Saturday, 30 October 2010

Sand play alternatives

Saw a tweet from the ΓΌber-stylist Poppy Norton (the brains behind baby style file) today that got me thinking...

We used rice krispies instead of sand for a messy play activity at Twins Club the other week and I've been meaning to recreate it at home ever since. We used a cement mixing tray (available from most DIY stores), filled it with rice krispies and let the babies clamber in and out. They loved crunching the krispies, and the fact that they could eat them for a snack was an added bonus! 

Play and snack times combined at Twins Club!

I'm sure this could work with lots of different cereals – and I've definitely been inspired by Poppy to give uncooked rice a go as well.

Has anyone else got any easy, messy play activities to suggest?

Monday, 25 October 2010

Two to one

We're living in Lurgy Land at the moment, with poor Ez very under the weather. She woke up with a temperature last Wednesday of just over 40°C. I'm much more used to thinking in Farenheit so I didn't really realise how high that was until Thursday night, so we paid the doctor a visit on Friday. A chest infection was diagnosed, antibiotics were prescribed, and she's been slowly improving since then. I can honestly say that she looked like we'd dressed her up for Halloween - all pale, white, face and red red eyes. I've never seen her look so ill, and I just felt so sorry for her.

A poorly Ez naps on my lap

She wasn't well enough for nursery on Wednesday, so I dropped Fonz off and spent the day with Ez at home. This was a first. The babies have never spent a day apart from each other, and I did have a little tear in my eye when I said goodbye to Fonz for the day. I was worried how he'd cope without his sister.

Obviously it wasn't nice that Ez was ill, but I really enjoyed spending one-on-one time with her. Because she was poorly she was very drowsy so we just spent the day cuddling up on the sofa, sometimes sleeping, sometimes giggling with each other. I did feel some guilt about 'abandoning' Fonz, but it made me look forward to having a day just with him.

Today Ez still wasn't well enough for nursery, so we had another day together. She was well enough for a trip out, so I bundled her up, and we went shopping and for lunch with a friend. Of course I did miss Fonz, but the feeling of freedom being out with one baby, rather than two, was incredible. I could manage the pushchair up and down the station steps, I didn't need to juggle crying babies, and I could actually eat my lunch in peace while Ez napped.

I would never say life is easier with one baby, because we all know every baby is different, every parent is different, and every day is different, but I have to say that it felt simpler (not better, just simpler) with one. I felt less anxious, more able to cope, and I think I relaxed more. I think so much of my parenting can focus on the practical, and the struggle and pressure to balance my attention between Ez and Fonz, that I can often overlook the simply pleasures of spending time with my babies.

And while Ez looks to have recovered enough for nursery tomorrow, Fonz's temperature is rising, so who knows, I may get my one-on-one time with him sooner than I expected.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The two sides of Fonz

Fonz is quite a complicated little chap. He's often frustrated at home, resulting in tears and angry tantrums. He's very determined, knows exactly what it is he wants (usually my mobile phone or any remote control he can spy), and is not a happy bunny if he can't have it. He loses his patience very quickly, and can be happy as larry one minute, and inconsolable the next, and once he's lost it, it's very difficult to snap him out of it.

So you can imagine my surprise when one of the carers at nursery said: 'Fonz is so happy, isn't he? He never cries.'

Ummmm, really? I buckle him and Ez into the pushchair where Fonz grizzles all the way home, and is in a right grump until he goes to bed.

What's that all about, then? Am I doing something wrong at home? Is he happier playing in a group (Ez isn't too keen on playing with him at home so could that frustrate him)? Does he hate me having to share my time between him and Ez? I'm sure it can be tough being a twin at times. 

Of course, the other possible answer is that he bottles it all up at nursery, and is more comfortable and at ease at home so can show his emotions more. 

I doubt I'll ever know the answer, but that won't stop me trying to work it out.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I'm not perfect

There, I said it.

I am a perfectionist. I discovered pretty soon after Ez and Fonz were born that being a mum and a perfectionist does not a happy mummy make. Now I'm finding out that being a perfectionist and a working mum is even worse.

I'm not content if I don't do things well, if I'm not achieving the best possible results I can. I work and work and work and work to get everything just right. Anything less than 100% makes me lose sleep. But right now I'm struggling to balance that with all the other demands on me. I need to be able to switch off when I'm with in mum mode, and just enjoy spending time with my babies. I only have this one chance to see them growing up and I feel like I'm throwing it away. I'm going to have to lower the unrealistic expectations I have of myself and my work or I'll self-combust with stress and anxiety.

I need to get to know the new, post-babies, working me.

Why do we put such pressure on ourselves? A recent survey has shown that mothers are much harder on daughters than sons, and suggests that it could be why women are much more self-critical than men. I know I've always given myself a hard time about most aspects of my life – I'm not thin enough, not exciting enough, not witty enough, not articulate enough, not creative enough.

But I want to stop. This isn't a legacy I want to leave to my children.


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