Archive for Cuteness overload

Going a Bit Potty

In the interests of squeezing in one more post before my babies turn two (TWO! TWO!?!) in less than a month, this entry is likely to be a bit rushed and all over the place, but bear with me.

Life is as busy as ever chez Becoming Mums but we are now on the countdown to the summer holidays and cannot wait! A lot of the girls’ friends are having birthdays at the moment so they are starting to get to grips with the idea of what birthdays are. They are excited about cake!

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We have had a bit of a lifestyle change in that we are attempting to go Paleo (if I have time I will go back and insert a handy hyperlink here before I hit publish; if not, I’m sure Google will tell you all you need to know). This has involved several major changes to what we eat to the exclusion of sugar, grains and gluten and a reduction in the amount of dairy we consume. At first I was starving, but we seem to have figured it out now – cutting out the majority of complex carbohydrates does mean you need to do something to replace all those calories! Our biggest struggle is that, living on one salary, we can’t really afford the high quality grass-fed meat that should be a major part of the Paleo lifestyle, not to mention organic veg, but with some compromises we are more or less making it work. L has become evangelical about it. In fact the other day she even said – bearing in mind she has always hated organised religion – that she has finally found her religion!

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We bought the girls potties a couple of months ago. I am in no rush to potty train as with reusable nappies we aren’t having to pay out for new nappies each week and I’m also a firm believer that they will stop using nappies when they are ready, but we had noticed that they usually do a wee when they get in the bath, so we thought we’d introduce the idea of their own little toilet and see if they would pee in it before bath time. At first this appeared to be an abject failure and we thought they were a million miles away from them ever being ready to use the potty. But since then – particularly as they often insist on staying “nakey” after a nappy change – we have had a few successes. Still no more than I can count on one – or at a push two – hands, but progress nonetheless. Sometimes, of course, they still wee standing right next to the potty, so I know we’re a long way from nailing it. At the moment we’re just enjoying the freedom the good weather is giving them to run naked around the garden.

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Yesterday Claudia said, “Mummy sit on the grass next to Claudie.” (If you were there, you possibly would have heard “mummy sit on a gahs nex a Daudie” and may or may not have been able to translate the toddler-speak yourself – it kind of amazes me that other people can’t understand everything they say, but of course I am immersed in it day by day!) they have both been speaking in real full sentences for a good couple of weeks, but the complexity of that sentence just blew me away. They are really talking and really able – most of the time – to make themselves understood. I can’t believe that this time last year they were still crawling and cruising around the furniture and could only say a handful of standalone words. Two months ago I started making a note of all the words I heard them say independently and in context (excluding proper nouns) as I had read that the average child should be able to use about 50 words by their 2nd birthday. I was just curious exactly how big their vocabularies are as I felt like they knew tons of words, but had no idea how many. By the time the count reached 200 I gave up! And okay, I know I’m totally bragging now, so feel free to tell me I need to shut up about how brilliant my kids are but sorrynotsorry my kids are brilliant!

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Hospitals, Holidays and Happy Families (And Everything in Between!)

So much has happened in the last few months I’ve barely had time to draw breath, let alone blog about it.

After Claudia had the cast off her Poorly Arm, she only lasted 10 days before she broke it again. I was devastated for her, not least because we were only three weeks away from our first holiday abroad as a family – the four of us were headed to Mallorca in the Balearics – and we were so excited about it, but of course we now were travelling with a 20 month old who had her arm in a cast.

She broke it in an absolutely tiny tumble off her Scuttle Bug (a small scooter/trike contraption we bought them for Christmas). It broke in the exact same place as last time so although the hospital insisted on testing for vitamin deficiencies and brittle bones it was clear the first cast had just come off much too soon. Getting it set was an absolute fiasco this time because there wasn’t a qualified (enough) anaesthetist on duty so we were transferred to another hospital and her arm was eventually set three days after she broke it. Immie found the separation quite hard but enjoyed going to visit her sister and exploring the playrooms on the children’s wards.

Thankfully, one of the mums at the Twins’ Club we go to had a rubber cover for an arm cast as her daughter had fractured her wrist a few months before. It was an absolute godsend as it meant that she could still have a bath every day (their favourite time of day) as well as getting just as up close and personal with the Mediterranean as Imogen did when we were away.

Our holiday was brilliant. The girls loved the beach and the children’s splash pool at our hotel was fab. They paddled and splashed and dug in the sand and went down the slides and we even got a moment or two to sit on a sun lounger. (But it literally was only a moment or two – thankfully we went with the expectations of not sitting down for a moment, so anything more than that felt like a real bonus.)

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It was an amazing ten days and we were sad to come home, but these things must always come to an end.

While we were away we discovered that Claudia could sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and in fact they both now sing a number of different songs and are even confident enough to often do it on demand for various friends and family. They love holding the phone to their ear – especially if we are actually trying to have a conversation with the person at the other end – but rarely say hello. Mostly they just sing Twinkle Twinkle! Although the other day Claudia was shouting “Happy birthday!” down the phone to L’s cousin.

Their language is just incredible these days. I get so excited each time I hear them expressing a new concept or stringing a new sentence together. Their favourite things to say at the moment are pretty much: “Immie do it”; “Daudie hold it”.

Yep, we’re in that fiercely independent stage, which means a lot of frustration as they try to do things their motor skills can’t quite manage.

They even made up a game together the other morning, where they both lay down in Claudie’s cot, pulled the covers over themselves and then one of them would shout, “Wakey up!” And they both jumped up. So cute.

We are definitely finding it so much easier these days, although of course every age brings its own challenges, but it’s great now they can communicate a little more easily and can, for example, tell us if something hurts.

They are really starting to build on their sentence structures now and are saying things like: “Immie’s turn next”; “A bit more”; “Singing now?” (Are these prepositions? As a teacher I am sure I should know the grammatical names but I’m really not sure in this instance.)

Claudia has also occasionally started using ‘me’ instead of ‘Daudie’, which seems like an incredible leap forward. She will say things like, “Me climb in [to the buggy]”, which they love to do now. We have finally taken the bars off the front of the buggy (which Immie liked to rest her feet on when they were smaller) and now they can both climb up and sit down. They also love to walk though and we are able to use the buggy less and less. The main problem is that they do still need to nap in the day so we often do need to take the buggy to facilitate that, but wherever and whenever possible we let them walk.

Just before we went away, Immie started saying “Mama” (l and I have always both referred to ourselves as Mummy and so have both girls). She would stand there repeating it over and over like a question until I would say, “Yes, Immie.” And then she’d just give me a really cheeky grin. As she kept this up, Claudie soon cottoned on and started using Mama to refer to me too. We always said the girls would figure out what to call us and it seems they already have. It’s totally stuck now and I like being Mama.

Since my brother’s birthday in late April, they like to walk round the house saying, “Happy birthday, Colin!” Of course, we couldn’t get them to actually say that to him on his birthday. They are really enjoying exploring the sensation of different words in their mouths. Some of their favourite words to say include guacamole and ukulele! Every time we open the front door they say, “That’s our car!” As if the fact that it’s sat there on the drive is a total shocker. The cutest thing is that they also say goodbye to it when we go out and hello when we come back, but they haven’t quite understood the entire sentence, so they say: “Bye bye that’s our car!”

22 months from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

In other news, a lovely journalist interviewed me a while back for a feature in Mother & Baby magazine.  We were in the May issue as part of their ‘Modern Families’ spread, representing the LGBT family.

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Blue Moon

It’s been a while.  Far too long.  In January I started a post explaining how I planned to write at least one post a month in 2014.

Yeah.  That didn’t happen.  I mean, it’s already the end of February March!

And now it’s been so long that there is almost too much to say.  But I have to grab this moment because I am just overflowing with the amazing changes that the girls are going through and I can’t bear not to document it somewhere.

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Christmas was amazing.  It was so much fun with two 17 month olds.  But it’s since then that the girls have really blossomed.

Since Christmas their language has just exploded.  It started with them beginning to use words in other ways than just to name things. They learned opposites like hot and cold, up and down, light and dark.  They learned that by calling someone’s name they could summon them or get their attention and Claudia in particular learned that she could denote possession with somebody’s name – pointing at an object and saying, “Immie’s” or “Mummy’s”.

From that she started putting two words together.  No longer just “Immie’s”, it became “Immie’s cup”, “Mummy’s tea”, “Claudie’s shoes”.  And she understood how to say hello and goodbye to specific people by using their names.  She started saying things like “Thank you”, “Excuse me” and “Bless you” in their correct contexts.  She started using subjects and verbs and now she can be heard to say pretty much full sentences like the one she uttered this morning in the garden: “Claudie and Immie are swinging.”

Immie isn’t quite putting words together in this way, but her confidence is increasing.  Interestingly, when they were learning to walk, Imogen threw herself into it wholeheartedly whilst Claudia hung back and waited until she was really confident she could do it before letting go of the furniture.  Conversely with language, Claudia is steaming ahead, acting like a human echo machine and repeating everything she hears, constantly trying to communicate, whilst Imogen has fewer words and uses them more sparingly, but actually has clearer diction.  Their vocabulary is massive.  I have no idea how big it actually is, but they amaze me every day with the words and concepts they understand.

They recognise and name their toys and know the names of favourite books, even starting to “read”.  It is the cutest thing ever to watch them leaf through a book and give some indication of the understanding they have of what happens on each page.  Their capacity for memory astounds me.

Claudia likes to narrate everything she sees and does and every word or phrase ends with an exclamation mark. She can sort of count to ten if I say one first. She tends to skip five and seven but loves saying, “Eight, nine, TEN!” Immie can recognise pretty much every colour and enjoys pointing out the colours of everything she sees.

It’s weird being a parent, because on the one hand you know that the steps your child is making are something every single human since the dawn of time has been through, but it is still so fascinating to watch their language and understanding develop and grow.  The concepts they can now grasp are incredible and their memories continue to astound me.

Chatterboxes from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

Of course this video just doesn’t do justice to the array of things they can say and do now, or how incredible it has been to witness each new skill, but it’s still pretty cute.

As you can see for the video (and may have seen on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook), Claudia broke her arm.  She fell off the sofa (Imogen may or may not have been involved) and we had a very long day at A&E, but she was so brave and barely cried at all.  Immie was almost more traumatised from being left at home with first a friend, then L, then Grandad, then Grandma as people rallied together to help us out.  She definitely missed her twin.  The cast should be coming off tomorrow and hopefully that will be our last trip to A&E for a very long time!

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Now We Are One

It’s been over a month since I last posted and those who follow me on Twitter or Instagram will know I’ve been less prolific there too.

A lack of phone memory has slowed my contributions to Instagram. Seriously, my phone is so full, even after I deleted a whole ream of apps and whittled down my camera roll to just my absolute favourite pictures. You know how everyone keeps moaning about iOS 7? Well I have a different kind of pain because every time I even think about trying to install it, my phone just laughs at me.

Other than that, I’ve just been… Busy. The Head has decided to keep me on to continue to maintain the school website on a minimum contract that means I’m being paid for two days a month. This really means I need to put in that amount of time to the website otherwise I’m not really pulling my weight, and I need to be able to work on it as uninterrupted as possible, so nap times, evenings and weekends are being squeezed by my need to get that done. Besides which, I am nearing the end of the rehearsal period for the Shakespeare project I do with Year Six and that has taken up two afternoons a week since September.

Hopefully things will calm down a bit after half term, but in the meantime I wanted to put together a video of what the girls have been up to since their birthday. I always thought the biggest changes would come between 6 months and a year, as they went from laying to sitting to crawling to standing and walking. But I am constantly amazed by the changes that have occurred since they turned one. Their language skills and comprehension have come on in leaps and bounds and I just can’t believe how much they can say and understand – as well as the changes in their physical abilities that have come as they have mastered the art of walking – something that came a lot slower for Claudia, mostly out of a lack of confidence.

But as of the last two weeks I can finally say I truly have two toddlers. And here they are, just a small assortment of the things they can do now, 15 months today!

Now We Are One from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

 

42 Days of Summer

The six week summer holiday is at an end. L goes back to work tomorrow and our time as a family of four goes back to being only evenings and weekends – at least until the end of October.

I started the summer holidays with two just-turned-one-year-olds and finish it with two toddlers heading towards 14 months old. Well, I say toddlers. Maybe one toddler and one cruiser-who-still-refuses-to-let-go-of-the-furniture-or-someone’s-hands (although she did stand unsupported and take two small steps on Wednesday – go Claudie!) is more accurate.

We have really enjoyed our weeks together and – unlike last summer holidays, when we were just grateful to survive – we have been out and about and had lots of fun together.

Let Claudia and Imogen be your guides…

We went to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill and checked out the aquarium:

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We went on holiday to Swanage with our mummies and our Grandma and Grandad.  We played on the beach and went on a real steam train!

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Our mummies had a date for their second anniversary (we weren’t invited!):

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We went to Godstone Farm and played in the sandpit:

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We had our jabs and spent some of our birthday money to make us feel better.  We had fun playing in the garden:

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 We visited our friends and had some playdates here too:

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We visited our Great Nana in Deal and tried out the Walmer paddling pool:

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We visited our Great Granny in Trowbridge and saw lots of family we haven’t seen in ages – including our cousins!

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We have had a wonderful 6 weeks with our beautiful, amazing babies.  They have come on leaps and bounds and can do so much.  They are a constant source of amusement and entertainment.  It’s just so much fun being together.

Roll on half term!

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