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!!!).

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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.

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.

About me

About me

My name is Katie and I am a 40 year old mum to identical twin boys. They were born in 2016 at 27 weeks and 3 days. I have started this blog primarily as a way of dealing with the whole experience of being in hospital for 13 weeks after their birth, instead of getting to know them at home.

It was only after my babies came home that the full effect of what we’d been through as a family hit me. I’m still processing it, taking each day as it comes.

I feel so lucky to have my boys home and would like to encourage others to share their experiences and raise awareness of premature babies.

I hope that this blog will grow alongside me and my boys. It’s not just about their traumatic entry into the world. I’m excited about being a mother and all the wonderful adventures I’ll get to experience over the coming days, weeks and years. And that is what I’m going to write about.

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