Monday, 30 August 2010

Weekend Review: Toybox

Ez and Fonz have always been big music fans, so when I was asked if we would like to review a new album of classic children's songs and nursery rhymes, I jumped at the chance.

Toybox is the second part of a series of albums for kids, created by The Rainbow Collections – singer Sophie Barker from Zero 7, and successful producer KK. The album includes songs such as 'Old Macdonald', 'If You're Happy and You Know It', and 'The Grand Old Duke Of York' (one of our all-time favourites). Sophie and KK have produced their own unique and modern take on the original classics, without making the tunes unrecognisable, and there are some fantastic rhythms - I love the calypso-style version of 'If You're Happy And You Know It'. The album's been a big hit with the babies, and it's the sort of thing I don't mind having playing, because it's actually very pleasant to listen to!

I've noticed that Fonz in particular, really thrives on music and rhythm. Here's a little clip of him enjoying Toybox...

Family and parenting expert Jenni Trent Hughes has shared some top tips to help parents get the most our of music and playtime with their children:

  • Play music and sing daily and as often as possible
  • Make instruments out of household items. An empty plastic bottle and a handful of beans; a wooden spoon and the lid of a pan. The more imaginative, the better
  • Act out the songs with wild exaggerated gestures. Children love laughing at their parents
  • Use music to enhance the child's mood. Sitting on the sofa, having a cuddle and 'singing along with mummy' is a memory that will be treasured forever
  • Write songs about pets, siblings, food and favourite toys – anything that will expand a child's imagination, vocabulary and knowledge base

Toybox is available now from, and HMV.

This is a sponsored post.

Monday, 23 August 2010

August's Multiples Mayhem!

Multiples Mayhem - Come and join the Carnival!

I know it's a busy time for everyone, what with the school holidays and general summer madness, so thanks for those that sent me posts for the second Multiples Mayhem! carnival. If you didn't get a chance to enter a post, don't panic, you're not too late. Simply include the link to your post in the comments below, or email me at youngmummy at youngandyounger dot net, and I'll find you a carnival slot.

The super-talented Rebecca over at Two Become Four, has made us not one.. not two... but THREE stylish Multiples Mayhem! badges to choose from, so feel free to grab one and pop it on your blog. If you want a badge, header or anything else designing, she's your girl, so drop her a line.

Now let's get on with the main event...

Linda at You've Got Your Hands Full, hopes her daughters' individuality will be encouraged to shine when they start secondary school in September, as she looks ahead to the minefield of double-whammy parents' evenings. Don't miss TAMBA's five top tips for how secondary schools should approach teaching multiples.

I almost had a toddler tantrum of my own after planb started off all encouraging about life with twins, and then swiftly shattered the illusion with her post on twins hitting the terrible twos.

Zookeeper is also having toddler battles. On her new blog, Dummies and Doghairs, she laments her laziness when it comes to cooking, as she seeks a cure for her daughter Magpie's, Extreme Vegetable Aversion.

And if tantrums and food fights weren't enough, Mari at Mari's World is going potty about grabbing her mop and bucket as she ditches the nappies and starts potty-training her girls. Good luck Mari!

Expectant twin mums (and dads) out there would be unwise to miss Rebecca over at Two Become Four's list of those essential items that have helped her (almost!) through the first year with twins Tilly and Jasper. It's definitely got me thinking about what I wouldn't have been without, and a similar post, inspired by Rebecca, will appear here soon.

Karen from All About The Boys' uplifting post had me reaching for a tissue. Go and give her a hand off her naughty step please, because she absolutely deserves it.

And finally, here's my contribution. A little video to remind us all why having multiples is so precious. I challenge you not to laugh along!

Thanks all for joining in and reading, and don't forget to get in touch if you'd like your post added to the carnival.

Multiples Mayhem - Come and join the Carnival!

Multiples Mayhem - Come and join the Carnival!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Weekend Review: Little Dish purees

It's been a while now since the babies started eating proper solid food, but not long before we gave up purees, we were sent some puree pouches from Little Dish to try. What I liked about these sachets was that they used fresh ingredients - they had to be kept in the fridge and used within a couple of days. Made from 100% fresh fruit and vegetables, they tasted like you would expect, rather than other readymade purees that don't taste as fresh. Ez and Fonz were fussy with their purees, and rejected every readymade sachet I tried, so I wasn't sure how the Little Dish pouches would go down.

We gave Ez and Fonz the Blackberry, Apple & Banana puree first, and they gobbled it down cold for dessert. A hit! Mango & Banana was the next flavour we tried, and again it was well-received, though quite runny so a little difficult to spoonfeed. We mixed the Butternut Squash, Carrot & Apple puree with baby rice, and again the babies ate every last spoonful without any fuss. Strawberry & Apple worked well spoonfed as a pudding, but we also spread it on toast like jam. This one was definitely Ez and Fonz's favourite, and although we've left purees behind now, I would still buy this to use on bread or to add to yoghurt for dessert. And I'll definitely be giving the Little Dish natural meals a go - great for when time is tight.

A few weeks after the purees arrived, Little Dish sent us their cookbook to try too. Unfortunately I've been rather busy of late, so we haven't had a chance to cook up any of the delicious-sounding recipes, but we've got the Creamy Chicken Curry bookmarked for next week.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Our lucky day

This was my car yesterday, after another car pulled out of a side road in front of us on a main road, leaving us no time to brake before we ploughed straight into it. The whole family were in the car at the time - we'd set out about 15 minutes before on our way to our first first birthday party, and Ez and Fonz had been asleep in their car seats for about ten minutes. Here are some of my memories of what happened..

Young Daddy lets out a yell. I look up, just in time to see a car right in our path. Impact. I jump out of the car, screaming, screaming, screaming. The babies are screaming too. I'm screaming at the other driver (she's unhurt), I'm swearing like a fishwife. I'm surrounded by passersby. I've lost my shoes and I look down and see liquid gushing over my bare feet. Petrol? Oil? Water? 'Get the baby out of the car,' someone says. I've opened the back door, my hands are shaking too much to get Ez's carseat buckle undone. I can see a nasty welt and bruise on her temple. She's screaming. I get her out and hold her to me, sobbing now with tears streaming down my face. 'I live just here,' someone says, 'come in and wait for the ambulance.' They guide me into their house, up the stairs. I realise my glasses are missing.

'You need to speak to the operator,' someone else says and thrusts a phone into my hand. I try to answer her questions. Ez is still screamng. I can't hear the operator. She's getting impatient with me. I must find Young Daddy and Fonz so I make my way, still blind without my glasses, out of the house. I answer all the operator's questions, and as I hang up, I see the policemen walking towards me. A rush of relief and the tears and sobs start again. Someone puts a bag of frozen peas into my hand. 'For the baby's head,' they say. The policeman takes me over to a paramedic. They do a quick check of Ez and think she's ok. I wander to the side of the road. A fire engine arrives, and the firemen come to see Ez and I. An ambulance pulls up. 'Let me find your shoes,' says the paramedic. 'You'll cut your feet on the glass.' Suddenly my shoes are back on my feet and we're climbing into the ambulance.

Ez has quietened down. She's dazed and quiet, but still alert. The paramedics perform some checks. They think she's fine. But we need to go to hospital to get her checked over because of the bump to her head. I'm shaking. My whole body's shaking. I realise my chest, my back, my neck are hurting. 'That's normal,' I'm told. We wait while the paramedic starts to bring us our belongings from the car, which we can see is still in the middle of the road. I feel detached. The paramedic hands me the wrapped present that had been on my lap, and I feel a wave of tears. My parents arrive, they reassure us. The firemen move the car off the road and say goodbye. My dad stays with the police to finish emptying the car of our stuff and to make it as secure as possible.

My mum is in the ambulance with us, and we leave for the hospital. Ez starts crying again, but this time she's just tired and frustrated. I start to calm down, though I'm still shaking. My chest is really hurting. We finally arrive at hospital and we follow the paramedics through the corridors and wards until we come to the Childrens Department in A&E. I feel calmer. Ez is checked by a nurse, then a doctor. They need to observe her for a few hours. There's no point Fonz staying, he's exhausted, so Young Daddy takes him home and I stay with Ez and my mum. We feed Ez, and get her off to sleep in the pushchair, then I have a KitKat and a cup of tea. Calmer. Calmer. And I'm beginning to realise how sore I am. It doesn't seem that long before Ez is checked over again by the nurse, and then the doctor, and we're given the all-clear to go home.

I'm so happy to see Young Daddy and Fonz. We feed the babies, give them a bath, they go to sleep and we let the day's events sink in. We've been so lucky. We're sore, we're bruised, we're exhausted but we're all home and we're all ok. The events play over and over in my head, but I have to stop thinking about what could have been. We're ok. That's what matters. We're ok.

I know they won't read this, but I'd like to thank all the people who stopped to help, the emergency services, and the medical staff at the hospital. They were all absolutely amazing, and I will never ever forget their kindness.

Wednesday 18 August 2010
I've retrospectively decided to use this post for this week's The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers. The prompt is 'A Memory' so this seemed to fit.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Eleven months

Ez and Fonz turned eleven months last week, so here's a little round up of what they've been up to for the last month. This age rocks! Wish I had a pause button for a while.

Fonz is a speedy crawler, and confidently pulls himself up to standing. He loves to climb stairs and if left unchecked will scale the entire flight of stairs. He loves music, and the Leapfrog activity table is one of his favourite toys - he always looks to me to sing along with the tunes, and he jigs in time with the music. He's learned to wave hello and goodbye, and I often catch him waving to strangers when we're out and about. He's developing a little temper. When he gets cross he turns red, screeches and stomp-crawls a few feet before screeching again. If he's really cross, he'll turn his back on me too. Eating is a favourite pastime, and top of the list is any kind of fruit (I can't cut it up fast enough), cheese, pasta and chicken sandwiches. He's generous with his chuckles, and loves loves loves being tickled (especially under the chin). I call his name, and he lets me chase him, while he's in fits of giggles. He wishes his sister would play with him more, as he thinks its brilliant when she tickles his tummy, or plays tug-of-war with a muslin. He also reckons it's great fun to bite her fingers when she's daft enough to stick them in his mouth. A stacking cup and a shell will keep him happy for ages. Pop the shell in the cup, shake it, shell falls out, pick up shell, pop it in the cup, shake it... endless fun. When he's had enough he'll lay his head on the ground, or my lap, and give me a happy smile. The Fonz makes me laugh every, single day.

Ez loves cuddles. Mummy cuddles are the best, but daddy cuddles are pretty good too. Crawling's great, but climbing's even better. Why go round mummy (or whatever other obstacle) if you can climb over? Standing up is best, and she can stand unsupported for around 30 seconds now, though she doesn't look like she'll be taking a step anytime soon. She likes to use the walker and beams with delight when she realises she's moving on two feet. Her favourite food is bananas (a turnaround as she used to think I was trying to poison her when I fed them to her). Her second-favourite thing to eat is cardboard. Mmmm. She's beginning to think her brother is potentially quite good fun and loves racing up and down the hallway with him. She doesn't like it when he bites her fingers. Singing 'Wind The Bobbin Up' prompts huge smiles, and as she's just learned to clap, she likes to clap along. If she wants something she'll point until I guess what it is she's after. She was poorly with an ear infection a few weeks ago, and it was the first time she's been properly ill. Luckily she made a quick recovery. Her favourite toy is my housekeys and I frequently forget I've given them to her and have a panic when we get back to the house/car and I can't find my keys. She loves books, and I often come into the nursery in the morning to find her sat with a book, though I have just discovered the flaps on her favourite 'life the flap' book have been chewed off, so that would probably explain the fascination. Ez makes my heart want to burst with love every, single day.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Friday, 6 August 2010

How to make a knackered mum smile

It hasn't been the best week, and today seemed no better. I desperately needed to work while Ez and Fonz slept at lunchtime, but, despite a short morning nap and a hectic morning at Twins Club, Fonz decided sleep was not for him. He sat at the computer with me for a bit, before I risked putting him back down in his cot where he promptly woke Ez up and I knew naptime was over. I stuck them both in the same cot and stomped off to pack up the pushchair with everything I could possibly need for the afternoon. 

It wasn't long before the babies' screaming turned into chuckles. Intrigued, I grabbed the Flip, crept upstairs, peeked round the nursery door and what I saw reminded me why having twins is something pretty special...

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Having a bad week

I'm struggling this week. I thought it might make me feel better if I blogged about it. You know how sometimes, putting your worries down on paper make them much more manageable? Well that's what I'm hoping this will achieve, but I need to issue a warning to all readers... this is a feeling-sorry-for-myself-oh-woe-is-me post...

I'm not going back to my job. This makes me really sad because I loved my job, but it just couldn't be done on a part-time basis, and I was adamant I didn't want to work full-time. There are a number of reasons for this - I want to spend time with Ez and Fonz, I don't think that I would be fully committed to a full-time job, and as the cost of childcare for twins is so high, it really didn't make financial sense. I have decided to join the ranks of the work-at-home-mums, and try freelancing for a while to see how I get on. And I've already got a big work project on the go. So big, in fact, that I'm worried I've bitten more off than I can chew.

I've brought the date that Fonz and Ez start nursery forward by a few weeks. They'll be going on Mondays and Tuesday from next week, but for the last few weeks I've been trying to establish a working life as well as caring for them full-time. This means working every nap-time, evening and weekend and my batteries are running seriously low. 

Because I'm tired, I'm over-emotional, and I'm giving myself a hard time about short-changing the babies. They've just turned 11 months (a celebratory post is on its way soon), and I'm worried I'm missing out on the last few weeks of their first year. And I'm scared that their first birthdays will pass me by without the celebration they deserve. I've always vowed to make them a birthday cake each - this is the first family tradition I want to establish - and now I can't see how I'll have the time. We're throwing a party, but goodness knows how I'll get it planned, and I'm way behind in putting together a list of presents I think they might like (though my lovely Twitter friends helped me out with some suggestions earlier this evening).

The house is a tip, the to-do list is getting ridiculous, and I've dropped off the planet socially. This wasn't what I'd imagined when I decided to work for myself instead of slogging into an office everyday. I wanted a balance between work and babies, but maybe the pressures and stresses of being a WAHM are actually just as challenging as those of a working mum.

It's all about finding a balance, and at the moment that seems a long, long way away.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Multiples Mayhem Carnival - Call for posts!

After the success of last month's Multiples Mayhem Carnival over at Got Your Hands Full for Twins, Triplets & More Week 2010, Linda and I thought we'd try to make the carnival a regular event to celebrate having multiples. So this month it's my turn to host the carnival. It will take place here on Monday 23 August, so if you've got a post about the highs and lows of having twins or more, please send your entries to me at or leave me a comment below by midnight on Friday 20th August. 

The super-talented Rebecca over at Two Become Four is going to make us a beautiful Multiples Mayhem badge that you'll be able to download, and if you want to tweet about the carnival, let's get in the party spirit with the hashtag #MultiplesMayhem.


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