The Gallery: Love

I love the way they greet me every morning with the 2 most beautiful loving smiles I’ve ever seen

I love making them smile

I love Ellie’s “Eh!” verbal hug

I love hugging them

I love it when they reach up for a hug

I love Jake’s ecstatic, delirious, tonsil-exposing laugh

I love Ellie’s squeals of delight

I love making them laugh

I love carrying Ellie on my head, & so does she

I love bench-pressing Jake, & so does he

I love watching them play

I love watching them play together

I love playing with them

I love the games we invent together

I love it that when you play with one the other laughs too

I love singing to them

I love dancing with them

I love that they seem to have a new facial expression, noise or gesture every day

I love watching them grow & develop: gripping, clapping, waving, sitting, crawling, standing

I love the way they try to talk

I love the way they try to talk to me

I love their determination

I love that they were born only 2 minutes apart yet are so different

I love their apparent intelligence

I love it that they smile when I  make a joke even when if they don’t get it

I love sharing in their joy of discovery

I love seeing everything as fresh, new & exciting as if through their eyes

I love their love of company, of both children & adults

I love it that others love them

I love it when I can stop them from crying

I love that I can feed them when they’re hungry

I love that when they want to sleep but can’t that I can give them the sleep they want

I love that when they need to sleep but won’t that I can give them the sleep they need

I love how beautiful they are, inside & out

I love them, they love each other, & they love me

I love that

click to enlarge

For Tara Cain’s Gallery at Sticky Fingers

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Their First Noël

Travelling with the twins to be with family at Christmas: for many reasons, the main one of course being the weather, it seemed the Christmas destined not to be.

Through thick & thin however we made it happen! Timing our journey so that it fell between blizzard & big freeze, we actually made pretty good time & found that there wasn’t too much traffic on the roads. A cunning detour to avoid a potential huge delay helped.

The only other time we made a long journey Ellie cried nearly all the way. It was awful. Being older we were hoping she’d be more tolerant, but I sat in the back between them anyway. They slept for the first hour or so but when they woke up they cried, so we stopped at the nearest services & had a coffee. Why these places don’t have facilities for children I don’t know! There were enough of them there to justify it.

Back on the road they were still unhappy. I had a few toys to hand, but when even they didn’t work I had to resort to feeding them the muffin – toffee & fudge muffin no less – that I’d brought as an adult snack. All that sugar, normally a huge no-no! But desperate times call for…

Anyway they couldn’t get enough of it, & I hope I was able to feed them just enough to keep them happy, but not so much as give them a taste for unhealthy food. I don’t think they’ll need my help for that in years to come…

When we got there they were excited! They seemed really happy at being reunited with more of their loving family & all the new & exciting things to see & explore. Or maybe it was a sugar-rush! Probably both…

The first thing they did? Made a bee-line straight for the largest present & starting ripping off the wrapping as quickly as possible. It’s almost as if they knew what it was: these kids scare me sometimes…

After we managed to pull them away from there they had a great time crawling around & socialising, then we were able to settle them without much trouble into the padded playpen we’d brought with us. They did however both end up in bed with us when they woke up overnight, as they often do now.

Then it was Christmas Day! We of course had to dress them up as little Santas! Ellie especially seemed really excited:

Then: Presents! This time they were allowed to rip away at the wrapping to their hearts’ content. But of course, babies being babies, they now seemed less enthusiastic than the day before when they weren’t allowed to!

It was a very generous gift from our hosts. But it ‘required some assembly’. A bit of prodding, head-scratching, hammering, & – as a last resort – reading of instructions & we had a horsey!  OK: technically, a Zebra. It can be wheeled,

Ride 'em cowboy!
You must figure I'm a reeaal dangerous man

 

Yee-hah!

and rocked:

Cool-hand Jake

Next up, & thankfully needing slightly less assembly, a spinning car arena!

 

It's a serious business, this car-racing
Um, I'm pretty sure it's cars you're meant to put in there, Ellie. But sure: we could try the big squeezy ball!

A lot of smaller toys later – including an alien robot – & Jallie were as happy as kids in a toy shop! Which they pretty much were.

Then of course there was the inevitable ‘playing with the packaging’…

Not surprisingly, they wore themselves out with all this & had a nap before Christmas lunch.

They woke up while we adults were eating though, & were very happy to be with us; first Ellie

Cheeky!
Yes, I do think that was funny!
Right, I've had enough of this silly hat!

and then Jake:

 

Jus' like that!
A cracker? Don't mind if I do!
I won!

After a great lunch & a bit of resting & TV, the twins again settled without much trouble – but again both ended up in bed with us.

In the morning we packed up, somehow managing to fit everything into the car despite it seeming full when we’d left home. Unfortunately Ellie didn’t get the memo, & decided to have a sleep after I’d packed the playpen / bed!

We set off after lunch, not forgetting to feed the babies of course:

Feed me!
Oi! What do I have to do to get some service around here?!

Going back we were very well prepared. I sat in the back again, & we had a bottle each for them, some rice cake snacks to chew on & plenty of toys. After a slurp & a chomp, they were soon asleep & slept right through ’til we arrived home – to a very cold house.

It was a terrific Christmas, one which we all I think thoroughly enjoyed. For Jallie’s first one I couldn’t have asked for much more; they had a really happy time, & you can’t ask for better than that. Our hosts were just fantastic 😀

Whatever the future may hold we’ll all always be able to look back on Christmas 2010 as a happy time.

So a very merry Christmas to you & yours!

This Blog Is Pointless

OK: this blog is pointless.

It was meant to be about how the birth of my twin babies has changed my life.

And, how has it changed? In every way!

So I’ve sort of figured out that it’s not about me.

It’s about them.

And they have sure changed!

So, really the point of this blog has changed.

Part of the reason I haven’t posted for so long is that looking after them has been tough; hard work, tiring, stressful – for us both. It’s taken it’s toll on each of us individually & as a couple. The leisure time I’ve had I’ve mostly used to unwind.

Given all that, has it been worth it? A thousand times: “Yes!”. My kids are the most precious things to me; I realise it every time they greet me with a gorgeous smile when they see me first thing in the morning, when I make them laugh, when they fall asleep peacefully on my shoulder. They’re worth every hardship.

It’s been 6 months – yes, 6 of their 8 months – since my last post. In that time they’ve changed – a lot.

They’re Eating. Proper Food. That was then:

This is now:

They love avocado, banana, carrot sticks, baby biscuits, sweet potato, peaches, apples, yoghurt & much more. My wife is doing an amazing job of preparing most of their food herself, preferably using organic ingredients. They almost always prefer her food to even top brand shop products.

Ellie always tries to feed herself, & has to have something in her hand to chew/suck on;

Jake is quite happy to be fed.

Meal times can be great fun, but also very trying if they’re tired or grizzly. They’re not too young to throw a strop!

It was a major event when we first saw them reach & grip something of their accord. We used to joke about Jake’s daily battles with the Hippo in his bouncy chair. He’d stare at it for ages trying to figure out how to grab its evil frame. I still remember that day we saw him do it for the first time. Now they’re both very dextrous: Ellie with her food, & Jake has just recently developed a pincer grip: using his finger & thumb.

And boy, have they got strong! Changing their nappies or clothes sometimes feels like jumping into the ring with Hulk Hogan. Their grip, Jake’s especially, can be very painful when applied to ‘sensitive areas’. He got my nipple once – OUCH.

For what seems like so long this was their default position:

Then they started doing this:

Then this:

And this:

Then this: And this:

Then, written on my calendar for November 4th 2010: “She stood up today”. I’m still shocked. She does this now whenever she can from her cot, & always looks so pleased with herself, cooing contentedly! And Jake finds it hilarious when she eventually falls over…

(NTS: I really need to get my skates on to make the house safer for them)

Jake’s attempts at crawling so far mostly involve lying on his tummy, arms in front like he’s flying, legs in the air kicking like a frog & rocking vigourously while panting excitedly. He still seemingly can’t quite figure out why he hasn’t moved! He seems in no hurry – he seems to be enjoying himself – & neither am I, as watching him is hilarious! He can sit up, but doesn’t do it of his own volition. It just goes to show that babies, even twins, develop at very different rates & in different ways. In fact, that’s probably a subject for another post…

Needless to say they’re much bigger & heavier. It’s incredible to think they used to fit comfortably in a single little basket

Now they’ve outgrown not only their Moses baskets, but we’ve had to give them a cot each. Jake in particular is getting very heavy.

They’ve always had strong, individual personalities – even in the womb: That’s Ellie on top, pushing on Jake’s head to get into a better position. She seems the active, physical one, whereas he seems content to just Be: much as they have been since they emerged!

Now they’re like proper little people. They smile a lot,

they laugh a lot,

they’re  are much more aware of themselves,

of each other,

of other people,

& of the world  around them.

They definitely have bags of personality now!

I love making them laugh. Jake particularly has a fantastic sense of humour: he’ll laugh at almost anything. And when I make a joke that they don’t get they’re now both socially aware to realise that I’m trying to make with the funny, & will still humour me with a smile. Everywhere they go they seem to charm everyone they meet. They make us so proud.

And they try to talk. Jake is very fond of saying “Eh-oh” (trans: “Hello”)  Tellytubbies style.  And Ellie calls me “Dada”. My wife isn’t convinced; she thinks it’s just random easy syllables, or imitation. But when she looks up at me first thing in the morning & with a smile says “Dada” – I’m convinced. She’s also said “I like duck”, but that may be going too far for an 8-month-old.

We’ve been trying to teach them some basic baby signing words; apparently babies can pick them up very easily. Today, for the first time, they made a sign word: Fantastic! It was around lunchtime,  they were getting a bit grizzly, & Jake repeatedly made the sign for “Eat”. It turns out he was hungry. I couldn’t be a more proud Dad 😀

It’s amazing looking back over the last 6 months just how far they’ve come. I’m sure it’ll be just as amazing watching them grow & develop, & sharing in it, over the coming months & years.

And now here’s a nice picture of Ellie in her Grandpa’s cap 🙂

P.S.: I’ll try not to wait 6 months until my next post….

The Gallery: Seasons

“Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, all you’ve got to do is call & I’ll be there, yes I will: you’ve got a friend”

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