Blue Bin Day – Week 12 of Lock down

Blue Bin Day – Week 12 of Lock down

Today is blue bin day. Hubby is at work, which means it’s up to me to transport the bin from the house, to the pavement. The outside world. Oh my god, it’s exciting. Today I make the decision to do it fully dressed and not in my pyjamas. And it’s not even 10 o’clock!!! I briefly consider involving the children but it’s been raining, which means puddles, which means fun and laughter, quickly followed by screaming and crying. No, this adventure I’m doing solo.

binsAs I open the gate, I check for other people. It’s week 12 of shielding and having to make polite socially distanced chit chat with people is quite daunting. I really don’t have much to say, not having Netflix and all. The coast is clear, we are good to leave the property. I drag the bin out and duly note the other blue bins. Don’t know why, but you always have to check that the neighbours have got their bins out too, just in case they might know something you don’t!!?!

Now, blue bin day is not as exciting as black bin day. Black bin day is the day you get rid of all the rotting food you’ve got in the bottom of the fridge. The bags of uneaten salad that have gone all black and watery. Decomposed basically, because every week you swear you are going to stop eating crap and eat sensibly from now on. It’s been 12 weeks since lock down started and you can’t keep eating like this. So you buy salad stuff by the ton, then before you know it, it’s Friday and you’ve not touched it. But it only lasts 3 days. So you watch it turn into mulch as you don’t want to put it in the bin just yet as that means you have accepted defeat. The frozen chips have won…again.

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Of course, when you’ve got 3 year olds, it doesn’t really matter what food you buy. They only want to eat crap. They talk the talk, but when it comes down to it, if it’s not beige and comes out of the freezer, they’re not interested. I like to think that I’m an all right cook, but these two have knocked all creativity out of me when it comes to thinking of things they might like. I mean, what was I thinking making butternut squash pasta?! For goodness sake woman!!! I’ve even succumbed to putting chocolate milk in their porridge so they will eat a decent breakfast!! Today they didn’t have their first ice cream until 11.30 – that’s a win in this house. They’ve got it sussed since we had that heatwave, ‘mummy, I’m so hot, I need something to cool me down. Something from the freezer?’ ‘Oh yeah, what could that be?’ ‘Ice cream!!!!’

‘Mummy, I have a sore leg, I need something to make it better!!’

‘Mummy, he hit me! I need something to make the ouchie go away!’

Normally, I would just think, it’s only ‘x’ amount of hours until wine o’clock. But I’ve not been very well recently due to my Crohn’s disease flaring up, so now I chill out with paracetamol and chamomile tea in the evening. And if I’m feeling naughty, some chocolate!!!! I’m really looking forward to that Merlot though as soon as I’m better!!! I consoled myself this week with some online retail therapy. Some new clothes? No. Shoes? Don’t be daft! I bought the hoover I’ve been after for ages, a Shark!!!!! Purely based on the advert where it hoovers up Cheerios without one of those little o’s being left behind. Sold, I’m in! As soon as it arrived, I put it together and set about vacuuming those wooden floors, and it did not disappoint. So, get yourselves a Blue Light Card (fellow key workers), and save yourself a bundle. Forget your 20% off at Lovehoney and Ann Summers my friends, ecstasy is sitting down and admiring your dust free laminate floors after you’ve given them a good going over with your Shark Dual Action thank you very much!!!!

It’s almost time for part two of my blue bin day adventure. The bin retrieval. Once I hear the dulcet rumbles of the bin lorry, I’ll be putting my shoes back on and venturing outside again, armed with my wipes of course. Ooh, the excitement of it all. Tomorrow, I have to have a blood test, but this time, they are sending someone to my house to do it!!!!!! But it’s ok….because I’ve got the Shark. My house will be presentable, even if my children are not!! I hope everyone in the outside world is well and getting through this difficult time in their own special way, and that sometime soon, we can all be together, preferably with a large glass of vino, and be able to say, what the hell was that all about?!!!???

Lock down

Lock down

I was really looking forward to writing a much awaited (on my part at least) blog post about my amazing trip down to Oxford to visit one of my oldest and bestest friends. I was all full of self-praise for surviving a hotel stop over and a six-hour car journey with just me and three-year-old twins! And then this happened. Lock down.

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Didn’t know this would have been our last road trip for a while!!!! Would have gone KFC instead of Burger King!!

We’re ten days in and I’m already beginning to get an insight into why Britney Spears shaved her head! The only people coming out of this looking half decent live with hairdressers, that’s for sure. And please, by no means think I am I undermining this. The truth is, I’m feeling all shades of messed up because 11 days ago, I received a phone call from my Crohn’s nurse practitioner, telling me that I am a high risk patient and I am not to return to work for 12 weeks. I’m frustrated and angry that I’m not there, on the front line, with my friends and colleagues, doing the job that we love, but in highly dangerous circumstances.

Then I speak to my colleagues in community nursing, and find out that they don’t have any PPE (personal protective equipment). They are visiting patients in their own homes and care home residents with no protection whatsoever. Then they go home to their families after their shift not knowing if they are carrying this deadly virus. That’s horrifying.

So, now, when I’m at home, just me and my boys, surveying the devastation that is my living room, screeching my head off for the fifty-fifth time in an hour, I stop; and think about them, my colleagues. I stop moaning that I am ‘stuck’ at home. And realise that I am ‘safe’ at home. I am keeping my family safe by not becoming ill myself. To me it feels incredibly selfish, and not something I am used to.

Now, being in lock down is bringing a lot of new things into our lives. Like Joe Wicks and his bloody PE for kids. Are you fricking kidding me? Can’t believe we’ve actually subscribed to his bloody channel. The kids are knackered after two minutes. My husband and I get through the whole episode but neither of us can move without groaning for two days afterwards!?! We take a photo and send it in to the boy’s nursery teachers, make it look like we’re getting into this whole embracing our child’s health at home bollocks. When really, we’re all sitting in our chairs eating recovery ice-cream and planning what pizza to eat for tea!!!! Cosmic bloody yoga never even got a look in. By that time of the afternoon, the twins are running around the house, half naked, covered in felt tip pens because, ‘I’m a tiger mummy’ and smacking each other with cricket bats!

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PE with Joe

For the first time ever, I’m not lying when I tell them the park is closed. And the swimming pool. And the library. And the soft play. It’s horrible when they ask about their friends. I’ve not actually given them an answer as to why they can’t see them. Partly because I want so badly to see my friends and family too. So, they are getting quite good at video calling. When I say quite good, I mean bloody awful. Yesterday Harry wanted to call grandma and just spent the whole time with his bum in front of the camera making farting noises. Charming. But at least he had pants on this time!!

I’ve downloaded Tik Tok and Houseparty. Not used Houseparty yet but I’m sure after a few wines I will!!!! Loving Tik Tok, but spend the whole time insanely jealous at all the people that are able to do these dances!! I tried to do the stair challenge one yesterday, but thanks to Joe bloody Wicks, I was unable to jump the dizzying height of one whole stair without my legs feeling like they were on fire. Think I’ll save that for week 6 of lockdown. Will be something to look forward to!!!

Decided this morning that I need to start creating some structure into our days. So, I sorted through the mound of colouring books, sticker books, pencils and crayons, got out the Usborne pre-school learning packs, and thought, I’ll teach the boys to write. We can have lessons in the morning!? Well, clearly, they are not ready for that yet, and neither am I; so, colouring in it was. We made some rainbows to stick up in the windows, again, took some photos to make it look like we are pro-actively participating in nationwide activities and enjoying ourselves during lockdown. When what I’m really thinking about is when it’s acceptable to open the bottle of red wine I’ve been eyeing up since breakfast?

So, during this surreal and scary time, the experts of social media tell us that this is a time of meditation and contemplation. A time to slow down. As I have about 45 seconds a day to enjoy quiet contemplation, these are the things I have learned so far:

If I had any doubt about growing out my pixie cut, that decision has now been taken out of my hands. Bring on the bowl cut!!

My husband has to get fitted for PPE, meaning he has to shave off his (in my opinion) hideous beard. Six months of nagging has gotten me nowhere, but this, this is marvellous.

I am so unfit.

I do not have the self-discipline for home exercise.

If my kids continue baking at the rate they are going, I am about four weeks away from obesity and/or type 2 diabetes.

I wasn’t aware how much I relied on going to work, seeing my friends and family, and the boys going to nursery for my sanity.

If they spend enough time cooped up indoors, my kids will go for a walk in the rain!! And enjoy it!

I know that everyone will be affected by this epidemic and everyone will come out of it a different person. I can’t wait to give people a hug again. I can’t wait to walk down the road again without calculating your route like Robocop. I can’t wait for my kids to be able to see their friends again and just be able to run and touch whatever they want. I can’t wait for the new normal.

Please all stay safe and look after each other from a distance. Remember, a friend somewhere is googling how to cut their own hair, and may just need your help.

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My little monkeys.
Summer Holidays

Summer Holidays

I was working the day before we went away, yet I could barely sleep that night as I was so excited to be going on holiday. A week away from ‘normal’ life; a week away from chores and a chance to explore and have some fun as a family, and maybe even relax.

Ha ha. Who was I kidding!?! I thought being out all day, every day with the boys would exhaust them giving us a chance to relax in the evening. What an idiot!! It was my own fault really for forgetting to pack the nanny!

First of all, they wouldn’t go to bed at night. The farm cottage was far too exciting for sleep. What with its death defying stair case, horses outside the window and it’s very own play park. Then they were up at the crack of dawn each morning. Our first day of the holiday, we were in the car, ready to go at 9.30am. And we’d had a proper sit down around the table full on family breakfast!!

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It was great fun though. The boys loved it, and so did we. We took a steam train to Whitby. Went to the beach, almost got washed away by the rising tide, twice. Had the most amazing fish and chips at Filey, attacked by seagulls at Scarborough. Harry and Archie ate their body weight in ice cream. You couldn’t walk five feet without encountering an ice cream sign or a shop with a giant cone outside!

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Our farm cottage had a small playground in the field outside, it was perfect. After a busy day sightseeing, the boys would run off to the wee park, where we could take a bottle of wine and just sit. And chill. For ten minutes. At the most. We ended up buying bags of apples and carrots to feed to the resident horses. Bikes were ridden up the lane and around the farm. Both boys seemed to gain confidence by the day, it was wonderful.

Then we went to Flamingo Land. What was I actually thinking?! It looked great online. Plenty for the little people to do. And as the English kids were still at school and we were going mid week, what could go wrong?!?! We arrived at 10am, bang on opening time and already the car and coach parks were filling up. We had tickets on our phone, which apparently means you can only go through a specific turnstile which turned out to be a fucking state secret by the time we made it through. At the first gate, we were ambushed by school kids. My husband and I were pushed out of the way and separated, the boys started screaming at all these kids descending on them. Then we were told three times we were at the wrong turnstile even though it was resort staff that were telling us where to go. Not a great first impression.

Anyway, we got in, saw a small train so jumped on that to give ourselves time to calm down and look at the map. Again, what could go wrong? All was fine, we were pootling around the park on the train, spotting giraffes, monkeys, Peter Rabbit, and racing cars. They were like giant Scaletrix. We got off the train and decided to head to the children’s park, more suitable for toddlers. But oh no. Harry wanted to go on the racing cars. He screamed bloody murder for the racing cars. Archie and daddy were having a great time on a teeny tiny dragon rollercoaster while I tried my best to hold on to a writhing, wriggling, sweaty toddler. Guess who won? Off we went to the racing cars. When we arrived the queue was massive, and in all honesty, they looked shit. They weren’t even going walking pace. We decided to take the hit, and get out of there. It was awful. Two screaming toddlers trying to escape your grip. Not even the prospect of ice cream could placate them. Oh, and it was about 4 million degrees by this time. We’d been there half an hour and already I was regretting it. But we’d spent £70 getting in!!!!!!!!!

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Wacky Races

So, we finally got to the children’s area. The rides were more suitable, however you couldn’t go on anything that had a queue. Two year olds don’t understand the concept of queuing. Also, if you went on a ride with a tractor or car, you’d better hope it had two steering wheels. I thought we were going to lose Harry on the Wacky Races ride as he decided half way round that it was his turn to drive and off came the seat belt as he began to tackle Archie to the ground!!!?!!!!!

We then arrived at what became our salvation. Peter Rabbit Land. Land makes it sound extravagant. It was a play park designed around Peter Rabbit’s house and it was pretty cool. And it had a pub next to it. So we settled in for a couple of hours. The boys had a great time and we managed to have something to eat and drink. My favourite bit was something you don’t often hear at a kiddies park. A dad shouting over to his other half, ‘no love, you sit down and finish your pint, I’ll help him!’

After everyone had their fill of Peter Rabbit, we decided to go see the animals. Harry and Archie had lost the ability to walk at this point, so firmly established on our shoulders, we set off to look at penguins, baboons and giraffes. The tigers were asleep apparently. Finally, once we thought we’d got our 70 quids worth (!?!?!) we headed back to the car. I had to laugh at the boys protests; they were both asleep by the time we fastened the seat belts!

We learned a lesson that day. Resorts are great, but they’re not for us. Not yet. Toddlers just need somewhere they can run. Somewhere where they can play hide and seek, make up games and not be held back. They don’t understand height restrictions and why they can’t just run off and play. I have decided to avoid busy places like that for just now as it’s so stressful for them and for us.

I was sad to leave and come home, however it was nice to get back to our creature comforts. We’d had a week with WIFI only available in the kitchen, no SKY or YouTube. It took Harry and Archie three days to stop whining at the fact that they couldn’t watch their programmes on demand!!!!

So for now it’s back to normal. However, normal is going to change! The boys will be turning 3 in a few weeks, then starting nursery in October. Oh my. Bring on the new adventures!!!!

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Two year old heartbreakers and troublemakers

Two year old heartbreakers and troublemakers

My babies have gone. Vanished overnight, to be replaced by two little boys. In one moment, they melt my heart with their hugs and the way they say, ‘mama’….the next I could run out the door and not look back! They have voices now, along with attitudes and opinions. Two months ago when you asked them something, you were just making pretend conversation. Now you get a firm yes or more than likely – no!!!

The past few months have been very challenging for my family and I. For too many reasons to go into, this summer has had it’s fair share of ups and downs. And in all honesty, I’ve struggled, and not just with the heat. I’ve not been myself and it’s only in the past month that I’ve realised this. Stress has taken it’s toll and I’ve been anxious, tired, grumpy and so on edge. Instead of trying to go with the flow, the slightest change to my normal routine was causing me a lot of anxiety.

Add to the mix two toddlers who are growing and changing all the time and it’s no wonder my wine intake has increased dramatically!!!!!! One day you could all sit down for breakfast and everything would be fine, the next day, they have decided they don’t like highchairs, bibs, or cereal, or you and you would end up wearing breakfast. A nappy change would involve full on combat training and forget trying to put a raincoat on them!!!

I began to get so fed up with all of this. Nothing I did seemed right and if I tried to intervene, a tantrum was sure to follow. It was exhausting. And depressing. It didn’t help that I knew they didn’t behave this way with their dad. They liked to save the crazy for me. Routines had gone out of the window. I put it down to the hot summer, but slowly realised that part of it was just them getting older and more independent. Pushing their boundaries. The more I tried to resist this, the harder it became. So, I started to try and give them the opportunity to show me what they wanted. I discovered that if I let them put their own shoes on with me to hold on to for balance, there was no screaming! If I gave them bowls that didn’t stick to the table, they didn’t try and throw them at me. When bedtime came along, I asked them where they wanted to sit to drink their milk and they took themselves upstairs (with me!!). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all plain sailing now, but the days have gotten a tiny bit easier. No, easier isn’t the right word. More tolerable perhaps?! And more importantly, I am getting through this transition a lot better now (I think!).

My little boys are full of fun and every day is an adventure. They are becoming the best of friends which is wonderful to see. They create games to play together and you can hear them giggling and screaming from one end of the house to the other.

My best friends’ eldest son went off to university this week and I can still remember the day he was born. I can only begin to imagine the mixed bag of emotions she is feeling.

So, when I’m feeling worn out at the end of the day, I lie down, with a snuggly toddler on either side of me, and cherish the cuddles. As they guzzle their milk, pull my hair, stick their fingers in my eyes and up my nose, I can feel their bodies relax and their breathing slow down. And so do I. I think about our day and the fun we’ve had, the things they’ve learned (and me too!). Every day they seem to learn a new word, or thing to make me laugh. Archie likes to shout ‘Go!’ at everything and Harry has learnt the actions for the cricket scoring!!!!! I heard a little girl tell him she was 4 and Harry started waving his arm from side to side (4 runs in cricket terms!!!!!!).

I know it won’t be long before they are talking properly and asking me questions. We will be having conversations instead of guessing what they are trying to say.

So I am trying not to wish this difficult and frustrating time away. With the help of my family, friends and my awesome twin mum’s, we’ll come out of this alive and kicking, ready for the next stage (aaarrrggghhh!!!).

One of those days.

One of those days.

You know when you just have one of those days? The ones where you wish you could rewind and start again?
This morning, the boys had a hospital appointment at half nine. Being the amazing, super organized person that I am, we were all ready by 8.30. At 8.45 I thought I’ll go turn the car round so we’re ready to go. The key fob isn’t working. No big deal. Open the door, turn the ignition. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Oh bollocks. Phone my husband – goes to voicemail.
Okay – no big deal. We’ll get the bus. Might be a bit late but we’ll be okay. Look up bus times. It’s doable. Bus is at 9.18. Right, let’s get the pram out and do that. Can’t get the car boot open as its central bloody locking and you can’t open the boot manually!!!!! Fine. I’ll climb in the back of the car and drag the pram out. Can’t get the back doors open as the child lock is on. Are you fricking kidding me?!?!?!?!
My husband gets my message and races home. Thank goodness for Isofix. We quickly take the seats out of one car and squeeze them into the other car. Find I can get one of the back doors open on the defunct car so I fold the seats down and drag the pram out. It just fits into the Fiesta boot! We head off to the hospital and arrive at 9.35. Pretty impressive if you ask me. Our appointments are at 9.30 and 10am. They are running half an hour late. If anyone can tell me how a department that starts at 8.30 is running half an hour late by 9.30, I would honestly love to know. As it happens they can’t do the audiology tests as the boys won’t keep the ear plugs in. Who’d have thought? Toddlers that won’t keep ear plugs in!?!??!
Anyway, I started thinking, all is not lost. It’s twins group this morning. I love twins group. The boys can have a run around while I get coffee and cake. What’s not to like. Arrive at the soft play to find another baby group has started up at the same time as ours and the place is heaving. There are babies and small children all over the place. Oh no. Still, I get my coffee and chat with the girls. The boys are grumpy and tired. One sleeps, the other doesn’t. He’ll regret that later on I tell him but he doesn’t listen.
Decide to go home as it’s easier to be tired and grumpy in the comfort of your own home. Archie falls asleep eating his lunch. ‘Told you so’ I tell him as I pull the unchewed food out of his mouth. Put them in their chairs and wait to see if Harry falls asleep too, desperately wanting just half an hour to have a cuppa and collect my thoughts in peace (aka play Wordbrain). Harry falls asleep ten minutes before we have to leave to go and pick their dad up from work. Of course he does.
Pick hubby up from work, quick stop at the shops for the essentials. Pizza and wine. Roll on 7pm. I really begrudge days like today where you feel like you’ve achieved nothing but are knackered from doing so. What a day! Still, on a positive note, tomorrow will be better. Oh no wait, I’m night shift.

What have I learned in a year?

What have I learned in a year?

Facebook reminded me that it has been a year since I did my first blog post. I can’t believe it! The boys are now 17 months old, no longer babies but little toddlers. After reading my post it made me think of what I’ve learned and discovered over the past year, so I thought I would share this knowledge with you all!!

First of all, never look them in the eye. No matter what they’re doing, if they are not actually harassing you at the time, avoid eye contact. This is especially important at bedtime. If you do, you’re screwed.

Never wake a sleeping baby. If they are old enough to sleep on their front but you don’t think it looks comfy….walk away. Fallen asleep in the playpen….leave them be. As a friend of mine recently found out to her own demise – four hours later whilst still trying to placate a screaming baby!!!!

Telly Addicts

The television is your best friend. If you’ve read my post from February 2017 you will know my previous thoughts on this. I think the boys were about 10 months old when I discovered my husband placed them in front of the tv to settle them down at times. Initially horrified, I soon jumped on that bandwagon. Now, if I’m not careful, Baby TV is on all day. They climb up on the couch next to me and we take five to watch Tricky Tracks or Charlie’s Magic Numbers. I think we may be ready to ascend to the dizzy heights of Cbeebies soon. Very excited.

Baby groups have saved me. A year ago I was apprehensive about starting to attend baby groups. I didn’t think I would fit in etc. Well I can truly say that I now love my baby groups and without them I would be a snivelling wreck of a woman. They are my saviour during the darkest and lightest of times. My twin mums especially. We try to meet up every Monday morning and I really look forward to it. My twin mums don’t hold back on how they are feeling and what they are going through. It’s a good chance for the babies to play and for us to have the all important (and life saving) coffee, cake and chat. I know it’s not for everyone, but if you can find a group of like minded ladies with babies, then it can really help you cope with life.

If all of a sudden it’s gone quiet – then they’re up to no good. My two have proven my point whilst I’m writing this. I’m not going into any details, but let’s just say that the thing that’s supposed to stop the television from being pushed over by exuberant toddlers doesn’t work. Fortunately, the tv is made of stronger stuff!!!!

Ask for help. As I have to keep reminding myself, my husband isn’t psychic, and while I’m silently cursing him in the middle of the night for not coming to my aid when one of them is crying, it’s because he is also lying there thinking I’ve got everything under control.

Advice. You’ll get lots of it. Many mentions of ‘back in my day, we never had baby monitors, bath thermometers, baby classes, post natal depression’…..etc. etc. Some of it may be helpful, some of it will not. Things change. Back in the day they thought smoking wouldn’t kill you. Back in the day infant mortality rates were higher. Take what you want and ignore the rest. My tolerance for advice equates with how much sleep I’ve had.

Carrying on from advice – learn to ignore the ‘do they sleep through the night yet?’ question. Whatever anyone says will make you feel like crap. You’ll feel judged if they do sleep through the night and if they don’t. Babies sleep through the night when they are good and ready so just accept that. And just when you are celebrating that night of sleep you enjoyed, they will get a cold, a cough, vaccinations, teething or general grumpiness that will bring you back down to earth with a big, fat, screw you.

Baby crap you need and crap you don’t. Society, health professionals, friends and family will tell you that you need all sorts of baby crap. Again, you will find out what works for you. These are my personal favourites.

Fisher Price baby to toddler chairs (other brands are available). My two suffered from awful reflux so two baby chairs were essential. Get the ones with the chair vibration button – sends them right off to sleep (when they are little)!! These chairs are great for post feeding, during feeding and napping in.

A formula machine. I got the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine after attending a twins antenatal class. Everybody was talking about it!!!! It has been amazing. Although by the second day of use you are already thinking that two minutes to make a bottle of milk is far too long. In the middle of the night you will find yourself screaming at it to hurry the f*#k up!!!!

500 muslin cloths and bibs. I kid you not. We got loads as gifts and I couldn’t think why. Didn’t take long to find out.

Baby in a bucket

You don’t need a fancy bath. I bought a tummy tub as it was recommended for premature babies. My husband called it an overpriced bucket. After defending it vehemently for several months I eventually conceded. It was a bucket that was impossible to effectively wash a baby in. As my mum kept reminding me, I was bathed in the kitchen sink.

You don’t need expensive clothes. Babies will throw up several times a day. They will poop several times a day and generally get themselves into a gooey mess. Then they start teething and weaning. Whoever said to dress them in different clothes to differentiate between night and day was talking shite. They will go through 4 sets of clothes in an hour sometimes!!!!! Stock up on vests and sleepsuits. Cheap ones. From Tesco. (Other supermarkets are available).

Toys. You don’t need many. They will play with the same one all day every day if they like it. Babies find fun in all sorts of crap that isn’t made by Vtech. Like toilet paper. Or that free magazine that gets delivered every month. A spoon. Their socks. The remote control. Last week Archie managed to change the screen size on the tv and it took me four hours to change it back!!

So there you have it. My pearls of wisdom. Of course as I said above, my advice is only that. One thing I do know for sure is this: time is flying by. My babies have gone and been replaced by mischievous toddlers. I can’t remember the last time I breastfed them. I know it was a year ago, but I can’t remember that last feed. When I hold my friend’s babies who are six months old, I am surprised by how light and small they are as I’ve already forgotten that’s what mine were like. I remember enduring tummy time to help them develop muscle control, and now they climb up on the couch next to me. I’m scared I’m going to miss something as I’ve already experienced and forgotten so much. The nights are long and the days can be hard, but the months are going far too fast.

New Year’s Revelations

New Year’s Revelations

Happy New Year to you all! 2018. When the hell did that happen? Remember when you were a kid and your parents used to tell you to stop wishing time away? They were right. I’ve just turned 41. No going back now. 41!!!!!

My cousin gave me a 5 year diary for my Christmas where there are 5 years on each page, and you write a few lines about each day so you can see what you were doing the previous year. What a marvellous idea which got me thinking about the previous year and about making some new year’s resolutions. I found an old notebook with resolutions from 2014/2015 and not surprisingly, I hadn’t achieved half of them. So this year I thought I’d do it differently and make a list of things I’m NOT going to do.

I’m not going to lose weight – get fit – tone up – eat better – not drink so much. Fuck it. I am on the go all of the time. (I can feel my husband about to object so let’s say 99% of the time!!). I may put my feet up and watch some tv when the babies are napping but generally, I’m always doing something. Cleaning, cooking, tidying up, soft play, meeting friends and family or at my actual place of work. So when I do get a blessed ten minutes to drink a cup of coffee then I’m bloody well having a cake with it.

I’m not going to follow people on Instagram who make me feel fat and lazy. You know the ones I mean. The mum’s (or mom’s) who post pictures of themselves bench-pressing their twins before breakfast like they’re dumbbells, then sit down to a bowl of granola and acacia berries. You can all sod off. They call themselves inspirational. They’re not. They’ve had six kids and got a six pack so there’s no excuse for me not to be flashing my abs? I bet those aren’t even their kids. I live in the real world. I choose 30 minutes in bed in the morning over exercising strenuously. I choose weetabix and a walk with the babies. I choose cheese and wine. So thinspirational mum’s – consider yourself Unfollowed. I feel lighter already.
I’m not going to get so stressed about the little things. Now this I may struggle with. I know that last year I used to get stressed about going out with the babies, being late, that sort of thing. Then I broke it down to what’s the worst that can happen? You’re late. So what? Babies start screaming? Just go home. I hate a messy house, it’s true. But after us all being so ill for the past two months, I realised that it just doesn’t matter. If things don’t get done for a few days, it’s not the end of the world. If you’re tired, have a nap. Your mental and physical well being are far too important to ignore. I hadn’t thought about what it would be like to be ill looking after two ill babies. Oh my god. It’s just soul destroying. However, I took a little comfort in knowing that my other twin mums were all going through the same thing so at least we could message each other at 3 in the morning and moan at how tired we were.

I am going to be grateful for what I’ve got though. It’s too easy to start thinking about all the things I may not have achieved yet, or material things I wish I had (my hints at a new Kindle were obviously too subtle). We are living in a time where a Loneliness Minister has been appointed. I wish that wasn’t a real thing. It got me thinking about how happy my babies are and wouldn’t it be lovely if that happiness could be shared to all the isolated and lonely people out there? I feel a letter to my MP coming on. Anyway, I am grateful for my family, friends, colleagues and all those who read my blog and continue to share my journey. Happy new year to you all. I hope it brings you all of your desires.

 

Dear Santa….

Dear Santa….

Dear Santa….what do I want for Christmas? Well obviously I want health and happiness for my family, but for me? I would really like to be Katie for a day. Not mummy, or nurse, just Katie.  Don’t judge me Santa but that’s what I want. And hey, if we’re asking for a day, throw in the night too!!!!

A whole day just for me. Maybe I’d take the train to Edinburgh. An hour to drink a coffee and read my book (or hopefully the new Kindle that’s on my Christmas list too 😉). I’d mooch around the shops looking at clothes and stuff just for me. I’d visit the Chamber Street museum (you can call it the Museum of Scotland but I’ll always call it the Chamber Street museum). I love the dinosaur and science bit. Then I’d have lunch somewhere. By myself. A proper lunch without food being thrown back at me. And I wouldn’t have to scrub the chair and floor when I’m finished!!!!

After that, I’d have a manicure, or a massage. Oh yes. To have oil rubbed into that mass of knots that has replaced my neck and shoulders. Yes please. Afterwards I could sit in a bar, sipping a Mojito and people watch. Then I’d get the train home on which I’d have a nap. Aaahhhh. When I get home, I’d sit in the bath with a glass of wine (or two). Then I’d spend the evening watching Grey’s Anatomy on box sets (the old one’s with McDreamy and McSteamy). Then I’d go to bed and sleep for eight uninterrupted hours (perhaps with the odd McDreamy and McSteamy dream 😂).

 

McDreamy & McSteamy

 

In my absence, the house will have been cleaned. The laundry washed, folded and put away. The babies will have been entertained all day. They will be bathed and fast asleep in their cots. Sounds like a fairy tale, right? So, if you can do that Santa, I promise to keep your secret safe for years and years.

But, wait a minute. Can I keep the gorgeous, little baby cuddles? The way they wrap their arms around my neck and snuggle in. Can I keep the giggling? Listening to them laugh at each other when they play silly games together is the sweetest sound on this earth. Can I keep the first smile of the day? The way they look at me when they wake up is so adorable. It’s like they can’t wait to spend the day with me. And although it’s frustrating and exhausting, can I keep the midnight snuggles? When they’ve woken up coughing and full of snot, and just want to be with me until they fall back to sleep?

Peek-a-boo

Hhhmmm. Well Santa. You know what? I think I’d like to stay as mummy and Katie, and I’ll ask for slippers and pyjamas instead please. Chuck in a bottle of Merlot to sweeten the deal.

(And another photo of these two 😁)

365 Days Later

365 Days Later

As I sit here writing this post, the twins are in their playpen, hanging onto the bars, looking out of the window. Harry is standing and Archie is halfway there. If you’d told 20170905_102151.jpgme a year ago that’s where they’d be, I’d have smiled and secretly thought, I really do hope so.

The boys celebrated their first birthday on the 5th of September. I made fairy cakes and they played with the wrapping paper and boxes that their presents came in. That weekend we had a party and were overwhelmed at how many family and friends came to join in the fun. Harry and Archie had a great time! They were little social butterflies, getting cuddles and kisses from everyone. There were two cakes, ev20170905_081357.jpgeryone sang happy birthday and I cried, even though I’d promised myself I wouldn’t. I really couldn’t help it. Partly because I cry at everything these days, but mostly because every day I’m still surprised at how far they’ve come. You’d never know to look at them that they were born far too soon, with all the possible complications that can bring.

One minute they drive me nuts, the next they make me laugh so much. Although genetically identical they really do have such different personalities. Harry is full on boisterous, pushing his brother around and grabbing everything within his reach. Archie likes to take it all in first, let his brother push him around, and is definitely the chatterbox of the two. They do have one thing in common, and that is the ability to laugh at the silliest things, and it’s just wonderful. This week, it’s hiccups.

I’m now back at work and every shift so far, people have asked me if I miss my babies. The truth is, I don’t. I’ve spent every day of the past year with them (except for 24 hours of bliss at Stobo Castle). I know that they are safe at home, having a great time with their dad. Within half an hour of my leaving for my first shift, Harry stood for the first time. When I got home in the morning, I was greeted by two smiling faces shouting, ‘dada’! Hhhmmm, wonder how long it took to teach them that Mr Finlay!!

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Happy birthday dear Harry and Archie

Work is part of my ‘me’ time. I never thought I’d ever think that!!!! I spend 45 minutes each way in the car, drinking hot coffee listening to the radio. I then spend 12.5 hours with adults, using skills and knowledge I’d forgotten I’d had. I get 40 minutes to eat my lunch in peace. I’m still knackered at the end of the day so nothing new there, but it’s nice to be back. Of course it helps that I’m now part time so if I have a rough day, I know I don’t have three more to get through!! My husband and I are working opposite shifts so it’s a bit tough on us at times however it’s only until they start school!!!

There has been a new development to our daily routine which has been most welcome indeed. A couple of weeks ago, it was 6pm, and I was informed by my husband that it was ‘daddy hour’. The twins dutifully followed him into the den, where I was told that I would not be required and the door was closed. I had an hour. To myself. What to do?!?!?!? Unsure, I promptly poured a (large) glass of wine and deliberated on what I wanted to do first. I decided on a bubble bath. It was heaven. Then at 7pm, the babies had their bed time milk and were duly punted off to bed. We then had actual time to ourselves. So, obviously, we were both asleep in front of the tv by 9pm.

The boys turning one has made me take a look back at the past 365 days. People often say the first three months must have been hard for us with the babies in hospital, but I tend to think it was the first three months of them being home that was harder. Lack of sleep, not knowing what you were doing, arguing over the stupidest things, mood swings, lack of sleep (it needs a double mention!!). The truth is, their time in hospital is very surreal to us. We couldn’t allow ourselves to think of anything except the day we would be bringing them home. Both of them. Together. There were a few dark days where that dream seemed impossible, but we pulled ourselves together, for the sake of the babies, our family and friends, and said that everything would be okay. And it was.

So on that note, I would like to wish Harry and Archie a very happy first birthday. And goodness knows what the next 365 days will bring!!! Walking….talking….tantrums….more teeth….mischief and mayhem!! I cannot wait.

Maison de Famille

Maison de Famille

I was recently given a lovely housewarming gift – a wooden plaque with Maison de Famille painted on it. I’ve placed it at the entrance of our new house. Our family house. I still can’t quite believe it….all grown up, married, two kids and a proper house with a big garden for the little tikes to play in.

It’s been a busy few months for us all with a lot of changes. Not only have we moved house, but the babies have grown so much. They now have teeth…which means we have started brushing said teeth. No easy task. I get about two seconds of brushing done before the brush is grabbed and used as a chew toy. And god forbid you try and take it back before they’re done with it!!!!! They are in their high chairs now which makes feeding time a lot easier. I can feed them both at the same time, simples!! Unless one of them is having a strop….which they take it in turns to do. I should have known if anything was going to make life easier it wouldn’t last for long!!!!

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What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine

It is pretty wonderful though watching them learn new things. Eating finger foods is my favourite so far. They like their afternoon snacks. Harry always leans over and trys to steal Archie’s food, especially his toast. They’ve started to crawl and can cover a fair distance in seconds!! Putting up a playpen was a priority in the new house. It’s our saviour. The noisy toys are out now too. Oh my. Thank you V Tech (and grandparents!!). We spend all day singing along to the poxy things….3,2,1, is everyone on board? Take off. Where’s the cat? (I know, a plane with cats as passengers?!?). Welcome to our learning farm, we have lots show you-oo! Ring a ling – thanks for calling! The little red phone is now their weapon of choice. They’re obsessed with it. They hit each other with it. They hit me with it. 20170721_190927They hit the bars of the playpen with it like prisoners in old westerns.

They are in new beds too, cotbeds. These beds are huge compared to the little cots they went into when they came home. Back then they seemed so tiny in those. Now they can crawl around their new bed, do back rolls, front rolls, sleep horizontally if they choose to (which they do of course. Face planted into the mattress, giving us sleepless nights!!!).

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We are now planning their first birthday party in September. Can’t quite believe it’s nearing that time already. We were reminiscing the other night (with wine, obviously), both of us getting misty eyed at what it was like when the babies first came home from the hospital. Getting through 24 hours was a well deserved reason to celebrate! I used to see daylight as a reward….I’ve made it through another night!!! Like somehow it was easier during the day?!?! Then being able to sleep for more than 3 hours. I remember celebrating when the first night feed began after midnight!!!! And when you were down to just one overnighter…..it was like being on holiday! And the first time you slept all night. Ah….good times.

For my 40th birthday, I wanted my babies to smile. Which I convinced myself they did (although now they smile all the time I think it was probably wind). They laugh, make silly noises, scream at a hilariously high pitch all the time. Harry commando crawls everywhere, Archie is watching and learning intently, ready to follow soon. We have already earmarked their personality types. We have used the ‘flat pack’ furniture analogy and decided that Harry takes after his dad. His flat pack arrives, he rips open the box and starts banging everything together, hoping it stays up and wondering why there are 8 screws and two pieces of wood left over. Archie takes after me. He makes himself a cup of tea, reads the instructions and pieces everything together in a calm and orderly manner, allowing himself to feel a small amount of smugness at his masterpiece. It will be interesting in the years ahead to see if we are right!!

To my friends who are pregnant now or have tiny babies, please, please, please enjoy these days, weeks and months. Yes they are so challenging, exhausting and rewarding, but they go by so quickly. Before you know it, you too could be wondering which one will you go after first when they both bugger off at the same time in opposite directions!!!!!!

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Our first family photograph