Current State of Play, March 2011

Jallie had their first birthday on Saturday. I can hardly believe it; it seems like yesterday that they were just tiny, immobile, confused little things. And yet it seems like a lifetime ago.

So I thought it was about time for a joint report card, their current state of play. So here goes:

Teeth.  Jake 3 (& a bit), Ellie 4. Result: Ellie by a tooth (less a bit)

Jake 0, Ellie 1

Mobility. Jake: Can walk up to 20 steps at a time, but usually takes just a few before falling over. Can turn corners. Can stand up from the floor unaided. Very fast crawler.

Ellie: Walking for fun, can carry things around, can walk in circles & even run a few steps. Can only stand up by pulling herself up on something. Very good at squeezing into narrow spaces & crawling under things.

Result: Ellie might have to start further back but she’d win a race. Ellie by a head.

Jake 0, Ellie 2

Visuo-Spacial Skills. Jake: Very good at putting things into containers. Has learnt to      roll balls, & push as well as bash. Exceptional ball skills: can throw balls & other objects up, down & horizontally, even flip them.  Can even fool The Daddy with a ‘no-look’ pass. This is a great rugby skill that many adults never master. This makes Daddy very happy :D. Has developed a slight fixation with holes. Well, he is ‘Mini-Me‘, ahem…*

Ellie: Not really interested in any object or toy unless it can be chewed. Quite fond of chewing fingers that are attached to the The Mummy. Very good at sneaking, particularly at silently & slowly sliding pens out of my pocket while I’m lying on my back, while Jake distracts me by jumping onto my chest.

Result: A Grand Slam to Jake. A bonus point for style

Jake 2, Ellie 2

Music: Jake: Likes to DJ from the ‘Jive Bunny‘ & from ‘Thomas the Tank Engine‘ sound books for Ellie to dance to, then join in. Waves his arms in the air like he just don’t care.

Ellie: Has been a lovely little mover for months, tries to sing & loves being serenaded. My ‘Tiny Dancer’.

Result: Ellie hits the right notes. A bonus point for artistic impression.

Jake 2, Ellie 4

Sleeping. Jake was the first to sleep right through the night & is much more likely to do so. Snores very cutely.

Ellie: Has slept right through once, but usually wakes up at least once at night.

Result: A big cuddly Teddy Bear for Jake.

Jake 3, Ellie 4

Eating. Jake: Has a great appetite. Did I say something about ‘Mini-Me’? Has to be about to burst, asleep or offered Jelly before refusing food.  Favourite foods include: sweetcorn, peas, chick peas, banana, pears, & apple & cinnamon desert. Likes to be spoon-fed but also finger-feeds himself.

Ellie: She usually eats well but is already a fussy eater. A favourite food one day can be refused the next. Even if it gets in her mouth it will come straight back out if she doesn’t want it. Shares her brother’s annoying habit of eating corn kernels & peas 1 at a time. Likes to feed herself, but also eats from a spoon. Has recently started to feed herself with a spoon, although she holds it upside-down.

Result: A very big fat banana for Jake

Jake 4, Ellie 4

Well, this is exciting isn’t?! I hadn’t anticipated this post being so long, so let’s pause for these ‘messages from our sponsors'; the 2nd half will begin shortly…

*When I was little I was totally obsessed with “oles”. I’d crawl for miles to find them – a crack in a wall, a rubber band, anything – then excitedly stick my finger in them & repeatedly shout “ole!” to my parents. I’m sure they found it delightful. For the first hundred times. Feel free to interpret that however you like…


 


Flying Solo

On Thursday I looked after the twins for a full day on my own for the first time.

From 6.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., without a break.

The Mummy is still on Maternity Leave, but she wanted to go in to work to take part in interviewing for a senior post, someone she’d be working closely with. Obviously she wanted to have a say in who it would be.

I’ve worked in the high-stress, competitive environment that is the City, & in pressurised, busy restaurant kitchens. But this child-care is by far the most demanding job I’ve ever had!

So: parents & carers, especially you Mothers, take note: the next time someone (usually a smug bloke, right?) implies that you’ve got it easy & that you should try working in a ‘proper job’ (whatever that is) – just send them to me, OK?

Jallie decided to make it extra hard for me by, unusually, napping at different – & odd – times. I wonder if the disruption of the Mummy not being around at all had unsettled them, although generally they were in a good mood. Usually you can count on having at least a break in the afternoon & often also the morning as they nap. Not a bit of it for me!

Feeding them both at once (before their morning nap) was difficult. I somehow managed to get them on a knee each, wrapping an arm around them & holding a bottle in each mouth. (I wonder if we’ll eventually evolve an extra arm or 2? I sure could do with that!). I then managed to lower Jake into a cot, then Ellie into the other. She wasn’t happy, so I picked her up again & lay with her on a futon mattress we’ve laid on the bedroom floor. She fell asleep almost straight away. This is a girl who really needs company!

After making sure the room was safe I went back to Jake, who was grizzling. I tried to settle him on the spare bed but he just wasn’t interested. So he stayed up & we played. Ellie ended up sleeping for nearly 2 1/2 hours – incredible!

Lunch was late because of this, & they ate well. Jake! He was actually falling asleep in his high-chair! His poor little head kept falling onto the tray, messy as it was. He’s never done that before, nor has Ellie! So I had to unstrap him, leaving Ellie alone (which she loathes), take him back upstairs & settle him in a cot. He went down straight away, fortunately.

Back to Ellie to finish her lunch, then I even managed to clear up & load the dishwasher! Then into the lounge for some play (while I had the cricket on :)).

Jake however only slept for half an hour. When he awoke I had to give him the rest of his lunch. Because the kitchen/diner floor is slate & too hard for just-walking babies to fall on, if I was to feed Jake in there I’d have to strap Ellie back in the high-chair. Without more food, I’d give that about 2 minutes before grumpiness ensued. So that was out. I ended up carrying a high-chair into the lounge & feeding Jake there while Ellie played happily on the floor, with a snack so she didn’t feel too left out. Everyone wins!

No-one wanted an afternoon nap! Except me. I actually ended up napping on the nursery floor, while energetic twin babies climbed & jumped all over me. I had to lie on my side in order to avoid being choked & castrated…

Up until then I’d been thinking that despite everything it was going remarkably well, much easier than I expected! I just conked out. In hindsight I think I was starting to get this lurgee that’s been going around, a congesty sinnussy thing; I had a temperature the next day.

Tea is normally at 5pm. Ellie fell asleep on my shoulder at 4.30. Great…

She lasted 45 minutes, but it again meant that their meal was late, although – again – it went surprisingly well.

After tea we played until the Mummy came back at 6.30. Boy we we glad to see her, especially Jake! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so excited! He kept leaping on her, screeching with excitement, turning around, & then doing it again. Ellie of course was also really pleased, but in her typically gentler way :)

I had a brief, much welcome, break then we settled them to bed for the night – thankfully they both went down quickly.

We live in a tall, thin 3-storey house. The nursery, cots & changing table are at the top; kitchen/diner & lounge at the bottom. I lost count of the number of times I carried them, 1 at a time of course, up & down the stairs. I was shattered! My arms &  shoulders still ache. Although this lurgee I’m sure has a lot to do with that.

We’re planning to work part-time on alternate days come April, so I’ll have to get used to this. I really need to figure out ways to make it easier though.

I’m thinking Bungalows. Yep, a Bungalow would be a great. Anyone got one they want to sell?