In the first few weeks of motherhood, you ask a lot of questions and the answer is always the same: “trust your instinct, a mum knows best!”. Clearly not a very helpful reply when you are panicking because your son is not feeding or as some horrible skin condition. It makes you wonder why you even asked in the first place. It makes you want to strangle the person who gave you that ridiculous answer and, most importantly, it sadly makes you reconsider your suitability of being a mum. I know, it makes no sense, but this is how mums feel in the first few weeks and sometimes, you don’t really know where to turn for help and you wonder when this magical maternal instinct will “develop”. Almost 10 months later, I have finally found out the true meaning of it.
Last night I heard a sound through the monitor. A cry, not a loud one or a long one, just a short call for help. Any other night I would have ignored it and go back to sleep. But last night a gut feeling told me there was something about that cry… something worth investigating. I went in “mum mode”, stand up and went into the babies room without even thinking about it or turning the lights on. And there he was, a very small, very cute, but also very hot baby. B had a fever and he needed my help!
After I gave him something to drink, check his temperature, found some Calpol, change his nappy, found a lighter pyjamas and put him back to sleep, my husband asked me if B had been crying for long before I went to check on him. “No, he just cried once” I said, “I just thought I should check and I’m glad I did, poor boy”. My husband looked at me with an expression between surprised and half asleep. It was 2.30AM after all!
I guess that after all this time, I either learned to trust my maternal instinct or I got lucky. Either way, for the first time in 10 months I can honestly say that I was happy to have been woken up in the middle of the night.
I haven’t written anything for a couple of days because I have been to a nuclear fusion research centre. Interesting, but definitely not funny. Then I went to work on Friday and I left daddy at home with the twins… The lonely shoe abandoned in the hall should have warned me about what I was going to find in the living room, but I decided to ignore it and open the door anyway. Toys, clothes, nappies (clean and dirty!!), a kindle, 2 bouncy chairs and an empty glass were spread around the room. And there, in the middle of it, the second shoe… on the coffee table! I told myself “If daddy left with only one of the twins wearing shoes is not the end of the world, after all they don’t even walk yet”. Little did I know.
Probably I should have taken a picture, but I started to clean up instead. To be honest, the house used to look like this every evening when I was on maternity leave, the only difference was that I used to tidy up 5 minutes before my husband came home! One of the many things on the floor was a pair of trouser that I put on T this morning. Ingeniously I thought that has it had been such a hot day, my husband must have changed him and make him wear shorts. After all B was already wearing shorts. Then I heard a knock on the door and found a very smiley baby in a car seat: T wasn’t wearing any shoes, but also he wasn’t wearing any trousers either! Apparently daddy took them off to let him play outside in the sunshine, but then forgot to put them back on and he didn’t realise till they arrived at the doctor.
When I left home in the morning, I asked my husband to do two things with the boys: get them weighed at the baby clinic and take B to the doctor in the afternoon. He managed to do all I asked for, but also clean the kitchen, inflate the paddling pool, bought himself some swim shorts for our holidays and play with the boys. As this was only his second time home alone with the twins, I think he deserves a medal. Never mind if T didn’t wear any trousers on the hottest day of the year!
You might think that now that I’m back at work I should be very busy during the day, but still have some time to enjoy the twins in the evening. If you find feeding, bathing, changing, reading to and give a bottle to twins “enjoyable”, than you should come to my house every evening!
When I went back to work I had a great plan and a strict routine, but as it often happens with babies, they had different plans. Every minutes from 5.30 to 7PM was accounted for: dinner, bath, changing, story time and bed. Then B caught a minor skin infection to his face…
The doctor suggested to soak him in water (with a medicine) for 15 minutes everyday. Trying to be helpful she also added: “Don’t worry, you can put his bother in at the same time”. Happy with the verdict I was about to leave the office when the doctor added: “if little B likes to stand up in the bath, he might find it a bit slippery”. With the ingenuity typical of a first time mum, I thank the doctor and went immediately to purchase this miracle drug which was going to cure my boy. Later on that evening I understood what she meant.
This milky liquid to add to their bath water should not be sold without some serious warning! First of all, leaving a crawler in a slippery bath for 15 minutes should be discouraged, but two?? Bath time is now a mission impossible. B loves to climb out of his bath seat and then up the side, while T takes advantage of the situation to try any possible mischief. He got hold of a razor, the shampoo bottle and open the plug to let the water out. All of this while ignoring all of the bath toys at his disposal and with an adult in the bathtub with him. In 10 days time, daddy will be away for 3 nights and I will have to do all of this by myself… I’m sincerely considering not give them a bath for 3 days!
A couple of months ago someone commented on the fact that my boys have a lot of toys. At the time I didn’t think about it twice, but then 3 weeks ago I visited a friend with a boy slightly older than B and T and I noticed that my poor twins have been deprived of toys appropriate to their age. What a shock! After a long Internet search, comparing reviews on Amazon and checking prices all over the net, I made a very important decision: they needed a walker and a ball pit.
Trying to be clever, I decided to buy a paddling pool with an attached ball pit. All reviews and price match comparison sites pointed to one specific model. It seemed to have everything: lots of extra toys, an inflatable car, a traffic light and even a water spray feature. I thought they could have improved their gross motor skills and have fun. It was perfect… Unfortunately it also had a massive hole!
While waiting to find some time to ask for a refund, I started another Internet search for the perfect walker. One more time, I thought I’d be VERY clever and buy a walker with a toy attached. I found a toy shopping trolley which had a popcorn maker (fake, obviously) that would pop and make silly noises at every step. I smiled and thought “they boys will love it”. I even pictured little B walking along in the living room and smiling at the popcorn maker popping away. When I found out that it also had three languages I run to the shop to buy it. It was perfect… Unfortunately both twins were scared of the popping sound and cried every time the popcorn maker started to work!
After three weeks of agony over the “toy problem”, my husband tried to dragged me to a tool shop with the excuse that it was father’s day. To limit my time amongst hammers and lathes, I took the boys to the shop next door. Try to waste time in a shop without buying anything is beyond me, so I wandered over the paint aisle. 20 minutes later I came out of the shop with £3 worth of baby-friendly paint. This time it wasn’t perfect… It was messy, colourful, playful and joyful. The twins painted the plain paper I gave them, but also the floor, my legs and EACH OTHER! We all had a laugh and absolutely loved it. Yes, they didn’t improve their motor skills or learn a new language, but they had FUN!
I’m sure they will use the walker and the replacement paddling pool will be great, but in the main time I know they are happy and I have some great memories (and pictures) to share with them in a few years time.
My twins are VERY different. B is small, T is very tall. B has pale skin and light brown eyes, T is dark… very dark. B is loud, T is chilled. B takes a dummy, T sucks is thumb. If there’s one thing which they have in common though, it’s biting! As most babies their age, they put everything in their mouth, but sometimes they reach a little too far.
Teething twins can be extremely difficult to handle, but they can also be hilarious. During one of the lesson for baby sign language, another mum asked me what I kept on signing to the boys. “I don’t think I fully understand it” she said. “It seems like you telling them not to eat something”. Yes, dear mum of a singleton, I am telling my twins not to eat each other!
At that point I thought that it may also be useful to learn to sign lots of other things they might want to eat or bite when they are not supposed to. Today I was left without words (or baby signs) for what B tried to eat. I picked T up from the potty and moved him to the changing table to put a clean nappy on. As soon as I turned my back, B started to crawl at the speed of light heading straight for the potty. As any mum knows, you can’t leave a baby unattended on the changing table, but can you let his twin eat a poo?? You know you have nailed parenting when you can get a nappy on one child and sit him on the floor, in the time that it takes a 9 months old to crawl 2 meters!
I had a very long week at work (yes, I have twins AND I work!). The boss told me I can’t have any extra responsibilities as I don’t have enough experience, which is ironic as I had no experience of twins (or babies) and yet I survived the first 40 weeks of twin motherhood.
I decided to share my experiences from now on. I hope this blog will make you laugh, cry, giggle and remember some good memories. I write this for anybody who has a baby or two, for mums and dads, for who wonders how your life will change after having a baby and for my boys. I hope that one day they will read this and laugh!