Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

They’re actually quite nice November 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:55 pm
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Today I have realised that my children are actually quite nice. For the past 8 days, the entire family bar big brother, has been consumed by a viral infection which frankly, knocked us all sideways.

I’ve concluded that the girls have never actually been ill before. All that came before this, were mere practice runs and over-reactions. This was the real deal.

They were poorly, they had record-breaking high temperatures, they had rashes, they were sick, they had headaches and sore throats and I think even their hair was aching.

It was awful.

All they did for 3 days solidly was refuse food, refuse to sleep, and shout… a lot. Mostly because they needed cuddles. But unfortunately, only cuddles from Mummy were acceptable. Everyone else was screamed at, shouted at, sobbed at and pushed away. It didn’t take long before everyone else in the house realised this was a blessing and crept back to their own corner to feel horrible.

Me? I was stuck with the gruesome twosome.

All I wanted to do was to make them feel better but there was little I could do. I dosed out the prescribed medication every 4 hours and watched helplessly as a large proportion of it was spat back onto my shoulder. This season, I will mostly be wearing Calpol Pink.

I rubbed backs and stroked heads and even tried singing to them. Note to self… in future, don’t bother with the singing. I think it made them yell louder.

We lay on the sofa, we lay on the floor, we went for endless walks around our neighbourhood in the hope that a change of scene might brighten their moods. (It didn’t).

And then yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope. I prepared food that wasn’t rejected at first glance. I celebrated the 2 or 3 tentative spoonfuls that made it to their mouths. After 7 days of milk, water and malted milk biscuits, this was a major breakthrough.

Things continued to improve. By last night, both the blonde and the brunette had each managed a smile. It was fleeting, and followed by a certain amount of grizzling, but it was definitely noted.

And then this morning there was wall to wall rejoicing. My beautiful, sweet, funny twin girls had been returned to me. Someone must have come in the night and removed the hideous, mucus-drenched bundles of discontentment and replaced them with my daughters.

I felt like telling them I’d missed them.

Post-tea tonight (readily eaten to the point that we had two empty bowls), the two of them performed a dance for their brother to the Charlie & Lola theme music. Even he seemed swayed by the re-appearance of the human toddlers and for once, didn’t complain that they were getting in the way of the tv. Arms were waved, bottoms were wiggled as they strutted their stuff with a vengeance.

At bedtime there were smiles, and giggles and much talk of “Meemy” (or “Miffy”, to her friends). And for the first time in over a week, I’m going to go to bed and not dread tomorrow. Wahey!

 

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Feels like winter November 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 2:52 pm
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Since we got back from holiday, the temperature in Dubai has noticeably dropped. It is now no longer reaching 30 degrees at any point of the day, and by nightfall, it is positively cool. Yesterday, there were even clouds in the sky!

Now by UK standards, this would be classed as a warm summer’s day, but not here. My body has become conditioned to living in hot places. 4 plus years in Singapore, and now into our 3rd year here in the UAE, and I now see winter as around 25 degrees and sunny.

But here’s the weird thing. I have an inbuilt urge to wear winter clothes. It must be my thoroughly British DNA that I find myself picking out long sleeves and jeans in the morning to do the school run. I’ve put the children in their winter pyjamas, and my son goes to school in a sweatshirt each morning. I’ve even got my Uggs out!

Surely this can’t be normal? When it gets to 25 degrees in the UK, they’re wearing hot pants in Tesco and the majority of the male population find it no longer bearable to wear a top at all. Yet here, we’re reaching for the merino wool cardis and wondering where we hid the bedsocks (cashmere, naturally).

What on earth is going to happen when we head to the UK for our Christmas holiday in 3 weeks time? I worry we will land in Birmingham and wither, as we head out of the terminal into no doubt, near freezing weather.

And it’s not just the clothing. 4 out of the 5 of us are currently nursing stinking colds. You know, the type normally brought on by cold, damp English November mornings, no daylight hours and an over reliance on central heating.

I found myself this morning staring longingly at the superweight quilts in the White Company, and perusing the woolly hats and gloves with a desperate temptation to buy them. Yet any Europeans arriving for a holiday in Dubai, would surely be delighted with the climate and making the most of the hotel swimming pool.

For us seasoned expats, comments are now being muttered about it being “too cold” for swimming. Frankly it’s a worry.

For many, leaving an expat posting is a cultural adjustment. For us, when the time comes, I fear it will be more environmental. And heaven help our heating bills!

 

Home Sweet Home November 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 10:26 am
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After a fabulous week in Oman, we’re now back at home in Dubai and life is returning to normal. There were no smoked salmon and marscarpone omelettes this morning, and the fresh mango smoothies also thin on the ground. There was no butler to tend to our every whim and someone has swiped the in-villa dining menu.

I have to admit to missing the sea view when I opened the curtains this morning. We live on a very pleasant suburban street but it’s not a patch on the teal ocean and pristine white sand that greeted us in Zighy Bay.

On the upside, we all woke up in separate bedrooms. Groans from the girls’ room were ignored for at least half an hour, and big brother, delirious to be reunited with his entire Lego collection, played happily until we called him for breakfast.

It’s funny how quickly we all fall back into our normal routine. The girls are chuffed to be back in their own cots and performed their usual squealing and giggling routine as we turned out the light last night. In the past 7 days they have significantly increased their vocabulary so last night we all got proper “bye byes” as we left them, and this morning, “mummy, wow”, which was rather nice. I do hope I continue to hold such excitement for them for at least another 18 years.

We now talk about “shoes”, “socks”, “milk”, “pool” and “sand” (extremely useful when you live next to the desert!). They have also mastered “please” which is great as big brother seems to have temporarily forgotten that the word exists. Maybe they can teach him something after all?

 

 

 

Reality Bites… and it’s nut flavoured! November 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:25 pm
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I’m starting to think that I may never achieve a state of total relaxation ever again. We arrived at Zighy Bay yesterday and having been welcomed with freshly squeezed juices, refreshing face towels and an army of helpers to carry our excessive amount of luggage, we headed en masse to our villa.

It all looked so promising. We’d been met by one of the hosts in reception to confirm that yes, they were fully aware of and prepared for the blonde’s unfortunate allergy. We were silently impressed. We hadn’t even uttered the ‘nut’ word on arrival, but instead planned to accost the chefs later in the day to work out what we could and couldn’t order from the menus.

However, as we entered our villa, my other half dropped his bag and lurched at a plate of suspicious looking biscuits that had ‘we contain nuts’ written all over them. They were perched on the coffee table within perfect grabbing distance of a peckish toddler and if it weren’t for his quick thinking, we’d have been arguing over which end of the epi-pen contains the needle mere seconds later.

A fuller inspection of the villa revealed a frightening number of nut polluted snacks. Some more easy to spot than others. There was the chocolate in the minibar with a picture of hazelnuts on the front, and muesli bars in the snack box. One was even named ‘Brazilian Nut Surprise’ and we can only hedge our bets that the surprise isn’t that there are no nuts in it!

Cue utter panic from twinsmummy who had been convinced that this break would be a doddle and that someone else would have done the worrying for us. We had clearly requested that there be no nuts or nut products anywhere in our accommodation but somehow, the message hadn’t registered.

We spent much of the next hour reiterating just how much of a problem this allergy is. I visited the kitchens, I spoke at length with our dedicated host and between us we banished all traces of nut from the villa. It became clear that whilst the information had been taken on board, no one had fully grasped the severity of the situation.

I think that maybe I’d been put in the ‘over-protective Mummy’ category so we spelt it out very slowly and very clearly. If the blonde eats a peanut, or possibly any other type of nut, it is highly likely that her skin will swell, along with her tongue, lips and throat, and that she could find it difficult to continue breathing. We’re not being dramatic, we just need to make sure we can guarantee a safe, nut-free environment for her.

I’ve had more than the occasional lower-lip wobble as I’ve explained this to a whole army of now highly attentive chefs, waiters and waitresses. I don’t want it to be the defining feature of our family, but the past 24 hours have shown that there is no way we can live the way we used to.

With the best will in the world, the only people who can guarantee the blonde’s safety are her nearest and dearest who can be constantly on their guard.

It may not be relaxing, but at least that way, we’ll never need to argue over how to use the epi-pen!

 

Haven’t heard that one before November 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:39 pm
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I’ve often ranted about the frustration of being asked on a daily basis if my girls are in fact, twins. On these regular occasions, I do my best not to look exasperated and answer as politely as possible, but a hint of sarcasm has been known to be applied from time to time.

The questions are almost always the same…

“Are they twins?” (I think so!)

“Are they identical?” (One blonde and blue-eyed, one brunette and green-eyed…. what do you think?)

“Are they both girls?” (The fact they’re both wearing dresses really ought to answer that one)

“Did you know you were expecting twins?” (No, my husband thought I’d swallowed a bus)

“Do twins run in your family?” (Well, it’s more of a toddle than a run, but they do their best!)

And the all time favourite (hence the name of my blog) from an Emirates stewardess who asked after 7 hours of serving us on board, “Are they twins” to which I answered a rather weary “yes”, and she then went on to ask, “Both of them?”.

Shouldn’t be let out alone, that one.

So, I really thought that I’d already experienced most of the confused conversations possible when it comes to the tricky twin dilemma… until today that is.

We’re going on holiday on Friday to a lovely hotel in Oman. We’ve been a few times before and it is the perfect solution for a hassle free holiday. No flights, private villa and pool, wonderful setting in a bay flanked by stunning mountains and a really quiet and relaxing atmosphere.

However, this will be our first trip away since the blonde was found to have a peanut allergy and as such, we’ve been advised to forewarn the hotel and find out what help they can give us while we’re staying there.

The lady in Reservations was extremely helpful. They are big on detail at Zighy Bay and keep a comprehensive file of your family’s likes and dislikes. The villa is always stocked with our favourite drinks and snacks, cds and dvds, and even the scent of the complimentary toiletries can be specified.

They know which of the activities my son took part in the last time we visited, and even what vegetables he prefers to accompany his locally caught fish strips. I have confidence that the nut issue will be handled with the same care and attention, and that we’ll have no problems during our stay.

However, when I came to offer up the blonde’s name, so that they knew which child it was with the allergy, the helpful lady seemed a tad bemused. “But I thought they were twins?”, she said.

“They are”, I replied.

“So don’t they both have the allergy?”

Hhhhmmmmmmmm

 

Haven’t heard that one before November 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 11:16 am
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Yesterday, we ventured out to a water park with four children in tow. Three of our own and a borrowed one – a friend of my son’s so that he wouldn’t be left out when we inevitably spent most of the day chasing two toddlers around, trying to convince them that head first into the wave pool isn’t the greatest idea.

My husband and I were also nursing ‘hint of hangover’ as a result of a 2am bedtime and the school parent’s ball. As combinations go; sun,water rides, four children, loud music and an hour’s drive from home, isn’t the best and we won’t be rushing to do it again. However, we managed to wear out the children so much that they were all in bed and asleep before 7pm and we weren’t far behind.

The chosen water park is in Umm Al Quwain which is about an hour from home. There are water parks in Dubai – some very good ones in fact. There is Wild Wadi down in Jumeirah and a brilliant one at Atlantis on the Palm. So why trek out to Umm Al Quwain? The optimistically named ‘Dreamland’ just happens to be next to the booze shop, and alcohol supplies chez twinsmummy are desperately low.

As Dreamland is a bit off the tourist trail, it’s populated mainly by locals and hotel workers on their days off. The mix of nationalities is broad ranging but there is normally a large number of Arabic families enjoying the facilities. And yesterday they were also appreciating my blonde daughter.

To say the girls stand out is an understatement. Both are very fair-skinned by comparison with Arabic children but the brunette stands out less as her hair and eyes are dark.

The blonde however, is very distinctive among a population of dark-skinned, dark-haired children. Her blonde hair and blue eyes make her look positively angelic and this doesn’t go unnoticed. As we wandered through the crowds, trailing big brother in his mission to find high-adrenaline thrills, it was like accompanying a celebrity.

Children stopped to pat the blonde’s head. Women stopped and kissed her and men tried to scoop her up in their arms for a cuddle.

The blonde went from bemused to unamused and started trying to shove them away. For some reason, her admirers took this as an endearing trait and pursued her further.

People try to take her photograph believing it will bring them luck, but we try to resist this whenever possible. There’s something slightly unnerving about a complete stranger having photos of my girls. Maybe in this day and age we’ve become over-cautious and fearful of strangers and their intentions, but I’m afraid, it’s the one thing we stand firm on. It just doesn’t feel right.

So, the girls wandered around, gathering fans wherever they walked. And whilst the attention was a little frustrating at times for both the blonde and for us, it was nice that for once, the girls were treated as individuals and not simply ‘the twins’.