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.


Happy Days August 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 7:47 pm
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A reminder, if ever one was needed, that children don’t always need a TV, or Wii, or DS to keep them entertained.

A couple of days ago, we were due to meet some friends at a wildlife park outside Bristol. I’ve never been before, but understood as well as farm animals, there are also more exotic creatures such as reptiles, lions and water buffalo. There’s also an adventure playground and plenty of hands on animal demonstrations. We were all rather looking forward to it.

The night before we were due to meet, my friend called to say her eldest had gone down with tonsillitis so bang went our plan of throwing all the children together to collectively exhaust themselves, whilst we sat on a picnic rug for a bit of a natter.

This was bad enough, but after passing on my commiserations and ‘get well’ wishes by phone, a far more disturbing thought hit me. I was facing an entire day with my children, with no fellow adult for moral support and no planned activities. A hastily dreamt up Plan B was required.

I settled on a picnic at Thistledown, a nature reserve of sorts about a 15 minute drive from my parents house, aka base camp for the summer. It clearly didn’t sound anywhere near as exciting as the wildlife park, but promises of bags of crisps and cartons of juice with the picnic seemed to grab the small people’s attention.

We set off with a boot full of food, a picnic blanket and me silently praying that there would be some goats or sheep to look at after lunch and perhaps the odd ladybird for entertainment.

It’s all a bit low-key when you arrive. There’s a rather charming ‘honesty box’ system for payment, although no information whatsoever about how much you should be contributing.

Most people come for the camping. I kid you not! It’s all very eco-friendly with talk of composting toilets and a tap that delivers UV filtered spring water. Personally, I can’t think of anything worse, but there were plenty of happy campers mooching around in the undergrowth who seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We set up our picnic pitch in a small meadow area surrounded by some large stone statues. It was a bit like Stonehenge for munchkins. I’m sure the eco-warriors would have told us great tales of the complex symbolism of said stones, but for two, two-year olds and a seven-year old, the appeal was simply to climb on top of them and admire the view.

Lunch was a fairly predictably messy affair so the less said the better. I’m sure the wildlife were grateful to my daughters for the feast of crumbs and crusts they left behind.

Fuelled by our picnic we set out to roam around the 70 acres on an impromptu nature walk. For the next hour and a half, my trio delighted in spotting bees and butterflies, clambering over logs and rocks until finally, we came upon the undoubted highlight of our holiday.

We climbed over a rickety stile to find a mummy pig surrounded by nine tiny piglets. Quite simply the cutest sight I’ve seen in a long while. We must have spent almost half an hour admiring these pigs; watching them feed, watching them sleep, and the hilarious sight of them trotting off en masse to get water.

We sat on the grass and collected stones before heading home, everyone thoroughly exhausted from the fresh air and exercise.

A simple day and extremely simple pleasures. Not easily beaten.




Why the school holidays are overrated July 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 8:28 pm
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Last Wednesday, my son broke up from school for the summer holidays amid cheers and sighs of relief. And that was just from the mummies.

No more crack of dawn school runs, no debates about why the contents of the lunch box have come home untouched again. And no more waiting in the playground, hopping from foot to foot as the heat from the tarmac burned every available skin cell and the sweat quite literally, dripped off us by the litre-load.

Everyone said their farewells for the summer and swapped escape plans. The only topic of conversation in the last month has been:

“When are you leaving for the summer?”

“Where are you going this year?”

“How long are you staying away?”

Everyone was quite literally desperate for term to end.

So you’d think that not even a week into this joyous period, we’d still be at the honeymoon stage of lie-ins and late nights.

Seemingly not.

The big brother seems to be of the misguided opinion that being off school means being entertained at every point of the day, every day of the week.

I thought I was doing quite well by arranging a few play dates and a cinema outing in the opening days of the holiday. But I’ve already been hit with that phrase that is the verbal equivalent of nails going down a blackboard.

“Mummeeeee, I’m BORED”

I’ve tried pointing out the bedroom full of toys, books and games. I’ve reminded him of the existence of puzzles and art supplies that have been neglected for months. I’ve even succumbed to bouts of television and the DS.

When does term start again?