Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

74 days June 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 4:42 pm
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Today was the last day of term. My son has officially finished Year 1 and I can’t quite believe it.

If I’m honest, in my head he’s still in Reception and probably too little for that. Yet his uniform that dwarfed him when he started school in Dubai, now finishes several inches higher than when it was bought. His sun hat now perches on his crown rather than fitting around it, and even if he had the inclination to tuck his shirt in, it probably isn’t long enough to stay that way.

We were all asked to meet in the classroom to present his teacher and teaching assistant with thank you gifts and cards. Both of them have been fabulous teachers and having both started almost half way through the school year, had a tough task in familiarizing themselves with a new school, new curriculum and 23 lively 5 and 6 year olds. They more than deserve a few shopping vouchers. Knowing some of the children involved, an OBE wouldn’t be inappropriate.

For some reasons on occasions like these, I always have a tendency for a slightly wobbly bottom lip. My husband now flashes me a look that says, “Oh for God’s sake, please don’t blub” and I generally find a contact lense malfunction provides me with the excuse I need to look a little watery.

There’s something about the bare walls in the classroom once they’ve been stripped of all the year’s artwork that makes it all seem so final, so terminal. Coupled with the fact that most people disappear for the summer,  and some never return; it’s also an occasion filled with goodbyes and I’ve never been great at those.

But I suppose the thing that really brings a lump to my throat is the realisation that there are 74 days until school starts again.

I don’t suppose anyone fancies 3 children for 10 weeks?


Whose bright idea? June 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 4:25 pm
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Yesterday, the twins and I went to Café Ceramique to paint plates.

In just typing those words it occurs to me how ridiculous this plan was. I mean, whoever thought that taking 16 month old toddling twins to a café full of breakable ceramics would be a good idea? And you know what the really daft thing was? The plan was to paint their hands and feet and print them on plates.


It’s as if I’ve learned nothing from the past year of my life. Taking twins anywhere, to do anything other than sit in a high chair or be pushed around in a buggy is fraught with danger. Even the seemingly fool-proof buggy and high chair outings can be disasters. Just ask the staff in Carluccio’s who’ve witnessed my children eating spaghetti ragu and then spent the best part of an hour following our departure, trying to return their restaurant to a standard that may just scrape through a Health and Safety visitation.

The plan was concocted by our baby group as a ‘novel’ change to our weekly meets for coffee and muffins at each other’s houses. I should have known that things weren’t going to go smoothly when it transpired there weren’t enough high chairs to go around. I ended up with one twin in the buggy, and one in a high chair. Neither of them was impressed.

We swiftly turned our attention to painting in the hope that we could get it done before both girls were asked to leave on account of their shouting and general bad behaviour. Raisins were hurled, water cups were tossed aside and poor Miffy could be scarred for life.

I painted twin 1’s hand with a delightful shade of purple and reached for the plate. She in turn shoved her entire hand in her mouth and greedily licked off all the paint. Anyone would think I didn’t feed her.

We re-applied the paint. She enjoyed her second ‘snack’.

I enlisted the help of another mummy who was tasked with grabbing the hand as soon as the paint was applied and shoving it down on the white plate. There was a fair amount of resistance. I think the finished plate will show at least 7 fingers, probably none of which are twin 1’s – they’re probably mine.

It was at about this stage that I revised my idea of two hands and two feet prints on each plate. One hand would suffice.

Onto twin 2. She seemed more accommodating while having her hand painted. She looked at the paint with some interest but resisted the urge to eat it. However, her game was the even more challenging ‘let’s make a fist and see if mummy can unwrap my fingers’. As fast as I released one finger, she clenched the others. Cue much giggling.

As we left the plates to be glazed, I glanced at our creations with a distinct sense of under-achievement. There will be a pink fingerless wonder from twin 2, and a freakish purple 7-fingered hand from twin 1. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind but then again, they’d make great entries for next year’s Turner Prize.


The elusive lie-in June 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 1:59 pm

A few weeks ago I wrote that my children had mastered the art of ‘the lie in’ and they’ve managed to keep up this remarkable phenomenon ever since. Well, until this weekend of course. When I’m on my own with them and frankly need every millisecond of sleep on offer.

I normally sleep like the proverbial log but for some reason, when my husband is away, I become convinced that untold horrors are about to occur.

Every knock, bump or rustle after I’ve gone to bed is clearly a group of bogeymen breaking in through the back door. Then there’s the door locking routine. This has to be done at 30 minute intervals from when it gets dark until about midnight. Just in case I didn’t really check it  a hundred times already.

At 15 minute intervals, I have to check that each of the children is still breathing. Such is my paranoia that if the poor loves are in a deep sleep and fairly motionless, I end up prodding them until I get some sort of reaction. Usually it’s howling.

I lie awake for hours wondering if I should have checked under the bed and in the wardrobes. Goodness only knows what I think I might find, but in the small hours of darkness, my imagination is awash with crazy ideas.

Last night followed this pattern to a tee. When I finally climbed into bed after checking all the hinges were still on and that the oven hadn’t self-ignited, it was close to midnight.

I reached over to my alarm clock and happily turned it off knowing there was no school run to be tackled this morning. It’s normally set for 6.45am but on a Friday, the children have been known to sleep in until 8am quite comfortably. I had high hopes.

I awoke to the sound of the brunette shouting “bear”. This is nothing to be worried about, it’s just the only word that she can competently pronounce. I thought she might give up and doze off again but no such luck. I glanced at the clock. It was 6.10am. Earlier than a school morning!

No, no, no. This wasn’t part of the plan. We were all going to sleep until 8 and then enjoy breakfast in bed with Mummy.

After 10 more minutes of listening to her call for bear, I could take it no longer. I got up and soon discovered my son on the landing with his new Star Wars book. “Is it breakfast time yet?”, he asked. “Seemingly”, I replied.

Upon opening the nursery door, I was greeted by two very relieved looking faces. The brunette was delighted her calls had been answered. The blonde was hoping that her sister might now shut up.

Would it be really wrong of me to lace tonight’s bottles with brandy?


What does the weekend hold? June 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 8:41 pm
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The reason I’ve been a bit quiet this week is down to the fact that my other half has been in Paris on a business trip since the early hours of Tuesday morning. I’ll admit I was dreading the prospect of him going away and thinking that we’d face all manner of disasters, but it actually hasn’t been that bad.

However, the weekend beckons and apart from the joy of no school, we also have no Joy, my lovely Filipina helper. Friday is her day  off and whilst well-meaning friends have suggested I ask her to forego her day of rest, I just can’t bring myself to do it. She works so hard and I just wouldn’t feel right asking her to stay.

So, tomorrow when we all wake up, that’s it. It’s just me… and them.

Wish me luck…


Why didn’t I think of that? June 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 10:39 am
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It has to be said, this was one of the more surreal moments that I’ve had since living in Dubai. My son decided that his best friend Tallulah would like a Build a Bear for her birthday present, and in my naïvety, I agreed. I thought you went and chose a bear, gave it a name and that was about it.

How wrong could I be? The purchase of a soft toy from Build a Bear is like nothing else I have ever witnessed. Admittedly, it wasn’t helped by the fact that the assistant assigned to us was taking her job very seriously and with an unnecessary level of enthusiasm. She seemed to be under the misguided impression that we were actually creating a life. She was without question, more caring and attentive about our bundle of polyester and foam, than any of the midwives that helped deliver my twins.

For those who haven’t had the painful experience for themselves, the general idea is that you choose a toy and then take it through a long and convoluted process to stuff it, clothe it, name it and so on; before paying a ridiculous figure for it to be shoved in a box and given to someone you care about for them to cherish forever. Can you tell it’s an American company?

An assistant guides you through the process, mostly to make sure that you don’t miss out any key stages (and therefore opportunities to spend more!) on your way round the store.

The first stage is a row of saggy looking toy ‘skins’ from which you choose your ‘furry friend’. Whatever you choose at this stage looks like a pitiful road kill but no one seemed to pick up on this fact apart from me. My son was delirious with expectation and clutched the limp fur rabbit to his body as if someone’s life really did depend on it.

From here we had to choose our road kill’s, sorry, rabbit’s ‘sound’. As well as a dubious snuffling sound that frankly sounded more like Peter the Paedophile than Peter Rabbit, we had a choice of heartbeats, giggles and messages read by someone who had been on the helium. Everything comes with an American accent too, just to make sure that the experience really grates. Oh, and to record the sound and pop it in the bunny…. that’ll be 30 dirhams please.

So, armed with a limp rabbit and a sound we now had to pick a heart. Fortunately these came in a ‘one size fits all’ specification. Red, satin, crackling with static… you get the idea. Oh, and that’s another 10 dirhams.

And now the truly strange bit. We had to stuff the thing. And this, I can assure you, is neither sweet, cute nor dignified. Our poor rabbit was attached by her nether regions to a giant tube and then pumped full of god only knows what. The twins looked horrified as limb by limb the creature started to take shape. Even my son looked a bit unnerved.

Next stop the clothes. And there was me thinking that rabbits don’t wear clothes. Foolish Mummy! There were rows upon rows of garments and in every possible theme you could imagine. Bridal, cheerleader, Iron Man (I mean whoever heard of an Iron Man rabbit?), school girl, sports star. They just went on and on and on.

My heart sank as we agreed that my son should choose. I braced myself for Darth Vader Bunny (yes, there really was a Darth Vader costume), but instead, was delighted to see that Bun’ was going to be wearing white capri trousers and a yellow blouse. A snip at 60 dirhams. We handed the outfit to our assistant who pointed out that we’d forgotten the knickers. The what? Yes, knickers are sold separately. Sold? Of course they are. That’s another 15 dirhams.

“Would your bunny like a handbag?”, she asked my son. I flashed her a look and I think we came to a mutual understanding that the bunny would not be needing a handbag.

And then to the last stage. Presented with a PC you are guided through the process of creating the Birth Certificate. You choose a name and the computer helpfully provides the date, weight, eye and fur colour of your ‘baby’.

As I wandered zombie-like to the counter with Bethany the Bunny, and handed over a staggering 200 dirhams, one thought alone crossed my mind. Someone, somewhere, is making a killing!


The Verdict June 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:53 pm
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You know what, it really wasn’t that bad. Yes, there were some tears, a few differences of opinion in the judging of musical statues and a hairy moment when we realised that three of our charges had made a break for freedom; but on the whole, the birthday party was a success.

Amusement was provided by one poor party-goer who having lost her invite and muddled up the timings, turned up 10 minutes before the frivolity finished. Children can be immensely cruel.

Then there was the poor boy who was having his own personal wardrobe malfunction in the form of elasticated trousers that had lost their elastic. He spent most of the time leaping around in time to the music, utterly oblivious to the fact that his trousers were in fact lying around his ankles.

There was a minor scuffle when A stole some of B’s chips but this was quickly rectified by the application of another pouch of tomato ketchup and a quick cuddle. We made sure the chip-thief got an especially small slice of birthday cake!

The twins provided the entertainment by helping themselves to a giant bag of crayons which they then proceeded to eat one by one. There’s probably more nutritional value in a Crayola than in the hopelessly chicken-free, chicken nuggets that the older children were eating, so I wasn’t unduly worried.

So that’s it for another year. As we walked away from the wreckage and teams of cleaners swarmed in to deal with the aftermath, the bill that had seemed really quite large just a few minutes before, suddenly represented money well spent.


The Countdown June 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:07 pm
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Only a few more hours to go. The tension is building. The excitement has reached fever pitch. All the planning, the preparation, the weeks of build up. We are so close to finding out if it has all been worth it.

No, of course I’m not talking about the England vs. Algeria game. Tomorrow morning is….. THE BIRTHDAY PARTY!

At precisely 10am, 24 desperately eager little faces will arrive at Aquaplay for two hours of fun, frivolity and way too many E numbers. There will be rides and games, and no doubt tears and tantrums. The party bags are stuffed and waiting by the front door. The cake will be collected at 10.30am and the birthday boy has chosen what he is going to wear.

I have to admit to being a little bit excited myself, but this is mostly because the organisation of the party is in someone else’s hands. Last year, we made a fatal mistake in thinking that a cinema and McDonald’s outing would be a low maintenance birthday option. Add into the mix a couple of hangovers, and 25, 4 year olds who were either a) homesick, b) scared or c) incontinent as soon as the movie began, and you can appreciate it wasn’t the most laid back event. The joke is I used to run some pretty large events for a living, and for a pretty impressive client. However, presented with a couple of dozen children and a hundred weight of chicken nuggets, I have to admit a clear case of defeat.

Tomorrow however, will be different. I have checked, double-checked and triple-checked with the venue and they remain confident. They WILL BE in charge of the proceedings. They are aware that there are no gates on their venue. They know that most parents will ‘drop and run’ and they know that I would rather watch every single World Cup match left to play rather than be in charge tomorrow morning.

We’ll see…