Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rant of the week

One of the joys of parenting more than 1 child (I'm assuming that this doesn't only apply to children of the same age) is that just as you get over a hurdle for one, the other presents itself often with the same problems only much magnified.

T finally managed to get on top of his constipation last week and despite a small number of attention getting sessions (he has quickly learnt that crying in a particular way brings the adults running) he has obviously softened stools. Unfortunately as his has improved, N's ongoing problems with constipation have worsened to the point that we nearly took him A&E. His temp shot up, he became listless and sweaty and despite valiant attempts to pass a stool spent the whole day doubled up in pain. Fortunately through some hard core perseverance on his part and much tearful support on ours, he finally pushed out at least enough to stop the cramping - for now anyway.

The rant however is more to do with the way that this kind of problem is brushed off by the medical fraternity. I know that even if I had taken him to A&E today or if I take him to the doctors tomorrow, the standard response will be that this is normal for toddlers and so there is very little that they will do to help. I guess in their eyes it would be perseeved as normal but I am sure that there are many parents out there who have to coach their children through similar 'normal' episodes on a daily basis who would disagree. There is nothing normal about the daily onslaught of pain and discomfort. It may be a common problem, it may be something that is expected and thus deemed normal but to my mind it is anything but.

This general attitude towards normalities like these means that little or no attempts are made to find solutions and parents are left fending for themselves, trying to discover which of the millions of 'remedies' suggested by Dr Google and every single person you speak to, actually work.

I know that we should consider ourselves lucky, that there are so many children and parents out their struggling to cope with much bigger and more complex problems. In all honesty I have no idea how they do it because it breaks my heart to see my boys in pain when there is absolutely nothing I an do to stop it as I'm sure it must theirs. I guess we as parents have to carry that burden until they're old enough to carry it themselves (although I suspect that never happens because parents never see their children as grown up anyway ;-))

Despite my little rant, I would be very interested to hear if any of you have suggestions about overcoming constipation of this kind - I have a few ideas and if they work I will share them.

Love
A

p.s. Hello!! New readers, you're all very welcome, please leave a comment so that I know who you are :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Going all techie and stuff

So, another cool thing that Baby A'more taught me today was to go here and make myself more visible. Not sure if that's a good thing but hell, its Christmas - a time for taking risks... um or is that what New Year is for? I dunno, but anyway part of the deal is that in return for these lovely people making me popular with their many, many friends, I would post a wee little mention of them in the hope that I may have some influence over the 3 of you which frequent these parts.

So here's my post, if you know what rss feeds are then you probably know who they are already and you're bored silly and frantically looking for the 'next random blog' button right now as boredom overcomes you. If you have no idea what I am talking about then may I suggest that you mosey on over to rsshugger where you can get yourself some techie loving?

A

Thursday Thirteen


Thirteen Things about parenting twins


1. It will make you envious of parents to single babies
2. It will make others think they should give you unsolicited advice
3. It will drain your savings and eat into your finances
4. It will challenge your sanity and test your resilience
5. It will make you impatient and irritable during teething season
6. It will make you appreciate the finer things in life, like sleep and privacy whilst peeing
7. It will take over your life and make you long for time off BUT
8. It will make so you proud of all the things you can achieve
9. It will also show that you have a much larger capacity for love than you ever imagined.
10. It will prove that material things really aren't that important
11. It will teach you about creativity and imagination
12. It will teach you tolerance for others and strengthen the bond you have with your partner

But most importantly....

13. It will be the single most incredible, amazing, wonderful and overwhelming journey you're ever going to take and I HIGHLY recommend it....



Thanks to Trish for linking to me (one day I will fix my blogroll and add you sweetheart - right now I am faaar too lazy!) and please join in the fun and leave a comment when you have!!

**** Editted to add that I have done it.... you're linked ---> See? :-)

Only 10 days to go!!!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Thursday, December 06, 2007

548 days, 12 hours, 0 minutes and 34 seconds

That's the amount of time that has passed since our lives changed forever. 1 year, 6 months and 12 hours ago Thomas entered the world and 5 minutes later Nathan followed suit. At the time I remember feeling overwhelmed by the lack of emotion. I was scared, worried, tired and sore but more than anything I was astonished to find that I had felt closer to my babies when they were inside me than I did once they were out.

18 months later and things couldn't have changed more. Now when I look at them I am overcome with love and pride and I truly wouldn't exchange the sleepless nights, dirty nappies, constipation or endless washing and housework for anything else.

There is no adequate description for the depth of emotion. I have no prose or turn of phrase to describe the absolute joy that they bring to my life at least none that truly does it any justice.

There are moments of desperation and I am thankful that these moments still occur if only to allow me to gain some perspective because this mommyness is heady stuff, easily addictive and altogether moreish.

Happy 1.5 birthday my babies, we've made it this far so we must be doing something right.

Love
Mama

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Truth about Birds and Bees

In a time honoured tradition, the subject of Designer Babies has yet again begun to raise its contentious head. As with every other element of being a parent, the idea of creating another living being for the sake of saving a sibling (whether through ‘natural’ or ‘artificial’ means) invites criticism from every corner. As you would expect, the obvious factions (Church, Pro-Lifers etc) are quick to add their weight against but the thing that fascinates me is the number of people, ordinary people, with average lives and medium intelligence that are hopping up on the soapbox to judge and criticise. Are we so far gone as a society that we can’t even allow a sick child every opportunity to get well? Can we honestly say that put in the same position, we as parents (or even carers) wouldn’t grasp at every opportunity made available if it meant relief from suffering?

When is that we become parents anyway? Is it at conception, adoption or even implantation? Is it not possible that a person could love one child enough to want to help them by providing the best possible genetic match, but then still love that match as a person in their own right? And shouldn’t every single situation be judged and evaluated in its own right without the knee jerk reaction which seems to be inevitable these days.

There was a time when we would reserve judgement for behind closed doors or bite our tongues except in private but with the internet comes certain anonymity, a divorcing of emotion with devastating effect.

I look at my boys and there isn’t a single thing that I wouldn’t do to relieve their pain and I’m in the fortunate position where I am not faced with life threatening illnesses or long term suffering. I worry that they are growing up in a world where a parent is assumed to be incapable of making decisions for the benefit of their children. Where even through pregnancy, insemination or adoption the route taken is questioned and analysed and inevitably ridiculed somewhere and by someone. When did parents stop being the protectors first and foremost? As children we automatically assumed that our parents would always put our interests first. Even when the outcome wasn’t what we wanted or expected, deep down we assumed that they had our best interests at heart. I want my children to have that same security, growing up believing that their interests are always in the forefront of our minds. Only question is, how do you ensure that in a society overridden by doubt and suspicion?

A

Friday, November 23, 2007

One month and counting

When you choose to live in another country, you accept that a fair amount of travelling will be necessary around the holidays if you're to remain in with a chance for an inheritance. When you choose to marry a foreigner, have children and live in another country you realise that what was once a fairly simple (if tiring) process has at once become a nightmare of paperwork, planning and anxiety.

I have known that we would be flying back to my home country with the boys for Christmas since May but have managed to avoid all thought of the actual flights until now. With the leaving date now a month away however I have to face the inevitable and start working on the plan which will[hopefully] ensure that some semblance of sanity remains after the fact. So far I have....

* Pack sparingly but plan for every eventuality
* Self medicating is a life saver (for those around me more than for me :-))

I've done my research, this site does an incredibly good job of listing all the practicalities and pitfalls but my problem is I seem to only be able to focus on the solutions which I haven't used because I've read the advice too late! Hell, I keep getting stuck on the fact that we're not only flying to a country which is 12 hours away, we're taking a connecting flight first which means the entire journey takes around 24 hours. What was I thinking and why didn't anybody question my sanity at the time?

All joking aside, I am nervous about taking the boys on their first flight even though both dad and I will be there so we should be able to control them even if they slip into their demon suits (which they thankfully seldom do at the same time).

Baring all this in mind, please let me know if you have any useful tips for flying long distances with 18 month old twins. All advice is welcome, no advice is to good or bad for consideration[1].

Yours in anxious anticipation,
A

[1] seriously, somebody suggested giving the babies something to knock them out but I recon the best option would be for the RO and I to take something to knock us out and leave our fellow passengers to fend for themselves!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Parental Question, advice please!

For once doctor Google hasn't answered my question properly so I'm throwing it out there...

My boys have taken to slapping themselves in the face. The internet can't seem to agree whether this is normal or whether it is some kind of acting out. More importantly if it is normal, how do you deal with it? How do you react? The boys laugh whenever we try to intervene and I don't want to scare them but I also don't want them to think that it is ideal behaviour when they are frustrated. Keen to hear your ideas and thoughts on the matter.

Other than that, the boys are going through such a lovely phase. I dread jinxing it but I find that I moan and complain so often and it isn't fair when they make us laugh so much. Sleeping is ok, not perfect but ok. More often than not they end up sleeping with us from about 4am onwards but as long as they sleep when they get there, we are learning not to mind too much.

We're looking forward to our holiday over Christmas if a little anxious about the long plane trip - will be tapping the collective for advice on travelling with toddlers closer to the time so you can't say you haven't been warned ;-)!!!

In the meantime, have some funny pictures - after all that is what this blog is all about....





Meet Darth Vader and Yoda .... in all their glory :-)

A

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

the worse nightmare

I used to read current news. I used to love curling up on a Sunday afternoon and drifting off after paging lazily through the black & white print. Perhaps I was naive and kept my rose coloured spectacles on, or maybe I was just capable of turning a blind eye to the horrors but no more.

Every week I help out at our village corner shop and one of my chores involves packing up all the unsold newspapers to be returned to the mill. Despite a concerted effort to look elsewhere I am continuously drawn to headline after sensationalist headline about the horrors that us humans willingly inflict on each other. Most prevalent being the Madeleine McCann case which seems to divide the nation into those who believe that the McCann are involved and those who don't. Unfortunately the press seem to have placed themselves squarely into the done it camp and are doing all they can to fan the rampant rumours.

Perhaps my distress over this story stems from being a parent but I'm not convinced that is the csae because as a parent I should be horrified that their daughter went missing from beneath their noses. Instead I get angry at the blatant attempt to implicate the parents as if it is simply a formality. God! When did we all become so selfish?

People complain that the parents aren't warm enough/emotional enough/distressed enough and that Kate in particular seems to lack maternal skills. The internet is rife with rumours that they sedate their children - don't all parents at one point or another sedate their children? What about the cough medicine that makes them drowsy?

Show me a parent who hasn'tmade any mistakes and I will show you a liar. None of us can say that we have been with our children 100% of the time and all of us must admit that if wanted, the opportunity has always been there.

Too often we let the press control the emotional rollercoaster. In this though the stakes are too high, the horror too unspeakable to contemplate and so we wait for an outcome, any outcome to find closure. I only hope that the outcome is one that we can all live with.

A

Friday, October 19, 2007

To the next level...

Ok so I have been MIA, I know and I have no excuse. Mostly I have been evaluating what to do with this blog. There are so many of you out there who are entertaining, funny, poignant and altogether gripping that I have been suffering from a bit of performance anxiety and so I have made a decision...

I'm gonna take the plunge and risk offending/annoying or just generally alienating what few readers I have by actually opening up and expressing my real opinions on a variety of issues. I warn you, I like being on a soapbox and I like having my say so I may come to regret this decision when I notice the tumble weed blowing by and the silence becomes deafening :-)

First topic? Parenting under scrutiny. I have recently been involved in a mailing list discussion which has only served to solidify my belief that the discrimination we show each other as parents is criminal. The list comprises of several intelligent, well educated and well rounded individuals. I may not always agree with them but I am usually impressed by their ability to form well researched opinions however the following conversation (edited version) only managed to highlight how objective the whole parenting topic is:

The original topic began with a poll relating to our childhood and whether we had been spanked as children. One of the responses contained the following;

'We've never believed in smacking and they do tend to
behave and are well adjusted. Simply raising our
voices and showing disapproval tends to be enough.

But then again, my wife is a non-working stay-at-home
mum, and gives a lot of time and attention to our kids.
They don't need to misbehave to get our attention.'

I of course immediately got my back up and prepared to fight in my own corner (I am of course a working mother so guilt always forms part of my make-up) and what followed can only be described as messy. The content itself is unimportant, we have all been privy to these kinds of flaming wars and the opinions are widely published but it did make me start thinking about the way we as parents treat one another when our opinions on child rearing vary.

I wrote the following as a response to the conversations and I'd like to know where you'all stand.

'I guess part of the issue for me is that generalisations have a far reaching effect. For example many of you aren't parents[yet] and so most of your opinions/attitudes towards families and family values will come from outside influences. Unfortunately though, unlike most things research will only serve to confuse you further because there are SO many generalisations. It is a minefield of SAHP (Stay at home parent) vs WP (Working parents) but then here are a few more:

Nappies, disposable vs toweling
Feeding, Bottle vs breast
Sleeping, CIO (cry it out) vs Attachment

and many, many more. And for each of these, there are variations in between AND for every variation there is a multitude of people telling you that you are wrong. So when a fellow parents who's opinion I generally respect (if not always agree with) does the very thing that infuriates me about other parents, it gets my back up. I know Chris feels strongly as well and I suspect part of that is that I am very pedantic on this particular issue.

In all honesty, I think that the parenting world has gone mad! Gone are the days when parents compared/competed on the simple things, 'Mary is walking already and she isn't even 1' or 'Joe already knows all his colours and hasn't peed in the bed for months', instead there are charts and rules and objectives and milestones. What I want to know is, who the hell is benefiting from it all? Do you really think that ALL SAHP's provide a stable, welcoming, warm and affectionate upbringing? What about the ones who stifle their children out of fear of the unknown? What about the parents who stay home and drink or get high? What kind of example is that? Equally, there are parents who choose to work 18 hours a day and have a nanny bring their kids up and there are those who do this because they have no choice.

I find it moronic and annoying that we can't just accept that 'we' as parents may be doing something right/wrong and take the credit for having great kids or admit that somewhere something has gone amiss and our kids are a bit loopy instead of relying on the generalisations as an excuse for what we do.

(Edited for anonymity) you and your wife are clearly doing something fantastic in the way you bring your kids up and I salute you for that but I don't for one second think that if you smacked one on the hand just as they were about to grab the serrated knife and cut themselves (after you'd repeatedly told them not to) that it would undermine your good parenting in any way. Equally I don't think that smacking your child for every single thing that they do/don't do will make them disciplined or well behaved.

An excellent point raised was about what kind of values it instills in a child that grows up in a house where getting a hiding is part of the process. In some instances excess does affect you as you become an adult. As does emotional and verbal abuse of any kind. Having said that, children do need to understand anger and that people will sometimes say things which may hurt you. Assuming that removing all forms of physical discipline would somehow protect them from becoming victims of abuse later makes no sense unless you're never going to shout at them or let them leave the house for fear of someone saying something mean to them.

Abuse is a completely separate issue, one that really deserves a whole new thread of its own, but this poll wasn't asking about abuse. It was referring to an article which was about defining the right of a parent and of a child when it comes to smacking so that cases where abuse is an issue would be given priority and dealt with swiftly.

So here is my first BIG opinion post, expect a few more and some funny ones too I hope. At the very least they'll be more frequent.

A

p.s I am fine, we are fine and surprisingly the past few weeks have been the best thing that could have happened.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Touching base, I am alive if a little hoarse

Ok, so the wheels came off a bit there. They're back on, if a little wobbly and all going to plan we should be back on the road in no time. Not liking the motoring analogy? Sorry, I know it can be a bit tire-ing (ouch!)

Boys are fine (a little snotty and a little coughy but fine), hubby is fine (back from a week long jaunt in the big smoke), house is fine. I on the other hand have a lovely dose of the old laryngitis or something similar and have had a series of mini melt downs over the last 2 weeks leaving everyone thinking that I'm losing the plot!

I am feeling better and details will follow once all the solutions are in play, until then please don't disappear permanently, I will be back I promise.

A

Monday, September 24, 2007

September Round Robin - My question to all moms..

I'm sorry the question is so late this month, things are a little dishelved in my world and I'm trying to make some sense of it all. As part of this I'd like to ask how some of you have coped with the change that parenthood has had on your identity?

Please don't get my wrong - I'm not depressed or down as such but I am struggling to retain any of my old self in this new world and it is very disconcerting (and I find myself wondering whether I should even try?).

There is something to be said for the me that is the wife and the mother because I am a far nicer person since meeting my husband and I like to think a great deal more loving and patient since becoming a parent. Both of these things convince me that the choices which I have made have been the right ones and I'm glad that is the case because I dearly love my life as it is.

I'm sure though you can sense that there is a bt in here? It is only a small but and usually it is nonexistent or so insignificant that I don't even notice it is there but whenever there is big change afoot or something comes along to upset the routine I find myself wondering how my 'old self' would've handled it.

I am sure that most of us go through this process and that for some people it is easier than it is for others and maybe it is just about completing the transformation. As a family we have been through so much over the last 2 years that I don't think my hubby or I have had a moment to sit back and reflect on how much we have achieved. Instead we're mostly focussing on the day to day stuff or dealing with issues as they crop up. As the RO so rightly pointed out, we don't get any time to enjoy each others company like we used to and although I don't think this is adversely affecting us, I do think that it means we have to be super aware of the things we say or do around one another because we're not putting ourselves first in everything as we used to.

Ugh, sounds so dreary doesn't it? And it shouldn't! I am lucky enough to be popping to London for the night tomorrow, I have a meeting with a client on Wednesday and some friends are in London this week so we're meeting up. I'm looking forward to seeing them and catching up but I am no longer completely comfortable in their company because so many things have changed and I no longer desire the same things they do. On the other hand, the minute I leave home I will start missing everyone and I know that each moment will be spent looking forward to coming back home :-)

Let me know your thoughts if you can, link back or leave a comment because I am intrigued as to whether the rest of you have/do fell this way.

xxx
A

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fickle Francis

My hubby says I'm fickle. Despite myself I think that he may be right. Fortunately my ficklety (fickleness??) doesn't seem to extend to people or he'd probably have left me by now :-)

My biggest problem is phones. I am a phone person and always have been. Back when phones were analog and I was a young teenager I would lust after the press button lips and the talking bears. When I visited my more wealthy friends I'd buckle at the knees at the site of the see through, l.e.d lit cordless beauties which adorned their bedside tables.

Sadly the addiction has not improved with age either. Back home in South Africa I lived alone and owned 3 different types of home phone despite not having a telephone line into my house! So far our home phone has changed 3 times in 2 years and it is only that infrequent because Chris isn't as easily won over by pretty packaging additional features on something that we use with such irregularity.

The more up to date desires run to mobile phones and this is where my flaw most often lets me down. I LOVE new, shiny mobiles and am forever lusting after someone else's. I manage to convince myself that their phone is the best/nicest/shiniest and as a result I am continuously sulking because mine is sooo old fashioned!

I guess I should be grateful that I have managed to restrict the magpie tendencies to items that don't break the bank but it is unhealthy and one day I may have to find a support group - in the meantime though, I want an iPhone its yummy and it's practical too!

A

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We're halfway there

Nate has returned to his normal self, producing smelly, sloppy poo's as appropriate to his diet and his age. Tommy on the other hand is now struggling in much the same way that his brother did last week which makes me wonder if this could be viral? I have never heard of a virus which causes constipation but I'm a bit suspicious about the cycle. We shall see but the next few days bring and hope that all will return to normal.

On another note, today was my half day and since it is the first Wednesday afternoon since my sister returned from South Africa, we decided to make a special occasion of it and went to the Blue Planet (a large aquarium near to us). I didn't really expect it to have much impact on the boys at this age but they were mesmerised. The tropical fish were an obvious treat as their tank was floor level so the boys could get right up to the glass and the fish didn't disappoint, they seem to be as interested in the kids looking at them. The big surprise was that both boys absolutely adored the terapins and it was very sweet to see their looks of delight as the little turtles 'frolicked' under the false sun.

By far the best part however was the ray pond. The blue planet offers an opportunity to 'stroke' the rays. You strum the top of the water and the rays come up to the surface and present themselves for a stroke. I'm not sure whether it was the opportunity to play with water or the appearance of weird creatures but they were overjoyed when we dangled them over the edge.

It is quite a pricey outing but we made the most of it and choosing a mid week afternoon meant that it was practically empty so we could get up close and take our time. It is a great idea for a rainy or wintry afternoon and we'll definitely do it again.

A

p.s thanks for all the kind words re: the boys, it helps to remember that it really is normal even if it is unpleasant.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things that [don't] go poop in the night..

Hello? Heelllooo? Anyone still around? I hope so 'cause you're all my buddy, my pal, my mate ya'know?

Anyway onto matters of a pressing nature. My boys are having a pooping strike. Now it is no secret that I am no fan of the whole poop thing and if I am honest I would prefer a world that was poop-free (or more specifically poop-smell-free) BUT I realise that this is wishful thinking and so I find myself worrying a great deal about the lack of poop in my life right now. My poor babes have only just returned to good humour only to be interrupted (twice daily) by what can only be described as 'adult sized beer poops'. Now in an adult that is scary enough, in a small child it causes all manner of blood (yip!) sweat and tears.

So I'm putting this out there, I need some advice because I've been to the doctor with them (getting them to even see them was a story all of its own) and I still don't feel like there will be much relief in the near future (I believe the stuff we've been told to give them twice a day is Lactulose and so far it hasn't had any effect). As for other things we've tried;

* Prunes
* Canned peaches (in syrup)
* Apples
* More prunes
* Cutting back on some of the milk
* Increasing the water
* Massage
* Warm baths (seem to help given that Nate has pooped twice in the bath which he had never done before now but still the problem remains)
* Hugging and
* Stressing out

They eat plenty of fruit, veggies and wholegrain pasta/breads, consuming between 16 and 20 ounces of full cream milk and at least 8 ounces of water/diluted juice. Admittedly they are allowed a biscuit every day but we limit their sugar intact and they almost never have sweets or chocolate. So come on internet, gimme a game plan so that I can help my little monsters get back to terrorising the neighborhood.

A

(b.t.w I know that this is all written in a joking manner but I really am at a loss and there are few things as heartbreaking as watching a small child desperately hold things in because they expect it to be painful so any advice is welcome.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

The not-so-blue Monday

This was going to be a loooooooong post about how hard it has been to have sick children (again!) and how tiiiiiiiiiired we all are but then I got to thinking... things aren't that bad. Sure the kids have been sick but they seem to be ok today and hopefully will continue to improve all week. We might have had a tough week-end but my in-laws made us sooo comfortable and always offer such support that it really was a nice change to see them (hello daddyK :-)).
So instead of moaning up a storm, here are a few things that I am ever thankful for:
* Having a supportive and caring husband who loves me back
* Two wonderful little boys who are endlessly entertaining if sometimes exhausting
* Having a warm house with lots of windows and space for clutter to accumulate
* Having a warm and caring family-in-law who always make us feel comfortable even when the pooch/child is pooping on the carpet
* Having a sister who loves her nephews enough to stay at home and look after them even if she doesn't get paid to do it
* Living in a country where my children have every opportunity to become great without it being a prerequisite to a better life
* Knowing that at the end of each month I will have earned some money to buy the things we need and sometimes even the things that we want

Gosh I find that I could go on but that would use up all my inspiration. What about you - what are you thankful for?

A

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Multiple Round Robin - August Question

If your babes are identical - how similar do you think they are vs what other people think? If they are fraternal - are they very different or do you find it difficult to differentiate?

This question is made up of a mix of comments that I'm sure all parents to multiples fend off on a daily basis. My favourite is when a complete stranger walks up to my 2 beautiful and obviously same aged children and asks if they are twins. I always want to reply with, 'No, I just have an unusually short gestation' but of course I don't having learnt the stiff upper lip thing from the locals :-)

Anyway onto the answer... Firstly, my boys are identical twins but though there definately is a strong resemblance to one another, we don't notice as much. Nate has a heart shaped face with a bum chin and Tom has a round face with much chubbier cheeks and no bum chin. BUT we do foten get caught out when we look back at pictures and have to do some serious looking to figure out who is who :-)

The big differences are in the personalities. There couldn't be 2 more different boys and my hubby has pointed out that out of the twins that we know the younger always seems to be the more outgoing/adventurous one.

Nate is very introspective and in many ways takes after his dad. The only real trait he gets from me is that we're both restless sleepers and we don't like being cuddled while we sleep. In contrast, when awake, he will mull things over and sit and watch his brother before methodically taking over the mischief making. As part of this Nate also gets more frustrated when things don't work the way he thinks that they should. Stacking toys cause all manner of drama when he can't get them to stack the way he wants them to and he has been known to throw the odd object out of sheer frustration. He is also far more physical, as if he has to compensate for being the smaller of the two and when he is ill he retreats into himself making his ailments much easier to notice. As a rule Nathan looks the most mischevious and I suspect that he will be the heartbreaker in the family.

Tom is the gentle 'giant'. Like me, he is enthusiastic and will almost always leap before he looks. As a result he is forever getting into scrapes and bumping his head/shoulder/knee and is guaranteed to be the boy responsible for knocking a drink over or tipping the bin out. So far he has been the first to reach each milestone even though his brother follows with a more perfected version. Tom is extremely loveable and adores physical attention. He likes to hug and will cuddled up with anyone or anything (he has an assortment of teddies but books and cars are also elligible). He is also the more sensitive child so sometimes it is hard to tell if he is crying for crying sake or if there is something else causing it. Out of the two boys, Tom is the bigger and the stronger but he isn't as tenacious as Nate so he often finds himself at the bottom of the wrestle, much to his dismay. All being told, Tommy is the lover and in my head I see him growing up picking up the pieces of the broken hearts that his brother has unknowingly discarded.

There has recently been one small role switch that makes me wonder how much of these things we project onto them (maybe they're exact copies of each other taking turns and we choose to only see certain traits?). The boys adopted their very own puppy recently, a little border collie named Bella. She is very sweet and quite gentle for a puppy and yet Nate is quite scared of her (she is about a third of his size). Tom on the other hand has no problem playing with her and showing her who is boss. So maybe I've got it all wrong, I don't know :-) but it is fun to think about what the future may hold!

As per usual feel free (PLEASE!) to answer the question on your blog anytime during August and please link back here or leave a comment so that I can share in the love.

A

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Corrected age 1 year, 6 days

I missed the real date (surprise!), 31 July would have been the boys first birthday had I carried full term. I was looking at some of the early pictures of them and it is hard to believe that they were so small and that they seemed so fragile. Here we are 14 months on and not only are they fit and healthy, they're both developing into such funny characters if a little trying at times.

It got me thinking about the people who are starting out on the journey and whether I had any advice to give them so I've come up with a list. I may add to it from time to time and you should feel free to do the same by leaving yours in the comments so that I can add it on.

Kewd, this one is for you (and if you have a blog, let me know the link so that I can follow your progress);

How to survive the first year (and eek out some enjoyment too!)

1. Ignore the books or rather, read them, process them and then put them aside. Some of them will serve you well but most of them will add to your anxiety and make you feel less capable.
2. Listening to your instincts you'd be surprised how often you're right. There is a reason why doctors take a parents opinion as part of the assessment - you spend the most time with them and therefor know them best.
3. Ask for help everybody wants to help out but most people are afraid that they'll be overstepping the mark so don't be afraid to ask. If someone comes to visit, let them put the kettle on and make the tea and if you can make a list of all the things that you'd like to get done but can't find the time to do - stick it on the fridge and let people decide for themselves how they can help.
4. Don't worry if you haven't documented every moment there will be loads more firsts and even more seconds and thirds :-)
5. Sleep! - coming from me, I know how difficult it is to fit sleep in but I also know how devastating lack of it can be. So my advice is to try and balance out the chores so that you get to nap a couple of times a day when the babies are asleep. You will be surprised how much quicker and easier it is to fold some washing or wash some bottles if you've managed to grab an hours rest.
6. Learn to share :-) share the work with your friends and family, share the burden of responsibility with you partner (at the very least it will help them to feel part of the process). And lastly...
7. Don't beat yourself up over the little things there will be moments of anxious terror when you may feel like you're the worst mother and that you're failing them. In these moments try and reassure yourself that things will happen and when they do it will be your reaction to them that counts. Babies will fall, they will cry, they will get sick and they will be unpredictable it is their job and it is ours to remain sane long enough to remind them of this fact!

So that is it for now. It has taken me this long to realise all the above and I'm sure most new parents will also have to get through the experience before they become aware of their own strengths. Until then, take comfort in knowing that you're not alone and that before you know it yours too will be toddling around and creating a whole new set of anxieties for mum and dad!

A

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Baby got mama

Having a tooth taken out in the dentist's chair is a bitch but it is nothing compared to dealing with an overtired toddler*! Okay, now that I have that out of the way, here is the positive post that I have been compiling in my head all day.

This week-end I had an epiphany. Or rather, I didn't have one which is what made it so special. You see I hate to admit it (as I'm sure you're aware) but I haven't found motherhood to be the easiest of things to master despite being told that I am very good at it. Instead I have found it to be demanding and rewarding but also very, very tiring. I am starting to realise that a big part of the tiredness stems from the intellectual participation that I have been relying on to get through the first months. I research and listen and read and ask questions. I try and make sure that I am as prepared for everything as I can be, in the hope that I don't get shown up as a fraud. Mostly it worked and the boys seemed to thrive in spite of my inabilities but I have found it rough going and both physically and mentally exhausting.

I have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out why I have found motherhood so difficult. It isn't as if I am inexperienced when it comes to babies - in fact I would go as far as saying that I have had far more hands on experience than most new mothers have and yet the last year I have felt as though I am completely new to it. It has slowly dawned on me that most of this is tied to having twins because there have been moments when I have felt cheated of the opportunities that mothers to singles have. Going out has been a big deal (far bigger a deal than it needs to be) and I have avoided taking the boys out on my own as much as possible because I have found it so stressful.

This week-end saw that turn around though. I took the boys to visit a close friend and her daughter (the frenchies) and for the first time it just felt normal. I didn't plan obsessively first - in fact it was a really last minute decision to do it. They had both woken up very early so I packed them up, took them grocery shopping and then popped in to said friend for some tea.

When I write it down it sounds like such a non event but when I was driving away from my friends house it occurred to me that up until very recently I have been tinkering at the edges of motherhood but now I finally feel ready to accept this role and let what comes naturally happen**.

A

* An otherwise perfect week-end ended with Nathan fighting sleep for all he is worth. He screamed, scratched and flung his way through an hours worth of attempted convincing. Eventually it took his aunty's finer touch to get him off to sleep - not sure how this post would have turned out had she not been around.

** Please note that by naturally, I don't necessarily mean instinctual as I'm fairly certain that I will still be reading a whole bunch of stuff before making any huge decisions :-)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Revenge of the molars...

*sigh* this teething milarcki(sp?) is becoming a serious drag. I believe that we are now dealing with the first molars. Holy mother of all that is [insert relevant religious deity here]! When does it stop. I know that we had it easy in the beginning but since their first birthday we have been forced to eat our good fortune many times over. Sleep is a thing of the past and the grumpy germ lurks around very corner.

We now share our bed from around 1am onwards. On a good night we only share it with 1 flailing, wild, obnoxious toddler. Most nights we are visited by 2. In reality this means that I'm sleeping at the bottom, the RO is sleeping at the top and the boys have 90% of the bed consisting of the middle and 2 out of 4 sides.

As if that wasn't enough, I have to swallow my fear of tooth extraction because on Monday afternoon I am having a wisdom tooth extracted - in the dentist chair!! Whilst awake!

Excuse the exclamations and the mixed metaphors, its been a long week.

A

Monday, July 16, 2007

Virtual congratulations...

I've been terribly remiss in my reading and have only just realised that 2 new lovelies have entered the world while I have been hiding under a rock!

Go on over and welcome Isabella and Zachary (and of course mum and dad too), may they be good sleepers, great eaters and mischevious to boot!

:-)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

And I'm back ;-)

Thank you for all the lovely comments. My friend is okay (although now recovering from a nasty womb infection) and I'm taking all your advice and being extra gentle with her. Unfortunately she will soon have to face the prospect of getting on with the practical aspects of life and I suspect that means that the worst is still to come. Having said that, she has been remarkable in her strength and her grief and I am so proud to have such a great friend to support.

Onto other subjects, the last week has in equal parts been pretty cool but also decidedly frustrating. For every great thing that has happened, some annoying hoops have had to be jumped in order to get it.

My dad arrived last Saturday and stayed for a week. This is the same father who has had a completely irrational phobia of anything younger than 9 for as long as I can remember (including I believe me). The boys manage to win him over in about 3 minutes flat and they proceeded to charm the socks off of him at every opportunity. Needless to say he has now joined the ranks of besotted (if not completely hands on) grandparents. It was lovely to see him and it was interesting that the dynamic between us has moved to yet another level and we seem to finally be comfortable in each others company without feeling the need to compete. Lucky for him, he left for Turkey this morning where he is going to spend 2 weeks on a yacht with some clients of his, we on the other hand have teething children to contend with and so the next few weeks will be anything but restful for us.

I know that I have missed a whole bunch of news on the blogosphere and for that I am dreadfully sorry. Please don't think that you've been forgotten cause you couldn't be farther from the truth :-)

Hugs to all!
A

Friday, July 06, 2007

The nature of grief...

I have spent a fair amount of time with my friend who lost her baby and although I know that I cannot begin to know the intensity of her grief, I have come to realise that as human beings we're generally pretty awful at supporting others. over the last week I have heard several people asking her how she's feeling and saying things like, 'it'll get better with time', and 'you have to deal with these things head on'.

Now I appreciate that the intention behind these sentiments is a good one but I can't help but feel that saying things like this only serves to make the person saying them feel better about the situation. At a time when things are so fresh and raw, the last thing my friend needs is to be told that she needs to deal with her grief. It is all that she can do at the moment to maintain her sanity. All she can do is try and stop herself from thinking about it for a few moments a day and I doubt anyone could attempt to make any sense of their emotions if they were in the same position.

I am especially astonished by the way the health visitors and midwives seem completely unprepared, even when they know the circumstances before they even arrive at her house. Surely these are the people who should know that nothing can be said to ease the pain? Sometimes it is better if nothing is said at all if the only words land up being trite cliché's.

I know that some of you have suffered similar losses and I'd like to ask, am I on the right track here? Am I correct in thinking that you can only start dealing with the grief of losing a baby far into your term once the sheer enormity of the grief subsides a little? I need to know because all I can offer my friend right now is someone to run to when she wants somewhere to hide, everything else just isn't enough.

A

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Multiple Round Robin - July Question

How do you deal with the challenges of sleep training multiples? How successful do you think that your strategy has been?

I have to admit that I'm being really selfish starting with this question because I desperately need to hear how the rest of you are doing this as my two are seriously testing our patience at the moment.

The first year was a breeze when compared to things right now especially once we introduced the following routine;

6:00pm Bath
6:20pm Dress and Bottle
6:40pm Bedtime story
7:00pm Settle them down to sleep

Generally this worked really well and we even managed to have a few nights where they slept through, for any new twin mums I strongly suggest that you try and introduce some kind of regular routine as soon as possible (even though they don't seem to take much notice of it in the first few months).

This last month has seen everything change though. Thomas is now being really headstrong and both boys seem to have decided that being in the cot = fun time! It is getting increasingly frustrating to try and get them to settle. The latest trick is for them to screech at each other just as they're about to fall asleep which starts off a whole new spate of awakeness. The last few nights it has taken us around 2 hours to settle the boys and I hate to admit it but I am fast losing all patience with it!

The only big difference is that both boys have had a bit of a cold and I'm wondering if part of the problem is that they may have an ear infection? I'd appreciate any advice in this area because neither of them have ever had one before so I don't know what the symptoms are.

Anyway, enough about me and mine, feel free (PLEASE!) to answer the question on your blog anytime during July and please link back here or leave a comment so that I can share in the love.

A

Thursday, June 28, 2007

For my dear friend,

Today was hard for me but I know that doesn't even come close to what it was like for you. Your strength amazes me and will see you through the hard path that you and your hubby now face.
Life can be so cruel and so many things are unfair. Nothing I say can ease the pain and so all I can offer is my support and a shoulder whenever you need it.
In time you will need more than this though and hopefully I will be able to point you in the direction of some wonderful woman who understand on a more personal level so that you don't have to feel like you're alone. I wish that I could do more. I wish that I could share your pain so that it isn't so raw. I wish that I could take some of the weight off your shoulders so that the future wouldn't seems so scary.

I just hope that you know that you aren't alone and that I know that you won't want to ask for help so when I pitch up on your doorstep you don't need to say anything, you can just be and I will understand.

Comme avec toutes choses, ceci passera aussi

A

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thanks and other stuff...

It's been a long month but soon it will be over and hopefully July will bring with it some sunshine because this rain is really starting to piss me off. Cabin fever is not a pretty thing and my twins have it bad!

Today we had a welcome break from the monotony of the weather, the friend whom I mentioned in the previous post brought her hubby and daughter around and we all had a lovely time eating lunch and chatting. The kids get on wonderfully and her husband is an absolute dear. I know things are tough for both of them right now (and seeing the boys playing together can't have helped) but they're handling it as well as the can and were the perfect guests.

It has been such a long time since we've had the opportunity to socialise in such a relaxed manner and I hope that there will be many more opportunities to do so.

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On another note I am finally compiling the list of questions and will send them to everyone who has expressed an interest but I could do with a few more. So if you have any questions, either ones that you get asked all the time or ones that you think up for yourself because you want to see what other people are doing then please pop them in the comments or drop me an e-mail.

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Things return to normal this week as I am back in the office and so (hopefully) I'll get a chance to post more often.... here's hoping anyway.

A

Thursday, June 21, 2007

When there are no words....

A very dear friend of mine got some bad news about her pregnancy yesterday and I have no words to comfort her. I know that she is tough and that she can hold it together if she needs too but I know that she is also hurting and I wish that I could help to share the weight.

I know that many of you have experienced great sorrow in your lives and that often it has resulted in a terrible loss so I'm asking for some guidance. So, what if anything have you found helpful? Who has given you the support when you needed it most and what has only served to make things worse?

I don't know what the exact problem is but I do know that the prognosis is bad and final. She's 18 weeks along now and has to face the end is around the corner.

*sigh*

Spare a thought for my dear friend she could use all the internet wishes that you can send.

A

Friday, June 15, 2007

Twin questions - not answered but asked...

I am supposed to do an entry today just so that I am a bit more up to date but I can't, my brain is tired and my body is weary. Why? I hear all you interested parties ask, well you see my friends, my boys have decided to play tag team at night and we made the mistake of giving in a couple of times so now they think that sleeping with mum & dad is the norm.

The last 2 nights I have tried to take child duty as I am on leave for the next few days and Chris is back at work. The plan has been as follows....

Baby cries, mum reacts by finding dummy, laying baby down and returning to bed.... rinse and repeat until mum grows to weary. Pick up spare duvet and pillows and lie down in the nursery next to the cots so that my reaction time is quicker..... get some sleep.

As the boys had their boosters yesterday I expected some restlessness but they really had planned it well. Thomas was restless for the first half of the night (around 11pm until about 2am) and Nathan picked up where he left off at around 3am.

I guess we'll see how things go over the week-end but I'm a little confused about how to deal with this because we can't even take the cry-it-out option as they wake each other up. Leaving them both awake means that they never go to sleep because they try and out do each others crying.

I'm sure many of you have been in this position before, what did you do? What worked for you and what made things much worse?

Interested to know!

A

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I am a bad, bad blogger... (and other random things)

and even apologising is getting tired so, I hereby commit to making a better contribution PLUS there is the whole Round Robin thing that I suggested and have handled miserably...

New rules for the Round Robin: we will do it on the last Friday of every month and I will send out all the questions in e-mail but will also try and figure out a way to keep them here so that any new questions which you would like to add can be. (something about the structure of the sentence is completely off but I can't figure out what it is). Hopefully this will mean that we all have far more preparation time and I will be able to keep up :-)

I'd also like to say thanks to all of you for wishing my boys happy birthday - one day they will be amazed by the wonderful messages from all over the globe!

Amy

p.s. I am horribly behind on reading all of you so PLEASE forgive me if I've missed something important!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What a difference a year makes!

Exactly 1 year ago today we took our first step on the road that is parenthood. I have so few memories of that day (morphine) but I know that in the days that followed, the true magnitude of the change began to sink in and I was terrified.

A year later and things have continued to evolve and dare I say it, have even become enjoyable :-). There are tough days, and moments when the exhaustion and all the pressures and expectations become overwhelming but for the most part, life is good.

We've had such a lovely day - albeit tiring but it has been exhausting so all my big intentions for the first year post have been shelved temporarily so that I can get an early night.

Until I get a moment to do my sons life justice, here is a visual reminder of where they came from and where they are now....



Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Round Robin - Question 2 (bltn*)

I know - I must seem like the MOST disorganised person around, I'm not usually this scatty I promise and I will distribute a list of questions to anyone who is interested, just leave a comment (Cass and Stacie, I will send the list to you as well if you're still interested?)


Question 2:
How do you cope with the logistics of having multiple babies and is the pressure always so relentless?

This is question is asked in various ways and it is usually after someone has visited/been visited for a few hours during the 'awake' time. The answer is rather surprising, or it was to me when I first thought it through. The thing is that you do cope most of the time. Having more than 1 baby at a time means that you have to plan more but you also have to accept that your planning will be useless more often. In many ways, my time management has improved drastically to accommodate the feeding/dressing/playing necessities that arise.We get up earlier, and we start getting ready for outings far in advance to allow for any hiccups and we work to a fairly constant routine.

Parenting multiples is about recognising when there is a need to compromise (with your ideals and your partner) and when you need to remain steadfast. I also think that once you've had more than 1 kid depend on you for everything, we get a little 'hooked' on the busy factor. Sure I complain about it all the time and I am in the very fortunate position of having a husband and sister who are always involved and supportive so doing it single would be a completely different story, but it has given me a lot of confidence in my abilities. I have taken on the challenge of doing a degree (something I always intended to do but never got around to it) and I am far more capable than I was before I had kids.

I guess it comes down to having a realistic outlook and fairly low expectations. :-)
A

* Better Late Than Never

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Oh the pain!

So I know that it has been a while since the last post (11 days to be precise) and for those of you who noticed, I am sorry. For those of you who didn't, you don't know what you're missing, or perhaps you do which is why you never noticed???

Anyway, here's whats been going on. Last week was a wash as I had a Sales conference to attend and had a meeting with our most valued person. Add to this the driving in between, the bank holiday traffic and the exhaustion associated and you'll see why turning the laptop on became near on impossible.

It was a constructive week (which proves that the t'internet really is addictive) in that I managed to get my assignment completed on time and submitted it early. Made it through a conference of big headed, hot aired sales types without too many scars AND proved my worth to my new boss by impressing the socks off of him during an important meeting.

As it was also the first time that I was away from home and away from the boys I hoped to make the most of it by sleeping as much as possible. In reality I tossed and turned both nights and can only fathom that it was far to quiet! Maybe hotels can offer some kind of background noise option which features crying, moaning babies through the night so that us mums can sleep well!

By the third day I was getting all teary eyed whenever I saw a baby and felt desperately ready to return home. Those of you who are veterans at the 'leaving home for a few days thing' will be laughing right now because you'll know that about 5 minutes after returning home I was redy to leave again :-) - how is it possible for such small creatures to make that much noise and mess?

Anyway, it is good to be back and I know I owe a round rabin e-mail and post - getting to it on the list I promise.

A

p.s. terribly behind on blog reading too so if something wonderful/terrible has happened, please don't think that I have stopped caring because I haven't!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Multiple Round Robin Carnival

I know that I am behind in posts but Stacey has been kind enough to share her unanswered questions to get us into the swing of things. She has also suggested that we do it carnival style so if you're interested go here.

Mine to follow shortly ;-)

Let me know if it breaks.....
A

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Like a bloody murder

(Thank-you for all the lovely comments and e-mails about the previous post. I hope that y'all had a lovely week-end.)


So I have a question to pose to all you mums out there. Is your evening routine as hectic as ours? I sometimes feel like the boys are expecting some kind of beating or something with the way that they carry on and I'm wondering if it's something that we're doing. Let me give you an idea of the routine (which worked perfectly until they got chicken pox, since then, they've become really difficult);

4:30pm
Dinner (usually consists of veggies, chicken/pasta and fruit
5:00pm - 5:45pm
Mum and Aunty K go through reportoire of entertainment as the boredom of the day begins to set in.
5:45pm
Dad gets home and the boys show their delight by frantically demanding his attention.
6:00pm
Dad runs the bath and entertains boys. Mum collects pj's, growbags, dummies, bottles, nappies*, cream, wipes, miscellaneous items used for distraction.
6:15pm
Boys get into the bath and dad pretends to wash them (really it's just an exercise in teaching the boys to splash water all over the place :-))
6:30pm
The boys get out of the bath and this is where the fun begins. They don't mind being taken out of the bath, in fact for some reason they find it quite funny. Until that is, we reach the bedroom and they realise that it is time for them to enter the tomb of death wherein they will be subjected to forceful drying, excessive creaming and mummified in clothing and other sleep gear. I swear that my parents can hear the screams in South Africa. And the twisting and turning seriously tests my patience.
6:50ishpm
Bottle time. They love this part and are so content that they almost fall asleep on our laps. Unfortunately no matter how carefully we carry them to their cots, by the time we reach the threshold of their room, they're already getting their second wind.
7:00pm
Mum reads a chapter from the Magic Faraway Tree accompanied by the sweet soundtrack of shrieking, sqwauking and chuckling. I think that this may be their favourite time of the day (and to be honest I love their antics too).
7:10pm
Mum & Dad attempt to settle them down for bed. All lights are switched off, dummies are given, muslins are clutched and what follows is anything between 10 minutes and an hour of.... lay down, soothe, calm, attend. Up the stairs, down the stairs until eventually they both give in.

Now I know that it doesn't sound that bad (I realise that now that I'm typing it) but I just don't get what the fuss is about when it comes to dressing them and putting them down? Do all kids do this? Should we change something in the routine? Resign ourselves to our fate?

Let me know how your evening routine pans out, I am so not above poaching all your ideas.

A

* For some reason I always forget to put nappies out for this change and the RO has to double check me so that we don't find ourselves in an awquard position.

Friday, May 11, 2007

For mothers

So Sunday is Mothers Day in some parts of the world (including South Africa) and my mum sent me an e-mail to commemorate it. Now I have to admit that I don't usually read these e-mails because they are always chain letter type things and they're usually very religious (no offense mean to the religious out there but I prefer to choose to be involved/exposed) but for once I was pleasantly surprised, I even managed to shed a tear.

Unfortunately the author hasn't signed this so I can't give credit where it is due, but if you know who it was or want to claim it as your own then please let me know so that I can amend the details.

For all of you...

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in
Their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry
Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here." Who have sat in
Rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can' t be
Comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their
Hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween
Costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And
The mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on
Their refrigerator doors. And for all the mothers who froze their buns
On metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from
The warmth of their cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see
Me, Mom ?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the
World," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store
And swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice
Cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead,
But realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and
Explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand) mothers who
Wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.
For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a
Year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their
Shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted
For Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their
Daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little
Voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring
Are at home -- or even away at college.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach
Aches assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get
Calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick
Them up. Right away. This is for mothers whose children have gone
Astray, who can't find the words to reach them.

This is for all the step-mothers who raised another woman's child or
Children, and gave their time, attention, and love... Sometimes totally
Unappreciated!

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their
14-year-olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the
Mothers of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of
Their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from
School, safely .

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful,
And now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad
Hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a
Shirt, all at the same time? Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you
Feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street,
Walking to school alone for the very first time ? The jolt that takes
You from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. To put your hand on
The back of a sleeping baby? The panic, years later, that comes again
At 2 A.M. When you just wan t to hear their key in the door and know
They are safe again in your home? Or the need to flee from wherever you
Are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a
Child dying? The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep
deprivation...

And mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

For mothers-in-waiting and infertility mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

And to those for whom motherhood is still a dream and a wish.

This is for you all.

For all of us.

Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can.

Tell them every day that we love them.




I am in awe of you mum, now that I know how hard motherhood is, I cannot begin to imagine how you managed to bring up all 4 of us. I love you and am proud to call you my mum.

Happy Mothers Day y'all!

A

p.s. I know that this was supposed to be a round robin post it being Friday and all but we'll return to that next week and hopefully I will have distributed the questions to the participating mums by Monday so that they have ample time to prepare :-).

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I'm alive, barely.

Turns out that the tooth cannot be pulled under a local anesthetic (although they certainly tried) because the tooth is brittle - most likely due to the pregnancy *sigh*. The dentist tried to pull it but it immediately broke up. Instead I have to book into the dental hospital and have them removed surgically. On the one hand I'm glad that I won't be awake through it but on the other I may have to wait up to 8 weeks before it can happen.

I have been given a course of antibiotics to try and control the infection - I am even avoiding alcohol in an attempt to get the better of it.

Now onto more important matters, I have a question to pose to those of you who have had experiences with anti depressant. I have been on fluoxetine for about 10 months now and had my dose increased in January (2 x 20mg capsules daily). Since the dose was increased I have put on an excessive amount of weight and I now find that this is becoming the biggest issue for me. In terms of emotions I am feeling much better and I think that it is a good sign that I am even considering going off the meds because it is a step in the right direction.

Those of you who have been down this road, what do you think? The weight is an issue but I'll put up with it if I need too. More importantly I'll be glad to have the weird dreams stop!

Any advice/assvice is welcome - I could do with some new perspective.

A

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p.s. Thanks to Cass and Stacie for taking part in the round robin. I will try and get my stuff together and get a list of the questions sent out so that everyone has advanced notice - I'll get around to it as soon as possible because I think it was a great idea and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the different perspectives.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Emergency Intervention..

I haven't forgotten about any of you I promise!

We've just had a long week-end and I have had an enlarged lymph node in my neck for most of it. I've just come back from the doctor and now I'm off to the dentist to have a back tooth pulled!

I have many problems with this:
1) I have good teeth and I look after them
2) I hate dentists!
3) I have better things to do...

Anyway so I'll be back later and I'll update all of you properly. Until then, send me happy, painfree thoughts please!

Amy

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday Round Robin - Question 1

(Thanks to Stacie because I have totally poached this question from her list to start us off)

How good are your babies at self-entertainment? Do you ever get any moments to yourself? What do you do with those moments?

The first 6 months were awful because they needed constant attention with little interactions. They did sleep a lot more though so getting the laundry done and preparing meals was far more successful.

Once they started sitting I found that they were best entertained by having only a few toys around them as too many distractions just meant that there was a great deal of extra falling over.

Now that they are crawling/standing/climbing life has become more hectic. For some reason they never seem content to just cuddle with me (although they will readily do this with their dad), instead they want to try and throw themselves off the end of the bed or launch themselves at the window whenever I'm around. I am constantly amazed that my sister hasn't had a complete breakdown by now because she spends every afternoon chasing them around.

The boys do play pretty well together and it can get quite funny when they wrestle over a particular object. We have found that although they like their toys they prefer things that they aren't allowed so we have filled all the shelves on their level with odds and ends that are both safe for them to play with and that won't immediately make daddy's hair stand on end (a great example of this is the tv/satellite/radio/xbox remote because every time they go near them we say, 'daddy's gonna shout' so I swear they will think that is what they are called). Their current favourite is an old discarded keyboard, cellphone and replica remote control.

Unfortunately having twins means that there isn't much 'free time'. Over week-ends my hubby looks after the boys quite a lot so that I can get practical things done (laundry, groceries, diy etc) and we haven't quite reached the point where he is comfortable to be left with them or take them out for extended periods of time. Having said that though, I have managed to squeeze in some time for myself as I have just started a part-time degree but I have to admit that all my old favourites like reading have taken a bit of a back seat.

Hopefully now that summer is here (and they LOVE being outdoors) it will mean that a little more time is free to just relax and enjoy them - without sacrificing the many tasks that make any household run.

So that's me done for today, please feel free to take the question to your blog and give us an idea of how things work with you, then leave a comment so that I know that you have!

That's all :-)
A

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mums Round Robin - Open invitation!

Stacie has a lovely section on her blog where she answers questions about being a mum. She has kindly allowed me to poach the idea and expand it a little.

On a Friday morning I will post one of the questions and my answer here. Anyone who wants to participate then takes the question away to their blog and gives their own solution.

Hopefully Stacie will help me with the logistics (she mentioned a Mr. Linky??) so that we all know who has taken part. The idea is for us to compare notes and see if anyone else has a solution that we can use. It isn't restricted to twin or multiple mums, anyone can join in and please feel free to spread the word.

So you and you and you and you, watch this space and I'll watch yours.

If you think of a better way of doing this, drop me an e-mail or leave me a comment - I am open to suggestions especially as I am fairly new to this :-)

A

For always and forever

If you have stuck around through some of the more mundane posts (and I thank-you if you have!) you will know that not to long ago I was pretty disgruntled with the whole work situation. I found it much harder to return to work than I thought possible and I was devistated by the lack of support that I received from my [then] manager. Fortunately, he has since moved on to terrorise err I mean manage some other poor bugger and has been replaced by a far more stable and personable chap.

Anyway, long story short my new boss has granted my request for flexible working in that I have been able to drop my weekly hours slightly so that I can spend an afternoon a week with my boys. Yesterday was the first such afternoon.

I don't quite know what I expected. I guess I had somehow convinced myself that this selfless(hah!) act would be hugely appreciated by my pre-ones and in return they would shower me with love and kittens and maybe even a blissful afternoon to be envied by all. Sadly this isn't quite how it worked out. In general it was a nice afternoon, I picked my sister up from wor, picked the boys up from their childminder and took them ..... wait for it.....

....

grocery shopping! (I'll bet that you're so glad that you waited huh?)

And somewhere between the aisles froxen chicken and tinned lentils, it occurred to me that this was it, for always and forever, Wednesday afternoons were no longer someone else's domain.

A

p.s. before you get too jealous, I kept the boys out too long so they became overtired and wouldn't nap. They also woke up about a gazillion times last night and I'm sure that they are getting another cold. Oh well, you can't have it all.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A friend IRL!

If I compare my life in the UK to my life in South Africa there are many differences. Some are obvious (marriage, children, weather) and some of them are only obvious to me like the lack of close, tangible friendships. If I am honest, it is one of the few things that I miss about South Africa (obviously I miss my family to but that is different) and I wish that I knew how to go about changing this sad state of affairs.

As a result I think that maybe I come across as being a bit desperate when I meet someone who I see as potential friend material. More than anything it is because I would like to fast forward through the awkward beginning phase and go straight to teasing, laughing, supporting, bonding stuff and I guess there aren't many people who agree.

A couple of days ago however, a new person started with our company and as she is one of my team members, I have been given the task of making sure that she is settled, introduced to everyone and just generally well inducted (is that a word??) and I have been very pleasently surprised by her. You see the thing is that she is French.... there I said it, will I feel the full fury of god now or later?) and we all know how most of the English feel about the French! I like her though. She is witty, sarcastic and best of all a new mum who doesn't feel strongly about any particular parenting technique, instead resorting to bribery wherever necessary.

I am hoping that this has the potential to become a real friendship because I really am late in the application process and I could definitely due with a friend in real life too!

A

Sunday, April 29, 2007

In the meantime...

I promise to post something of substance soon (it has been a great week-end and I would love to get the twinny round robin going) but in the meantime, here is a little video of Thomas and Nathan teasing each other in the garden :-)



It's a little long but I haven't had a chance to edit it yet. Let me know what you think :-)

A

Friday, April 27, 2007

The proper post...

Yesterday I took a day off work so that I could take the boys through to the hospital for their follow up audiology appointment. I was blissfully unaware that there was a fairly high chance that one or both of the boys would have some trouble hearing high or low frequencies but our luck is holding and they both passed with flying colours.

After the appointment I popped in to see the sonography department and bumped into a couple of the senior staff members that had taken care of me through the last month. It was so lovely to see them and I was quite choked up that they remembered all of us by name (especially as it is a very busy department). When then continued onto the NICU unit in the hope that we would find some of our favourites on duty but sadly none of them were.

I find the NICU quite strange now because we're no longer 'family'. In the weeks following the birth of the boys when I was there 17 hours a day I knew everyone and was made to feel so welcome that I honestly believed that these people would always play a part in the boys lives. Seeing the staff yesterday though brought home how scary the NICU is. Perhaps it was that I didn't want to see (or maybe it was the morphine/adrenalin after the section) but I found it a much more unnerving place than when the boys were actually patients.

Please don't get me wrong I am forever grateful for the fantastic treatment that we had. The fact that we felt like family is all down to the incredible level of care that the NICU nurses gave it's just that I find it hard to think back at how frail they were and that ward is full of reminders.

It felt good to walk away from the hospital having had the last appointment relating to the boys premature arrival and believe me I know how lucky I am that this is the case.

A

My first one...










This isn't the main post for today, but it is so cute that I couldn't resist. Especially after this appeared which is just to adorable....



I hope that it works!

A

***edited to add that this will be entered into Stacey's fab movie idea.... not sure if I'm allowed to enter more than once but if I can then I will.

I know that it's cheating but...











I can't resist the opportunity for a prize (I'm a marketers dream!)

Mom-101 also presents a lovely site called 'Cool Mom Picks' and she is running a competition at the moment.

Now I know my chances are slim, plus there is the whole living on another continent thing but maybe I'll be lucky and she'll take pity on my poor unamerican soul :-)

If you want to take part (although if you do doesn't that lesson my chances of WINNING?) please pop on over to Mom-101 for instructions.

A

p.s. a real post will be here today I promise

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another fab idea stolen from another....

Kelly has listed a song that she dearly loves. Hopefully she won't mind if I do the same. This song never fails to lift my spirits even on the darkest, pms saturated, kid overloaded days;

Re: Willie Mason Oxygen

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they've got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

I wanna see through all the lies of society
To the reality, happiness is at stake
I wanna hold up my head with dignity
Proud of a life where to give means more than to take
I wan't to live beyond the modern mentality
Where paper is all that you're really taught to create
Do you remember the forgotten America?
Justice, equality, freedom to every race?
Just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy
Make up and hair to the truth behind every face
That look around to all the people you see,
How many of them are happy and free?
I know it sounds like a dream
But it's the only thing that can get me to sleep at night
I know it's hard to believe
But it's easy to see that something here isn't right
I know the future looks dark
But it's there that the kids of today must carry the light.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

If i'm afraid to catch a dream
I weave your baskets and i'll float them down the river stream
Each one i weave with words i speak to carry love to your relief.

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they've got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew

*****************

aaahhh isn't that better? It just sounds like summer :-)

A

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The mysterious fairy..

Our postman decided to bring the post early yesterday so we missed him and in true style there was a package, which was too big to fit through our post box. This is rather annoying because he usually comes 30 minutes later and there is always someone at home in the afternoon. Instead he then takes the package all the way back to the main post depot which is miles away from home and work (this despite there being a post office about a block up the road from my house).

When I dropped the kids off with my sister she hands me the package card so that I can go and collect it. I am so excited by the prospect of a new package because I wasn't expecting anything which could only be good news right?

So off I toddle, negotiating the extremely tight country lanes so that I can avoid the peak hour traffic (N.Wales is very pretty in the spring and summer so the beauty is not wasted) and eventually I make it to the post office and collect my mysterious gift. It's in a box! Wrapped in brown paper! Addressed to me! (and yes the exclamation is necessary how else will you measure the level of my excitement?) I get in the car and rip the paper off to reveal a Fly London shoe box (mmmmmm shoes...) and lo' and behold but aren't there the cutest pair of wedge sandals in the box? In my size! I wipe the drool on my sleeve and search further for some inkling of the sender but find nothing!

I take my mysterious present home and proudly display them for my sister (she thinks they're ok but not her style) and the boys (clearly they are my children because they definitely approve as is evident by the gleeful hugs and kisses that each shoe received[1]) and finally for the RO when he gets home.

He eyed the package suspiciously and asked who they were from, then raised both eyebrows when I explained that I didn't know who had sent them[2]. We ran through our rather small list of friends and close acquaintances slowly whittling them down to a select few who would know:
a) Our address
b) My shoe size
c) Most importantly, my taste in shoes

Fortunately it turns out that my best friend had seen them, liked them, knew I would like them and so he packaged them up and sent them to me because thats what best friends do and it's only one of the many reasons that we love them. The RO is ever thankful that we found the mysterious sender as he was halfway to convincing himself that I had some bizarre stalker who was feeding my shoe fetish[3].

So behold... the shoes ain't they sweet :-)



[1] Yes, I am a terrible mother. My children LOVE shoes and so I let them eat shoes all the time. So far they haven't fallen ill or anything horrid so I guess we're walking in clean-ish places.
[2] This isn't the first time something weird like this has happened. Over Christmas the boys received a present from someone who we all thought was our cousin (same name) but it turns out it wasn't from her and we don't know any other Kim. Very weird!
[3] If I had to have a stalker (cause lets face it they're generally a little creepy) it would be pretty cool if they continued sending really fab shoes without ever expecting anything else in return.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mission Monday: A challenge

This mum regularly challenges her readers on a Monday. Today she has come up with a real challenge, one that most of us are probably pretty rubbish at. The idea is to list 5-10 things that I like about myself so here goes......

  1. I have a very good sense of humour
  2. I am loyal and dedicated to my friends and family
  3. I am brutally honest but have learned tact as well
  4. I am pretty competent at most things even if I'm not great at any one thing
  5. I am a far better mother and wife than I ever thought possible
Now it's your turn, please play along and update the comments once you have so that I can come and agree with you :-)

Love
A

For Heather













I know that most of you (all 3!) have already heard about this and you've probably already taken part but in case you haven't please go here (or click on the picture) and read about this wonderful woman, Heather.

If you can, spare her a thought and a £/$.

Thanks in advance.
A

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Yeh baby :-)

The luck worked, I passed. In fact I got all of the questions right (it was FAR easier than I thought it would be). I really spent far too much time worrying about this test.

You get 45 minutes to answer 24 questions. All multiple choice and really quite simple. From start to finish it took me 4 minutes. This meant that I spent minutes 5-7 stressing that I had missed something out and frantically going over my answers. The invigilator just laughed, gave me my results and sent me on my way.

I guess this means that I'll have to start preparing my application.

Thanks for all the luck - 'tis greatly appreciated.

A