Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

Let it be over September 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 8:19 pm
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Across Dubai, women are growing wearier by the hour. Grey hairs are multiplying, tempers are fraying, and there is only one thought on their minds. When, oh when, will these holidays be over?

We’re now deep into week 11 of the school summer holidays, and I think the big brother has actually completely wiped the concept of school from his memory. In its place are endless playdates, sleepovers, trips to the cinema and days spent thrashing around in the swimming pool.

He claims to not remember who his new class teacher is or where his classroom is located. For my part, I’m seriously concerned I may not even remember where the school is located when I set off for the school run on Sunday morning it’s been so long.

The school summer holidays in Dubai are almost double the length of those in the UK and yet, my son is supposedly bang up to date with the UK curriculum, and he and his classmates are all comfortably exceeding the standards required by those critical souls at OFSTED.

Which rather begs the question, how is it that with extra subjects to be taught (Arabic lessons for every pupil 4 days a week at my son’s school) and reduced school hours and weeks, that these children are equal to, or even ahead of, their UK counterparts?

Are the teachers here far superior to those back home? Are all expats breeding super-pupils? I seriously doubt it.

Whatever the explanation is, I’m naturally thrilled that the big brother is getting a good education, but please, a plea from an extremely weary mummy, can we please, just get them back to school now. Seriously.


May The Force Be With You June 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 11:35 am
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Every year we are presented with the same dilemma with regards the big brother’s birthday celebrations. His actual birthday is mid-July, but as the school year here in Dubai invariably ends in June, at which point every expat flees the city for a cooler climate; having a birthday party on or around his actual birthday isn’t practical.

For the past two years he’s had a joint birthday party with the lovely Talullah whose birthday falls in August. However, this year, Talullah has decided she will be celebrating post-summer.

So with this in mind, the big brother had the option of waiting until September (no chance), or having an early celebration of his own. It didn’t take him long to announce that a pre-holiday bash was required.

Not fancying the thought of managing the entire class on my own and taking into account the lack of free weekend days left before the end of term, I came up with what I thought was a fabulous solution. A small, select gathering of close friends at a sleepover party. We could theme it as a Star Wars Sleepover, let them stay up late to watch a movie, eat popcorn and then pack them off to bed exhausted.

How hard could it be?

Well as it turned out, absolute bloody torture.

I had 7 children in my house overnight. As my lovely friend B pointed out, that’s more than Angelina Jolie!

They were utterly hideous. A total of five, 6 and 7-year-old boys who screamed, shouted, burped and farted their way through the birthday tea before taking off all their clothes and running around the house playing ‘naked Batman’. Just don’t ask!

The girls were stunned into silence which was about the only upside of the entire proceedings. They sat open-mouthed in awe/horror/fear at the dining table as the chaos unfolded.

I sent the party boys out to the swimming pool for an hour in the hope of wearing them out before the movie but this just served to fuel their energy levels further.

By the time twinsdaddy got home from work (an hour earlier than normal… he’d correctly assumed I’d need back up), I’d poured myself a large drink and was hiding in the kitchen with the baby gate locked firmly in place in the hope that no one could get in.

Even the movie and a seemingly non-stop 2 hour light sabre battle slowed them all down. At 10.10pm they were still jumping from bed to bed pretending to be crocodiles.

Twinsdaddy gave a brilliantly terrifying, “GET INTO BED…. NOW!” speech and at around 10.30pm it finally went quiet.

Fearing an early start, we fell into bed soon afterwards, desperate for as much sleep as possible before the mayhem began again.

As the screams and shouts commenced, I glanced at the clock hoping it was at least 6am. No chance. 3.05am.

And that was the end of the sleeping.

All the parents had kindly offered to collect their offspring at ‘some point in the morning’ but there was no way we were lasting a minute longer than absolutely necessary. By 8.30am twinsdaddy had all the little sweethearts loaded into his car and began a 2 hour-long trek across the length and breadth of Dubai to get rid of them all.

I think it’s fair to say that for his 8th birthday celebration, we’ll be stocking up on Valium before even thinking about sending the invites.




Mummy’s feeling the pressure June 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 6:09 pm
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This week, the big brother has taken his SATS. These are the tests that British school children sit at the end of Year 2, and are supposed to be a measure of a school’s teaching abilities, rather than the capability of its students. Allegedly.

I’ll be honest and say both twinsdaddy and I are rather glad it’s the weekend. Every morning I’ve dropped big brother off and tried to give a little pep talk of key facts to remember. Capital letters at the beginning of sentences. Read the question carefully. If you’re stuck on a question, move on and come back to it later.

The classroom has been set out in exam room configuration. All the desks have been separated and are ominously facing the whiteboard.

Apparently Miss M, his lovely class teacher, has been plying her students with ‘brain biscuits’ before the start of each test, and writing things like “you’re fabulously clever”, on the board as encouragement.

I don’t remember any of my teachers being anywhere near as lovely.

Anyway, the point is, the big brother has completely taken the week in his stride, whilst twinsdaddy and I have been nervous wrecks. I have no idea why. The big brother is completely capable and gives us no cause for concern. His reports are glowing and we normally look at each other in utter confusion at parent’s evening as the child his teacher refers to (bordering on the angelic), seems only distantly related to the one that lives with us.

And it’s not as if these first assessments will have a huge bearing on his future. I know they’re trying to make it tougher to get into Oxbridge, but it’s doubtful they’ll start introducing a minimum grade attainment at aged 6 into the selection process.

We need to get used to the pressure though. By my calculations, we’ll have the twins doing their first SATS at right about the same time that the big brother is taking entrance exams for secondary school.


A Headless Man is Chasing Me! April 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 4:55 pm
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I haven’t been sleeping very well for the past few nights. I’d like to claim it’s because I’m working hard on a Middle East peace treaty, or am close to finding a cure for cancer; but actually, I’m kept awake with thoughts of an impending showroom launch pitch, and a concern over who we can find as entertainment if Cirque du Soleil don’t sign their contract soon.

Last night however, my head hit the pillow and I was out cold. Asleep within seconds. It was all going really rather well until a little voice in my head said:

“Mummy, a headless man is chasing me”

Only it wasn’t a little voice in my head, it was a little voice at the side of the bed.

“Huh, uh, what?”

It transpired that the big brother was having a nightmare. He’d been downstairs to discuss with twinsdaddy who was watching the news; and they’d jointly decided that mummy was the best person to deal with the situation.

Which she would have been, except I was so tired, and dazed and confused having been woken from my comatose state, that for a moment, I believed the headless man was quite possibly chasing me too.

“Where is he?”, I asked.

“Where’s who?”, said the big brother.

“The headless man?”

“He’s in Scooby Doo”

“So he’s not here then?”

I thought it best to be completely sure of the facts.

“No, I watched it earlier and then he was in my dream. Can I sleep with you?”

I was way too weak and tired to argue.

The big brother climbed in next to me, and as always, he nicked half my pillow, and insisted on lying on my side of the bed.

“I think it’s safer with you”, he clarified, clearly concerned that I may have second thoughts about him staying.

“You know there’s no such thing as a headless man don’t you?”

I thought it was worth making a last-ditch stab at reassurance to prevent any further rude awakenings.

“Yes – he couldn’t really chase me anyway, he wouldn’t be able to see where he was going.”

You’ve got to admit, he’s got a point.





History Lesson March 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 3:08 pm
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This week, my son’s class were looking for volunteers to be interviewed about their childhood holidays. Parents were invited to join the class for 15 minutes to take questions from 24 budding travel writers.

I happily signed up, knowing it would make the big brother happy that Mummy had ‘done her bit’. It will also ease my guilt on ‘Snack Day’ when the list goes up on the classroom door asking for parents to sign up to contribute food for the end of term.

The list always has what I call the ‘working Mummy’ options of juice cartons and crisps – requiring no effort and can be bought well in advance.

Then there are the more involved plates of egg sandwiches, sausage rolls (homemade, due to pork restrictions) and fruit plates. None of which are overly tricky, but when you’re making them for 20+ children, the low-effort options are so much more appealing.

So, in search of brownie points, I arrived in class and was greeted by 24 clipboard-wielding 6 and 7 year olds.

Perched on one of their tiny-bottom chairs at an unflattering half-on, half-off angle and more than an ounce of concern that the chair may not make it through the experience; I turned my attention to the questions.

The first few were simple enough.

“Where did I go on holiday as a child?”

“What toys did I take on holiday with me?”

“Who did I go on holiday with”

And then things started to take a slightly more bizarre turn.

“Was there electricity when you were a child?”

“Had the aeroplane been invented when you were young?”

“How did you survive?”

If my son’s classmates are to be believed, twinsmummy is a throwback from the 18th century.


Back Seat Driver March 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 12:03 pm
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Last weekend the big brother went to a sleepover at E’s house. E is most definitely his new best friend, largely because for Christmas, Father Christmas brought E the Star Wars Lego Death Star.

For the uninitiated among us, this is a 6-year-old boy’s idea of heaven in a box. A very large box as it happens. And a very expensive box. And no, we won’t be getting one.

As both boys had different after school activities, it was agreed that I’d drive the big brother over to E’s in time for tea.

Half an hour before we were due to leave, he was packed, and impatiently sitting on the front door step encouraging me to hurry up.

I tried explaining that there was no way I was leaving the house without first ensuring his twin sisters had something for their tea, but he didn’t share my belief that this was a necessity.

As we got into the car, I was instructed to drive “super fast Mummy”, in order that he didn’t miss another minute of the Battle of Naboo.

It’s about a 30 minute drive to Arabian Ranches where E’s house is, and to reach it from our place you have to take the Emirates road; a six lane super highway full of raving idiots in their gas-guzzling tanks, who have no idea what  indicators are for, and have taken to the road leaving both their guide dog and white stick at home.

It’s a bit like stock car racing, for free, as you do the school run.

It’s not a journey I particularly enjoy.

Most cars in Dubai are fitted with a speed warning indicator; an annoying little beeping sound, that starts to ring out once you reach the legal speed limit of 120 km/h.

A few kilometres into the journey, the little beeper sounded.

“What’s that noise Mummy?”

I’m surprised I’ve never been asked before.

I explained it was just a warning and nothing to worry about.

“Does this mean you’re breaking the law Mummy?”

Hmmm… truth or half truth?

“Not breaking the law exactly, but we’re not allowed to go any faster.”

The beeping continues as I try… and fail, to keep to the bleep-free speed of 119 km/h.

“If the police see you, will you go to jail?”

“No of course not sweetie. It’s just to tell you that you’re driving at the speed limit. It’s really not that serious.”

The big brother thinks about this for a moment, clearly wondering whether or not he should believe me.

“Would you like me to keep it a secret from Daddy that you drive too fast?”



Hand Me Downs October 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:43 pm
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I’ve been having a clear out in preparation for our house move on Saturday and discovered that I am guilty of some serious hoarding. There are cupboards full to bursting with cast offs from both big brother and the twins that I can’t bear to part with.

I decided to try to put sentimentality aside, and arrange them into piles. Firstly the nice stuff – in good condition, that can be passed on to friends without embarrassment.

Secondly, the not so nice stuff that was given as gifts. T-shirts with things like, “If you think I’m bad, you should meet my Dad” and such like. Or, the stuff that was worn so much, it has faded / worn through / been irreparably stained by bolognaise. That pile is heading for the charity shop. It’s the thought that counts remember.

And then there’s the third pile of pure nostalgia. The baby gros I can’t get rid of because I can still picture my girls in them, curled up together in a shared Moses basket. Big brother’s tiny Ferrari shirt, optimistically bought by Daddy on one of his many overseas work trips, that took a full year for him to grow into. And the outfit he wore on his first ever trip to the UK – brown and cream striped leggings with matching jumper, hat and gloves. All three of them wore that at some point. I can’t just let it go. It’s practically a family heirloom.

Pile 1 is a reasonable size, pile 2 fairly negligible, but pile 3 is a whopper. So much so that I’ve started justifying keeping practically all big brother’s clothes from the age of 2 upwards, in the misguided belief that the girls will one day wear them.

Now I know deep down that this is never going to happen. For one thing, having twin girls means regular, generous gifts of clothing from doting grandparents, aunts, uncles and godparents. It also means that however much I might have thought that they’d wear the “Fix It” tool covered t-shirt and the cute little shorts with cars all over them, it just won’t ever happen, because the twins are smaller, and well, more girly.

I can just about put the blonde and the brunette in big brother’s old pj’s without feeling remorse. They are all blue and have either trains, cars or trucks on them. From age 2 they’ll be sporting pirates and aeroplanes, and from age 3 there are robots and spaceships. Age 4 is trains and buses.

As if it’s not bad enough that you’ve got a sibling of the same age to contend with, my twins don’t even get their own sleepwear. Do you think they might call social services?