A letter to the boys…

Dear B and T,

We went to the lake last week and you were… amazing! You may not know this, but mum and dad struggle sometimes to take you out and about as you are a handful. You tend to run away in car parks, refuse food in restaurants and even pee on daddy (do you remember our last visit to the zoo?!?). Last week though, you behaved like perfect little boys. 

First of all, I’m proud to say that none of you peed on daddy or any other member of the family. Said this, you also enjoyed the picnic by the lake and you were extremely patient when all the adults responsible for finding a picnic area got so lost they ended up on a different lake! Obviously the olive bread your auntie brought with her was the reason you were absolutely silent in the back of the car, but still, only a few months ago you would have screamed the car down instead. Mum and daddy love your new attitude towards delay of your lunchtime. 

The weather was warm, the picnic was delicious and the company was excellent, but you were even better. You made every pictures we took a little funnier. You tried your best Italian by asking for “more Bea pane” and you definitely made your nonna very happy when you agreed to look at the camera for 2 seconds.

B, don’t worry about stepping on a plate and throwing food all over the picnic blanket and your mum. Everyone else thought it was funny!  

T, you made me run 100m faster than Hussein Bolt when you asked to go for a poo… when we were really far from a toilet. We made it and that’s all it matter! 
It was nice to see your auntie and uncle and we are happy to hear you calling Fabio with something that resembles his name this time. Pagu didn’t really sound right last Christmas! 

You made it possible for us to really enjoy the time we spent together and we had almost forgotten about the sleepless nights and the smelly nappies. Almost…

It was a perfect day.
Thank you. 

Love, 

Mamma and Daddy

Christmas holiday review

If my Christmas holidays were a movie it would have had to be a 5 out of 5 stars. It had everything! Drama (the cancelled flight to Italy), surprise  (visiting the English grandparents earlier) and a little sadness (missing my mum’s birthday). It also had some suspense (when the new flight was late and we didn’t know if it was going to be cancelled again) and even a grand finale with a trip to lake Maggiore on the first of January. 

Next year though, I would rather have a boring Christmas with no cancelled flight and avoiding arriving on Christmas Eve at 2AM. That’s cutting it too close for conformt.

The boys are getting the idea of Christmas although it’s still more about the lights and decorations that about the birth of Jesus or the presents giving and receiving. Also this year we focused on the introduction to reindeers. In December we went to a theatre performance called “How do reindeers fly?” which took the boys right into the Christmas spirit. They loved it from start to end. Their little eyes showed so much concentration! 

If there’s one thing we need to work on before next Christmas is the presents. Although the vast majority of presents were really good and enjoyed by the twins. We had too many “opening days”. We opened some on the 22nd with the English grandparents, some on Christmas morning (obviously!), the “socks” on the Epiphany (Italian tradition), but we still have their biggest present to open yet! It is too big to transport so we didn’t take it to either Suffolk or Italy and now we don’t really know when to give it to them… mmh… it’s the middle of January!!!

Mummy’s special cabin luggage

Flying with twins is not as bad as it sounds. You need more patient than if you had only one child as you can’t have a break, but it’s not that bad. On the other hand, travelling with B is the hardest experience ever.

The flight back from Italy in December was our 6th flight with B, we were prepared! The other kids around us all had their own iPad, but in my rucksack I had something better: snacks! Once you get through security and boarding,  you have to convince a very active 15 months old that sitting down is a great idea. Where do you start? The answer is simple, with a snack. Not any snack, but the current favourite one. Is it not the healthiest option? He will survive for once and the people next to you will be extremely thankful. Once the stomach is full, you have a happier toddler to entertain, so your job is half way there.
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The first thing I took out was a lift-the-flaps book which B had never seen before. It worked for a minute or two, after which he got bored. So I had to take out the heavy weapons: clothes pegs. If you have children you know that they prefer to play with anything but toys, so I used my knowledge wisely. If you have a peg, you’ll be surprised but how much you can do with it. From chewing on it to use it on daddy’s clothes while he is not looking, the possibilities are endless, especially with the mind of a toddler. Now think what you could do with 3 pegs? 4 pegs? 5 pegs? It was a very entertaining flight!

After a lot of fun with pegs, we had to change tactics and moved to a straw. Yes, a plastic straw. You can chew that as well, which apparently is a bonus if you are teething, but you can also bend it, twist it, throw it, place it in various alternative places and finally… you can even forget it on the plane without mum being annoyed as, at the contrary of an iPad, it doesn’t cost much!

The 13 hours night

If you asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said that half term for a teacher meant waking up late and do some planning. Unfortunately this year it meant waking up at the same time and chase B all day long!

On the last day of school I found out that the nursery was not going to keep the twins at half term. Despite them NOT doing term time only fees, they decided to do me a favour and leave them home so I wouldn’t have to pay for an extra week. Itself that is a great news and a lot of extra money saved, but they forgot to tell me, so it was an interesting surprise. I could not believe how a place that gives me a call to ask if T is allowed to drink orange juice instead of water, forgot to tell me about not keeping b the twins for an entire week!

I went from being happy about half term to be afraid of half term. I hadn’t spent a full day alone with the twins since they were 11 months old and DID NOT WALK. All of a sudden I was going to spend an entire week with two fully mobile toddlers. On top of that, I had no food as they normally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at nursery. The week ahead needed a lot of planning…

Step one was deciding when to keep the boys with me and when to look for alternative childcare. Fortunately I have a small army of people who always offer to help, so I asked a couple of them and got some time for myself everyday I needed to work. Then we planned to go to see the grandparents for the rest of the week. To my surprise the plan worked. I don’t know if they behaved particularly well with other people or if because they were taken in small doses, but nobody complained about their babysitting experience with the twins. The neighbours actually brought them to the park two days in a row! I was amazed!

Step two was organising the trip to the grandparents  (3 hours journey). Despite the car got packed like we moved house, actually all I needed for the trip was a pair of ear plugs. When B started to scream at 50 miles from our destination, I was so glad I had a pair in my pocket.

Despite B screaming for hours in the car, despite T sitting on B and looking innocent and both of them having a high temperature, the week went pretty well. I almost feel relaxed now that I am at the end of it!

The best part of the week was Friday morning, as for the first time since they were born they slept 13 hours, from 7.30 PM to 8.30 AM. Both my husband and I could not believe it when we woke up after 8AM and realised the boys were still asleep. That extra 90 minutes in bed made my week! It is surprising how easy you can make twins parents happy… just let them sleep!

The pushchair dilemma

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First time parents have to add a long list of new words to their vocabulary: epidural, oxytocin, bumbo, jumperoo, etc… Hours will be spent trying to understand the difference between pram, pushchair and travel system, but also cot, cot bed and crib. If you don’t fully understand the last three words, your baby may find himself sleeping in a huge bed straight back from hospital, but it won’t be the end of the world. On the other hand if you don’t fully get the difference between a pram, a pushchair and a travel system, you may end up spending a fortune for no reason… especially if you have twins!

While I was pregnant I researched many different types of double pushchairs. You need to consider if the chosen one will fit in your car (or in the tube/metro if you live in a city). Or like my husband and I, you could buy a new car after you buy your pushchair. Crazy? Not at all, if you have a two-seater sports car and you sadly have to change it anyway. Once you sort transportation, you’ll wonder if side-by-side is a better option than tandem. You will also ask yourself if you will need to attach and detach the infant car seats without waking the babies up (yes, you will! Daily!). I was lucky and I found the perfect one for my needs after only a couple of shops. Still unsure of which option to pick between side-by-side and tandem, I went for a double decker. It is narrower than a side-by-side, so it can go through any door, but you can still clip on and off both car seats at once and it also has a huge space at the bottom for your nappy bag or your shopping. There’s only one unusual thing about this pushchair: it is so compact that at first no one notices the baby on the lower seat!

Lots of mum of twins may think of this as a blessing, because they don’t get recognised straight away and stopped constantly. I find it a little annoying that I don’t get to answer my share of silly questions: are they twins? Are they identical? Are they IVF? Why they are not wearing matching clothes? Etc… Once people notice the baby on the lower seat though, I get to answer the most ridiculous question ever: do you ever forget about the bottom one??

Flying with twins

I believe it is impossible to write a generic post about travelling with twins, but as I have the famous MoM (Mum of Multiples) superpower I’ll attempt to write one anyway. If travelling with one baby is hard enough, two crawlers make the word “flying” a living nightmare.

If I only had one baby on my trip yesterday, it would have gone one of two ways… T was all smiley and clapping hands, then we took off and he fell asleep on daddy (who doze off even before him). Even after waking up, he politely accepted a breadstick and proceeded to happily looking around without moaning or asking for attention.

B didn’t stop moving for a second. From the moment we left the car and put him in the sling he started to wave at people, then wanted to walk everywhere (holding on, obviously) and he even tried to steal daddy’s sandwich. Then he managed to cut himself on a piece of aluminum foil and we weren’t even on the plane yet! Once we finally managed to check in, pass security and reach the plane… he wanted to climb mummy, walk up and down the aisle, chew on the safety leaflet, destroy a packet of breadsticks, wave and smile at everybody, try to grab another passenger’s newspaper, got hold of the hair of the person sitting in front of me and pull off one of the seat advertising cards, stopping only for a few minutes to eat a rice cake. My neighbour described him as lively, I would have chosen spirited!

If I only had one of the boys with me, it would have been so much easier… Despite all of this, we arrived to our destination safe and well. We didn’t even accidently leave B on the plane!

(Also see “5 things to remember when flying with twins” in my pages)