Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

Are we half way there yet? July 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 9:46 pm
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In celebration of the fact that neither twinsdaddy nor myself are working at the moment; over the past month we’ve taken a number of road trips and generally enjoyed some quality family time. This weekend, that meant a trip to West Sussex for a couple of days at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The plan was to collect the children from school and head straight down, arriving at our oh-so-expensive rented beach house in time to give the troops a slightly later than normal tea, and then pack them off to bed.

As with all things in twinsmummy’s world, those carefully constructed plans didn’t quite work out as I’d imagined. The first stumbling block being we failed to pack the car with the 17 pieces of luggage needed for a 2 night trip away, and therefore weren’t ready to head off directly from the school run.

Bringing the children back to the cottage to finish the packing, we were then further delayed by the need for snacks, drinks, toilet stops and changes of clothes before we could contemplate getting everyone back into the car.

An hour and 20 minutes later than planned, we finally left home, a mere 25 minutes before the children’s usual tea time…

Within 10 miles I’d handed out all the snacks that had been intended to last the entire weekend, and the twins were growing tetchy as their water consumption was limited to 1 sip at a time in a futile bid to prevent the need for a wee break within the first hour of our journey.

The big brother had asked if we were ‘half of the way there yet?’ every 2 miles since we’d left home, and tempers were beginning to be a little frayed.

With trepidation, we agreed to a game of I-Spy.

Twinsmummy opted for something beginning with the letter ‘M’.

“Moses?”, asked the big brother?

“No”

Seriously, I know it’s a Catholic school but what ARE they teaching him?

“Mountain?”, asked twinsdaddy, somewhat optimistically I felt considering we were on the Oxford ring road.

“No”

“Monkey?”

“Milk?”

“Mouse?”

“NO, NO, NO”

5 more minutes of seriously silly guesses and the twins were getting fractious.

“I want a go”, shouted the brunette. “I want a somethingbeginningwith”.

Weary and desperate to keep the peace we patiently explained the rules and she was off.

“I spy with my eye, somethingbeginningwith S”, she announced triumphantly.

“Sun?”

“No”

“Sky?”

“No”

“Star car?” (Mercedes to the rest of us.)

“No”

“Signs?”

“No”

“Seatbelt?”

“No”

“Ok poppet, we give in. What is it?”

Long silence.

“What’s your word?”

More silence.

“What’s the somethingbeginningwith S?”

“I’ve forgotten”, says the brunette.

Groans all round.

“Are we half way there yet?”, asked the big brother…

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Mumette’s Syndrome May 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 12:52 pm
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There is a much ridiculed syndrome known as Tourette’s, which is most often associated with the seemingly spontaneous outbursts of socially inappropriate comments by sufferers. Over the past few days, I have recognised that I too am suffering from a startlingly similar affliction, and from talking to friends, believe I am not the only mother to be affected.

And what is this new syndrome?

I think the only appropriate name is ‘Mumette’s Syndrome’.

Much like Tourette’s, the exclamations flow from my mouth fast and furiously, as if my mouth and brain are no longer connected.

Driving down the lane from home to school this morning I find myself shouting, “LOOK, SHEEP!” at the children who obligingly coo and squeal at the sight of the spring lambs.

Further down the road we meet a tractor.

“Ooh, BIG RED TRACTOR”

And then when we get to the level crossing.

“WOW – TRAIN. Look at the red lights flashing.”

All of which, you could safely put down to normal, child-friendly conversation of a morning. And it would be, if I were, in fact, in control of these exclamations. But I’m not.

Three days a week I have the luxury of three children in full-time care from 9am to 3pm, which leaves me free to catch up with all the jobs I need to do, but never get around to actually achieving while the small people are in my care.

I often find myself alone in the car, yet still compulsively shouting out my sightings to an absent audience.

“COWS”

Silence.

“LOOK, HORSES”

Silence.

“DAISIES IN THE FIELD!!”

Silence.

“SEE THE BIG BLACK DOG”

Now, as I catch sight of other single adults driving in the opposite direction, I am confident I know what they are muttering…

WOMEN: “Look, it’s another Mumette’s sufferer”.

MEN: “Look, another crazy mother shouting to herself”.

Shall we try to form a support group?

 

 

The Laundry Evolution May 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 11:15 pm
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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

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 12:55 am
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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.

 

My Top Ten Reasons for Loving Being ‘Back in Blighty’ April 26, 2012

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1) Seeing the twins’ delight in jumping in puddles for the first time. Wellies = our new most favourite things.

2) The all round fabulous-ness of British supermarkets. My food bills this month surely rival Britain’s national debt, but so what, we’re eating well!

3) Rosy cheeks all round. There’s nothing quite like a bit of fresh air, not to mention the Rip Van Winkle effect it has on 3 year olds after an afternoon of outdoor activity.

4) The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2. A great soundtrack to accompany the school run. Which brings me to…

5) The school run. Nursery is 2 minutes door to door, with school a mere 4 minutes further on. And given that there are the same number of pupils in the entire primary school that there were in the Big Brother’s last year group, parking right outside the school gates is a given.

6) Being able to make telephone calls without taking into account the time difference. This morning, that meant a post-breakfast call to my Dad on his birthday and a before-school birthday greeting from each of his 3 grandchildren. I suspect that was more greatly appreciated than the present.

7) No air con. The blonde has suffered from a persistent cough for most of the last 18 months. Miraculously, 1 week in the UK and the cough is no more.

8) The rain. I know the novelty will wear off any minute now, but after almost 4 years in the desert, it’s actually quite nice seeing the heavens open.

9) Rural life. On our way to school we pass a field of cows, a paddock with horses and a hillside covered in spring lambs. We have a new-found fascination with ladybirds and have mastered the art of creating the perfect daisy chain. Mud pies are surely next on our list.

10) Call centre operatives who understand what I’m saying. I’m not going to go for the full ‘rose-tinted’ appraisal and pretend that the grumpy git at Vodafone wanted to help me in the slightest; but he definitely understood what I was asking, and I didn’t have to repeat myself 17 times, which after the daily battles with Etisalat, is definite progress.

 

And then there was the floor… March 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 12:42 pm
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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.

 

 

We are OFFICIALLY too big for a hotel March 5, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 6:24 pm
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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?