Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

Everyday experiences with twins. The ups, downs and downright unexpected.

Fish Update April 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 2:53 pm
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Good news to report. The fish made it through the night.

I read somewhere that the biggest trauma for a domestic fish is the move from the shop tank into the new surroundings of a common fish bowl.

Seemingly the new fish are hardy creatures, able to cope with the move to unfamiliar surroundings and adapt to a new environment of pebbles and um, well just pebbles actually.

My son would like them to have some props to swim through as he says it will make their days more interesting. Not wanting to be responsible for bored goldfish, next week I will be searching out a retailer who specialises in small plastic castles and shipwrecks.

And as for their names?

Not great actually. As there are 3 of them, my son thinks they should be called the Sugababes. I’m beginning to think Jedi Knights might have been preferable.


The saga of the fish Part II April 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 1:33 pm
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Regular followers will be aware that we don’t have the best of luck with our goldfish. If such a thing as a Goldfish Protection League existed, we’d be banned from owning them.

I really don’t know where we go wrong. I thought goldfish were fool-proof pets. You just sprinkle in the dubious looking flakes every morning, clean out the bowl every few days  and they reward you by swimming round and round pulling funny faces. Or in our case, they reward you by taking on a somewhat glazed expression and floating to the surface on their side.

I will not be beaten. Despite the growing number of goldfish graves in our garden, I’ve taken the plunge again and invested in 3 new fish. I’ve bought them from a different pet shop this time as I’m sure the last place was responsible for the rapid demise of Tom and Jerry.

And surely by going for 3 this time, at least one of them will survive. At least until May. Please.

The fish are, as yet, unnamed as my son is at a friend’s house this afternoon. I’ve tried to think of good triple acts but none really spring to mind. I’ve got a nasty feeling they could end up named after Jedi Knights but I’m trying to stay open-minded.

It’s ten weeks until we fly back to the UK for the summer. Place your bets now.. will any of them make it?


A class act April 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 9:33 am
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I am convinced my twin daughters are destined for the stage. Over the past couple of days they have perfected the art of ‘the grand entrance’ and in doing so, have provided hours of amusement for the rest of us.

We live in an old villa in Dubai. Old in Dubai means anything that was built more than 5 years ago. We’re not talking a Georgian townhouse or 18th Century farmhouse. It has no architectural merit that I can find. In fact, armed with his Lego collection, my son could have designed something far more attractive that would have impressed Kevin McCloud and generated a spread in Homes and Gardens.

Anyway, the point is, the girls room in our ‘old’ house has a slightly strange layout as the curtains are not at the windows, but instead, hung above an opening that would have originally been the doorway to a balcony. At some point in its lengthy (!) history, the owners have obviously decided that the balcony was unnecessary and instead, incorporated it into the room by filling in the space with floor to ceiling windows.

So, what we’ve ended up with is a room with curtains, behind which is a much smaller room that has floor-to-ceiling glass and is therefore about as cool as a sauna. Given that this is the girls room, we try to leave the curtains shut as much as possible in an attempt to keep the temperature down.

The girls have now cottoned on to the fact that they can crawl through the curtains to the other side. They have also realised that by then crawling back through one of the other openings at either end, they can ‘surprise’ the waiting audience on the other side. Cue much hilarity.

By leaving a moment for dramatic effort, they can then burst through the curtains to applause and laughter. And if they do it simultaneously, with one twin at each end of the curtains, they generally get a cuddle for being so clever.

I’m just wondering at what age will RADA take them?


To sell or not to sell? April 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 9:29 am
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Given the number of times we’ve moved house, you’d think we’d be pros at the whole buying and selling lark. Yet every time we’re in the position to either buy or sell a property, we become indecisive wrecks.

I put this down to the fact that I find the experience very emotive. When viewing houses, I have an instinct that generally cuts in within seconds of stepping across the threshold. If I don’t get that feeling, then the house is off the list, out of the question, not worth looking around a second longer. It drives my husband insane.

Likewise I am very protective of the home that we currently own. I can accept that it is not perfect, that it would not suit everybody, but to me, it’s a fabulous house which I love and more importantly, holds lots of great memories. And anyone looking round it had better agree with me!

We’ve just put said house on the market. It went ‘live’ on all the key websites on Friday morning. By close of play Friday we had 5 viewings scheduled for the weekend. I knew we’d priced it too low!

Anyway, our agents are actually pretty good (though I’d never tell them this) and by Monday lunchtime, we had an email detailing the prospects who’d viewed together with their feedback.

This is the bit I hate. How dare anyone say that they’ve found a fault with my house. They should be extremely grateful to be given the chance of viewing it at all! Again, my husband despairs.

And then comes the interesting bit, of the 5 that viewed, 2 parties are ‘very interested’.  Hmmm. This gets us both thinking. Could we actually be in for an easy ride this time? Are we about to sell our house?

An hour later, an offer comes in. It is below the asking price though not embarrassingly so. And so the games begin.

My husband and I spend the best part of an hour second guessing exactly what the prospective buyers are thinking. Bearing in mind we know nothing about them other than their surname and that they are in ‘a position to proceed’; all we’re actually doing is speculating on the financial position and emotional attachment to our house of two complete strangers. We’d do just as well to go out onto the streets of Dubai and ask the first person we see how much they’d offer for our house.

So do we accept and then spend the next few weeks grumbling about how we wish we’d held out for more? Or do we thank them politely for their kind offer but explain very gently, that we just feel that it’s not high enough?

There are 2 further viewings already in the pipeline. Could they be the ones.

I just don’t know. It’s like playing poker without knowing what your own cards are, let alone anyone elses.

I say this every time, but this time I really mean it. Never again!


Star Wars April 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:33 pm
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My son is going through a Star Wars phase. He watched the original film about a month ago and since then, all conversations have revolved around saving the galaxy.

This morning, I went downstairs to check that he was wearing his school uniform and not his Optimus Prime or Spiderman costumes, and found him in the play room drawing out battle plans on his blackboard. Only after lengthy explanations of who was shooting who, was I able to get him to the table for breakfast.

After school, he roped the twins in to his new game. Twin 2 is R2-D2 because she can’t speak and makes funny little noises which in fairness shows a level of perception I haven’t credited him with before. Twin 1 is a Wookiee – I daren’t ask why.

He spent about an hour leaping around the nursery with his lightsaber getting frustrated that the girls weren’t embracing their roles fully.

To avoid further friction, I suggested a walk to the park so he donned white PE shorts, a white t-shirt and white trainers so he could go as a Stormtrooper. He swooshed and swiped his lightsaber all the way there and all the way back whilst at the same time briefing me on the latest battle strategies.

His enthusiasm seems to know no bounds. We Skyped my future brother-in-law to congratulate him on his engagement and he very sweetly asked my son if he would like to be one of his ushers on the big day. Not one to miss an opportunity, my son quickly asked if said duties might involve being dressed as a Stormtrooper. I cringed a little, smiled and said that ushers didn’t generally turn up as Stormtroopers.

I’m not sure I should have bothered. My soon to be brother-in-law seemed quite taken by the thought of a Star Wars themed wedding. Unnervingly so.

So the only real issue is, who’s going to tell my sister she’s going to be walking down the aisle as Princess Leia?


Transience April 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:00 pm
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One thing that you quickly have to adapt to when living abroad is the transient life that touches every expat. When we first lived overseas we were oblivious to this until some good friends announced they were upping sticks to Geneva. Had we been in the UK this wouldn’t have been so much of an issue, but we were all living in Singapore so popping over for the weekend wasn’t really going to be an option.

The longer we stayed in Singapore, the more friends departed. I don’t think the two facts are related…

And the trouble is, when expats announce they’re moving on, it generally happens very quickly. Due to the restrictive conditions of employment visas in many countries; resignations, redundancies or promotions to other locations are normally dealt with in the time it takes a team of Indians to pack up a large family villa and load everything onto a shipping container.

In other words, about 4-6 hours.

We’ve been in Dubai for 18 months and the pattern has started again. We’ve made friends with other families who have children of the same age, attend the same school, or live in the same compound. We go out for regular child-free nights together and have learned enough about each other’s backgrounds, likes and dislikes to qualify as friends. We’ve shared ups and downs ranging from births and deaths to redundancies and promotions. And now they’re starting to leave.

In the space of just a few weeks, three families have quietly confided that they are moving on. Their children are being primed for an ‘exciting’ move involving new schools and friends. And once again, we get that slightly sinking feeling that however settled we feel, the constant comings and goings that are at the heart of an expat existence will continue to affect us.

So, you know who you are and we just want to say, we’ll miss you!


Hot Water April 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 8:41 pm
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Some of our friends in the UK seem to think that life in Dubai must mimic the blurb in the holiday brochures.

I’m sure most of them think we spend our life on Jumeirah beach sipping cocktails whilst watching the sunset over the Burj al Arab every evening. If we’re not on the beach we must be in the pool, shopping in Chanel, or passing camels as we head to the gold souk.

It’s a lovely thought, but no. My days consist of doing the school run and visiting the supermarket.  I also provide a daily taxi service to play dates, swimming lessons, football training and baby groups. For extra fun I also take trips to the doctor, dentist and optician.  In really exciting weeks, I may even go to Ikea.

Don’t get me wrong. Being an expat is great and I’m sure that if you live in Slough, Dubai probably sounds  a lot more glamorous. But just for the record, it’s not all mojitos and manicures.

There are plenty of things about living here that really wind me up and today I have been reminded of one of them.

Whilst there are no seasons, there is a fluctuation in temperature throughout the year. From November to March the weather is perfect with warm days and cool evenings. From April things start to warm up. By July it’s unbearable and we all escape to the UK for some guaranteed bad weather.

So now it’s beginning to heat up and as it does, a few little irritations have returned. There is no longer any cold water in the cold tap. The water tank for the house is situated on the roof and is basking in temperatures in the mid to high 30s every day.  To run a bath for the girls which needs to be ‘warm’, I now simply turn on the cold tap.

There is no point in using the electric water heaters. Why pay to heat up something that’s already hot?

Clearly we could be suffering far more serious problems but before you dismiss my little moan, just try brushing your teeth in warm water tomorrow morning.

Enough said.