Blackberries

DSCF3876For the first 2 years of your lives we all lived together in our big house in the Midlands. The “big old house”, with the big old garden.

You don’t remember it. I do.

I remember how I was your full-time, stay-at-home Daddy. For your first year with Mummy, and for your second year by myself when Mummy went back to work, with reduced hours.

034I remember it all so well. You don’t.
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Thanks, Santa!

We had a bit of drama here last night.

We were just settling the twins for bed when we heard a commotion outside – Father Christmas was doing a drive-by in his sleigh!  It was very impressive – a big float, lots of bright lights, reindeer, Elves, Christmas songs, the works.

So we picked them up out of bed & plopped them onto the windowsill, holding them there so they could, as Ellie likes to say, “have a see”.

They were very excited. They laughed, they shouted, they waved to Santa – then Ellie did a massive vom right on the window.

Merry Christmas!

She’s been fine since, by the way; we put it down to pudding & overexcitement, not the dreaded norovirus

 

Should we start calling them “Jakeisms”?

Sure, why not? There have a been a few recently.

We’ve already had the “Two Ronnies” style play on words, comedy of sexual politics, & most recently the nappy ruse.

Well he’s at it again: still making us laugh. A lot.

Among the TV programmes Jake & Ellie enjoy is one by the makers of “Peppa Pig” called “Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom“. For those who are unfamiliar it’s about 2 groups of insect-sized people, Elves & Fairies, who are very different but who manage to get along despite their differences. The Fairies use magic for everything & anything; the Elves are very practical & can make or fix almost anything. Both of course are convinced that their way is the best.

The Elves seem especially proud of being who they are. Whenever an Elf announces that they can do something they’ll shout something like: “Elves are good at making things, & I’m an Elf!”, then produce a little horn & toot on it loudly.

Well, one afternoon Jake was trying to convince me to go upstairs & play with him, even ‘though we don’t usually do that until after dinner & before bed. I think maybe they’ve been a bit confused by it getting dark outside so early & before dinner.

This was the crux of his argument: “The boys should go upstairs, & I’m a boy!”. At which point he pretended to toot on an invisible horn. Then he frantically ran around looking for something, which we quickly realised was the toy trumpet. I found it & gave it to him, then he repeated his mantra & gave it a quick toot, in exact imitation of the Elves on “Ben & Holly”!

It made us laugh, a lot. And feel slightly awed by how easily he makes these sort of connections, turns them into jokes & uses them to reason with us.

I went upstairs with him. How could I not?

I think I’m in serious danger of being outsmarted by a 2-year-old

Yesterday the twins had a late, long nap so we let them stay up a bit later than usual.

We were having a great time with a music DVD that I’d picked up for a song at the local garden centre –  possibly the best £2.99 I’ve ever spent – but it was time to go to bed.

The Mummy & Ellie had gone upstairs & I was right behind them. Jake however – as usual – didn’t want to stop what he was enjoying doing & was refusing to go with us.

So he called up to me: “Daddy! Come downstairs!”.

“No, Jake: it’s time to go to bed”.

“No, Daddy! You’re a boy, I’m a boy. I’ve got a willy, you’ve got a willy: come downstairs with me!”.

Sexual politics? And he’s not even 3!

I think I’m in trouble here…

Flying Solo, Part 2

Well we moved to our tiny little house in Wales so that the Mummy could spend less of her time commuting & more of it with the twins.

Life has its little ironies doesn’t it? Every now & then she has to go to north Wales, & today was one of those days. The roads between north & south Wales are really slow: winding, mostly single lane, over mountains & through valleys. It’s actually quicker to get to the north on the motorways from our old home in the Midlands!

She had left home before the twins were awake. They were with ‘Karen’ & her little group between 8.30 & 3, but it was still up to me to get them up, washed, dressed, make their breakfast, prepare their lunches, pack their bags & meet any ad-hoc needs that arise. It all went without incident, although it was obviously a mistake trying to feed myself as well. Next time I either get up earlier or don’t eat!

When I picked them up at 3 I was welcomed by running hugs & shouts of “Daddy!” by 2 happy little children. I love that. There had been a couple of minor upsets – Ellie seemed a bit wary of a new older boy there – but overall they’d had a great time.

For once the sun was out today! We spent a lot of the rest of the afternoon rolling around in the grass in our tiny garden. We had fun, inside & out, but they are still really demanding. They’re physically very capable, they’re smarter & are becoming very interested in asserting their independence & a lot less interested in being told what to do & having their lives run for them. I believe it’s called ‘The Terrible Twos’.

I mean no disrespect at all to parents of single children, or even of 2 or more of different ages – diligent parenting of any flavour deserves maximum respect in my opinion –  but I’m convinced that looking after twins has a difficulty level several magnitudes higher. And triplets? I can’t imagine that!

“You want some water? OK, I’ll get you some water”- “Oh Jake – did you hurt your knee? I’m coming!” – “It’s OK Ellie: it’s just a worm, it won’t hurt you” – “You finished your grapes? Yes, I can cut up some more” – “Yes, you want some water” – “You want some water too? OK” – “You’re stuck? Just a minute, I’m coming” – “Jake don’t take that, Ellie is playing with it” – “Ellie, don’t hit Jake!” – “Yes, I’m getting your water” – “And grapes” – “Ellie’s on the trampoline now, Jake, you can have a turn soon” – “Don’t eat that please – it’s really dirty!” – “Mummy will be home after dinner”. And so on.

And this is when they’re playful & happy…

By dinnertime I was already pretty tired. That however went amazingly well: for the first time I can remember they both pretty much cleared their plates! And I’ve no idea why! After a very silly fight over the trampoline it seemed obvious they were getting tired, so I resorted to the tried & tested: “Who wants cake?”. Fight over, instant attentiveness.

Luckily I did actually have some!

Ellie had been complaining of tiredness even before dinner so we headed upstairs quickly. Then it got chaotic. They were fighting over nearly everything: my battery checker, the baby monitor, my (out of juice) phone, anything. Running around, chasing, shouting “Mine!” “No, mine!”, snatching, tantrums. I was forced into “If you’re going to fight over it nobody’s having it!” confiscation mode. I think they were both not only overtired but also missing their Mummy.

There was also a poo incident, of which I’ll spare you the details. The cushion cover is beige; I’m pretty sure it’s washable…

Well I somehow managed to get them in their sleepsuits, in bed & with their milk without any major injuries or damage. As usual I read them a bedtime story. Now they’re fighting over ownership of the animals in the bleeding book!! “My bear” “No my bear!”, “My bee!” “No my bee!”. There are actually 2 bees, 1 each. The logic of this suggestion just doesn’t seem to register.

I have to admit at this point I got cross! “Please stop fighting! Both of you!”. I didn’t shout, but my voice was raised. And thankfully they seemed to calm down. Although most likely out of pity for poor struggling Daddy.

And we never got to finish the story. Will Rabbit find a new home? We may never know!

Then I accidentally managed to send them off to sleep with a laugh & smile! I asked if ‘pretty please’ could I go to sleep now? “Pretty please? With cheese?? And peas?”. Adding words 1 at a time that rhyme & were (sort-of) food-related. “And beans?”, “And grease?”. I was tired, OK? “And sneeze?”.  And was getting a little silly. Ellie especially found this hilarious & was soon asleep with a smile on her face, looking at me with an expression that seemed to me to be one of pure love. Jake, putting up his usual fight, followed soon after.

They’re very trying at times, these twins of ours, but it’s moments like that that make it all worth it & that remind me why being their Dad is still the best job in the world ever.

Poor Mummy though! She arrived home after they were fast asleep on my shoulders & so didn’t actually get to see them at all today. She tucked into the dinner I’d left in the oven while I stayed with the sleeping beauties so she could spend some much-needed QT with her friend Dexter.

So: Phew! This is a big week workwise, so I may have to do this again very soon! At least we know we can do it anyway.

There are flights to the North aren’t there? Or maybe we could hire a chopper? Anyone know how much that costs? Sigh…

This post is not only for The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop but also for this month’s Multiple Mayhem Carnival. Have a look at them both: there are always great posts there!  Just ‘click the pics’.

MultipleMummy

The Two Terrible Twos

OK: they’re 2. Plus 2 weeks.  And I think they know it.

Really, I haven’t explained the semi-mythical, mystical, iconic cultural significance of being 2: the Terrible Twos. But they seem to know about it.

It’s possibly that I’m just noticing more, but I could swear that they’re getting (more) rebellious. They seem to be deliberately doing things that they’re told /asked not to do just to see what happens. And enjoying it far too much. Dropping food or drinks on the floor, being rough with each other or us, grabbing each others’ toys, for instance. And with that look on their faces. Yes, I think most parents will know the one: mostly gleeful defiance.

And they’re smarter. They enjoy doing ‘circuit training’: running at high speed & with great excitement around something, a cot for instance. It used to be that if I wanted to catch one for dressing etc. I’d just have to ‘wait ’til they came around again’. Recently though while I was employing this hitherto successful tactic Jake stopped, saw that I was wanting to grab him for a very wet Jake-bath interface situation, & seemed to decide that running around some more was a far more productive use of his time.

He looked at me, turned around & ran in the opposite direction! I moved over to intercept. He did it again! And again! I think I only got him in the end because he took pity on me. He’s surprisingly quick.

Live & learn though. I now turn it into a game, by joining in the chase, pretending to be a monster, holding my hands in front of me & saying “Rarr” a lot. Not the ideal activity for the end of the day when you’re already tired, but hey-ho, it works. They find it so funny that they seem to want to be caught. At which point they get tickled or I pretend to lunge & miss, falling on the bed. Much hilarity ensues. Next time around I grab one & plop them, protesting wildly, into the bath. Rinse & repeat. And they most times have a great time in there anyway.

Except: pouring water on the floor, on each other’s heads – those are 2 more of their little rebellions, come to think of it.

Yep – they’re 2!


For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!

Flying Solo, in the Dark

Getting the twins off to sleep on Saturday night was…a bit different.

We’d given the Mummy a night pass; she was out having dinner with a friend, or some such frippery. Between the two of us we’d got as far as getting us all into bed together, as they still co-sleep.

Usually the Mummy is in the middle sandwiched between children, with me on the side reading stories. After they’ve finished their milk & seem settled enough I’ll get up & sing a song* while slowly turning down the light. I then sneak out while quietly saying goodnight to each of them & she stays with them until they’re soundly asleep before getting back up herself.

Tonight however roles were reversed. I was on my own, in centre stage where the Mummy usually is. She’d read the stories, turned off the light & made the Daddy’s exit. I was flying solo! In the dark…

Jake at least did seem a bit unsettled. He grizzled for quite a while, probably 10-15 minutes, them went into a stint of ‘Tree Fu Tom‘ magic spell-casting.

This basically involves raising the arms in the air, pushing them quickly out in front of you & shouting “Eh, Eh, Go!”.  Again. And again. And again. He’d been doing this a lot between bath & being dressed for bed, but in front of the mirror so he could admire his smooth moves.

Now children learning by repetition is fine, but not when Daddy is trying to get them to sleep. And he wants to get up & watch the rugby. That he hadn’t been able to during the day when it was shown live. And that he had already accidentally seen the result of earlier despite trying hard not to due to a fleeting glance at twitter. Grrrr….

By this time Ellie was fast asleep. The ‘Tree Fu Tom’ sleep spell I was throwing in Jake’s direction had rebounded onto her, obviously. Ellie falling asleep is usually a cue for Jake to point it out to us, often loudly: “Lellie: aleep!”. Also to Ellie: she clearly is unaware of the fact that she is asleep & obviously needs to know. This is always followed by “Shhh, Ellie is sleeping”s, & carries on until he seems satisfied that everyone has been thoroughly briefed on his sister’s current status.

So he chatted & moved around a bit more, probably for another 10-15 minutes, but thankfully soon calmed down, settled under his “banky” (trans.: “blanket”), snuggled on my shoulder & –  again after a while – fell asleep. I snoozed too then & when I thought he was unconscious enough very carefully extricated myself & crept out.

I actually managed to watch all of the rugby I was hoping to, & I was still busying myself with that vital work when the Mummy came back. Suitably impressed, I might add. With me, that is, not the rugby. Although that was great too…

So one up for the Dads, I say! Getting two toddlers to sleep by yourself? Yes: it can be done!

* the CBeebies goodnight song, if you must know. “The time has come to say goodnight, to say sleep tight ’til the morning light….”

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!

The Things They Say & Do: Bum!, stairs & a stroller

One afternoon this week the twins kept yelling at me repeatedly & excitedly what sounded like “Bum! Bum!”. This is odd even by their standards. I couldn’t work it out. I kept suggesting possible words that they might be saying, to which they responded “No!”,  then more “Bum! Bum!”, getting increasingly agitated. Eventually I figured out that it was a new cbeebies programme, ‘Tree Fu Tom‘. We’d watched the first one the day before & they absolutely loved it, jump-up-&-down-&-yell-with-excitement loved it. I’d kept it, in case of emergencies (as you do), but when I went to find it on the Box it wasn’t there! Apparently they’d asked the Mummy to put it on earlier, she’d watched it with them, didn’t like it & deleted it! Thanks! (I’ve kept all the episodes since; I quite like it too, but don’t tell anyone…)

We live in an odd house. Whaddya mean you’re not surprised?! It’s tall & thin – unlike me! – & has 3 storeys. The bedroom & nursery are on the top floor, the lounge & kitchen on the ground floor. We carry the twins all the way downstairs for their morning milk & breakfast, then usually back up again for a morning play & to dress them, then back down again ’til their bedtime. It’s OK when we’re both at home & we can take 1 each, but when I’m looking after them by myself it can be tricky. I have to carry 1 up or down then come back for the other. Almost always there’s grizzling & upset by whoever’s been left behind, although by the time I’ve come back they’ve usually calmed down. Thursday however I was getting ready to take them back downstairs. As usual I’d decided to take first the one who was most keen to go, this time Ellie. I explained to Jake, as I always do, that I was taking Ellie down then coming straight back for him. Instead of making a fuss he just sat there quietly, saying “Ellie then Jake. Ellie then Jake”. He was still sitting still, quiet & calm, when I came back up for him: what a little star!

On Friday they played together in the most independent & cooperative way we’ve yet seen. They were taking turns – that’s right, you read that correctly; I’ll write it again: taking turns - without any prompting at all from us, in getting into a stroller & pushing each other around. There also appeared to be a ritual involving a pretend onion on a plate which had to be carried by the occupier of the stroller & transferred with great solemnity as they swapped over. The Mummy & I had our flabbers truly ghasted & were very tempted to leave them to it, get a brew & go watch telly. But it was nearing their bedtime so we didn’t. I did take a stroller upstairs though so they could carry on!

Another eventful week! I’m looking forward now to reading about others’ in Chris’ ‘Things They Say & Do’ blog hop at her ‘Thinly Spread’ blog. Have a look, it’s a great read!

And I’ve just realised, as now it’s past midnight, that’s it’s now their 2nd birthday! :)

Saturday is Caption Day! #2

Got a witty, profound or just plain silly caption for this picture? Then leave it in the comments below!

Then click on the little boy’s head here & you will be magically transported to the funsome Mammasaurus’s blog for many more pictures crying out for a witty / pithy #satcap caption. Have fun, I know I do :)

Saturday Is Caption Day

The Things They Say & Do – Week 6

Some of Ellie’s new words & phrases this week: “Yippee!”, “Wow…”, “Oh dear dear”, “I love cake!”, “Tea Party!”, (in the bath, to Jake) “Can you swim?”

Both Jake & Ellie have a ‘thing’ about food being too hot, being a bit nervous of it sometimes even when it’s barely luke-warm. Breakfast, porridge, Jake decides Ellie’s is too hot & blows on it. Ellie says “Thank you”, then blows on Jake’s porridge. Jake: “Thank you”, Ellie: “You’re welcome”. We’re just watching them, delighted.

They’d managed to dismantle a toy garage & Jake was wearing a plastic support rod on his arm. I grabbed another one & wandered around pretending to be a robot, doing my best (meaning very, very bad) robot dance, with sound effects. This was the most hilarious thing EVER & they spent the next million hours trying to imitate me. Come to think of it, I may have videoed it…

I’m lying on my back on the bed during their bedtime routine. Jake is standing on my chest. Feeling tall, he says “Mummy, Daddy, I’m a man!”.

Later, more chest-standing. Me: “You’re Jakezilla, grrrr!!”. The Mummy: “I’m Mummyzilla!”, then Ellie: “Elliezilla!”.

Jake has done great things with some stacky cups, then says: “Daddy: I finished!”.

They both have a fascination with the moon. Spotting it while in the garden, Ellie looks up at it & says: “Amazing…”.

Jake is pretending to spoon me my coffee. With every ‘spoonful’ he says: “Nice?”.

Jake wants to wear the Mummy’s watch. She has a bit of trouble putting it on his wrist, but when she succeeds he says: “Well done!”.

We were drawing outside with chalk. They both decided that the chalk was better employed as pretend ‘phones. Jake is pretending to talk to Mummy Pig. Me: “Did you ‘phone Mummy Pig?”. Jake: “Yes”. “What did she say?”.  He snorts. I laughed. A lot.

We’ve had an eventful week! A lot of these words & phrases they’ve picked up from us, but I really don’t know where they get some of it from!

These may not seem be very exciting to some, especially non-parents, but to us these moments are golden.

This post is my entry for this week’s ‘Things They Say & Do’ blog linky over at Chris’ ‘Thinly Spread‘ blog. Have a look the other posts there: I guarantee a good read!