Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

The Laundry Evolution May 15, 2012

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Photo taken shortly before this woman was whisked away by the men in white coats. There is no way ANYONE can be this chirpy around a washing machine.

In Dubai

Regardless of whether an item of clothing was dirty; if it had seen a body for anything more than 30 seconds, it was whisked off by the amazing Joy to be washed, dried, ironed and hung back in the wardrobe before you could say “Chinese laundry”.

In UK – Week 1

Anything worn for a full day, or anything showing any sign of dirt, is washed, line-dried and ironed by twinsmummy, determined to ‘manage’ her new household competently. Who needs Joy?

In UK – Weeks 2-3

Anything worn for 2 full days, or anything showing more than 2 obvious patches of dirt, is washed and tumble dried by twinsmummy, rapidly learning that ironing is vastly overrated.

In UK – Weeks 4-5

Clothes are worn until they walk themselves to the laundry bag, or they are so stained by mud / food / unidentifiable markings that it is no longer possible to determine the fabric’s original colour.

The washing machine controls are on speed-dial to “fast-coloureds, 40 degrees, quick wash” and twinsmummy is thinking of introducing a home uniform of sack cloths accessorised with bin bags for all household members under the age of 10.

 

 

In Praise of Freezers May 3, 2012

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So, we’re now into week 3 at the ‘new school’ and still the big brother seems to be taking everything in his stride. We’ve had no wobbles, no tears, no “I wish I was back in Dubai” moments; and frankly, the longer this goes on, the more confident I’m becoming that everything really is fine in his little world.

His last class teacher was fabulous, and by her own admission, pushed hard to get results which I’m not about to complain about. One benefit of this has been very clear in the last few weeks as the big brother has enjoyed a smooth transition into his new class where he appears to be comfortably tackling his lessons.

Every afternoon he comes home with a new reading book which is quickly devoured and returned for another. Numeracy homework has yet to need twinsmummy to step in (always a relief), and even the spellings are proving no great challenge. I’m trying not to be smug about all this you understand.

So, the upshot is, I’m not really worrying about anything that goes on during his day. I know he’s made friends as I’ve been introduced to them at pick up time and he has been invited to two birthday parties to date. I also know that the best bit about his new school as far as he’s concerned has nothing to do with the curriculum or his peers, but the rather fabulous school dinners that he now enjoys (there were no school dinners at his school in Dubai, hence the novelty).

Each day, I collect a very cheery little chap, who talks non-stop all the way home about whatever game he’s played at break time, or what the pudding was at lunch time.

I try to pry more information out of him by steering him towards anything new he might have learnt that day, and it is at this point I find out that there is one subject where he’s not as well versed as the rest of his peers.

Twinsmummy: “So, did you learn anything new today?”

Big Brother: “Yes, we were learning all about freezers”

TM: “Freezers? Was that in your science lesson? What exactly did you learn? (admittedly, a little bemused).

BB: “Not FREEZERS mummy, JESUS!! Don’t you know about Jesus?”

TM: Desperately backtracking… “Yes, of course I know about Jesus. What exactly did you learn?”

BB: “We were reading about him going on a donkey. We were copying the story out of a big book”

TM: “Was it the bible?”

BB: With more than a little surprise. “So you do know about Jesus then?”

RE – the one subject that wasn’t covered as thoroughly in the UAE.

 

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!

 

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.