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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We’re having fun! June 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 12:25 am
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Last weekend we headed to Devon to stay with the big brother’s very best friend, who used to live next door to us in our pre-Dubai days. The dates had been booked in the diary for some time and on paper, the weekend held great promise. 3 days in Devon, in June, at the end of the half term week. We envisioned sunny weather, lazy evenings in the garden catching up over a jug of Pimms, children happily frolicking in a paddling pool…

How foolish are we?

For those who watched the Jubilee celebrations on television, you’ll know full well that the UK is enjoying something akin to monsoon season. It’s become so bad that the water companies have even lifted their hose pipe bans, something that hasn’t happened in over 2 years in some areas.

However, not ones to be deterred from “having a good time” we pressed on regardless with plans for a day trip to Sidmouth beach. Sensibly kitted out in fleeces, jeans and hoodies, we marched the children along the sea front enjoying the bracing sea air. The little people played happily on the shingle gathering pebbles and driftwood, whilst the adults enjoyed a long overdue natter.

Exhilarated by the sea air it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to food and, being at the seaside, there was only ever one option… fish and chips, out of the paper, sitting on the beach.

After bringing the chip shop to a halt as an embarrassingly indecisive group of 9, “I’ll have sausage” shouted the boys, “or maybe fish?”, “do they have haddock?”; we finally collected our order just as the grey clouds began to gather.

Our friends suggested that maybe we should eat inside rather than braving the beach, but full of the enthusiasm of expats used to non-stop sunshine and rain falling just twice a year; twinsdaddy and I dismissed such a ridiculous suggestion, rallied the troops across the road and down onto the beach.

Even before we had chance to sit down, those lovely grey clouds decided to open, dropping big, fat raindrops on us as we attempted to unwrap the food.

In fairness, the three older children took it pretty much in their stride. The two Devon natives have clearly seen a lot worse, and the big brother revelled in the opportunity to eat like a savage and for once, get away with it!

The twins however, being of an age where every detail is observed and commented on, were utterly perplexed.

“Isn’t it fun eating on the beach”, shouted twinsmummy (volume adjusted upwards to compete with the squall).

“Why are we eating outside mummy?”, asked the blonde, “It’s raining”.

“And it’s cold”, added the brunette, with the hint of a shiver.

“But isn’t it fun?”, twinsmummy continued undeterred. “Isn’t it GREAT to be eating outside?”

“But my food is getting wet”, observed the blonde. The brunette nodded in agreement.

I squirted additional ketchup onto their chips expecting joyous thanks but was met instead by quizzical faces and silence.

“Mmmmm yummy”, I ventured, hopeful that my enthusiasm was contagious.

It wasn’t.

But I’m not one to give up at the first hurdle.

I’ll make hardy British kids out of them yet!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

I don’t know where to begin April 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — twinsmummy @ 9:47 pm
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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

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.