me a few months ago, I’d have groaned and rolled my eyes like a teenager.  But hands on heart I’ve not watched anything, ANYTHING, else except the Olympics on the telly.  I am hooked. My hand trembles on the remote in the morning to locate BBC1 for my next fix.  I snarl at Anonoman when he dares to pause live tv.  I watch it all; swimming, sailing, track and field, archery, hockey, tennis, football, volleyball (mainly because Anonoman’s a fan of all the “wobbly bits”), equestrian and gardening (no hang on...I could have strayed onto Gardeners World there).
And how many Golds???  It’s like I’ve staggered into an alternate universe where all the colours are saturated like I’m wearing polarised sunglasses.  A place where winning isn’t just a dream, but a daily repeating reality.  Is this really the UK?  I’ve lost my voice from shouting at the telly and I’ve blubbed several times, not just for the winners, but watching the heartbreaking interviews from those who’ve fallen short of their goals.
However satisfying it is seeing team GB hoovering up medals, I’m more captivated by the athletes themselves; their stories, personalities and the single minded way they aim to be the best.  They are normal people like you and me (except in my case they don’t have a severe aversion to cardiovascular activity...or lycra).  They’re from the villages/towns/cities that we’re from.  Yet they are set apart by their focus, hardwork and determination to constantly improve on their performance. 
So I asked myself what I could learn from this inspirational and alien group of people.  Could the strategies for success that work for them, work for me - as a parent?  Here’s what I’ve learned.
It’s not just about me
Tiffany Porter runs the 100mtr hurdles for team GB.  In an interview with BBC news she explained that the key to any athlete’s success isn’t just the athlete themselves but whole the team around them.  Trainers, coaches, parents, nutritionists, psychologists and family all help to achieve her best, and this is true with my kids.  I rely on our friends and family to provide me with sanity and entertainment for Itchy & Scratchy.  We’ve also had much needed financial support from family, and well as free holidays and presents.  Then there are the babysitters, or lifesavers as I’d rather call them.  It’s a special sort of person who offers to babysit twins, especially ones as shy as mine.  I am fiercely independent and I need to take a leaf out of Tiffany’s book and realise how much everyone puts in, not just me.
Concentrate on the present
One team GB’s best swimmers, Gemma Spofforth, is a world record holder and former world champion in the backstroke.  Her career has seen its fair share of setbacks. But in an interview at the 2012 Olympics she explains how ignoring the past and future, and concentrating only on the present helps her to achieve her best.  I most definitely could do with adopting this viewpoint as I worry most of the time either that they are a) behind their peers in some way, or b) if anything is wrong with them it’ll be down to something I’ve done in the past.  I sound like a nut job I know, but it’s the unfortunate outcome of a catholic upbringing and interest in psychology.  If I removed these worries, then I’d gain a whole load of clear head space to just enjoy them as they are now.  I don’t want to blink and be waving them off to university.
Structure your days to continue improving.
In this month’s Tesco magazine Kelly Holmes, a retired British middle distance athlete, explains having her days structured helped her to continue to improve.  My days seem to bleed into one another and I’m often left with a feeling that perhaps I should have paid more attention to some area of their development whether it be learning colours, shapes or climbing.  I’m not about to get all Gina Ford on your ass but I think a bit more thought into activities would benefit my Tiddlers, even if it does feel like pulling teeth.
See the big picture.
In the same magazine Dave Florence, Gold medal winner for the canoe slalom in London’s 2012 Olympics talks candidly about how he mentally prepares for competitions.  “It might be horrendous out here and I may be absolutely exhausted, but if I can make this a really good session, then I’m another step closer to success”.  The words “horrendous” and “exhausted” are sponsors of some of my days, so I could definitely gain something from this frame of mind.  My goal at the moment is to sit and enjoy a coffee while the Tiddlers play happily in a soft play area.  My dream may not set the world alight, but to me it’s up there with winning the lottery.  No matter how painful it is to try and get the girls to climb alone and to get enough confidence to go off without me, each time I do it I’m getting a bit closer to Nivarna – a hot decaf skinny Latte and the opportunity to stare into space for a few minutes.
So thank you team GB, for a stupendous Olympics, for inspiring a nation of up and coming sporting talent, and for providing me with some excellent strategies for my strongest sport – parenting twins.  I too have been struggling with injury and self-doubt, but I’ll keep going and hope for a personal best.
Interviews with Dave Florence and Kelly Holmes come from Tesco magazine July-August 2012.