Tuesday, 19 July 2016

What the twins have taught me about motherhood...

Honestly, I thought I was doing pretty at that mothering lark with the older two. We generally got to places in time, they were pretty much always clothed appropriately (depending on your definition of appropriate as Archie does have a penchant for my 90's collection of handbags and various accessories) and we've only had a smattering of visits to A and E over the past few years.

However, the twins have really opened my eyes to a few things I wish I'd known with the first two - especially with Harry when he was a little dot.

1. Accept help. Do you know what? If someone offers help, just say yes. It doesn't matter if really you *could* manage yourself - and it especially doesn't matter if you are doing it because you think you *should* manage yourself. Most people are more than happy to hold your baby, watch your toddler while you change a nappy or push the buggy around for a bit. Since I've had the twins I've even - shock horror - ASKED for help. And what is amazing is that instead of threatening my new friendships with people I've only known for a maximum  of a couple of years it has definitely done the opposite and cemented them.

2. No two babies are the same. To be honest I'm not sure I could ever have not compared my babies to others. I try really hard not too, but - especially with your first born when you are likely to be around a lot of other babies a similar age - it is very difficult to avoid. From the first smile to the first roll over; the first tooth, the first tastes - and of course the biggies - the first crawl and first steps. Harry was 14 months before he walked which seemed late at the time although it really really wasn't! The twins are 15 months and Jasper is doing a few steps but Dulcie is way off. At night Dulcie has slept through for a long time - Jasper not so much. Dulcie had the first teeth, Jasper is  much bigger - I could go on all day listing their differences. It comes down to the fact that they are just such different little people. And you know what? Yes a bedtime routine is nice but do I think it will make a non sleeper sleep through? No I don't! Will a jumperoo strengthen Dulcie's legs enough to walk? Um no - not right now! Go with your baby, chill out and enjoy them for their own little quirks. And don't worry!

3. Boredom can be good. Anyone who knows me will agree I'm a bit of a busy person. I'm an over planner - my kids' days can be planned down to the last minute. But you know, since the twins arrived the older ones have had to learn that I can't just be there all the time! If the babies ever happen to sleep at the same time (rare!) I do make sure I get some quality Lego or board game time with them - and the same at the weekend when Daddy is around but otherwise they have had to learn that you can make your own fun. I'm sure it has brought them closer together and has also made them more independent.

4. Freedom can be even better! The boys have learned that with a bit less attention from Mummy comes a whole lot more freedom. I'm feeding the twins on the sofa so yes you can climb up on the side and get your own drink. Yes, you can go up the steps and wait in the park whilst I walk around the long way to the big gate with the double buggy. Yes, you can go to the toilet yourself at swimming lessons. Yes, they sometimes get into mischief and do things they shouldn't but 9 times out of 10 it's a success. The boys adore these extra little responsibilities and I feel really proud of them as they get older. 

Sometimes you have to remember that in parenting you are playing the long game of preparing them for adulthood in their own individual way. But it's not a one way street. The twins might have learned a lot in the last 15 months but they also taught me much more than I thought they would.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Starting School - What I Wish I'd Known

Over the next couple of weeks Archer has some big events afoot. We've been to the school twice a day for nearly two years with his big brother, but now it's his turn. School taster days are here and, boy, is he excited!

There are so many things I wish I knew when Harry started school - little things that can help with the smooth running of the transition to school. I thought I'd note down a few of them here as a handy reminder to myself - and you never know, they may help someone else!!

1. Befriend someone with an older sibling at the school. If you can do this, everything will be so much easier! There are so many little quirks and differences about each school that only the parents really appreciate. What time do they actually *need* to be in school? (Harry's school starts at 9 but in reality that's when the register is done and the kids are sat on the carpet. Nearly everyone drops off at 8.50 when the 'doors open'). How on earth do cake sales work? What's the method for school dinners? What kind of water bottle do they need? What happens if I'm late to school? What about after school clubs? The list is endless - yes, the school will answer your questions, but nothing beats a quick text to your friend at 10pm when you realise you're supposed to be sending in your 4 year old with money in the morning and you suspect it will get lost in the ether (stock up on those titchy envelopes now!)

2. School Uniform - I buy all my school uniform from Tesco - it's cheap and hard wearing and, best of all I can order on click and collect and pick up from just down the road.

For some reason, school trousers seem to a size bigger than jeans or other trousers - even if you get them from the same shop. I bough Harry age 4-5 for starting school as that's the size he was wearing but they were MASSIVE! He ended up in age 3-4 for the first term or so. Polo shirts on the other hand *look* massive but soon shrink to size, and besides they will probably be under a pinafore or jumper up until Christmas anyway. 

On the subject of what exactly they will be wearing it's worth noting that the weather in September can still be pretty balmy but try buying summer uniform in the run up to September and you might find you are out of luck! So if you want shorts or checked dresses, I'd get them in now! 

3. Labelling - just label everything! Things will still disappear into the ether. I sew labels in for mine so I can easily switch them for the younger kids but I have had second hand clothes with iron on and stick in labels that are impossible to remover so those are definitely a quicker option. I've also heard good things about the stamps you can get but I've not tried them.

Whilst labelling your child's shoes (remember everyone will have gone to your local shoe shop and bought those ones with the lights in... And many will be  the same size) try chopping a large sticker in half. Put one half in each shoe. This way, when your child goes to put their shoes on, they only have to match the picture and they will get them on the right feet.  

4. Don't sweat the small stuff. And in reception the small stuff is the curriculum. Focus on your child enjoying school, making friends and settling in. Don't expect reading books home and homework - to be honest even if these things come home early in the year I would treat it as optional. Your precious little person has years at school ahead of them. Just make sure it's a safe, happy place for them whatever way they can.

We have been enjoying completing a school sticker book that is guiding Archer through what to expect at school - I used the same one with Harry and it's lovely to see how he has come on.

5. When that day finally comes it will be emotional. You are waving them off into a new world where you will no longer be instrumental in everything they do. In fact, you probably won't have a clue what they do all day! If you can get in touch with some of the other mums and arrange to go out for a coffee - or to someone's house so the tears don't matter... 

And be ready (with a snack in hand) for pick up and your brand new school child to come home all full of beans...

It's been a while...

It has been a long time since I blogged. Life has really taken over! Going from 2-4 kids has been quite a shock - and the past year has gone by in a blur. 

However, recently I've been spending rather too much time on random Internet forums and I realised that that probably meant I had time to blog!

The last few months have been eventful -
I became a great Aunt, we had an extension built, the boys started swimming lessons.
The next few are going to be a period of great change -  in September my baby boy Archer starts school, I go back to work and a wonderful nanny starts working with us. Before that we have my cousins festi-wedding, Camp Bestival and a summer full of fun to fill!

I hope some of you will join me on my journey :-)

Sunday, 19 July 2015


Archie: 'I'm gonna boing on my jump-o-line!'

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Twins Birth Story

Twins Birth Story
Due to the fact that I was having twins, we always knew that I would be induced at around 38 weeks – although I think we did expect that we might have had them spontaneously by then. This meant that we were due to be induced on the 16th of April, with Harry’s 5th birthday being on the 17th! We decided that as the pregnancy was going so smoothly that we would delay until after his birthday, and so the date of the 18th was set. Despite being very uncomfortable by this stage, I was really pleased to be able to spend time with Harry on his birthday instead of being sat in hospital for the day being poked and prodded. We opened presents in the morning and went to Frankie and Benny’s for dinner in the evening. Harry was very pleased with his ‘birthday treat’.
We contacted the hospital in the morning, and they gave us a call at lunch time to tell us to come in at 2pm. Although I had been induced with Harry, this felt quite different as I had had no real signs of natural labour in advance. We made our way in at 2 and went to the delivery suite where I was monitored for a bit before the propess being put in at 3.20. We were told that this would stay in place for 24 hours and then I would be reassessed. Up I went to the ward and Ian stayed with me for a bit before leaving in time to go home and put the boys to bed. I enjoyed relaxing and reading my book! However, before long, I began to feel that things were moving on. At 8pm I asked for paracetamol, and I needed more painkillers at 9pm and was given Dihydrocoedine – a sure sign that the contractions were affecting me quite badly as I wouldn’t normally take a codeine based drug!
The CTG at 9.40 showed that I was contracting regularly and also that there were some decelerations in Twin 1’s heart rate. This was concerning to the midwives and at 9.55 they removed the propess in the hope that it would slow things down. I was moved downstairs to the delivery suite for closer monitoring. Twin 1’s heart rate improved, but the contractions were still coming quite quickly and intensely. At half past 12 I was given an injection to stop the induction process and was able to rest. I opted to stay downstairs in the hustle and bustle of the delivery suite as a bit of a distraction and was cared for by a lovely MW who happened to be the one who delivered Harry!
After getting a bit of sleep I woke in the morning and the twins were monitored by CTG again. At 8.40 the MW broke my waters to assist in the induction process. The babies were monitored again and the MW attempted to put a cannula in the back of my hand, but it the end we had to get an anaesthetist to do it. After this, we were told to ‘mobilise’ for 2/3 hours and possibly get something to eat. This was at 10am. By 10.20 we were back in the delivery suite as I was really struggling. So much for a couple of hours! At 10.39 I was 3-4 cm dilated and at 11.20 I was given diamorphine in the hope that I would be able to relax for a couple of hours and allow the labour to progress.

At 12.25 I called the MW as the contractions were intensifying and I was feeling pressure. I was fully dilated – no time for the epidural I had planned! The diamorphine had completely  wiped me out, I had been making no sense at all with what I was saying to Ian, and I was able to manage the contractions well. Jasper was born at 12.58 weighing 2860g. I was quickly scanned to check twin 2’s position – she was breech as expected - and they started putting the Syntocinon through the drip. At 1.20 her foot was visible and at 1.29 Dulcie was born, weighing 2940g. Jasper yelled almost immediately and was given to Ian, whereas Dulcie needed a bit more waking up, but we were soon left with our gorgeous babies all well and happy. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Bobchat - midwives

Me 'the midwife listened to both the babies today!'
Harry 'oh wow! Were they crying?'

Bobchat - on the twins

'Mummy do they have clothes on in there?'
'No darling'
'Not even socks?!'