A Hairy Moment

We were buckling Jake & Ellie in their car-seats. It was wet & windy & I had my coat on with the hood over my head.

The hood doesn’t quite fit – a hasty purchase! – and the wind had blown it off.

“Daddy, your coat has given you Batman hair”, Jake informs me.

I have no idea where this comes from. It’s become 1 of those silly little sayings that families can have, & it means your hair is messy & sticking out at odd angles. As far as I know Batman seems to be quite nicely quaffed under his mask so it’s quite baffling!

“Actually Daddy”, he continues, “you always have Batman hair” (true enough) “but I love you anyway”.

Something of a back-handed compliment, but I’ll take it!

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Wot So Funee?

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!

I know they’re growing up fast but this is ridiculous…

Ooh! It's for me!

Do you mind?! I've got an important call here!

O.M.G., no!! She did WHAT?!

Yep, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh...

Not even 2 years old & Ellie is already a teenager!

Entered for #SunFun at Mammasaurus’ blog

The Children in the House Go Chatter, Chatter, Chatter

This was to be a post  in my ‘3 Brilliant Things‘ blog, but there were so many great things yesterday, mainly to do with communication, that I thought it deserved a post here in my main Daddying blog.

I’ve been banging on for some time, mostly in that 3BT blog, about how surprised I am at their communication skills. I don’t really know but they seem pretty good considering that they’re only 23 months old.

Ellie’s pronunciation is really good, her vocabulary seems to grow every day & she seems to learn really quickly. She’s like a parrot; she often immediately repeats a word or phrase she hears us say. Jake’s pronunciation isn’t as clear, but his (it seems to me) social awareness compensates for that.

For instance: towards the end of the day we were watching TV & I put ‘Baby Jake‘ on. Ellie, word for word & in perfect timing, copied a part of the spoken introduction, “J is for Jake, our baby brother”. A 7-word sentence! Jake then said, really clearly: “No, not again!”. He then repeated it & I then asked him if he didn’t want to watch Baby Jake & he confirmed that he didn’t. To be fair, it was a repeat…

Earlier, in the garden, we were playing a game. 1 would pretend to be stuck on the ground (it started with Ellie actually stuck, sitting with a leg folded under herself), & then the other would pretend to help them up, along with ‘Daddy’ who did the actual lifting. Great fun. Ellie was consistently saying “Daddy, Jake: I stuck!”. An original 4-word sentence, used correctly in context, & using a personal pronoun (“I” rather than “Ellie”). I’m pretty sure children that age aren’t meant to do that.

During their bedtime routine Ellie was carrying a book. She said what I’m almost certain was “I can read the big book”, then sat down & did exactly that. An original  6-word sentence, again used correctly in context, & again using a personal pronoun.

I’ve mentioned before how Jake, when the Mummy told him that he was her little baby, said indignantly: “I not a baby, I’m Jake!”

I’m constantly amazed by all this. Our little babies – who not so long ago, it seems, were just little confused, immobile, inarticulate (& often smelly) bundles  - are talking, & talking to us! We’re actually having conversations with them, & they with each other!

But I’m also a little confused. Is this normal for children of this age? Are they ahead of the curve? Or am I just looking through the rose-tinted glasses of a doting Dad? I do actually need new glasses…

What are your experiences? Are /were your children little chatterboxes, or quiet as church-mice? I’d really appreciate some feedback here.

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: they’re really good!

Current State of Play: The 2nd Half

OK, now that the boring ads are over, the band has finished playing, the cheerpersons have strutted their stuff & someone has sung very badly (sorry about that), & you’re settled down again with cups of tea / beers / absinthe etc. here now is Jallie’s State of Play: the 2nd Half!

Talking. Both say  “Daddy / Dadda” when happy & cry “Mummy / Mama” when in need of comforting. It’s not entirely clear if they know which of us is which. Jake says something like “ball”, by which he seems to mean “something I can throw”. Ellie seems to be able to say my name, & last night we think she may have said “good girl”  – the Mummy’s first words :). They both have quite a range of noises which can be easily interpreted: happy, annoyed, excited, determined etc.

Result: A score draw

Jake 5, Ellie 5

Playing. Jake doesn’t mean to be but he can be a bit rough, especially as he’s quite a bit bigger, heavier & stronger than Ellie. He pulls her hair, out of curiosity, & tries to nick whatever she’s playing with. They used to like to wrestle – until Jake ended up on top, Ellie got a bit squished & got scared. He will quite happily play on his own though; when he isn’t tired or hungry he can be quite independent.

Ellie has recently been getting her own back by pulling his hair too, & has been known to very stealthily nick his toys also. She badly needs company though & will cry when left alone. More of a thrillseeker than Jake: loves being thrown in the air & carried on my shoulders.

Result: Ellie by a hair, or two

Jake 5, Ellie 6

Affection. Jake actively seeks out hugs, holding his arms up, then wrapping them around your neck while he puts his head on your shoulder. He also tries to give big wet kisses, but they’re best avoided. Think Homer Simpson in close-up going in for the kill with Marge – with extra drool…

Ellie is wonderfully affectionate too, especially when she’s tired & nuzzles into your shoulder for a sleep. She’s only just started looking for cuddles though.

Result: A big wet kiss for Jake

Jake 6, Ellie 6

Sense of Humour. Even from a very early age Jake has had a fantastic sense of humour. He can find fun in almost anything. He can actually genuinely make me laugh, in a proper adult way & not just a “oh how cute, look at what the little baby is doing” way.

Ellie has in the last month or so really come on in finding fun, & laughing at & making  jokes.

Result: Almost from birth his theme song was “The Joker”: the gig is Jake’s

Jake 7, Ellie 6

Sociability. Both babies are very friendly, crawling up to other adults & being friendly. Jake usually exudes a studied curiosity, but Ellie always charms with her gorgeous smile.

Result: winning by a smile, Ellie.

Jake 7, Ellie 7

Well, it was always going to be a draw wasn’t it? You can’t have favouritism with twins!

Since I started writing this – probably just to make a monkey out of me, which they’re very good at – Ellie has started standing up with no support

 

The Gallery: Body Parts

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the looks of confusion, fascination &, yes, horror on Jallie’s* faces when I took off my glasses & put them on their Mummy.

“But – but… he’s taken off a bit of HIS FACE!!! AND PUT  IT ON MUMMY!! MUMMY’S GOT SOME OF DADDY’S FACE ON HER!! W.T.F.?!!!” (That is how they talk; I’ve become fluent in ‘Baby’).

Looking rapidly from one to the other, they just couldn’t work it out.

It was hilarious!

I’m not sure what they make of them now; maybe it’s “Daddy’s face but not Daddy’s face”. I do know that every time they come within range the first thing they do is try to grab them: “I got a bit of Daddy’s face!”. I wouldn’t mind but it means I can’t read anything – including blogs & we can’t have that can we?! -  & getting their grubby fingerprints &,  yes, slobber off them afterwards is a bit of a hassle.

Whatever, Jake seems fairly pleased with himself for getting his new Crown: a piece of Daddy’s face!

* For those at the back: Jallie =  Jake + Ellie :)

For Tara Cain’s Gallery at Sticky Fingers

You Had Me At “Agoo”

It’s all gone a bit Pete Tong; the best laid plans of Dads & Mums etc…

The idea of this blog was to look at pregnancy then childcare from a bloke’s perspective: to write about how my life changes as a result.

Great in theory, not so good in practice.

During her maternity leave my wife had plans to, among other things, help me grow all our own organic vege, raise chickens & write a novel.

I was also  hoping to maintain this blog – a bit more regularly than I’ve managed so far.

Hasn’t happened! As for the reason: see my last blog entry. We’ve been overwhelmed by the time & commitment we’ve needed to look after our twins, especially now that they’re having a few problems & need extra TLC.

In any spare time I’ve had I’ve been so drained that the best I’ve been able to do is type a few sometimes coherent tweets, usually with a baby or 2 on my arm (I have a very sore arm…), or slump in front of the TV occasionally.

But I’m making the effort: I’m doing another post if it kills me (or my arm drops off).

Well they’re now 9 weeks old. In the whirlwind of seeing to their needs it’s kind of crept up on us that in the very short time they’ve been here that they’ve already grown up, & are in many ways quite different from the tiny little things we were presented with at the hospital. I was looking back on  photos from around then & it really struck me. They were still our little Jake & our little Ellie, but they looked quite different. It’s not something you realise from day to day as you’re looking after them.

I may have presented a fairly negative picture, & it has been tough. Jake has colic / lactose intolerance*: he convulses in great discomfort regularly, especially after feeding, & often can’t sleep as it keeps him awake. Ellie gets reflux, she vomits her food up a lot (although she hasn’t for 4 days now!), & has to be held upright at least half an hour after feeding, as does Jake. If we lay her down too soon she brings the milk back up, & she cries.  In the last couple of days she’s cried inconsolably without apparent reason & has taken an hour or 2 to get to sleep. We’ve tried all sorts: elevating their beds, gripe water, infacol, gaviscon, colief, different types of anti-colic bottles. The only thing that seems to help at all with any regularity is body contact with us: being cuddled by Mum & Dad. It’s a mystery.

Note: click on any picture to view full-size

 

Even so, amidst the hard work & sadness they seem to be developing into lovely kids; we adore them, anyway. We’re told that everything they’re going through is pretty normal. Between bouts of illness, they have become  hugely more sociable. They were just little balls of crying, feeding, excreting & sleeping; now they are far more aware of their surroundings & of us. We can actually enjoy their company.

They’ll smile at the slightest things: being picked up, us making silly faces;  Jake especially loves having his face & head stroked.  They’ll often break out huge, open-mouthed smiles; especially after being in distress they light up the room, & our lives. They sometimes even laugh. They love us talking to them & try to imitate us, usually coming out with something like “agoo”.

Physically they’ve changed a lot too. They’ve grown, obviously. They’re the same ‘height’ (length?) as each other but Jake is now much heavier & stockier, & is already quite strong: for instance when he straightens his legs out he can push me back when I’m trying to feed him. In fact, he’s reached a milestone very early: he can already beat  his Dad at something! Put him on his stomach; if he decides he doesn’t want to be there he can lift himself up. That’s already more push-ups than I can manage right now with my dodgy shoulder. Ellie is more slender, long-limbed – but also has really big feet! Her eyelashes are incredible  – unbelievably long. She also has become much stronger: when changing her she’ll straighten her legs when we’re trying to get them into her sleepsuit, then thrash them around when we’re trying to do up the domes. Makes the job even more difficult: kids!

They are developing distinct personalities too. Ellie’s default expression is a smile. She loves being moved around & is fascinated by changes in ‘scenery’. She is more active, her gaze flits around a lot. Jake is a lot more serious. He tends to focus very intently on 1 thing at a time. The black beams contrasted against the white ceiling in our bedroom hold an endless fascination for him. We often joke that he is doing his Beam Report: keeping track of what they’re up to, what they want, etc. Oddly this has made him more, not less, sociable:  when we talk to him he gives us his absolute attention, & often stares at us intently even while we’re doing other things.

The main thing is that, despite their problems, they’re developing normally, & are happy a lot of the time. That’s all we can ask for, really.

 

 

 

Looking after them is extremely tiring, stressful, difficult. Despite all this, if I had to choose I wouldn’t change a thing. Sorry to be soppy, but I never dreamed I would love these 2 little guys so much, & expect to continue to do so.

 


UPDATED: My daughter can also now do more press-ups than me as well. And she threw up again this morning – twice.*sigh* Hopefully though that explains her recent evening crying.

* UPDATED: it was eventually diagnosed as Silent Reflux

Knee-Deep in Nappies

I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post: and I’d only just got them home from the hospital here!

We want to be together!

 

It’s been a mad few weeks: exhausting, tiring, but also wonderful. We’ve been astonished at how much time & effort it takes to look after these 2 little guys. I had been warned, but until I experienced it  for myself it didn’t seem real. Also I didn’t really believe it. It’s true, though, true I tells ya!

Peek-a-boo?

Peek-a-boo

 

There is a seemingly never-ending stream of feeding & changing. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Your average newborn needs to feed about every 2 hours; feeding can take up to half an hour. They need to be changed after every feed. Do the maths. Multiply by 2.

Then there’s the laundry. Babies are dirty! With several changes of clothes daily it’s a struggle to keep them with clean clothes, let alone us.  Then visits to the hospital, doctor’s, visits from midwives, health visitors, nursery nurses. Getting the frequently needed supplies:  formula,  wipes, nappies.  The nappies, the nappies! Finding enough bin space for them all has been – trying. We’d like to go green eventually but right now anything that saves time is essential. Cleaning, rinsing bottles for sterilising, preparing feed – it all takes a lot of time!

My in-laws were here for the first few days, & they were a great help. Then they left, & we realised just what we were up against. Then, while I’m busy tweeting about how lovely they are & how great it is to have them home – they go & get a bit sick. Poor little Jake got a sore little bottom from nappy rash, they both developed colic, & Ellie got acid reflux. Added to the regular stuff is having to look after sick babies & giving them the extra care & attention they need.

What are you looking at?

You lookin' at me?!

 

They both have need more holding after feeding as their tummies are usually upset; Ellie especially has needed half an hour at least. If she goes back in her basket straight away she brings up feed with reflux, it’s painful for her (as anyone  – like me – who’s had reflux will know) & she cries. Jake has needed lotions on his rash; nappy changing has become painful & distressing for him: he screams the house down & needs a lot of TLC afterwards.

Ellie also projectile vomits, but that seems to be more my problem than hers; she doesn’t seem to mind too much. Her head hasn’t rotated 360 degrees yet, thankfully. It’s always on me! And I thought she was Daddy’s little girl…

It’s been awful seeing these 2 little helpless babies we’ve only just met & who we love so much in pain & distress. We don’t mind doing whatever we have to give them what they need: sounds soppy but we’re acting out of love.

Look at that face!

It’s hard keeping your head together enough to organise yourself & them at the best of times: in the wee small hours when you’ve been awakened by crying  – if you’re lucky it’s just 1 of them – to get it together while half asleep is hard! We kind of don’t want to poison them either: feed only lasts 2 hours once out of the fridge & warmed, so you have to keep track. During the day it’s often a struggle with the lack of sleep, trying to keep your head when there are 2 distressed babies screaming at once, & you can’t find a clean bottle, & where’s his dummy that calms him down (you’re here aren’t you?, you think you’re funny don’t you?), I don’t know isn’t it in the basket?, it’s on the floor it needs sterilising, is there enough feed?, how old is that 1, why can I never find a bib!,  why are there no muslins?, where are the tissues? We’re actually (mostly) not that disorganised, but you get the picture…

We started both looking after them at once. That didn’t work, so we alternated 8-hour shifts. Then I was struggling getting up in the middle of the night,  but I was happy staying up late. Wifey was the opposite, so now I’m always on between 9pm – 3am, she takes over at 3 til 9am, & we alternate the 9am – 3pm, & 3pm – 9pm shifts. It’s working well for us so far.

We’re getting there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Name?

“A rose by any other name…”

“I’ve got a cousin called Rose”

“No, I meant…. Actually I like Rose. And stop interrupting”

“Sorry. Yeah, she’s nice. She’s a twin too.”

“No, I meant I like the name. Is she?”

“Yeah, her brother’s Peter”

“Peter?”

“Yeah, Peter. My best man. You’ve forgotten already?”

“It’s allowed: I’m pregnant. With twins. Did I  mention that?””

“Oh yeah, sorry. It makes you do a lot of strange things doesn’t it? Like how you explained to me that you have to have the remote all the time or the babies get upset & start kicking you. And how I have to watch Glee with you”

“That’s right, very good.  Anyway, you said you like Glee! Actually, Peter’s a nice name”

“No I didn’t.  (OK, but don’t tell anyone: not good for my image)”

“Another Rose & Peter though, & twins? That would be a bit weird”

“What? Oh, OK. So…Paul then?”

“No, don’t like that. I work with a Paul & he’s horrible”

“Adam?”

“Mmm, maybe. He’d probably get given lots of apples”

“Larry?”

“Definately No! Wait: you’re just going through the names of U2, aren’t you?”

“It was worth a try. What’s the Edge’s first name. anyway?”

“‘The’?”

“You think you’re funny don’t you? At least I didn’t suggest Bono”

“You were about to weren’t you?”

“Yeah I was. Thom? My Dad’s name was Tom”

“Yeah, maybe: that’s a good name”

“Jonny?”

“OK, but a bit too public school. O god – you’re doing Radiohead now, aren’t you?!”

“What’s the name of the bald bloke on the drums? I like him”

“We are not naming our son after the bald bloke from Radiohead!”

“Are you shouting ‘cos of you being pregnant & all? With twins?”

“Yes, dear, that’s right.”

The debate continues…

Disclaimer: Although this is the kind of chat we often have, my wife would like to have it made clear that she’s not actually this stroppy most of the time, & that I am allowed the remote sometimes. And that if I don’t write this the babies will be upset & start kicking her.

title courtesy of William Shakespeare