Sunday, 19 September 2010

If the shoe fits

We had two shoe-shopping trips with Ez and Fonz this weekend, good and bad, with a nasty sickness bug separating the two (our first experience of trying to care for poorly babies whilst being in a bad way ourselves. Not nice).

The first was a trip to Clarks in Lewisham, and I was pretty excited about buying the babies their first pairs of shoes, especially as Ez is walking unaided now. I'd been told about the Clarks First Shoes experience and was looking forward to our trip. As a baby-shoe novice, we arrived to get the babies' feet measured without socks, so I had to do a mad dash around the shopping centre to buy some while Young Daddy tried to entertain two bored babies in Clarks.

Once we were able to get their feet measured, we discovered that Ez's feet are too small (size 2.5F) for Clarks' walking shoes, and were told we'd have to make do with some cruising shoes instead. We had the choice between two pairs, so grudgingly selected one (why are all baby girl's shoes pink with flowers on?), plus a cute pair of cruising shoes for Fonz (size 3G). As usual, I'd left things until the last minute when Ez was in urgent need for shoes and we were due to go to a wedding the next day so we didn't have much choice.

The time between our shoe shopping expeditions was spent in a hellish haze of vomiting, anxiety and sleeplessness as the whole family battled our first family stomach bug, and so we never made it to the wedding.

After tweeting about our Clarks experience, a few lovely people on Twitter recommended Start-rite for smaller babies' shoes. We were feeling recovered enough today to seek out our local Start-rite stockist, Pares Footwear in Blackheath Village. Within five minutes, the lovely assistant had measured Ez's feet again (2F now), and provided us with a beautiful pair of Start-rite walking shoes. No fuss, and we felt completely at ease and reassured by the sales assistant's obvious experience and expertise.

New shoes don't come cheap though, do they?! We have shelled out a whopping £47 for two pairs of baby shoes (I'll be returning Ez's Clarks pair), and advised that Ez and Fonz's feet will need re-measuring every six weeks until they're three or four years old. Hopefully they won't need new shoes every time we visit, but if they do, we'll be looking at a colossal £1,500 on baby shoes in the first four years of their life. Ouch. It's a good thing I gave up my shoe obsession when I got pregnant, because who knows when I'll next be able to afford to buy myself a pair.

Now here's Ez, walking for the first time in her brand new shoes...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Hoping for a MAD night

You may remember that many months ago, I was thrilled to become a finalist for the Best Baby Blogger category in the MAD (Mummy and Daddy) Blog Awards. It's been a long old wait, but the time has finally come for the awards do. Tomorrow lunchtime I'm jumping on a train down to Butlins Bognor Regis, to meet some of my fellow finalists and enjoy some cake. Then we'll get the chance to sample the delights that Butlins has to offer for the afternoon, before getting glammed up for the dinner and awards do in the evening.

Head over to Who's The Mummy tomorrow night for live-blogging from the awards, and if you fancy joining in on Twitter, use the hashtag #TheMADs.

I'm just looking forward to a mini-break and some R&R after a relentless few weeks. When I booked my room at Butlins, the lovely lady on the phone felt sorry for me when I said I was staying in my room on my own. Huh?! That's the most exciting bit of the whole awards for me! A night on my own, with no babies to wake me at dawn. Bliss.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Ez and Fonz's Annual Review

This blog isn't quite a year old yet, but Ez and Fonz are, so here's their year in posts...

At around eight weeks old, Ez and Fonz were getting into the Halloween spirit, ready to greet Trick Or Treaters...

At ten weeks, Fonz was still keeping his smiles to himself...

At 12 weeks old, my teeny tiny baby Fonz, overtook his older, bigger sister in the weight stakes and we hosted our first NCT party...

At four months we were snowed in and going stir crazy, and the joys of teething began...

When Ez and Fonz turned six months, I did some sums. 2,172 nappies?! This month the babies also starred in the famous Young & Younger Does Big Brother vlog, started solids (traditional weaning), and Ez gave up breastfeeding just as she cut her first two teeth...

Seven months saw Ez and Fonz sit unaided, and start to interact, and a few short weeks later Ez started to crawl...

In our eighth month, we jetted off for our first family holiday and Fonz cut his first three teeth...

By just over nine months, Fonz was also on the move, commando-style...

At ten months it was goodbye purees, as the babies started feeding themselves...

Eleven months was my favourite age so far, when Ez and Fonz's characters were shining through so strongly. And then I had a meltdown when my little babies started nursery...

In the last 12 months I have discovered the very best and worst of myself. Being a mum to twins has been terrifying, frustrating and stifling, but also uplifting, full of joy, hilarious, and without a doubt, the best experience of my life. Thank you Ez and Fonz, for making my heart want to burst with love and happiness at least a hundred times a day. xx

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Happy first birthday Fonz!

And last, but definitely not least, here's a round-up of Fonz's first year...

Happy first birthday Ez!

When I saw my friend Kelly's video of Piran's first year, I knew it was something I wanted to do for Ez and Fonz. Ez is my oldest child (by all of three minutes!), so here's her video first...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Twins, The First Year. The essentials...

It's Ez and Fonz's first birthday this week. One year old, already. This post is inspired by Rebecca at Two Become Four's seven first year essentials, and is a list of what we couldn't have lived without for our first year with twins...

  • TAMBA membership – Membership of the Twins And Multiple Births Association allows you access to the forums, where I got some great advice from other twin mums in the early days.
  • Bouncy chairs – I had four: two upstairs, and two downstairs.
  • Twin feeding cushion – I had the EZ-2 nurse twin feeding cushion. Go for the (more expensive) foam pillow – I bought the inflatable one initially and regretted it as it kept deflating.
  • Double breast pump – For us, introducing a bottle straight away was the only way to manage feeding two newborn babies - I needed Young Daddy to help out. I bought a Medela electric double breast pump second-hand, and it was a lifesaver in helping me to supply enough breast milk as quickly as possible.
  • A pushchair that fits through your front door – Mine didn't. I didn't think it would be a big deal, and I was so wrong. I spent many a cold hour sat on my front doorstep after walking the babies to sleep.
  • Hands free phone adapter – when Young Daddy first went back to work, I'd phone him a million times a day (usually in floods of tears). More often than not, I had my arms full of babies, so a hands free kit was great.
  • Swaddle blankets – I'm not exaggerating when I say we could not have made it through the first six months without swaddle blankets. It was the only way to get Ez and Fonz to sleep. They seem complicated at first, but become second nature so quickly. I could win a competition for Speediest Swaddler, I'm sure.
  • White noise app/hairdryer – Another crutch I leaned on in the early months. If both babies were screaming, switching on the hairdryer would instantly silence them. We downloaded a white noise app for the iTouch, and played it in their room when trying to get them to sleep.
  • A watch and a clock in every room – I didn't wear a watch before babies, but we quickly realised we were always needing to know the time (When's the next feed due? How long have they been asleep?). We now have at least one clock in every room, and I always wear a watch. 
  • Handheld camcorder/camera phone – Or you'll forget everything. I can heartily recommend the Flip video camera, though a lot of the early photos and video footage I have of the babies was taken on my BlackBerry.
  • Baby Einstein dvds – Ok, I know there are people who don't believe that babies should be allowed to watch TV, but they can't possibly have twins. The Baby Einstein dvds were invaluable at feeding time, when one baby had to wait for the other to finish, and almost always kept the waiting baby quiet.
  • Planned walking routes – If your babies are anything like mine, you will do A LOT of walking. Research local routes, of varying lengths so that you know where to go when you head out the door with two screaming babies. I walked for hours and hours and hours in the early months. Always pack a drink and a snack for yourself. Oh, and a book if you're lucky enough that they'll continue sleeping when the pushchair stops moving.
  • Stacking cups – If you only buy one toy, buy these. There are enough in a set to share between two babies, and they have a million different play uses, from bathtime, to stacking, to chewing, to building sand castles. They're amazing.
  • Touch and feel books – Try Usborne's Touchy Feely range of books, with different textures on every page. Ez and Fonz enjoyed these from very early on, and I think reading books to them helped to calm me down too.
  • A cleaner – Sadly not a luxury that we could afford, but if you have the money, this would be amazing.
  • Twitter – If I have a question or need advice, Twitter is the first place I turn now. Get onto Twitter before your babies even arrive to build up an invaluable network of online friends who can help you out when you're having a meltdown. I'm at so come and say hello.
  • Bath seats – Bathing two babies can be a stressful experience, and it also takes a physical toll. Both Young Daddy and I found bathing the babies in the early days really put a strain on our backs. So as soon as Ez and Fonz could sit up unaided, we invested in these bath seats from Kiddicare
  • Metoo highchairs – We started out with regular highchairs, though I carefully chose a model that folded down, as there isn't loads of space in our kitchen. I soon got very sick of putting the chairs up and down though, so we opted for the metoo highchair from Phil & Teds. They are brilliant as the babies love sitting at the table with us, and they fold down flat so are easy to take out with you. One of our top buys, I think.

Hope that's useful to any expectant twin mums out there. I know how daunting expecting twins is, and I was desperate to be as prepared as possible. If you want any advice at all, please do leave me a comment and I'll get back to you. .


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