Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

Hypochondria at 2? February 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 2:34 pm
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Is it possible that my 2 year olds could be hypochondriacs? Lately they’ve become incredibly fascinated with all things illness-related.

They can’t pass a box of tissues without grabbing a handful, shouting “bogies” and then vigorously scrubbing their faces.

Whenever they see a bottle of medicine they declare, “Calpol, yum” and suggest that they both need a dose.

As a result of the blonde’s allergies, we have to travel with 2 Epi-pens at all times, together with anti-histamine drops and syrup; all of which is bundled in a well-labelled bag that travels to and from nursery each day.

This emergency kit is fought over every time we leave the house. Both the blonde and the brunette want to carry the “medsin” but the blonde is at an advantage as she asserts that it is actually her “medsin”, snatches it off the brunette, who, if she doesn’t co-operate, gets a nasty bite from the blonde as punishment.

I live in fear of coming downstairs one day to find the blonde actually administering the epi-pen to the brunette in a fit of jealous frustration over who has carried it most in the past day.

This morning it was decided that teddy was ill and needed tissues and Calpol. Neither of the girls were very impressed when I told them there was no dosage information for stuffed animals and therefore teddy would have to continue suffering without the aid of paracetamol.

After around 3 minutes of protests, I gave in and let them both have a medicine spoon while I pretended to pour out the pink stuff for ted’s benefit.

I was tempted to take a shot myself.

 

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’.

 

Nuts September 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 11:07 am
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This morning, we’re all feeling a little bleary-eyed as we recover from one of “those nights”. Fellow mummies will know exactly what I’m talking about without any further explanation. Some nights, without warning, the adult contingent are denied quiet time / relaxation / an entire episode of Ashes to Ashes / sleep.

Our little night of horrors went something like this. My husband and I had been out house hunting. Yes, I can’t quite believe it either but needs must. We’ve been in our current house for less than a year, so of course it’s time to move. We had a successful recce of a few villas in the neighbourhood and came home in good spirits to see the troops.

It was tea time so sandwiches and fruit were deployed. The fruit was slung under the table and the sandwiches rejected. They were peanut butter, and according to Annabel Karmel, a godsend in foodstuffs for toddlers. We’d tried it a few weeks ago at my parents house with no issues. Twin 2 had munched happily and Twin 1, I thought, had also eaten some, before slinging the rest around the kitchen.

Last night however, the peanut butter was rejected. Twin 2 peeled her sandwiches apart,then mashed them into the plate before jettisoning them. Twin 1 simply threw hers, but not before she’d sucked out some of the peanut butter. Within seconds, it became clear we had a peanut allergy on our hands.

Thank God, not one of the life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, but still severe enough to make us feel awful for trying to poison our own child. Rash, itching, redness, huge discomfort. The blonde was not impressed.

We tried to take her mind off things and bread and jam worked a treat. She looked awful, but was able to eat and drink so we felt reassured that the moment would pass.

Fast forward a few hours past bath and milk time, and the husband and I decided we should be checking her every 10 minutes, just to be on the safe side. She’d now started coughing, so a long debate on what constitutes ‘wheezing’ followed. Out came the bible of baby illness. This just served to frighten us even more.

We got twin 1 out of bed and inspected her under the light on the landing. She was not amused. Apart from a tickle in her throat, she was settling down to sleep very nicely thanks very much, so could do without the poking and prodding, not to  mention the bright light.

She looked fine. Her skin had calmed down, the redness had reduced and all that was now concerning us, was the cough.

We tried NHS Direct online. Useless. So we rang the pharmacist who suggested giving her an anti-histamine. Having never encountered allergies in any of the children before, we don’t actually own any anti-histamine, so at 9.30pm on a Saturday, we set off to find some.

I’m not sure what time the chemist’s normally shut on a Saturday night here, but I’m fairly certain it’s not 1am. However, as it’s Ramadan at the moment, the Muslim population are conducting their lives by night so to accommodate this, everywhere is open until quite literally, the middle of the night. I never thought I’d be grateful for Ramadan but last night, I have to say, it served us well!

We got home and rushed straight upstairs to administer the syrup, only to be greeted by a very sorry-looking little girl who’d vomited her entire body weight and that of her sister.

All the commotion had woken her sister and brother who both decided to get in on the action. Big brother was fascinated by the situation, and decided he would help by fetching water for the patient. I set about changing the sheets and not for the first time, struggled to find a sheet that would fit, in among the drawer full of identical looking white bedding. I think it’s breeding in there.

Bed changed and blonde washed, we popped her back into bed and left the room. Much howling ensued. After a minute it became clear that the brunette needed changing so back in we went, light on, nappy changed and tried to leave again. More howling.

We spent the next hour up and down the stairs doing regular checks on sick bay, but all this achieved was two very perky girls who clearly realised there was no point in sleeping, as Mummy and Daddy would be back in to wave at them at any moment.

Big brother had decided he was going to turn his light on and read as he definitely wasn’t sleepy and in any case, the blonde might need him.

We abandoned any hope of a quiet glass of wine and half an hour of telly and decided to go to bed. We did one last check of the girls who were dozing and peaceful. All seemed good, until I noticed the dripping sound. It was getting louder, and more frequent.

And the reason for the dripping sound? The air con unit in the nursery was leaking. A lot.

Terrific.

So, today we’re all a little bog-eyed. Not at our best. Below par. And peanut butter is most definitely off the menu.