Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Not so blooming marvellous

I was just having a long-overdue clear-up the other day when I came across the handbag I used when I was pregnant. A few of its contents included: 

  • Empty chewing gum wrappers

  • Small jewellery box (empty)

  • A packet of tissues

  • Parking receipt from the hospital

  • Boarding pass

  • Three packets of Rennies

  • Business card for the local beauty salon

  • Fan
This seemingly harmless array of bits and pieces got me thinking back to my pregnancy, and how it wasn't the beautiful, soul-enhancing experience I was expecting. A close friend of mine had loved every minute of being pregnant, so I couldn't wait to have my turn to glow and bloom. Maybe if I'd been growing just one baby inside me it would have been different but I felt let down by my pregnancy. I loved my bump, but my love affair with the state of pregnancy ended there.

23 weeks
Let's look at those items again...

Chewing gum wrappers - I suffered from terrible morning sickness 24 hours a day from week six to week 22. Got to week 12, thought, 'hurrah the sickness is over', and then continued to be sick at least once a day for the next ten weeks. When the nausea hit in a big way (most often on the train into work every morning), some chewing gum would keep the sickness under control for the ten minute journey, if I was lucky!
Small jewellery box (empty) - No-one warned me about the constant fear. I spent all 37+2 weeks of my pregnancy with a feeling of terror in the pit of my stomach that it was all going to go horribly wrong. Superstition took over, and I had lucky rituals I couldn't and wouldn't break. This box held my two good luck charms - a small brass bear my dad brought me back from Berlin when I was about ten years old, and a piece of rose quartz a friend gave me when I was trying to get pregnant.

Hospital parking receipt - I seemed to most of my pregnancy at the twin clinic at Lewisham Hospital. On the plus-side it was reassuring to be monitored so closely, on the downside the endless hours on the uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room dragged terribly, and the parking was extortionate. 

Boarding pass - A dream trip to New Zealand was booked before we got pregnant, which we still went on, flying out when I was 14 weeks. 29 hours on a plane with awful morning sickness was not fun, but was worth it to see NZ and my brother. At least I got to be sick somewhere else for a change.

Three packets of Rennies - I had dreadful heartburn and gobbled anything that might help. Typically it was at its worst when I was lying down, so I would struggle to sleep (something I wanted to do almost all the time). I glugged Gaviscon out of the bottle and got through bottles so fast I started getting them on repeat prescription.

Business card for the local beauty salon - So many aches and pains. I took myself off for a few massages while I was pregnant (with non-scented massage oil, as anything smelly made me sick). A pedicure just before I had the babies was just the ticket, as there was no way I could have reached my own toes, and I had to look at them for hours lying in my hospital bed for eight days and nights.

Fan - Being pregnant with twins over the hot summer months made for a rather uncomfortable time. I tried to avoid getting on the Tube as much as possible, and luckily my train journey into the office is relatively speedy, but the fan came in very handy in times of need. It was a great weapon to wield when every miserable commuter on the train was avoiding my eye so as not to have to offer me their seat. A bit of huffing and fan waving piled on enough guilt that someone usually caved eventually.

37+2 weeks

And then there was the insomnia, the constant tiredness, the sore knees and ankles, the uncomfortable feeling of a baby bouncing on your bladder. But of course, the two beautiful babies at the end of it made it worth it. So when you're reading this in a few years time Miss E and Mr A, go and make your lovely mum a cuppa, as she deserves it, don't you think?

This was written for Josie at Sleep Is For The Weak's Writing Workshop. I chose the prompt, 'What eagerly anticipated experience turned out to be a complete and utter let down?'.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Out of office

Date: Tue, 30 March, 2010
Subject: I am out of the office as I am celebrating my 30th birthday all day

1 This morning I intend to be eating a breakfast lovingly prepared by Young Daddy, and laughing as Miss E and Mr A try to eat every single one of the endless cards and amazing and beautifully gift-wrapped presents that are stacked up ready for me to open. I shall shed a happy tear at the touching and adoring sentiments in each card.

2 At lunchtime I expect to be whisked away in a chaffeur-driven car to a secret destination. Ok, you've twisted my arm, Brighton. Burglars beware - a friend is house-sitting so no need to pop round to try your luck. The roads enroute will be traffic-free and the babies will slumber peacefully in their car seats for the whole journey.

3 After a rendevous at our luxury accomodation (a friend's flat) with my parents, I anticipate opening more exquisite birthday gifts, followed by an all-expenses-paid shopping trip into Brighton. Every item of clothing I try on will fit me like a glove and make me look like an expensively-dressed fashion editor. Once I reach the till, I will discover that the perfectly-fitting item has a staggering 95% off in their exclusive sale.

4 Once Miss E and Mr A have gratefully retired to their travel cots, smiling serenely at me as I give them each a goodnight kiss, I shall sip champagne and enjoy a gastronomic feast that I have played no part in preparing. Nothing consumed will add one pound of weight to my hips or bum.

5 And finally, I will turn in for the night and enjoy the best night's sleep I've had since 2008.

In my absence, please forward all birthday wishes to my trusty comments form below.

Young Mummy x

Monday, 29 March 2010

A tale of two teeth

I can't believe I haven't got round to blogging about this yet (bad mummy), but Miss E got two teeth a couple of weeks ago! Both babies have been drooling for England for months and have red, rosy cheeks a clown would be proud of. Then one morning Miss E was on the change mat and I noticed something on her bottom gum. I had a feel and lo and behold it was a tooth. She had made absolutely no fuss whatsoever, unbelievable when you consider what a little drama-queen-in-the-making she is, and so the tooth's appearance was highly unexpected. In hindsight, it was probably the reason she's been sucking her gums like a toothless old man for a week, but I didn't think anything of it at the time. By lunchtime that same day she had cut the second bottom tooth, and now we're enjoying the cutest toothy grins. I've tried to capture it on film, but it's proving tougher than I thought. Here's a little video I made yesterday - you can just about catch a glimpse of those two little toothy pegs right at the end...

This post has been retrospectively added to It's A Mummy's Life's new Little Film Club, which launched this week. Head over to her blog on Monday for next week's prompts. I think this one fits into this week's prompt, 'Excitement'.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Confession of a lapsed domestic goddess

I have aspirations to be a domestic goddess, but judging by the state of my house at the moment, I think aspirations are the closest I'm ever going to get! Where do people find the time?

For me, a tidy house definitely means a tidy mind. Mess makes me feel anxious and I'm one of those people who will procrastinate by tidying my desk before actually getting on with meeting that important impending deadline. Mess is like a buzzing in my ears - it stops me from being able to fully relax. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no clean-freak - by mess I'm referring not to dirt, but general clutter and untidiness. And I don't lust after a minimal look either. I have plenty of stuff, I just like it to be neat and arranged nicely (the stylist in me is never off duty).

But life gets in the way, doesn't it? And I either need to get over my need for order, and find a way to relax despite the mess, or I need to use my very precious free time to tidy it up.
Before Christmas I decided to apply my obsessive considerable organisational skills to finding a solution to the problem and I devised a cleaning rota (got to love Excel Spreadsheets) so I spread all the cleaning tasks out over the week to make it more manageable. I followed it for about a week (there were even boxes so I could tick off each task as I did it) and felt very virtuous and in-control and then... well.... I stopped. I went on an unofficial and indefinite cleaning strike, started blogging in earnest, discovered Twitter, and got sucked into a black hole of internet addiction.

Spring has awoken my slumbering standards, and I've realised that I'll feel a whole lot better if I keep on top of the housework (or at least make some sort of effort). Last weekend Young Daddy took the babies off for a bit and did I put my feet up and relax? Not me! I was a flurry of tidying and sorting. Because I know that it is one thing that I can have control over, and will ultimately make me feel less stressed. My aim is to try to blitz the house over the next couple of days, so that I can try to reinstate the rota.

We're also stuck in a food rut, but I'll save that for another post! How do you manage to keep on top of it all? What are you neurotic about? Or should I just save pennies somewhere else and get myself a cleaner?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Sunshine-induced shopping

I've been trying not to get my hopes up, in case it all goes horribly wrong, but it does actually appear that Spring might be making an appearance this year after all. We had a lovely walk in the sunshine yesterday and I didn't even wear a coat. Imagine that! Yes, I know it's raining today, but I'm feeling positive weather vibes all the same.

The sunny weather has, however, made me look out at our garden, something I try not to do unless absolutely necessary. We moved into this house two and a half years ago, and to describe it as 'in need of work' doesn't really cover it. We've been renovating ever since we bought it, and just about got the place ready to receive babies, though there's still plenty to be done. The garden is one thing that has been sorely neglected. It's become a dumping ground for all sorts - I look out of the window now and I see array of stuff including an old toilet, an old, broken chair I bought from a junk shop and then realised was unmendable and the back of an old flat-pack wardrobe.

But still, I can't wait to spend time outside with the babies, and I think I've found the perfect accessories for our garden, once it's been tidied up a bit. Check out this gorgeous picnic blanket from Anorak - perfect for Miss E and Mr A to lounge about on. And I can get a matching Garden Kneeler and Garden Apron for myself while I'm at it. I love this Kissing Horses design, but there are some other great motifs to choose from such as Kissing Rabbits and Kissing Stags!

So let's hope for some dry weather this weekend....

This is not a sponosored post

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Me - Out of Focus

The Gallery  over at Sticky Fingers (a virtual art gallery with a different prompt each week - to take part you post a photograph using that prompt on your blog) has been going for four weeks now, but I haven't got myself organised enough to join in until now. I was determined to take part this week, and then I saw the prompt. The theme for the photographs this week is 'Me'. And this is where I got stumped. Should I just find a picture of me with the babies? But I think there's more to me than babies. Or what about taking a photograph of something that represents me? This I pondered for a while, but couldn't nail down what I wanted to represent.

My notion of 'me' is a little fuzzy at the moment, and that's when I got some inspiration.....

I'm not sure quite who I am right now. I had a rare night out on Saturday for a friend's birthday and found myself terrified of the thought of making conversation with people I didn't know. Do I talk about my babies (the main focus of my life right now), or do I try to play it cool, and act like the person I was BB (before babies)? I find myself worrying that I'm boring people if I mention them and don't want to be that person who has nothing better to talk about, but the truth is that I don't have anything better to talk about and I don't think I should apologise for that. I listen to others talk about their jobs, so why shouldn't I talk about my current job of being a new mum? It's the biggest thing in my life so I shouldn't feel the need to tiptoe around the subject.

My life has changed so much in the last six months and I'm still finding my feet and trying to get to know the new me. I've transformed both inside and out, and I think it will take a while for everything to come back into focus.

Monday, 22 March 2010

A fond farewell to breastfeeding?

The babies at around three weeks old

I think we're on week four of solids (I should really know this, shouldn't I? Best check..) and after a promising start I'm finding it quite tough-going now. Trying to give each baby a bit of milk, then some food, then the rest of their milk, especially when one is breastfed (Miss E) and one is bottle-fed (Mr A), is a challenge on my own, even on the best of days.

It was becoming impossible so I made the decision to take the boob out of the equation and give both babies a bottle at their main feed (11am). This has made things marginally easier, but I'm noticing that Miss E may actually prefer a bottle at all of her feeds. At dinner-time, when I try to breastfeed her she's extremely fussy, which I normally put down to tiredness. The last couple of days I have tried offering her a bottle instead and she's guzzled it down so she's obviously hungry but for whatever reason (low milk supply, feeling tired etc) she's not happy to breastfeed.

So have I reached the point where I call time on the boob? God knows it would make my life easier to have them both on the bottle (tandem feeding will become an option once again), and I guess it would offer me a bit more freedom to leave them for longer periods, but my number one concern is what makes Miss E happiest. If that's the boob, then fine, but if it's a bottle then that's cool too.

Breastfeeding has definitely had its ups and its downs for me and I've written about the difficult feeding decisions I've had to make. I tandem breastfed for the first six weeks, but then we had a long period of both babies (and me) getting very distressed while feeding (for reasons that are still unclear) and Mr A was a much happier baby when we switched him onto bottles.We turned a corner with Miss E at around 14 weeks, and so I have managed to enjoy a few lovely months of breastfeeding, though I have always retained some anxiety about it.

I don't know why I was so determined to breastfeed. It had always been part and parcel of my image of motherhood, although few people expected me to do it once I knew I was having twins. I think in a way I was going out of my way to prove people wrong. That I could breastfeed twins. I felt an odd sense of pride (and maybe smugness too if I'm totally honest) telling people I was breastfeeding them. I wanted to be seen as Superwoman. But before long I lost the sense of conceit and just wanted my little ones to be content.

And as for the breast v bottle debate, I reckon I'm well-equipped to comment, having babies that have done both. I feel no greater bond with Miss E than with Mr A. We probably end up spending more time together, because when Young Daddy is around he feeds Mr A, but my feelings for each baby are no different. I suspect that Young Daddy may naturally feel a bit closer to Mr A because he's been able to share the feeding duties but this will change as he can take more of a role in feeding Miss E. The babies have had the same number of colds, their sleeping patterns are pretty similar, and both have taken to solid food well. So it seems to me that the differences between breastfed and bottle-fed babies are minimal.

So how do I know when it time to sound 'last orders' at the boob? Is there a right time to do it? Do I just bite the bullet and go for it, or do I phase it out one feed at a time? I'm ready to let it go. I don't doubt I'll feel slightly sad when I stop, but I'm also excited about the next stage of our journey together...

Sunday, 21 March 2010

It's all about me...

The lovely Teawithonesugarplease has given me this delectable Beautiful Blogger Award (and I particularly like the pretty design of this one). To accept it I must give you seven facts about myself, and tag seven people.

1) My name is Young Mummy and I am a sweetie addict...
Yep, I love sweets. Chocolate's ok, but I can take it or leave it. A fizzy strawberry lace, however, is a totally different ball game. Basically any kind of chewy jelly sweet is not safe in my vicinity. I'm not sure when this addiction started or how, but it's a difficult one to kick. I have managed to go through period of restricted sweetie consumption, but I always break in the end. My favourite sweet? I think it has to be giant strawberries - my sister-in-law once gave me a giant box of them from Macro and I ate every last one within 48 hours.

2) I used to be a competitive trampoliner...
From the age of seven to about eleven (when I realised I preferred to spend my Saturdays hanging around the Whitgift Centre in Croydon, or The Glades in Bromley eating MacDonalds and shopping in Miss Selfridge) I took trampolining very seriously. I trained two to four times a week and most weekends my long-suffering taxi drivers parents would ferry me to competitions around the country. Now I was never that good, but I was good enough and I have a box of trophies, medals, certificates and newspaper cuttings to prove it!

3) I married my holiday romance...
I met Young Daddy in Crete on holiday with my parents and brother. He and his family were in the villa next door to ours and his dad invited us round for drinks when we arrived. Of course Young Daddy and I played it cool for the first few days, but a few late night paddles in the sea helped us get to know each other better. Though we were from opposite ends of the country and headed off to different universities that autumn somehow the holiday fling didn't fizzle out.  I don't think that either of us would have dreamed that 12 years later we'd be married with twins.

4) I am a terrible driver...
Sadly true. I'm just about passable once I'm on the road (though I'm a quivering, hysterical wreck on the motorway), but parking and other manoeuvres? Not my forte. You know you're useless behind the wheel when you manage to crash into a large, yellow, skip with flashing warning orange lights attached.

5) I climbed the Indian Himalayas...
When I was 17 a group of us from school raised the money for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to India to trek in the Himalayas and do some community work whilst we were out there. Unfortunately the weather was so horrific on our trek that we might as well have been in Wales - the mist/fog was so thick most of the time you could hardly see the person in front of you, let alone any spectacular views. And we were woefully ill-equipped. Emptying cold water out of your walking boots, wringing out you cold, wet, socks and then putting them both on first thing in the morning was not fun.

6) I have been inside Margaret Thatcher's house...
So she didn't live there anymore, but it's still a claim to fame, right? It's actually owned by Daniel Bedingfield now (or was at the time) and I shot it for the magazine I used to work for.

7) I climbed onto the roof of the House of Commons...
My friend used to work there (she has since left, so I can tell this story). You're not supposed to go up there, but the door onto the roof of the Chamber isn't locked so we crept up there for an amazing view of Big Ben etc. I half expected an alarm to sound, searchlights to blind us and helicopters to swarm above our heads, but apparently no-one's bothered because none of the above happened.

Right, now onto the tagging.... RebaMc at two{become}four because she could do with some cheering up, mummylimited, Three Kids and the Cat,  The Alice Blog, Me, The Man & The Baby, Brits in Bosnia, and Mindful Mum. If anyone else would like the award  you're more than welcome to pick it up too. x

Friday, 19 March 2010

Drum roll please.. The Arrival of The Slanket

My prize (a stylish *ahem* Slanket) for winning the first Just Vlog It challenge (the blogging brainchild of Heather at Notes from Lapland and Karin at Cafe Bebe) arrived for me this morning, and in the spirit of vlogging, I thought it best I do a vlog to mark the occasion.

Some notes:
- Yes, the camera is too far away from me according to Karin's vlogging tips, but I wanted you to have the full glory of the full-length Slanket shot.
- And yes, I have forgotten to remove the tag from my new jeggings, which also arrived this morning. All I can say is thank goodness I did this vlog, so I could see it and remove it before I left the house.
- You can also glimpse some balloons that are still up from Young Daddy's birthday yesterday. It's probably time I took those down...

The Slanket may well be making more appearances on Young & Younger in the future, as I think it may have inspired a vlogging series - '101 uses for a Slanket'. So please get in touch with your Slanketeering suggestions and stay tuned!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Birthday message

Lots of love from Mr A and Miss E xx

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

There's no 'I' in team...

So, the results of some new research are in, and what a surprise, having twins is hard, financially and emotionally. Jaw-dropping stuff, eh?
"Families of multiple births face significant financial hardship according to a major new study by researchers from the University of Birmingham. 'The Effects of Twins and Multiple Births on Families and Their Living Standards', which is supported by the Twin and Multiple Births Association, found that families with multiple births were more likely to report a drop in their income level following the birth of their children. They were also twice as likely as families of singletons to report ‘quite difficult’ financial stress. The report also found that twins and triplets experienced higher levels of material deprivation, and their families were more likely to separate or divorce." (TAMBA website)
Don't worry, this isn't going to be a woe-is-me post about how awful it is to have twins. In fact, the stats about divorce got me thinking about my own marriage, and how, if anything, it feels stronger since the arrival of Miss E and Mr A. Because we were expecting twins, Young Daddy took advantage of a scheme offered by his work to take seven weeks (unpaid) leave, on top of his two weeks paternity leave. So we muddled through those early weeks together. Yes, it was a massive struggle financially, but getting to know our new babies together was priceless.

Young Daddy has really stepped up to the plate and has been the best running mate I could have ever asked for. Unlike many other fathers I see, he is totally hands-on and dives straight into the fray the second he walks in from work. We are a team, and rather than drive us apart, having twins has bound us together in a way that I'm not sure a single baby would have done. He has helped to feed them from the start (if he could breastfeed I'm sure he would!), he has always taken his turn getting up in the night, he isn't afraid of a dirty nappy (or two), and more recently, he's been making purees and planning the next meal for the babies. We speak countless times a day, making a myriad of decisions as one. Should I wake the babies now from their nap or leave them a little longer? Is there time for us to go for a walk before the next feed's due? How cold is it outside - do the babies need woolly hats on?

One of my favourite times together is the dream feed at 10.30pm. We used to take turns doing this, with the other person on call for getting up to feed in the night, but since the babies have been sleeping through, we've started doing the dream feed together. We creep into the nursery and take a moment to watch our son and daughter sleeping, Mr A usually with his muslin clasped tightly in his hands and held up to his face, and Miss E with her arms out in sleeping surrender.

We each gently lift a warm and floppy baby to our shoulder and carry them through to the playroom, taking our well-worn places on the sofa. Into their mouths go the bottles, and the dimly lit room is peaceful apart from their sucking and breathing. Every night, Young Daddy and I will look up at each other and can't help but exchange a smile, sharing without words the overwhelming love we feel for these little people. It's true that our life together has changed beyond all recognition in the last six months, but I wouldn't swap these moments for anything.

This post was written in response to Josie at Sleep is for the Weak's prompt, 'tell us about something you do really well and are proud of', for this week's Writing Workshop.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Top Five Most Surreal Mummy Moments

I know a lot of people posted about this a while ago, but it sometimes takes me an age to catch up. Now I think the original idea was to come up with ten, but I've plumped for five instead or this post would have gone on forever. I've been pondering my most surreal mummy moments when I've had a quiet minute (usually in the bath after 7pm, or driving somewhere in the car) for the last few weeks and here's the list I've come up with:

1. The positive pregnancy test
We'd been trying for about six months to get pregnant, and each month the disappointing day arrived that crushed our baby hopes. It was January 2009 and we were expecting some friends for dinner. I was busy in the kitchen preparing the starter of grilled soft goat's cheese and contemplating getting started on my first large glass of wine of the evening when I thought it might be wise to check both these things were wise. My period was late, but this wasn't unusual, and I'd been putting off doing a test because I didn't want to look at another negative result. Half and hour before our friends were due I popped upstairs to pee on a stick and immediately got the positive result! Young Daddy and I did a manic dance for a couple of minutes before the doorbell went, we composed ourselves, and sat poker-faced through the evening. I love my friend dearly, but I have to admit we were desperate for her and her now fiance to leave so we could digest the news together!

2. Five weeks pregnant - some unexpected news
At five weeks pregnant, I had some bleeding. Understandably I panicked, especially as it was a Saturday, and the only Saturday ever that Young Daddy has worked. So I phoned my mum, who didn't know I was pregnant, blurted out our happy news, and asked her to come with me to the Early Pregnancy Unit at St Thomas'. I had  a hormone test and sat at home that evening waiting for the hospital to call me with the results. Ok, first hurdle passed - my pregnancy hormone level was high enough to warrant a scan. Young Daddy and I were back at St Thomas' on the Monday, as I had my first scan. The sonographer was quiet for so long I prepared myself for bad news. 'So I'm not pregnant, then?' I asked. 'Oh, you're definitely pregnant,' she replied. 'I can see two babies, but I'm just checking there aren't any more in there!'

3. D-day = 37+1 weeks
Going to bed one night, knowing that you'll have two babies by the time you next bed down is pretty hard to get your head around. I wound up being booked for a c-section at 37 weeks because both twins were breech, and Mr A's growth had slowed down. We had to be at the hospital at 7am in the morning, though we didn't go into theatre until about 2.30pm in the end. Surprisingly I did manage to sleep that night, probably because it all felt so unreal and in a way I was relieved to be able to know finally when and how it was all going to happen.

4. The first sleepless night
When Young Daddy left me in the ward when visiting hours were up (8pm) that first night after having the babies, I felt completely at sea. I was still exhilerated but lying unable to move in a bed with two cots attached, containing real, live, babies, was weird to say the least. And no-one warned me how much noise babies make! Both of mine got hiccups, I could hear them poo, and Mr A snored. If Miss E, whose bassinet was the furthest away, needed a feed, I could just about reach her feet and then had to pull her across the bed to me. Oh, happy days.

5. Feeding two babies
I'm not limiting this to one particular moment because there are too many that deserve a mention. Sitting in hospital using a double breast pump while midwives, catering staff, cleaners etc walked in and out of my room - that's one. Tandem breastfeeding in front of friends and family (there's no subtle way to do it!) - that's two. Getting the train into the City and trying to feed Miss E discreetly, surrounded by men in suits, and her glugging and smacking her lips as loud as she possibly could - there's another.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Would you take the back seat?

I saw a friend today who's heading back to work in a couple of months after having her gorgeous baby boy . She's throwing herself back into the big, scary, grown-up world of full-time employment, and her enthusiastic husband-to-be is taking over the reigns to become a stay-at-home dad. This got my brain ticking - would I be so prepared to relinquish control? My honest answer? I think not..

I am, it has to be said, somewhat of a control freak. I like to be the one in charge, the one with the all the answers. I think it's what makes me good at my job, albeit sometimes to my own detriment as I'm not a natural delegator. I'm also not good at being given criticism, or advice, so the thought of Young Daddy saying 'Oh no, Miss E likes it done this way' sends my hackles rising. Which makes me admire my friend all the more for being happy to take a step back and let her partner take over.

For all my struggles with my new role as a mum, the loss of freedom, the monotony of my days sometimes, and my crisis of identity, I don't think I'd switch places and be the one at work right now. I like the importance of being the primary carer, and the sense of value and authority this gives me.

What about you? Would you happily trade places with your other half? If they were staying at home instead of you, would you feel resentful of their bond with your baby/ies? Our current paternity leave laws means that it is generally the mother that, at least initially, stays at home with their baby/ies. But what if this weren't the case? What if financial concerns weren't an issue? Who would you have chosen to stay at home for those first few months?

Please ignore! Techy stuff...

Technorati claim token G8JMY7MEXAE5

Saturday, 13 March 2010

It's not the winning, but winning is nice!

This morning came the rather exciting news from Cafe Bebe that we have won the first Just Vlog It challenge! One stylish *ahem* slanket is our trophy, so watch out for a vlog of me wearing it very soon (it'll be a 'blink and you'll miss it' vlog, as I'm not sure my slanket will be for public consumption).

I just wanted to say a big well done to Karin at Cafe Bebe, and Heather at Notes from Lapland for making the launch of Just Vlog It such a fantastic success. They started out with an aim to get five entries and ended up with 20, so they kind of blew their target out of the water really. You can check out all 20 entries at the Just Vlog It carnival at Notes from Lapland on Monday.

I would encourage everyone to have a go at a vlog. Our Just Vlog It entry (if you haven't already seen it you can view 'Young & Younger Does Big Brother' by clicking here) shows that if you're camera-shy, you don't have to appear in front of the camera. And it's a great way to get family and friends etc involved in your blog - Young Daddy and I had such fun doing ours together, which makes a nice change from me sat tapping away on the computer on my own. The next Just Vlog It challenge theme will be announced the first full week of April so watch out for it.

Thanks to all those that voted for us, we really are chuffed to bits!

Friday, 12 March 2010

I'm great. So there!

I know it's not the done thing, but I'm going to give myself a pat on the back. This totally goes against my nature - I find it extremely hard to accept compliments, and will always find a way to talk down any achievement. But you know what? About three people this week have told me how fantastically I'm doing caring for two little babies. At the time I shrugged it off, and turned it into a joke as usual, but I've been mulling it over and this time I'm going to take their praise and run with it.

I am going to award myself a Gold Star. Or actually, I think I should probably give myself two Gold Stars. For two babies.

I have made it through the first six months, and am halfway through what most people tell me is the most difficult time. I haven't turned into a hermit (though sometimes I've been sorely tempted to), and have tried to approach life as if I had one newborn baby, not two. I have fed these little creatures, and watched them grow into lively, happy individuals. There have been low points (this one stands out in my memory), but I've carried on and I'm still smiling, most of the time. And as well as raising two people, I've been a good friend, made fantastic new friends, and started a blog. Plus I've fitted in the odd night out here and there. Which I don't think is doing too badly, all things considered.

I think it's about time we all gave ourselves some well-deserved love. What have you achieved recently? What do you think you've done to merit a round of applause, just for you? Don't be shy, this is all about bigging ourselves up for change. Whatever you've accomplished, I reckon you more than deserve a Gold Star too, so feel free to take it, add it to your own blog (or if you don't have a blog, just add it to the Positive Thoughts section of your brain).

I'm great. You're great. We're all bloody great.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


You know our Young & Younger Does Big Brother vlog we posted the other day? Well it only went and made the Top 2 of Just Vlog It! Today it's up for the public vote at Cafe Bebe, so please vote for us HERE.....

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A slave to routine?

In The Time Before Babies, I had an idea of how I'd approach motherhood. I thought I'd be a laid back take-it-as-it-comes kind of mother. I had daydreams of myself spending those seemingly endless days of maternity leave doing all those things around London I've always wanted to do, but never quite got round to. Yes, I'd have a baby, but a baby can travel on the train and the tube, right? I wouldn't be one of those mothers who don't go anywhere, just because they've got a baby. No, I'd definitely be out and about enjoying myself, with a lovely baby to keep me company.

Finding out, at five weeks pregnant, that I was expecting twins blew those reveries right out of the water. Suddenly, motherhood looked very different. Faced with the prospect of two babies, I felt terrified and overwhelmed. I grieved the loss of the life I thought I was going to have. To the outside world I was business as usual, always there with a smile and a joke, but the reality was that I was scared stiff of how I was going to manage. I had no idea what to expect, and I couldn't picture my new life at all. To cope with the fear of the unknown I did what I'm best at - organising, researching and preparing. Creating lists. Oh, endless lists and spreadsheets. I diligently did my research, reading books and trawling twin websites and messageboards for advice. And the one thing I kept hearing was, 'routine is vital.'

The old, laid back mother I once dreamed I'd be would have shunned the idea of routine, preferring to let my baby find his/her own rhythm. And in the early days of struggling to follow Gina Ford's routine for twins (if any twin mum out there, apart from Alice Beer, has actually succeeded in doing this without the aid of a full-time nanny please do let me know, as I honestly don't believe it's possible!), I was sorely tempted to revert back to the anti-routine me. But we fared better with the Baby Whisperer, and gradually the babies fell into a pattern of feeds and naps that gave us at least some respite from the demands of caring for two babies.

The success of our day hinges on the two-hour lunchtime nap. Without this, I'm scuppered. If they don't get enough sleep the babies are miserable, and trying to comfort two over-tired small people is not a pleasant task. I can't be sure the babies will sleep in the pushchair so I design every day to ensure that I am at home for that vital lunchtime slot. But I feel trapped by this routine I've created. It's become like a ball and chain, keeping me prisoner. It slices my day in half, leaving me little time in the morning or afternoon to go anywhere too far afield, and no chance of meeting up with friends for lunch (unless they come to my place).

I know it won't last forever. I know I should just brave it and see what happens. It probably wouldn't be as bad as I imagine, but I'm scared. Having one baby kick off when you're out and about is stressful enough - just thinking about the two of them screaming in unison sets my pulse racing and my heart thumping. But I'm miserable stuck at home, and hate having to say no when I'm invited out. I can't bear being so inflexible and worry that people think I'm being difficult and uncompromising. I hate 'playing the twin card' but I guess sometimes I have to. I'll just try not to play it too often, and start masterminding an escape plan, or even better, a way to clone myself.

This was written in response to Josie at Sleep is for the Weak's prompt, 'What is making you feel under pressure right now?' for this week's Writing Workshop.

Carrots and rice and all things nice...

Miss E and Mr A have now spent their first week sampling the delights of solid food. We got off to a slow start - baby rice wasn't greeted with huge enthusiasm, with both babies pretty apathetic about the whole experience. I was not relishing the prospect of continuing with weaning alone on Monday when I added pear to the baby rice. But some monumental metamorphosis had obviously happened overnight because Mr A could not get enough. I literally couldn't get the spoonfuls into his mouth fast enough he was gobbling so heartily. Miss E also seemed to be enjoying it, albeit at a slightly more refined pace than her little (or not so little!) brother.

Oompa Loompa Doompadee Dah
If you're not greedy you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doompadee do

We have since also introduced the twins to carrot and sweet potato and they are both still going full steam ahead.

Spot the difference...

One thing I did notice though.... the stuff gets everywhere. And pureed carrot should come with a warning! After Mr A's first portion of carrot I was covered from head to toe in carrot splatters (think I could do with some windscreen wipers on my specs). And boy does it stain. I had two small orange-faced babies smiling at me for the rest of the day. I reckon the Oompa Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would welcome them into Loompaland with open arms...

Sunday, 7 March 2010

JUST VLOG IT! Young & Younger does Big Brother...

In my first vlog, I appeared in front of the camera. Mr A and Miss E were itching for their five minutes of fame so I gave into their demands this time, and let them taking the starring roles.

We had a lot of fun this weekend creating this vlog for Karin at Cafe Bebe, and Heather at Notes from Lapland's JUST VLOG IT challenge. Blogging is usually quite a solitary activity, so it was great that Young Daddy could get involved in vlogging with me. We got a bit carried away with the video editing programme (Pinnacle Studio) we found online, but are quite proud of our virgin-editing skills in the end.

This month's JUST VLOG IT challenge's theme is 'Teach Us Something!'. I'm not sure how much you'll learn from our entry, but we hope it might make you giggle, just a little bit....

Friday, 5 March 2010

Guest Post Day - introducing Mari from Mari's World

Today is Guest Post Day, where one blogger partners up with another and the pair swap posts for the day (many thanks to Erica at Little Mummy for organising - visit her blog for a full list of all the bloggers taking part). I had problems contacting my official partner unfortunately, so was all set to miss out on today's event, when Mari at Mari's World offered to be my surrogate partner.
Mari's bio:  Born in ‘66 when England won the World Cup, when Mary Quant was introducing skirts that barely covered your backside and when the Beatles and The Rolling Stones were competing for the Number One spot. I grew up in and out and around London.
Adorable sister to two lucky men and loving mother of four; two offspring born from an Italian marriage and 19 years in Italy and twin girls born in Ol’ Blighty in 2008 by an Englishman who I’m proud to call my partner, my soul mate, the love of my life. And of course, a new addition, I’m a nanna, to Gracey born last year in Italy.

Life has led me down an unsuspected path and wherever I thought I was going, I always ended up somewhere else doing something different to what I had originally planned. At times, fun, at times trying, at times downright frustrating, however I’m here to tell the tale.
Here is Mari's post, and once you're done here head over to Mari's World to check out my post and have a good browse of her blog......


Miss E and Mr A reached the 6 months half birthday this week and Alice and Bessie (and I) love a bit of cake so we are going to celebrate them in style with 'half cakes' for a snack this afternoon.

This got me thinking to where we are today and now at 19 months the girls walk easily around the house, they can climb upstairs and slide down on their tummy's - supervised of course. The sofa has become an excellent climbing frame with the added value of being able to reach the books in the bookcase behind it and the coffee table has been demoted to alongside the wall half hidden by the sofa as it was also quickly becoming a launching pad.

They are starting to talk 'Mummy, Daddy, Teddy' are favourite words and have been clear for months now but they also say 'Who is it? when they hear the doorbell go, or What's that? If we hear something out of the ordinary. Wow, Oi and Oh dear they also seem to have picked up from me. I MUST BE MORE CAREFUL.

Their understanding is cause of constant amazement to me. Pick it up, come here, put your shoes/jacket/bib on. Give it to daddy. I think they understand so much more than we give them credit for.

They love to watch In The Night Garden and the Waybuloos as part of the wind down each day and enjoy to sit on the floor and sing, Twinkle, twinkle (with actions) Row row row the boat, (only we do a crocodile scream EVERY time) and Incy Wincy Spider who sometimes gets a crocodile scream himself.

As far as meals go, they eat almost everything. Bessie adores pasta with fresh tomato sauce and Alice's favourite is turkey breast, cherry tomatoes and fruit. They both adore fresh fruit and eat tons of it, although I do struggle more with fresh vegetables.

Games and toys are now coming into play, for their first birthday we bought them a hard plastic Wendy house and it has been a marvellous buy as they use it every day. Yes it is large and takes up almost half of the conservatory, but the pleasure they get from it and the peace I get is just too much to deny them. Father Christmas bought them sit on cars which they love to whizz around the front room on, books, bricks, ELC Rose Cottage and puzzles, well the puzzles aren't a big hit just yet, one has been eaten, we've lost pieces to another and so I'm saving them for a rainy day but we do get the crayons out from time to time and I watch them have a go and look forward to my first Mother's Day card from them crafted with their own hands.

Fortunately, bedtime for us is 7.30ish and unless they're suffering from teething or bad colds we can be sure they sleep through till 6 ish or even 8am on a good day (never the weekend though!) Cheeky minxes seem to realise Mummy and Daddy want a bit extra shut eye and they wake up bang on cue.

Our girls are a constant joy to us. I love to see them snuggle into their daddy when he's on the sofa after a hard day's work and I love to think about the summer this year and playing with buckets and spades, collecting shells and stones and crabbing on the rocks. Ice creams, teddy bear picnics...ah the list goes on.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

2,172 nappies and counting

Miss E and Mr A turn six months this week - how time flies when you're having fun! To mark the occasion, Young Daddy and I started doing some sums and once we started we couldn't stop...

2,450 feeds
1,599 washed and sterilised bottles
55,440 ml of formula
290 oz gained
2,172 nappy changes
543 naps
272 washing machine loads
544 washing tablets
8,160 ml fabric softener
1,384 baby photos
131 friends and family met
Countless miles walked in the monster truck (double buggy)
Nowhere near enough hours of sleep
Thousands of kisses
Much frustration
Immeasurable love

Happy birthday babies xxxx

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Wordless Wednesday - caption competition!

I figure you can come up with a better caption than me, so go on, knock yourselves out!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Moving onto the hard stuff

This is Mr A (top) and Miss E on their third day of solid food. Well, I say solid food, it's actually far from solid, being just a thicker version of milk in my opinion. We've been trying to get them to swallow baby rice (pureed rice with milk) since Saturday but nothing went down until yesterday. Feeding twins is, for me, the most stressful part of the day - if they're both hungry at the same time you often have to feed one while the other is screaming. I've found Baby Einstein DVDs really useful as a distraction method at feeding time, and I've also learned that generally, Miss E is more happy to wait than Mr A.

The first spoonfuls of baby rice on Saturday were the most anticlimactic event so far in the twins' life as far as I'm concerned! All this build-up, just to spend a few minutes spooning it into their mouths, only for them to immediately spit it back out again. In true diva-style, Miss E had a little gag at the first mouthful, but that was the dramatic highlight of the whole episode.

It was the same story on Sunday - I don't think anything was swallowed at all. So I was not feeling very enthusiastic about tackling it again yesterday, this time on my own. I changed tactics slightly to make life easier for myself and rather than transferring them into their new highchairs for their solid food, I just stayed in our little snug upstairs with them in their bouncy chairs. Mr A was screaming for food so I gave him some of his bottle and then whipped out the baby rice. Amazingly the first spoonful I gave him didn't reappear! Or the second, or the third, and by the time he was reaching out for the spoon he'd finished the bowl and I had to rush downstairs to make some more. Miss E is taking things slower, but even she managed to swallow at least one spoonful.

It's amazing the sense of exhilaration and achievement that just a few spoonfuls of sloppy baby food could make me feel!


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