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.
Continue reading “Blackberries”

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Activities for Active Twins

Back in our old family home near Brum, in what now almost seems like a different life, we used to take Jake & Ellie to loads of really good regular activities; particularly in their 2nd year. There were playgroups at a local nursery, each slightly different, with arts & crafts, messy play, reading, puppets, musical instruments & singing + signing. They were excellent, & it was a great shame when they had to stop due to budget cuts just before we moved. There was also a great church-run playgroup, Tumble Tots, & a home & away playdate.

Since moving to Wales & their spending much of Mondays – Thursdays with Karen’s little group, as a preparation for Nursery, we haven’t done that so much. Karen takes them to a church playgroup but, apart from Tumble Tots until the local franchise went belly-up, that was about it.

Just recently though we’ve found a couple of brilliant activities for them. I think it’s partly that they’re old enough now that they’re able to take on more mentally & physically demanding activities. They’re both on a Friday, which may account for why I’m often so tired on that day!

In the morning – after grocery shopping, which is always fun* – we do Monkey Music. There they learn rhythm, playing percussion, associating actions with sounds & music and some basic dance skills. It’s great, & they really enjoy it.

We’ve also discovered a children’s gym, where we go after they’ve had a nap. It’s huge! It caters for all levels, from the casual user (us) to serious competitive & successful gymnasts. It’s a real find: there’s everything you could imagine there & more: a big central space with soft things to roll or jump on, in or over. Things to throw & kick. A bouncy castle with a climbing wall & slide. A trampoline, a little running track, vaults, parallel & non-parallel bars, beams, rings, a rope swing. Not only all that but the apparatus available seems to vary each week.

What they are brave enough & physically able to do has been a real eye-opener for us, & they seem to be able to do more each time.

And do they enjoy it?

They seem to…

*Sarcasm, yes

The Twins They Are A-Changin’

Whoever of us is looking after the twins during the week – usually me – takes them to an activity of some kind every day, & all of us try to go out as a family at least once on the weekend. We think it’s really important for their social development to be mixing with other children of all shapes, sizes & backgrounds & their parents & carers. They also learn & develop new abilities: for instance arts & crafts, signing, singing. It’s also just good to get out of the house sometimes, not just for them but probably also for us.

These pictures (taken in December) are from one such activity, called Tumble Tots. It focusses on teaching physical skills like climbing up & down ladders & ramps, rolling, jumping, throwing, stepping over & on obstacles. It also features action songs & dances, but they’ve figured out that if they don’t take part in that then they get the apparati to themselves, the little scamps…

Ellie peeping through her window
King Jake on his throne?

I think it’s their favourite activity, they’re always so enthusiastic. They run around excitedly, especially at the start, often making it difficult for me to keep up – although 1 of the staff usually helps out. They seem to like to push themselves, something they didn’t seem sure of 1 week they’ll be more confident with the next. And they like to claim & sit in their little perches, as you can see…

In preparing this post I remembered I’d posted about these classes before. Looking back at that post from 8 months earlier  it amazed me how much they’d changed & grown in the intervening time. Not just physically but emotionally. Here’s a picture from then, of Jake looking really scared about crawling up a ramp: 

I couldn’t help but contrast how physically & emotionally confident & at ease he seems now as compared to then. OK, 8 months is a fair old whack of their young lives, & probably translates as *ahem* quite a few years for someone like their old Daddy. But even so…

We see them day-to-day & share in their joys & sorrows, their triumphs & frustrations; it’s easy to lose track of how far they’ve come in such a short time. Sometimes you just have to take a step back & a look back to see how far they’ve really come.