The Golden Girl

While the twins were at my place on Sunday Ellie decided to do her homework!

Its theme was ‘mythology’. She didn’t know what that meant so she asked me and I explained as best as I could.

King MidasShe then went onto google on my PC (under my supervision of course!) and came up with the story of King Midas. I showed her how to click on the link she wanted and before too long she had written 2 sides of an A4 page with the story of King Midas & his ‘golden touch’. It was in her own words too, and not just copied, showing that she had understood the story. I’m a proud Dad!

She needed some help with some of the pronunciation and spelling – I mean how the heck do you pronounce ‘Phrygia’ or ‘Dionyssus’ anyway? I don’t know! It’s all Greek to me!* –  but her comprehension and written account of the story was excellent

    * sorry, couldn’t resist

Yes, it does seems a little strange her choosing to do her homework during the limited time that she has with me. She does love spending time here with her Daddy – that’s what she tells me anyway – but I think I understand. We were still doing something together, which I was enjoying & I which I think she was too. She & Jake however often don’t enjoy the same things, and even when we do all do something together they more often than not compete with each other rather than play together cooperatively. I often find myself having to break up a fight. I imagine that’s not unusual for young boy-girl twins!

When they’re with me they each mostly just want to do something with me and so are competing for my attention. I only see them part of a day on a weekend and one evening after school so we all try to make the most of our time together. It isn’t easy!

Minecraft warriorAnd to be honest Jake and I were engrossed in a series of intense one-on-one Minecraft battles that day, which he’d been preparing and planning for and looking forward to for some time. I said to both of them before they left that next time I was going to spend much more time with Ellie to compensate.

So Ellie was being ‘a good girl’, and she is that, in doing her homework here – but she had also put some thought into her reasons for doing so, which actually makes me think even more highly of her. She explained it to me:

When she’s at ‘home’ (or as I prefer to call it “her other home”) with Mummy she likes to play on the green outside with nearby friends of around her own age. More often than not, she explained, she gets called in from playing to do her homework, which obviously doesn’t usually go down too well in Ellie land! She thought then she’d take advantage of my little home office set-up to do her homework at my place, and then she’d have more time to play with her friends.

Smart girl!

Oh, and my Minecraft battle with Jake? 2-2. We are planning a rematch!

Now there is of course only one way to end this post:

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In Sickness and In Health

The Mummy was a little worried about Jake’s health recently: as well as a runny nose & bad cough he had a temperature & was very tired & sluggish – very unlike his usual energetic self.

She was concerned enough that she thought a trip to the out-of-hours children’s doctor was called for. It was night-time & they had school the next day so rather than us all going she took Jake in while I stayed with Ellie to help settle her to sleep.

Instead of the usual books Ellie wanted to do colouring-in in 1 of her magazines, in bed. And I was expected – no, required – to join in with her.

Continue reading “In Sickness and In Health”

Tales from the Soft-Play City

At soft-play yesterday I, somewhat optimistically, brought a book with me. And I actually managed 2 pages – a new record!

At 1 point Ellie asked to have a look at it. She then thought it very funny to run around the play area with it.

Jake wasn’t too impressed with this. He went after her, took the book from her – gently but firmly – & brought it back to me, saying “There you are, Daddy”, an expression of serious concern on his face.

Magic 🙂

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Less pleasantly, there was a bigger boy there who for some reason seemed to have taken a dislike to me. He actually hit me repeatedly, through the mesh of the ball-pit, & called me silly names. (“Smelly poopy-head” was 1 I remember; Jake & Ellie found this hilarious – thanks for the support, guys!)

He was also being rough with other children. He continued to hit me & call me names, in front of Jake & Ellie, every chance he got & I felt I had to speak to his parent / carer when I figured out who they were.

If it was me I would have been mortified. In fact I had to intervene earlier when Ellie got aggressive with a boy there; Jake actually came over to tell me about it, which I thought was, again, very mature of him.  She doesn’t like her stuff being taken!

When I talked to them (a Dad) however instead of “I’m sorry” I just got “He’s 6!”. I made my point, I hope gently but firmly, asked him to speak to his son, & walked off.

A little later I saw him being shouted at; I didn’t see them around again after that so I assume he’d been taken home.

Afterwards I remembered seeing his being spoken to pretty aggressively by his Dad as they came in, & thinking how awful it was to speak to your own child so angrily, & in public. As much as I was relieved to see him go I couldn’t help but feel bad for him; it’s possible I’m just being judgmental but it seemed pretty clear where his bad behaviour came from.

 

Soon after that we joined in with a brilliant ball-fight another Dad was having with his little boy, about the same age as the twins. 1 brilliant Dad redressing the balance – with me somewhere in-between!

For more Magic Moments just click the pic!

Let’s catch up!

The last month has been a bit of a strange one here, for me.

A month ago today we moved house, finally escaping from the little place that was only meant to be temporary but in which we ended up staying for over a year.

There’s the usual unpacking & organising, & we’ve only had the internet & ‘phone since Monday.

My routine has changed dramatically too in the last month. I’ve found myself not able to do much in the way of blogging, or tweeting, until late at night – by which time I really just want to watch a bit of telly & go to bed.

That’s a shame as, especially since term break, we’ve been having a very active &, overall, very happy time. In the last week we & the twins have enjoyed a great freeplay session at the children’s gym, a new softplay centre, the circus, the fun farm, a day at Folly Farm, the local holiday park & the beach, as well as their new playground.

Jake & Ellie seem to have changed a lot in the last month too: for the good, I hasten to add!

Every now & then 1 or both of them seems to take a big leap. Being twins they spur each other on too: when 1 sees the other doing something new they want to do it too!

Jake seems to have completely lost his fear of heights: nothing seems to faze him now! I’ve been amazed at what he takes on, & what he can do. The frightened one now is more likely to be me: “Jake, are you sure about that?!”

It’s a telling truth that he – and Ellie – can now do physical things that dear old Dad cannot…

I hope to get back into a habit of regular posting again, including about some of our recent exploits.

In the meantime here’s a lovely scene from ‘our’ new garden. It’s great to finally have the room to eat outside again – not to mention the weather for it!

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And yes: Jake shouldn’t be on the table, even for raspberries. In his defence I think he was pretending to be a baby – along with the obligatory “goo-goo” & “gah-gah” noises. That’s been a popular game around here recently for some reason!

The Gallery: Together

Jake & Ellie

Together

Conceived Together

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Born Together1-DSCF2720DSCF2772

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Babies Together

Learning Together

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Christmas Together

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!

Crawling Together

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Shopping Together

Holding up the wall TogetherDSCF5016 (2)Laughing Together

DSCF5333, Babies riding in laundry basket

Exploring Together

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Being happy Together

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Playing Together

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Eating Together

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Plotting Together

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Cooking Together

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Not moving Together

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Kissing Together

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Perching Together

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Holding hands Together1-At Peter's

Being serious Together

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Being silly Together

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Cwtching Together

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Best Friends Forever Together!1-DSC00456

 

This post is part of  ‘The Gallery’ at the ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog. For more Togetherness click the pic:

The name’s Jallie. Jake & Ellie

Oh, Tara! Putting a howling pun in your latest ‘Gallery’ linky, & on a subject so close to my heart! You must know I couldn’t resist…

Yes, the subject this week is: ‘Bond’.

Not James Bond.

This bond:

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I know I’ve featured this before but it’s my all-time favourite photo. I’m overwhelmed with love & gratitude every time I see it. They’re 1 day old here.

The bond between twins is a bond like no other. I think only twins can really appreciate how precious, how special, it is. Although not a twin myself I have cousins around my age who are, & that’s just what they tell me. It’s a bond that will never be broken, a closeness unmatched.

After all, you can’t get much closer than this:

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They were born together, they live together. For nearly every moment of their lives, awake or asleep, they are together.

They were aware of each other even as little babies. They would reach out to touch each other, & try to communicate. Later on, at an age when children aren’t capable of much more than parallel play, they would try to play with each other. As soon as they were mobile enough they would chase each other. They’d hug & they’d kiss. Now they talk to each other, dance together, sing together, & yes: fight together.

1-At Peter's

They’re nearly 3 now & are at an age where they are becoming more independent. They’ve always had quite distinct personalities but as they get older their differences seem to become accentuated. Jake has always been the more affectionate & empathic of the two; it’s usually he who initiates physical affection. Ellie is a little more individualistic; she usually prefers to play by herself & gets irritated when Jake joins in / interferes.

They’re starting to make friends with other children. Up until recently they have always said that the other is their “best friend”; Ellie however now says that a little girl they know from their pre-Nursery group is her best friend.

It’s sad. Especially as I think Jake would still like Ellie to be his best friend. He won’t say it now of course because he isn’t hers any more. I guess it’s just a part of growing up, even growing up together.

Yet despite this their special bond still shines through. When Jake was sick recently Ellie was clearly moved, trying to be as close to him as she could, stroking him, hugging him, trying to make him better. She became distressed when she had to stay with me while he saw doctors with the Mummy. Even this morning when he hurt his finger she was rubbing his arm, showing great concern. Jake is the same with her. They often spontaneously hug,  & dance or sing together.

No matter what I think the twin bond will always be there, & in one way or another they will always have each other.

Jallie: you only live twice. Shaken, not stirred…

Why not have a look at what other bloggers have to say about the bonds in their lives in Tara’s brilliant Gallery? It never disappoints! Just click the pic:

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

 

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 😀. 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…


 


Did My Baby Boy Just Say “Bugger”?!

I’ve been posting for a while now about how quickly Jallie are growing up & developing.

Part of that has been developing an independent will. I still remember being a bit shocked when I initiated a game with Jake, he looked at me, then turned around & crawled off as he wanted to do something else. That’s not supposed to happen: he’s my little baby boy!

It’s also meant that they can & do throw tantrums. Tantrums at 10/11 months? Oh yes! If I do something they’re not happy with, or stop them doing something they want to do, they sure let me know about it!

I sometimes think that this blog appears to paint too rosy a picture of life with our little darlings. This is mostly because I do love them to bits, & I’m delighted with how they’re growing & developing: mostly, everything’s good. Also, although I can do my fair share of whingeing – as anyone who’s followed me on twitter will know – I think of myself as a positive sort of bloke.* If I’m having problems I’m more likely to not talk about them, & just get on with trying to sort them out. And yes, I am aware that this is probably not a healthy, balanced approach. It is quite a male one, though.

When I’m ‘on’ the part of my day I most dislike comes after their morning nap: changing their nappies then dressing them. For reasons I can’t fathom, they hate it. It’s almost always a fight, a struggle, a wrestling match. They do everything in their power, twisting, turning, levering themselves up to stop it. You know when a protestor is dragged away by Police & plays dead, going as limp as possible? Yep: they can do that. They cry, they scream. Not always, but often.  It’s the same too when we dress them for bed. They seem to particularly hate being on their backs. And they’re surprisingly strong!

Trying to put trousers / tights onto a squirming, twisting, crawling baby can be a nightmare, made even worse with my dodgy fingers. We’re still trying to work it out. It may be the time of day; I had to dress them again this afternoon & they put up no fight at all!

So, this morning I eventually managed to get them changed & dressed, after the usual fight. Then I noticed that Jake’s trousers were on backwards!** “Bugger!”, I said in frustration.

Then I heard a little voice. What it said sounded suspiciously like “bugger”.

So,  my baby boy’s first words:

1) Daddy
2) ball
3) bugger?

Bugger.

Still: 2 out of 3 ain’t bad! Gotta be positive, right?

* 1 of the reasons for my new Posterous blog ‘3 Brilliant Things’, where every day I post 3 things that have been good about my day.

** As it happened I had Jake’s & Ellie’s trousers mixed up anyway. They’re twins but they’re quite different sizes..

The Gallery: Togetherness

This picture is a screen grab from a video I took of the best playing together I’d seen Jake & Ellie do to date.

‘Togetherness’: that’s the theme this week set for us by the terrific Tara ‘Sticky Fingers‘ Cain for her Gallery.

This picture is a screen grab from a video I took of the best playing together I’d seen Jake & Ellie do to date. For about 5 minutes Jake was putting his face up against the mesh, pulling faces at Ellie, & in response she was putting her face up against his, touching his face, pushing her face against the mesh, etc. They were both giggling hysterically. I just sat there with the camera hoping I wouldn’t distract them & that they’d carry on. It was wonderful.

Since then, as they grow & develop, they’ve played together more & more. Often it’s initiated by us (for instance the ‘blanket game’ that I included in my post for last week’s Gallery), but it’s becoming increasingly spontaneous. Recently they’ve really enjoyed what I can only presume is a baby form of Greco-Roman wrestling, taking it in turns to lie down while the other rolls on top of them. They seem to especially like this when we give them their ‘nudie time’ before their bedtime baths; they seem to like that ‘skin feeling’.

It’s fantastic to see them playing together so much & loving each others’ company like this, & I really hope that this relationship continues & grows.

Why not head over to the Gallery for more Togetherness (click the pic):