Archive for Holiday fun

At Three And A Half

Long, slender limbs flash before me as they climb unaided into the bath. Gone are chubby fists and rotund bellies. Hair is long and requires brushing, parting, plaiting. Words became sentences, formed conversations and posed existential questions.

“I don’t want to grow up.”

“Why not?”

“Because I wouldn’t be able to have my small plate any more. I like my small plate. And I wouldn’t be able to wear my small shoes. I’d have big feet so I’d have to have big shoes.”

Said with such wide-eyed, innocent sorrow that we catch each other’s eyes above her head and want to laugh.

I don’t remember the thought of growing up feeling so scary. All the time they are changing and growing and amazing me and I want to tell them how big they are. But I hold back. Because of the small plate and the small shoes.

The magic of Christmas is alive and kicking now. They understand about presents and can almost keep a surprise. They understand that their desires can be catalogued and requested of a bearded man in a red suit. They talk about leaving out a mince pie and a carrot. They talk about their stockings and elves and flying reindeer. They manage eight days of advent before they eat the remains of their calendars – impulse control and the concept of delayed gratification still beyond their reach.

They love and squeeze and hug and blow you kisses and catch the returns in their hands, putting them in a pocket or sometimes in their mouths.

They burn with anger and injustice – the fire of small people who don’t have the means to regulate their own emotions yet – and they cry when things don’t go their way, when we’re out of red straws, or their banana breaks in half. And they cuddle in close and start to tell me their feelings. They tell me when I forget to use my words – when my temper slips out and I snap and shout. They remind me of my humanity and they accept my apology.

They dance and sing and play. They ask me what that word is, what that letter is, what this says. And I tell them. They ask why, but why, but why and sometimes I say I don’t know.

They light up the world with a fire that burns so brightly. My role is to keep that fire stoked, to feed it dry wood and keep it aflame. It’s a tough job, unrelenting, but the warmth and light from that fire is more than I could ever have dreamed of.

christmas card 2015

IMG_4349

IMG_4350

IMG_4145

Halloween and In Between

It’s been a long time since I last updated.  There is so much to say so it seems crazy that I haven’t blogged more frequently in the interim, but time is something I do not seem to have a surplus of.  Since I last blogged, on our wedding anniversary back in August, I have been involved in two plays with the local amateur dramatics company.  The first involved mostly sourcing props and helping out backstage, the second involved me playing the part of Emily Bronte!

IMG_3623 IMG_3629

I loved it.  It was completely exhausting but lots of fun and amazing to do something just for me, that didn’t revolve around being a mum.  I am now having a bit of a break, but not a long one, as I start rehearsals for my next show in December and will be performing in February.

Alongside my thespian exploits, I am also now close to finishing my second children’s book.  Of course, I haven’t yet managed to find an agent or publisher for my first children’s book, but these are merely details.  This has, obviously, taken up quite a lot of my time too.  It is hard to justify blogging when it feels like every word needs to count towards the completion of a whole novel.  So consider yourselves lucky I can spare these few words now to share a bit about what we have been up to.

The girls had a Halloween party to go to on the 31st.  When asking them what they wanted to dress up as for Halloween, they answered “Room on the Broom” (a witch) and “her cat”.  Which was just about the cutest thing they could have said.  They looked totally amazing.

IMG_3761

They had an amazing time trick or treating for the first time (my first time too; I was never allowed as a child) with all their little friends and got a pretty amazing haul, which we may have helped them out with a little.

The next day we had a bit of an adventure when Immie sidled up to me to inform me that she didn’t have a pea up her nose!  Yeah.

So after a rather hysterical (in the sense that I just could not stop myself from laughing) call to 111, we ended up at A&E, which was actually the second visit to that hospital in one week for L and me, as I’d had day surgery for an umbilical hernia only 5 days earlier.  (Yeah, apparently if your belly button doesn’t just pop back in after pregnancy it’s a real thing that needs fixing.  You learn something new every day.)

IMG_3461

We rocked up to the hospital looking like we had escaped from a party in a fancy dress shop.  We were actually seen really quickly and were on our way again within an hour.  Imogen didn’t seem too bothered by the whole thing once we were there (she was quite anxious before we went and it took us a while to convince her we really did need to go).

IMG_4697

L was told by the nurse to try and blow the pea out by blowing into Immie’s mouth a la mouth to mouth resuscitation, but it was really wedged up there.  In the end, tweezers were required to remove what turned out to be quite a large pea (and thankfully only one!!).

Since then, things have returned much to normal as I’ve continued to recover from my surgery and the girls have carried on amazing us and surprising us day by day.  Their language and imagination just gets more and more sophisticated and is so entertaining.  The other day we were totally enchanted when Claudia actually started using different voices for the toys she was playing with for the first time.  It was amazing.

IMG_3839 2IMG_3829 2

IMG_3824 2

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.)

mallorca

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.

IMG_7706

 

 

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:

IMG_6130

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!

P1020824 P1020914 P1020973 P1020976 P1030009 P1030062 P1030068

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

IMG_2991

We went to Godstone Farm and played in the sandpit:

IMG_6207And saw some amazing animals:

IMG_2996

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

IMG_6215 IMG_6219

 We visited our friends and had some playdates here too:

IMG_6231 IMG_6236

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

ImageImage 5 Image 8

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

Image Image 1

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!

Our merry little Christmas

Admittedly this should have been posted about two weeks ago, but although the girls were brilliantly behaved on Christmas day and we all had a wonderful time, since then any and all good sleeping habits have flown out the window so it’s been a struggle to get anything productive done at all.

Still, it would be remiss of me not to post the details of our Christmas, despite it now being the middle of January.

We left out a carrot for Rudolph and a mince pie and glass of Baileys for Father Christmas.

We hung the girls’ stockings off their cots and dressed them in their new Christmas pyjamas.

L and I enjoyed a glass of Baileys and a quiet evening and Claudia slept from about 11pm until 6am!  She must have known that Father Christmas wouldn’t come if she was awake.

In the morning we fed them and then opened their stockings.

After that we went downstairs and L and I opened our presents to one another.  We were then both able to take it in turns to shower and start to get things ready for the day.  L’s parents were first to arrive and we Skyped with L’s brother and his wife in Sydney.  We opened our presents from them over Skype and the girls tried on part of the outfits they had been bought by the Australian contingent.

Then my family arrived and we started getting ready for Christmas dinner.  L had promised “Turkey at two”, but in the grand tradition of Christmas dinners we didn’t start the main course until closer to 4pm.

After dinner we all opened our presents, including an absolute MOUNTAIN of gifts for the girls!

We had an amazing day.  The babies had cuddles with everyone and were really, really good.

Without a doubt the best Christmas ever!

%d bloggers like this: