Have a look at all the other Silent Sunday photos at Mocha Beanie Mummy:
Have a look at all the other Silent Sunday photos at Mocha Beanie Mummy:
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,
Next up, & thankfully needing slightly less assembly, a spinning car arena!
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
and then Jake:
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:
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!
The picture, as you might have guessed, is of my wife with our 3-month-old twin babies.
One might think of her as a high-flying career woman, & in many ways she is.
Given that though all the time I’ve known her greatest desire was for a family. After so many years of trying: to end up with twins, a boy & a girl, is a dream come true.
I was always ambivalent about it, wanting kids because she did, & it’s amazed me how much I’ve been happy to sacrifice for them, & how much I love the adorable little buggers.
I always thought she would too , I just didn’t anticipate how much, & neither did she.
She would happily spend all day & night with them if she could, & often has. She just couldn’t love them more.
We’ve sure had our ups & downs, but in my opinion this is a picture of pretty much the perfect mother.
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.
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: it was eventually diagnosed as Silent Reflux
My wife & our new children were in the hospital for another 4 days. They were moved out of the HDU to an ordinary room in the Maternity Ward on Saturday, the 2nd day. I mostly remember from there that I learnt how to change nappies, doing it reasonably well from the start – to the amazement of all. At some point an ear specialist came to test their hearing (both fine, I’m pleased to say). She told us that they had the most perfectly formed ears she had ever seen. My wife’s reaction? “I bet she says that to all the boys (& girls)”. They are very nice, though. Judge for yourself:
On the Monday we were told the babies looked a bit jaundiced – nothing serious, fortunately – so we relented & allowed more blood to be taken. We had noticed that they cried vigorously if they even just got a bit wet or cold, so concluded that the blood-taking wasn’t as distressing for them as it had seemed. It turned out they were a bit jaundiced, so we stepped up their feeding regime. We were moved twice: first off the delivery ward to the regular maternity ward, then to a much bigger room: with a double bed! The staff were good enough to let me stay the night, which was a great help.
When they weren’t crying to be fed or changed they were mostly sleeping, but the times when they were awake & alert were precious:
Although it was all a bit much for some:
Then on Tuesday: Home!
“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”
“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”
“Mmm, maybe. He’d probably get given lots of apples”
“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?”
“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”
“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