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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The Gallery: New

New.

Where do I start?

We’ve had lots of ‘new’ here lately!
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A Special Treat

1-1-DSCN0762Usually the Mummy takes Jake & Ellie into pre-school in the mornings on the way to her work, but last Thursday she had to leave early so I was on duty.

They were fine; it was fine.

Walking up the alley towards our side-gate, Ellie turned & said to me “This is a treat!”

“Me taking you into school?”

“Yeah!”

She knows how to make her Daddy happy…

In the evening Jake independently drew his first letter: a big ‘C’ on the chalkboard, inspired by Clever Cat from the Letterland programme at pre-school!

I like to think he had extra inspiration of course from the “treat” of having Daddy take him to school…

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School, Work & Me

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School – even pre-school – changes things!

In April Jake & Ellie started pre-school on a trial basis for a few hours & a few days a week; this term they’re there for the full 5 days.

We’ve been exercising our option of taking them out at 1.15 rather than the full day to 3.30 but now they’re actually asking to stay on!
Continue reading “School, Work & Me”

Death: The Sequel

Words. Just words. Just 4 of them. No big deal, right?

Well, yes: when those words are “How do we die?”

And when they’re spoken by a 3-year-old boy, to his Mummy & Daddy.

Continue reading “Death: The Sequel”

Further evidence that my children are smarter than me

The 4 of us have been beset with niggling coughs & colds, on & off, for the last few weeks.

Last week on the way back from pre-school Jake was having a little coughing fit.

I tried to be nice.

“Oh, Jake: you’ve still got that nasty cough! Don’t worry, we’ll try to make you better.”

“But you can’t, can you?” was his immediate reply.

No hint of malice or bitterness, just a matter-of-fact observation.

He’d no doubt noticed that Mummy & Daddy had been coughing & sniffling as well, & that our best efforts at treatment hadn’t made our ailments go away, let alone his or Ellie’s.

I was stumped. What can you say to that?

Continue reading “Further evidence that my children are smarter than me”

Still not hitting anyone!

On Friday Jake came out of pre-school with another “I’m a Star” sticker proudly on display.

Ellie also had a sticker which she, again, claimed was given to her by her friend Rachel, who, once again, wasn’t available for comment. I’m starting to get a little suspicious about this…

The head teacher was there so this time I was able to find out what Jake’s sticker was actually for. Apart from ‘not hitting anyone’, of course.

Continue reading “Still not hitting anyone!”

Thankful for Small Mercies?

They came back from pre-school today with stickers.

They like stickers.

Ellie had 1 on her nose & another on her mouth. They very quickly blew away in the strong winds, but she didn’t seem to mind. I found out later that she’d taken 1 from her best friend Rachel* who, unfortunately, wasn’t available for comment.

Jake’s was more conventionally placed, on his jumper.

It said “Mrs Smiley* says I’m a Star”.

When I got the chance I asked him about it, along the lines of: “You must have been really good at school today! Is that right?”

“Yeah!”

“So what did you do that was so good?”

He paused for thought, although – worryingly – not for that long

“I didn’t hit anyone!”

Well, I suppose that is good…

I’m pretty sure he was joking: he had that big, mischievous smile on his face, & when I ask him what he did at school I almost always get “Not anything!”.

However I may need to have a word with this Mrs Smiley*…

* Names have been changed to protect the innocent. And even the slightly shifty.

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Wot So Funee?

Growing Up Fast: Let’s Get Physical!

Jake & Ellie used to go to a free-play session at a local children’s gym regularly, usually every week. They loved it.

Then they started this thing called “pre-school“; the gym session clashed with their school hours so we had to stop, planning to enrol them in a weekend class.

As you may have noticed it’s term break! They’ve been again a couple of times, the first time since June.

As with their going to the circus I’ve been surprised at their progress in the meantime: how much more than seem capable of, & how much less they seem afraid of!

Previously they enjoyed swinging on a trapeze: now they launch themselves onto it, grab the bar – & then swing! If it wasn’t for the sea of foam beneath it I’d be petrified!

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If I didn’t see it myself I don’t think I’d believe they could do it!

I think I may be having a hard time getting used to the idea that my little doe-eyed baby twins are no longer…well, doe-eyed babies.

Ellie can do it too but not as easily as Jake: he is the master here!

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Ellie’s probably more of a fan of the rings; she’s always been good on those.

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And I was really impressed with how much more confident & able she was on the rope (and Jake); it had scared her to swing from any sort of height before. Not now!

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“Me Tarzan, you Jake”?…

And, believe it or not. I get some exercise as well! There’s a big padded hollow roller that they love being pushed around in – and they’re getting heavy!

The good news is that with their new school hours when they start pre-school properly in September they’ll be able to go to the free-play session again, as well as the weekend class!

So… Brazil 2016?

Don’t worry: I’m not getting carried away here. I can wait until 2020…

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School Runner

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I got 2 pre-schoolers walking the streets…I need ya, Dad. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the School Runner; I need your magic.

Not quite what Jake & Ellie’s pre-school teacher said to me. But it might have been.

And, to be fair, she hasn’t actually said anything like that to me at all. I just couldn’t resist appropriating a quote from one of my favourite films

– for I am now officially a School Runner!

Cue swelling spacey Vangelis synths while my spinner car swoops over city skyscrapers before descending onto the mean streets of suburban south Wales

In my head, anyway…

The reality is slightly different.

Jake & Ellie have been eased gradually into their new life as pre-schoolers: at first 2 afternoons a week, then 3, & now they’re up to the full 5.

To start with the Mummy & I were dropping them off & picking them up together; now we ‘take turns’. She likes to do it herself when she can, & she does. I can usually go with her on her days but we want them to get used to just 1 of us collecting them as she can’t go with me on my days.

They are really enjoying pre-school & are usually excited to be going. We just point them in the right direction & off they go; taking them there isn’t a problem.

Picking them up again afterwards, however…

I gaze with envy at the other parents walking along sedately, hand in hand with their little darling – or little darling & slightly bigger & more mature little darling – trotting along sweetly at their side.

I’m not sure what they think when they look at me. They’re probably too busy trying to avoid a flying Jake as he attempts to become the fastest 3-year-old on Earth. There’s a nasty chicane at the gate which is always trouble, then a long lane which is perfect for a little boy intent on doing his best Usain Bolt impression. The lane leads to a footpath then a busy road, & he hasn’t quite got it into his head yet that running onto roads is generally a bad idea.

There’s usually shouting.

Ellie on the other hand likes to dawdle. There are lots of little walls on the way & she sees it as her mission in life to walk on every one of them, very slowly, balancing with her arms in the air so she doesn’t fall off. Except she sometimes does. Some of the walls are in people’s gardens. “That belongs to someone else” is a sentence which just doesn’t seem to register in the world of a 3-year-old, or at least our 3-year-olds.

There’s usually shouting.

Of course I try to grab their hands on exit. They’re surprisingly quick, especially Jake, so that often doesn’t happen. Even if it does they’re also surprisingly strong & are experts at wriggling free.

We’ve tried wrist-straps, but that caused World War 3. They actually seemed genuinely hurt so we haven’t had the heart to try them again.

The one time I used the buggy, strapping them in, was during a freezing rainstorm where they seemed to accept my argument that we were doing it so I could get them to the car as quickly as possible. I’m not convinced it would work on a normal day, but that’s the plan for my next time.

I’d love to hear about the experiences of  other School Runners, especially other parents of twins. Is it smooth sailing getting them home or are yours little terrors like ours?

It seems to me to be a twin thing, but I could be wrong!

I don’t think there’s any real danger; it’s just stressful so I’d like it to be better! We always make it home more or less all in one piece, unless you count stress as an injury. Where, even if I don’t manage it, I feel like having a sleep – and when I do I hopefully won’t dream of electric sheep or unicorns 😉