Mummy solo weekend

After 14 months of broken sleep and long nights. After breastfeeding, fevers and antibiotics. After 2 AM nappy changes and poo explosions, I finally spent my first 2 nights without the twins. Daddy took them away for the weekend, so I had the unique opportunity to sleep till 9.30 on a Saturday morning! Just so I can be clear, daddy didn’t take the twins away so I could have a quiet weekend, they just went to a family wedding, but the result is the same: sleep.

It is impressive how many things you can do in a day without children. I completely forgot that it doesn’t take a week to clean a house (little by little). Also the floor can stay clean if you don’t have twins learning to use a spoon. When the twirnado leave the house, it takes hours, but everything can go back to its original place.

Not only I managed to tidy up the house (or what was left of it), but I also put on the washing machine 3 times, put up Christmas decorations, wash the couch(!), wrapped 5 Christmas presents, enjoyed some tv and… drank a cup of tea when it was still hot! I feel so accomplished I could have graduated from Oxford and feel less proud of it.

Do I miss the kids? Of course I do. Would I wanted to go with them? No, I don’t. It’s common knowledge that the good things in life are the ones you have to work really hard for, and there’s no such thing as hard as raising children, but sometimes you need a break. A short break. A quiet break. A weekend to reboot, to stop, to sleep, to think, to breathe… If you still don’t know what to ask for Christmas, ask for a weekend like this. It is honestly all you need.

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Ball pit findings

A week ago we moved the ball pit from the boys’ playroom to the living room, so they can play with it even in the evenings. Since then I found some interesting items in it…

1) A series of other toys which are not the ball pit balls. Nothing surprising there.

2) A half eaten tortilla chip… maybe sharing my snack with B wasn’t the best idea.

3) A clothes peg. Obviously they stole it from the drying line, but I don’t know how they reach it and take it off. I’m starting to think that maybe they work together sometimes.

4) A sock… dirty… unpaired…

5) A cheeky pair of twins!

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Plans B

If you are pregnant with your first child, you may think you’ll do X and Y, and everything will be perfect. After the first 10 days with a newborn you may still think you’ll do X and Y, and everything will be fine. By the end of the first month you KNOW that you’ll do X and Y, but nothing will be alright.  Welcome to parenthood… The magic place where you will need a plan B (and C and D) for everything!

Lots of people being through the traditional mistakes:
“I’ll breastfeed my baby till he is 2!” and then having to give up after a month.
“I’ll meet you at 3” and then leaving the house no later than 4.
“My twins are going to be best friends” and then having to tell one off for sitting on his brother’s head (that happened to me last week!)

When the boys were born I planned to breastfeed them till at least Christmas, so on our trip back home I could feed them at the airport without bringing bottles. Life had different plans for the boys and me. As a consequence, Plan B was put in to place and each family member flying out with us was asked to take a box of formula milk with them to have enough for the entire vacation. A whopping 4kg of formula milk made its way to Italy for Christmas.

Then there are the little things which will surprise you. The bedtime bubble bath proved to help your baby sleeping, which will excite your little one, because of the extra bubbles in his bath! Only a sleep deprived new parent could fall for it as I did. Of course they going to go mad for the bubbles!

The boys’ bedroom was planned so the twins could sleep next to each other. We had this magical idea that if they could see each other while falling asleep, they would feel less alone and cry less. A few days after they learned to sit up, we had to move them apart as B bit T through the bars! Siblings love runs deep in my household.

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In my previous life, I could organise my weekends months in advance. What could stop me from carry on my plans? Now most weekends are planned on Saturday morning at 6.30AM based on B’s temperature. He has a fever so often that last week the lady from nursery noticed he hadn’t had a high temperature for 3 days in a row and felt like she had to point that out to me, as if it was a major milestone. On this week news: T had started to walk, but more importantly B hasn’t had a fever for 3 days!

The biggest thing I look back on and wonder how I ever believed it was going to work is “no screen till 2”. When I was pregnant with the boys, I read this campaign organised by Michelle Obama which is centred on keeping your children away from tv or tablets till they are 2 years old. I have seen convincing evidence of how damaging it can be and I have observed in first person how some children can be almost tv-dependant by the age of 2. So, armed with scientific proof and being unbelievably naive, I explained my new found belief to my husband and we agreed our children would not watch tv till they turned 2 years old. Then my idealism meet real life… and real life won! The twins now watch Strictly Come Dancing every Saturday night.

The disease factory

So I found out another thing that no one tells you about having kids. In the couple of years between getting pregnant and your twins turning 18 months you will spend more time in the hospital or at the GP than you have done in the pervious 30 years. To prove my point, I started to write this post while waiting for an Xray this morning.

When your GP and the pharmacy next door not only know you by name, but they can also tell the twins apart… you know you spent too much time there!

Since they turned 1, we collected an infinite number of colds, countless ear infections, a pleural inflammation (just me!), a never ending cough and the latest: a congiuntivitis. This is only in the last 2 months! I don’t think I have enough time and energy to recollect all of the previous diseases.

The funny thing is that this is normal. These are two healthy kids, not born premature, with a good diet, no underling problems or genetic issues! Technically there’s nothing wrong with them. Not the doctor or the nursery commented on how unusual this is, because it is apparently a known fact that once you have kids they will be ill most of the time (and you with them). No wonder people had 7-8 kids before antibiotics were discovered! The chances of surviving childhood must have been so slim. And this was BEFORE they invented nurseries!

I came to realise that nursery are a diseases factory and that’s why they keep B even with a fever or T with a eye infection. If the nursery didn’t accept children with a cold, a cough or conjunctivitis, they would be empty! It’s a rite of passage from infant to toddler and from toddler to preschooler. The survivors are rewarded with 13 years of education, also known as school.

It seems obvious now, when I look at young children they all have a cough or snotty noses, but when I wasn’t a parent I didn’t even notice it. When you don’t have kids you live in a parallel world where children are only smaller people, you don’t tend to pay much attention to them unless they are making a scene in the middle of the supermarket. Now children are the centre of your universe and you barely notice those young and carefree people that are around you. You tend to notice families and wonder how they found the energy to try for a second (or third) child. You notice only family cars and compare them to yours. Is there more space for a double pushchair in that Ford than in my Audi? Should I have bought that Volvo to fit a twin trike in the boot? Two seater cars, sport cars and Smart cars are now no more than obstacles on the road on your way to a play date.

The last thing you never seen or visited before is the baby products aisle in the supermarket. As muggles can’t see Diagon alley, non-parents can’t see the aisle of nappies, food pouches and bibs.

Now I’d better go and sort B out as apparently he has a fever… again!