Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

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…


The Sort Out May 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 11:13 am
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In three weeks time it will be my son’s 6th birthday party. The venue has been booked, the invitations distributed and the excitement is building.

In preparation for this momentous social occasion, I suggested we have a clear out. Having invited his entire class it is fair to say that the haul of gifts will be fairly substantial. So, in order that he actually appreciates what he owns, we have started sorting through his current toys with a view to sending some of them to the charity shop.

My son takes this all in good spirits as it’s not the first time that we’ve had a purge and besides, he’s fully grasped the concept of ‘out with the old, in with the new’.

While I was having a shower this morning I armed him with a huge IKEA carrier and instructed him to fill it with anything he no longer plays with. When I joined him, he’d managed to place all his toys in a giant heap on the floor and was delighted with the spoils of his actions. “Look Mummy, I LOVE this”, he shrieked as he laid his hands on a Spiderman quad bike that hasn’t been seen in months.

We also managed to find Mr Potato Head’s ears, Lightning McQueen’s remote control and the wings to a Singapore Airlines A380 model.

The “I’m too old for these babyish toys” pile included anything to do with Bob the Builder or Fireman Sam which have been dismissed as “boring” – the ultimate put down from an almost 6-year-old boy. The girls have benefited from a few new toys too which I think is just my son’s way of making sure certain things don’t leave the building. By passing them to his sisters, it not only looks as if he is performing a selfless donation but he can sneakily pinch them back when he thinks I’m not looking.

Having filled the first carrier and agreed that we’ll have another go tomorrow, I thought the whole process had gone remarkably smoothly. We had no tears and tantrums, no prolonged debate over what stays and what goes, in fact the whole experience was pain-free.

As I sat at my laptop reflecting what a good boy he can be, my son came racing into the study armed with a Lego box. “Oh great” he says, “while you’re on the computer, shall we look at which of the new sets I can have for my birthday?”.