Yes, they're twins. Both of them!

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

We’re having fun! June 19, 2012

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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

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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?

 

 

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

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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!

 

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?

 

Happy Days August 7, 2011

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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.

 

 

 

These are a few of our favourite things May 25, 2010

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On our little stroll around the neighbourhood this evening, my son and I began talking about our plans for the summer and what we’re most looking forward to.

It’s half term at the end of this week, and from when term resumes next Tuesday, it’s a slippery slope downwards all the way to the summer holidays. School finishes on 30th June so it’s not long before we’ll be sticking his school uniform in the wardrobe for a 10 and a half week break and hopping on a plane bound for Birmingham.

I’d been speaking to his best friend’s Mum on Skype earlier today which had got my son thinking about the great reunion with H. H is his greatest pal in the world. They’ve been friends since they were 2 having bonded over a Bruder tractor and plough. Shortly after they met at a toddler group, H’s parents helpfully bought the house next door to ours and from that moment forwards, the two of them were inseparable.

So, plans for the summer largely revolve around when we’re going to go and stay with H, what we’re going to do while we’re there, and how can we persuade H’s family that a move to Dubai would be in everyone’s best interests.

Anyhow, safe to say, in a Top 10 of favourite things to look forward to this summer, H would be at No. 1.

So, keen to encourage some list writing in the name of handwriting practice, I suggested my son create a Top 10, and it went something like this.

1) Going to stay with H

2) Seeing Freddie (our cat, currently being ‘fostered’ by my parents)

3) Snow (yes, I know it’s unlikely but given the usual pitiful excuse for summer in the UK, it’s not an entirely unreasonable suggestion)

4) Roast Turkey

5) Yoghurts with the fruit at the bottom

6) Grass with cows on

7) Watching Star Wars (…again!)

‘8) Flying (I think he means the flight home. The one day of the year when I have no issue with him watching tv all day!)

9) No air con

10) Drinking Red Eye for breakfast (I blame my father for this one. He lets my son drink Ribena and for reasons best known to themselves, they like to refer to it as ‘a shot of red eye’)

So there you have it, the 10 things that my son craves most in the world. Nice to see his family features so highly in it I thought…