Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

I don’t know where to begin April 13, 2012

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I realise it’s been a fair few weeks since twinsmummy put fingers to keyboard, but in my defence, I’ve had a few other chores on my ‘to do’ list.

There have been many days over the past 3 weeks when I’ve almost managed to post, only to be stopped at the critical moment by an international move or milestone birthday (twinsdaddy’s, not mine before you start any rogue rumours!).

As a little insight into the mayhem that has passed for normal life, here is a list of just a few of the events that have been keeping me away from my blog.

1. The Big Brother’s last ever day at school in Dubai. One word… emotional.

2. Twinsdaddy’s 40th Birthday. Remarkably civilised and not a hangover in sight. We must be old.

3. The twins last day at nursery in Dubai. Chaotic.

4. The journey from Dubai to England. Just me… and them. Long.

5. Some serious jet lag. Why do we have to start the day at 3am? Why?

6. The move from the comfort and 24/7 food-athon of my parents house, to the beautiful, yet 100% uncatered Cotswold cottage that will be our home for the next 3 months.

7. Five hours in Cribbs Causeway shopping mall with 3 year old twins and a non-plussed 7 year old. Not to be repeated.

I promise now that I’m firmly back on UK time and don’t have to organise another move for at least 12 weeks, I’ll be a little more regular in my witterings.

Twinsmummy is alive and well and living in the country!

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And then there was the floor… March 21, 2012

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ImageAbout a week ago, three removals companies scared the life out of me by declaring confidently that there was no way on earth that our belongings would fit into a 40 foot container.

As I may have mentioned before, I have no size, volume or spatial awareness, so frankly a 40 foot container could be only as long as my Volvo, or it could be as long as Terminal 3; but whichever way I look at it, surely our belongings should fit into it as the costs being quoted are eye-watering.

For consolation I’ve taken to reading endless threads on Expatwoman that are related to relocation. I’ve been hugely distressed to discover that many people arrive and leave Dubai using a 20 foot container. My mental maths is reasonably sharp so I’m confident that those containers are a mere half the size of the one we ‘don’t fit into’.

Something is surely not right.

Fuelled by my growing panic, I rapidly took photographs of every large item in our house and uploaded them to Dubizzle (a sort of local Ebay). 

A week went by filled by time wasters and lunatics.

Time Waster 1: “Do the sofas come in any other colour?”

Me: “No, for a range of colours, you need to try IKEA.”

 

Time Waster 2: “What do you keep in your teak wood chest?”

Me: “I’m not sure that is any of your business.”

 

Time Waster 3: “Can you keep things other than shoes on the shoe rack?” 

Me: “You can keep dead bodies on it for all I care, just come and take it away.”

 

 

Then two nights ago, the furniture angel arrived. Admittedly, he didn’t look very angelic, but he had cash, a team of willing packers, and a desire to clear my house of pretty much every seat I own.

He took the 6 seater L shape sofa from the playroom, 2, 3 seater sofas from the lounge, and even the giant teak coffee table.

Now this is all fabulous from a ‘maybe now we’ll fit in the container’ perspective, but as the blonde rightly pointed out, “mummy, we have nothing to sit on”.

Big brother, always eager to help out, advised that we were pretending to be “in the olden days before sofas were invented”.

So, 16th century living with twinsmummy this week… can’t beat it.

 

 

Turns out, we’re too big for a container too… March 13, 2012

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For some time now, twinsdaddy and I been debating when is the right time to say farewell to Dubai and head home to England. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 10 years since we headed off to Singapore on our first expat adventure.

In the last decade we’ve lived and worked in Asia, the UK and the Middle East and moved house more times than we care to remember. We always knew we’d end up back in England and after many years away, it’s finally time to go home.

Now this is all very exciting and will no doubt form the subject matter for many posts over the coming months; but as a follow-up to being too big for a hotel room; I’ve just discovered, we’re also too big for a 40ft container. And frankly, that’s a bit of a worry.

Fearing that we may have accumulated some ‘stuff’ over the last four years, and knowing we’d arrived here with an almost full container, I thought I’d better get the experts round to assess the situation accurately.

My worst scenario was confirmed in a 30 second phone call earlier today when J happily informed me that yes, our belongings comfortably exceed the 60 cubic metres of a 40 ft shipping (or maybe that should read shopping) container.

“Have you accumulated much since you’ve been in Dubai?”, she merrily trilled down the phone?

Well yes actually. Twins.

How many cubic meters do they take up?

 

We are OFFICIALLY too big for a hotel March 5, 2012

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I need an answer to a question that has been bothering me for some time now. Where can I find hotels that offer suitable accommodation for families with 2 or more children?

It’s something I keep meaning to ask every other parent on the planet but somehow, never get around to. The issue always seems to raise its head when I am pressed for time and in desperate need of confirmed accommodation for our family, but don’t have the spare 3 weeks necessary to conduct in-depth analysis of where I should be looking and which rooms should I ask for. I need the Holy Grail of family accommodation.

My husband’s younger brother is getting married in Bath this summer, and as we are anticipating some sort of family dinner the night before the big ‘I do’, we’re planning on making a weekend of it.

So, we need accommodation for 2 adults and 3 children, in or around Bath, one of the tourist hotspots of England. Surely this can’t be too hard?

Oh foolish twinsmummy. Do I never learn?

My father in law passed on the details of the hotel where he will be staying which is also the same venue where the bride and groom will spend their first night as Mr & Mrs. I checked out the website and was delighted. It’s a divine looking boutique hotel, housed in a Georgian townhouse in the heart of Bath city centre. There is talk of organic breakfasts, luxury toiletries and egyptian cotton.

There is no talk of children.

Undeterred, I contacted the hotel who confirmed that they could put an extra single bed in one of their larger double rooms, but 3 extra beds? Sorry, no. They don’t have interconnecting rooms so the only option is for us to book one double and one twin room.

I’m not comfortable with the children being alone in a room whilst we’re in another, so the reality is that twinsdaddy would end up sharing a double with the big brother, whilst I enjoyed the twin room, with the twins!

Whatever way I look at this option, it just doesn’t appeal.

It’s also an eye-wateringly expensive way of spending two full nights without any sleep!

It’s always the same dilemma. Family rooms only ever cater for 2 children, meaning 3 children are meant to occupy their own room unsupervised. When the twins were still in cots we managed to just about get around the issue by asking for an extra bed for the big brother, and then wedging the travel cots in whatever floor space remained. Depending on the hotel in question, this meant the girls spent the night pressed up against desks, tv cabinets, between wardrobes, or on one occasion, with the cot firmly inside the en suite bathroom.

I did have one thought which was to share the children out among some of the other wedding guests. We could keep the big brother in our room as he’s the least likely to bounce on our heads at 5am; and then offer up the twins to whoever fancies a sleepover with a 3-year-old.

Any takers?

 

 

You win some, you lose some.. February 17, 2012

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This week we’ve had a breakthrough, finally, with the potty training. I use the word ‘training’ in its loosest possible sense! I’ve been asking if the twins want to use the potty and they’ve been saying no, and that’s about as far as it’s gone to date!

However, with the 3rd birthday having been and gone last weekend; this week, I’ve used a new tactic with them. Mummy has made it clear that girls of a certain age definitely don’t wear nappies. 3 year olds are like princesses and fairies and they most definitely wear big girl pants. So far, it seems to have worked.

Obviously the transition hasn’t been 1o0% successful, but we’ve had a pretty good week and the ghastly Disney princess knickers have helped encourage the girls to discard the equally loved Dora the Explorer nappies.

I’ve dished out hundreds of thousands of chocolate buttons and smarties as ‘rewards’ and there’s been lots of clapping and cheering from the sidelines.

However, whilst we’ve been celebrating the (fingers crossed), permanent move to knickers, the girls have decided that their new-found grown up status also means they no longer need a post-lunch snooze. As any mummy will agree, the middle of the day sleep is the secret weapon in surviving a day at home with a small child. You just have to get through the morning and the lunchtime feeding session and then you can pack the little sweethearts off to bed for a couple of hours whilst you a) catch up with the household chores  or b) hit the gin.

Without the day time sleep, the day suddenly seems a LOT longer. And because we’re in a transitional phase of doing without the nap, tempers are a little more frayed by the end of the day, tears flow a little more easily, and petty squabbles escalate an awful lot faster (and that’s just twins mummy!).

But I’m not complaining… the thought of the number of landfill sites that my family must be responsible for filling, is really quite disturbing. We will embrace being a nappy-free zone and from next week, we’re going to learn all about the Continental princesses and fairies, who all LOVE to take a siesta….. It’s got to be worth a try.

 

 

 

 

 

Granny lives on! February 6, 2012

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My dear granny on my father’s side had an amazing gift for finding a common link with every person she came across. It was a running joke that she could step into a lift on the ground floor of a shop, and by the time she stepped out two floors up, she’d have the life history of at least one other person, and had established that at some point, they’d shared a pharmacist or lived on the same bus route!

It didn’t matter where she went, she could always be guaranteed to find someone who lived in, or had lived in, or whose offspring lived in Ebbw Vale. Which is no mean feat when you consider that it’s a small Welsh town in the valleys, only known for its steelworks and then briefly for the garden festival of 1992.

In our family, random conversations with total strangers have become known as “doing a granny” and a few days ago, I became aware that the family trait lives on in me.

I made a brief trip to the UK last week, and at check in, found myself entering into the usual polite chat with the airline lady. I was booked from Dubai to Birmingham, that glamorous (!) destination of choice, and as ‘Kelli’ (Filipina) announced her sister used to live in Abergavenny, I felt a little surge of enthusiasm. Just a few seconds later, we were weighing up the pros and cons of Monmouth (where I went to school), versus Abergavenny.

It must have sounded more than faintly ridiculous to the people in the queue behind me. A British expat discussing with a Filipina expat, both based in Dubai, two Welsh towns that neither of us have ever lived in. I was amused to discover that for the entire time her sister lived in Abergavenny, Kelli flew into Heathrow to visit her, not realising that Birmingham was at least 80 miles closer to her destination!

But perhaps the best bit was when Kelli announced that she was particularly fond of flying to the UK with Emirates, as they always offered a great Welsh menu on board…

I’ve got to be honest.. I’m still pondering that one.

 

 

 

 

 

Sayings of the week January 21, 2012

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“I’m very happy for you Mummy” = I’m pleased with what you’ve said or done to me Mummy.. keep it up.

“I’m not happy for my carrots / peas / broccoli” = I’d really rather not eat the vegetables tonight thanks.

“I’m a beautiful monkey” = I understand you think I’m a bit naughty/cheeky but aren’t I rather cute with it too?

“I don’t want to like a potty” – I really don’t need anything other than my nappy thanks.

“I want to eat the monkey food” – Please can I have a banana.

“It’s not school today” – I don’t want to go to nursery today. (Also applies to hair washing / bath time / eating peas)

“I love you mummy” – Translates literally… the very best quote yet.