Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

Mauritius – Day 1 August 14, 2011

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Well let’s just say the holiday hasn’t started exactly as we might have hoped.

1. The night flight.

Waking the children at 0100 hrs was fine. They weren’t bad-tempered or overly reluctant to get up. It turned out, they thought it was morning, so they then proved highly unwilling to go back to sleep again once on board the plane.

The fact that Emirates insisted on a meal service at 0400 hrs did little to help our cause. I’d love to know of anyone who thinks a Cajun chicken mixed with creamy egg mayonnaise sandwich is appealing at any time of the day or night. I’m just assuming it was a muslim chef who created last night’s menu and was punishing all of us for not observing Ramadan fasting!

2. The rain.

We landed in Mauritius in time for a lovely wet shower, just as we stood outside the terminal building waiting to board our minibus. Soggy feet, damp toddlers and an extremely grumpy sleep-deprived 7-year-old. Just the ticket for a further hour confined in a small space.

3. The tummy bug.

After barely an hour at our villa, twinsdaddy took on a decidedly unfetching shade of yellow before proceeding to spend much of the rest of the day locked in the bathroom. Twinsmummy succumbed 12 hours later.

There were times during the next 24 hours when twinsdaddy and I wished we were back in Dubai with Joy to deal with the troops, as we literally negotiated over who got to use which bathroom. It wasn’t pretty.

This morning (Day 3) we felt brave enough to leave the villa and venture to the supermarket for supplies.

The sun is shining. The sky is blue. Even the children seem brighter.

The holiday (hopefully) starts here.

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A day in the life March 30, 2011

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I am hopeful that we are nearing the end of our vomitathon. We really need to be, I’m fast running out of clean clothes and bedding. Not to mention sofas.

With twinsdaddy and my helper struck down with the evil bug, I have had an eye-opening look at what ‘real’ motherhood might be like. You know, back in the real world we used to live in, before we were tempted by the smell of expat living.

On Monday morning, still feeling none too special myself, but in a much better state than twinsdaddy who was comatose; I was in sole charge of getting everyone out of the house.

Good grief it’s an operation!

The six year old is great at getting himself dressed and fed, but has no sense of urgency. To the question “are you ready for school?”, he optimistically replied “yes”, despite the fact he had no shoes on, no school bag, lunch box or swimming kit, and a 3 inch smear of toothpaste down his left cheek.

With the girls stampeding in their cots we left the house (732am!) for school. Numeracy homework was done en route before a kiss and run situation as I legged it back home for stage 2.

We threw some porridge around the dining room for a bit of fun then I piled the girls into the car for the nursery run.

Bag crisis number 2. We have to take snacks, water cups, change of clothes and of course, the critically important bag of “medsin”. Pyjamas count as a change of clothes right?

With both daddy and Joy out of action, it was critical that the girls passed the temperature test. I had a client meeting booked and the thought of taking the gruesome twosome to a 5 star hotel to recce for a press event, wasn’t top of my list of ‘fun things to do’.

I crossed my fingers and whispered a silent prayer as the thermometer’s went into the ears. Success. Kiss and run stage two.

Then back home to try and make myself look less like the bride of Frankenstein so as not to scare the locals.

With less than 10 minutes to leave the house it was a simple choice. Hair or make up? No time for both. I decided clothes were a pre-requisite so flung on the nearest dress I could find and pinned my hair up in what I hoped was a casual / chic bun. I fear messy / birds nest was more the result but something had to give.

At a time like this, valet parking applied more pressure to an already tense situation. The poor porter waited patiently at the driver’s door whilst I changed shoes, applied lipstick, smoothed down the bird’s nest and searched desperately for my business cards.

The Communications Manager who was meeting me was smart, sleek and coiffured, and wearing an elegant black suit. She was clearly familiar with a hair brush and undoubtedly had no children. (No sign of dribble on either shoulder).

A tray of cakes and biscuits were produced along with pots of coffee and my stomach did one of those worrying flips as I desperately prayed that the 2 gingers nuts that had sustained me for the past 24 hours, weren’t about to make a reappearance.

From meeting to home for a quick check on the invalids. Both still breathing. The best that could be hoped for.

And next? My son’s swimming gala. One and a half hour’s sitting poolside at school whilst 120 children thrash up and down in the sticky heat. I clung to my bottle of water and took solace from the thought that my public obligations for the day were almost over.

How on earth will I manage in the UK?

 

 

 

Hypochondria at 2? February 22, 2011

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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.

 

One Without the Other February 1, 2011

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Every morning at nursery, the girls have their temperatures checked by the school nurse who greets all the children and parents at the door. With a building full of 300 children, it’s not a bad idea to try to keep the bugs at bay.

Anyone with children at school or nursery knows that once one child in the class is poorly, it’s just a matter of time before your offspring comes home feeling a little peaky, then proceeds to infect the rest of the family; normally, just in time for the weekend.

The girls have a cough and slightly runny noses, but other than that, I thought they were both ok. The blonde has been slightly off her food in the past 24 hours, but frankly, we’ve become used to her food fads and view this as simply her exercising her right to be picky… again.

So, we went to nursery fully expecting both to be admitted, and for me to then dash home, grab the laptop and head to the office.

Oh no.

The brunette was with me and was given the all clear immediately.

Then it was the blonde’s turn. “Oh dear”, said the nurse. “She has the fever”.

She showed me the thermometer in case I doubted her. I expect she gets grilled often by other working mummies who are desperately relying on nursery to take care of their little people.

So this throws up something of a dilemma for me. Should I leave the brunette at nursery and just take the blonde home? Or should I take them both with me?

Is it fair to leave one without the other? Will they be emotionally scarred for life?

I decided to try to leave the brunette, fully expecting a tantrum of epic proportions once she realised the blonde wasn’t joining her; and for me to then extract her and take them both home.

We walked into the classroom and I quietly explained the situation to Luisa. She looked horrified. “She will stay without her sister?”, she hissed at me, looking frankly, rather disapproving.

I managed a shrug.

Is it bad to leave one without the other?

There was blue play dough this morning and heart-shaped cutters. The brunette clambered onto a chair and grabbed a ball of plab and started jabbing it with her finger.

It’s normally at this stage that I say a quick goodbye and head for the door at which point she lunges at me and glues herself to my leg whilst sobbing.

“Mummy’s off to work now. I’ll come back and collect you soon sweetie.”

“Ok, bye”, says the brunette.

I’m stunned. Almost disappointed.

Does she not realise that her twin is NOT WITH HER?

I give her a kiss and head out of the classroom.

At the door I glance back, thinking by now she’ll have twigged and will be chasing after me. But no. She has found the star-shaped cutter and is busy making a play dough constellation.

I peak around the wall, the last visual point of contact.

Still nothing.

Right then.

I take the blonde home, administer the Calpol and head to the office.

Separation anxiety? Well it’s fair to say I still suffer from it acutely, but it seems my girls are way more independent than I gave them credit for!

 

They’re actually quite nice November 28, 2010

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Today I have realised that my children are actually quite nice. For the past 8 days, the entire family bar big brother, has been consumed by a viral infection which frankly, knocked us all sideways.

I’ve concluded that the girls have never actually been ill before. All that came before this, were mere practice runs and over-reactions. This was the real deal.

They were poorly, they had record-breaking high temperatures, they had rashes, they were sick, they had headaches and sore throats and I think even their hair was aching.

It was awful.

All they did for 3 days solidly was refuse food, refuse to sleep, and shout… a lot. Mostly because they needed cuddles. But unfortunately, only cuddles from Mummy were acceptable. Everyone else was screamed at, shouted at, sobbed at and pushed away. It didn’t take long before everyone else in the house realised this was a blessing and crept back to their own corner to feel horrible.

Me? I was stuck with the gruesome twosome.

All I wanted to do was to make them feel better but there was little I could do. I dosed out the prescribed medication every 4 hours and watched helplessly as a large proportion of it was spat back onto my shoulder. This season, I will mostly be wearing Calpol Pink.

I rubbed backs and stroked heads and even tried singing to them. Note to self… in future, don’t bother with the singing. I think it made them yell louder.

We lay on the sofa, we lay on the floor, we went for endless walks around our neighbourhood in the hope that a change of scene might brighten their moods. (It didn’t).

And then yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope. I prepared food that wasn’t rejected at first glance. I celebrated the 2 or 3 tentative spoonfuls that made it to their mouths. After 7 days of milk, water and malted milk biscuits, this was a major breakthrough.

Things continued to improve. By last night, both the blonde and the brunette had each managed a smile. It was fleeting, and followed by a certain amount of grizzling, but it was definitely noted.

And then this morning there was wall to wall rejoicing. My beautiful, sweet, funny twin girls had been returned to me. Someone must have come in the night and removed the hideous, mucus-drenched bundles of discontentment and replaced them with my daughters.

I felt like telling them I’d missed them.

Post-tea tonight (readily eaten to the point that we had two empty bowls), the two of them performed a dance for their brother to the Charlie & Lola theme music. Even he seemed swayed by the re-appearance of the human toddlers and for once, didn’t complain that they were getting in the way of the tv. Arms were waved, bottoms were wiggled as they strutted their stuff with a vengeance.

At bedtime there were smiles, and giggles and much talk of “Meemy” (or “Miffy”, to her friends). And for the first time in over a week, I’m going to go to bed and not dread tomorrow. Wahey!

 

 

My son has the sickness May 8, 2010

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I should have known that raving on about how good Thursday night’s are, and how I like to dispense with the alarm clock, would come back to haunt me. Sure enough, Thursday night was one of those nights that felt as if it would never end.

I had despatched Twin 1 and Number 1 son off to bed with large doses of Calpol and cuddles as they both had temperatures and were exceedingly grizzly. An hour later, my son wandered downstairs, burning hot, complaining of tummy and headaches. We settled him in the playroom on the super-huge squishy sofa with his duvet and Miffy, hoping that the proximity to Mummy and Daddy would help him get some much-needed rest.

10 minutes later, the words that every parent dreads. “Mummy, I think I’m going to be sick”.

It’s rotten seeing your children suffer. They just want to feel better and most of the time, there’s not a lot you can do to help them other than offering oodles of love and TLC.

For the rest of the night, at roughly 1 hourly intervals, I was on duty for hand holding in the bathroom, head stroking, temperature-taking, cuddles and the dispensing of more Calpol.

By the time that dawn broke on Friday, I was so exhausted I’d pretty much forgotten who I was and where I was as I stumbled down the stairs to get the early morning milk feed for the girls.

And that’s the really funny thing about having children. In a world before offspring, an interrupted night’s sleep would have meant a day in bed recovering. Yet a disturbed night with children is followed by a perfectly normal day. Somehow, you just learn to absorb your tiredness.

So in future, you won’t find me harping on about the joys of the weekend. Well, not until it’s finished, and we have survived it, bug-free!