Monday, 15 November 2010

where's my life???

I've done this before so when deciding to try for a baby I knew exactly what to expect I had it all planned finish my degree, do a PGCE and find a job in teaching as well as look after a family.  I then thought we could maybe, finance (and Lee) allowing, try for a 3rd...BUT...then I had twins!  Childcare for 2 babies would be more than I could earn plus I'm not sure I could find the time to do a PGCE whilst looking after 2 babies, Holly, Lee, 2 cats and a house so for the time I have resigned myself to the stay at home Mum (SAHM) status,

I returned to work when Holly was 6 weeks old so have never experienced the SAHM status before and I was really looking forward to doing all the things I couldn't do with Holly however its not as fun as I thought, in fact its bloody boring!  for the first few weeks I thought Lee had it tough, going to work and missing out on all the cute things Max and Fia do however now I'm...can't believe I'm saying this...jealous!  I'm jealous he is getting a life, he speaks to adults daily and its not always about the babies, I'm jealous that he actually enjoys his job.  I'm angry that I don't, I'm angry that when he comes home he is too tired to help, I'm angry that I never get a break, I'm angry that my life is boring, I'm angry that I feel like this.

Here's the real crunch...if Lee and I had to swap roles, if I had to go to work and Lee stayed at home there is no way I would do it.  I just want a peak at life from time to time, an hour off a week would be great, for that one hour I would feel like me. 

I guess you can't have everything after all...

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

4 months on..

Well...we made it to 4 months and I really can't believe how quickly its gone!!   It feels like only yesterday we found out we were having twins and some days I look down and can't believe there are 2 little babies in front of me.

Its amazing how much their own personalities have developed already, I do wonder how much of their differences are down to being boy/girl however I strongly believe in nurture so when I here "oh its because his a boy" I roll my eyes and reply "maybe" as some conversations just fall on deaf ears.

Fia has grown the most and is developing an immense amount of physical strength...she holds her head well and can lay on her belly (reluctantly) and push upwards.  She has a smile for everyone even if she is unwell (that didn't help to convince the doctor she was genuinely ill a few weeks back), she loves attention and would rather have a cuddle than play by herself.  She obviously adores and depends on her brother and is always looking to see where he is.

Max, one the other hand, wouldn't always notice if Fia wasn't there.  He talks to her, in their funny little language, whenever she is in his eye line but doesn't actively seek her out.  Instead he chooses to play by himself thrashing around on his play mat.  Strength wise he is slightly weaker than Fia, still looking like a nodding dog when trying to support his own head although he is beginning to show some interest in sitting upright.  His grumpy face breaks into a smile when someone talks to him and that person is often treated to a round of laughter if the talking continues.

Two beautiful, gorgeous independent babies and today I can't believe how lucky I am...tomorrow, however, is another story.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Park on your drive you inconsiderate little man!!

This is one major rant that I'm hoping to calm down from once it is on paper.  I live in a end terrace house with no drive way...the only house in the street that doesn't have one.  Every other house has a drive although for some treason they all use them to hoard cars not in use meaning they then need to park on the road.  The man that lives opposite has 2 driveways and space for about 6 or 7 cars...and despite only 2 people living in his house they do have this amount of cars.  Anyway everyday he arrives home from work around 3, the same time I leave to collect Holly from school, and for some reason he feels the need to park outside my house ignoring the big empty space on his drive.  Now don't get me wrong....anyone can park where they want but what angers me is 1) that he doesn't just use one space he parks in such a way it prevents 2 other cars being able to park, and, 2) he doesn't need the space HE HAS A DRIVE!!!  He has several times seen me stumble with a car seat in each hand to my car from my front door and then back again so he knows that getting the twins in the car by myself is a challenge yet he still insists on parking right outside my house.  I am beginning to wonder what happened to consideration from others, parking is difficult in most streets these days due to the massive increase in cars per household over recent years.  Driveways have gone some way in reducing this issue but if people don't use them it is so frustrating for others.  I would knock and speak to him about it but what do I say?  "Hey mister you can't park there"  well actually he can....all I ask for is some consideration but if he doesn't have it without being asked then I very much doubt he will have any more if I do ask.  Some people are just born pig ignorant...OK maybe that was uncalled for but I do feel a bit better for it!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Naughty children or SEN

When carrying out study for my degree I gained a particular interest in special educational needs (SEN). After three years and two fantastic lecturers I can honestly say my perspective on 'naughty children' has changed.  Naughty child has never been a phrase I am particularly fond of and I tolerate the term even less now.  I feel that if a child is not behaving then we should look at why instead of giving them a label that is unfortunately carried through their whole education process and often becomes a self fore filling prophecy.  I give you an example:
I have a lovely friend who's son 'suffers' with Aspergers Syndrome.  I say "suffers with" loosely as I feel its not the AS that causes the suffering but sadly those around him.  AS is a condition, more common in boys (a ratio of 4:1) that comes in varying degrees, with various combinations of difficulties but its main effect is on interaction and communication with others.  My friends son is a recent diagnosis despite the fact that she has always felt his development differed to that of other boys when she finally got him a diagnoses the battle begun to have him excepted by others.  Unfortunately he is one boy that others look at and think naughty, I have been to his defence many a time with other adults who simply do not understand his condition- If I hear one more person say "he's got to learn to conform" I may well scream.  Why does it have to conform? To make it easier for you?  What about making it easier for him?  Anyway, this is outside the classroom where knowledge is limited on all areas of education at least he surely must be getting help inside the classroom. seems NOT! His mum is fighting daily to get him extra support whilst teachers, who often have no training or experience in these areas, fail to understand him which is in effect causing them to fail in educating him. 
I wonder when the status of cognitive disabilities will ever reach that of physical disabilities.  Don't get me wrong all areas of disability are greatly misunderstood but if its physical at least most people will try to adapt and accommodate (not always in the best way) but for many with cognitive disabilities I suspect the attempt is not made.

I hope when I finally get into the teaching profession (Tories permitting) I am understanding and accommodating.  I hope I have the thought and inclination to research conditions effecting children in my care...on top of this I hope I use my time and energy to understand the children in my care as individuals.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Catch Up...beware many random thoughts!!

Well I haven't posted for a while as time has just been disappearing, having twins=busy, busy, busy.  Anyway I finally have time for a catch up so here goes...

Lee started a new job today as a games tester.  This is great for him as it is a step into the industry he would like to build a career in so although he isn't in the right area its a start.  The money is not great, he has far to travel and he has to work shifts but its a means to an end.  Anyway his new shift pattern is the reason why I have time to type.  He is working til 11 so I need to stay up for the 1030 me time to catch up on things other than sleep.  I'm pleased he got this job and the timing couldn't have been better, lets hope it gets him where he wants.

Babies are doing well.  Fia is sleeping through the night nicely just wish I could say the same for Max  He still insists on waking around 4 and I am struggling to get him to brake the habit.  Can't complain too much though as dealing with one baby at 4am is a lot easier than dealing with two!

Bottles!!!!!! I feel like I wash hundreds of them, its constant!! I would love someone to do his for me, just for a day (Lee this is a hint at you).  I would also love someone to wash and iron for me, do a bit of hoovering, clean the bathroom...I suspect however this isn't going to happen.

I shouted at Holly tonight and I'm really not sure why.  I think sometimes the noise effects my thinking and I just snap.  I did apologise but I feel guilty-that little emotion us mums permanently feel for some reason or another- I shall have to try harder I think.

Slightly different subject but today the government announced that they will be cutting child benefit for individuals who earn £44k.  This won't effect us unfortunately (I use this word as earning this would be a position we would love to be in at the moment) however seeing peoples reactions has been interesting.  £44k is not a massive amount of money but it is plenty to survive on, I have been on Netmums and so many people suggest it is not enough.  There also seems to be a massive class divide which is a real shame.  I also have to add that I there appears to be a massive irony in the fact that Tories biggest voters are middle income earners yet they are also the category taking the biggest financial hit at present.  I'm sure though they are just easing us in and we will all suffer at their forward 5 years and I suspect they will be losing the election.

Lastly..we are looking to book a holiday for next year.  Lees parents are off to Cornwall in July so we figured we would join them.  Need to find a holiday home or a caravan somewhere preferably as cheap as possible so its time to start hunting.

I know this is a random post but just thought I would do some thinking out loud to ease me back in. So until next time...

Friday, 3 September 2010

Jab day

Its been a couple of weeks but I have a spare ten minutes..yes ten whole thought I would spend it posting.  The twins and their jabs today and I'm not sure whether the waiting room experience was better or worse than the time spent in the nurses room.  Max and Fia were both hungry so a bit restless (although I guess I'm lucky they weren't screaming).  I spent the best part of the wait avoiding eye contact with everyone in the hope that I wouldn't have to have the usual conversations- no they are not identical (stupid question), yes they are good (although I wonder what the response would be if I replied "well this one is evil"), yes they are big due to being full term babies etc etc etc.  Anyway I manged roughly 10 minutes before the lady sitting opposite decided she was an expert and would give me some advice on how important routine is for twins...and NO she did NOT have twins herself!!!! I smiled pleasantry's whilst secretly wanting to smack her one and was relieved when the intercom called "Max and Fia Warren Relton to the nurses room". Well, the tale ends here as my ten minutes are up... 

Monday, 23 August 2010

family of five seeks...

One worry we had when discovering we were expecting twins was fitting our expanding family into our modest car.  With Holly still on a bumper seat it was impossible to fit two baby car seats in also so hesitantly we had to remove her seat.  Travelling, for Holly, involved being squashed between two babies on the back seat of a ford focus as there was no chance of all three fitting onto the back seat of my Peugeot 206.  So for the last 7 weeks we have been on a quest to find a car, a harder task than expected leaving me within an inch of writing a lonely hearts column...

family of 5 seeks car large enough to seat 7 with ample boot space.  Low mileage, good clean body and reliable engine essential.  Must be accessible to those on a tight budget!

Well this doesn't appear to exist on a tight budget so yesterday, with the advice of Lees' Dad we put a deposit on a 54 reg ford galaxy that comes in a clean £1000 over budget, double the amount we ideally wanted to spend. This car, however will make life easier, three kids in the back (sometimes four if you include my niece), space for the pushchair and shopping, plus its a comfortable drive.  Can't wait to collect it next week!!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Routine Update

Well as Lee has said we have had some success with our routine, however, the one we tried after reading the baby whisperer was not what bought this success.  The initial routine involved 3 hourly feeds and by day 2 the babies were so well feed they barely woke...this meant that activity time was completely non-existent.  On day 3 A contented House with Twins by Gina ford dropped through the letter box and it has proved an interesting and useful read.

I have heard many times that Gina ford pushes a strict routine that doesn't allow for individuality in babies and in part I would agree.  The routine she talks of is extremely structured- down to telling Mum when to eat!  This I feel is a step to far!!  However there is space for a certain amount of adaption and I have taken some advice she has given and implemented it into a routine that fits us, such as babies in bed by 7 o clock. This new routine is mostly working for us...most evenings the house falls silent at 7 apart for the sounds coming from Holly playing on the Wii that is.  This evening time is much needed, it gives Lee and I time with Holly and time with each other, it has also provided a sleep pattern that involves only one night feed although we are hoping to phase this feed out.

Between the two 'manuals' I have read I have managed to implement a structure that works for us and the babies.  I' very pleased I read them but would always say take what you can from what you read but don't use it as a bible and let it dictate your life.  If I listened to everything Gina ford had said I would be lonely by now as her day doesn't incorporate leaving the house.

Monday, 16 August 2010

One bold step for man, one giant leap for Kirsty and I.

So we have made it to, I suppose, the first major milestone in Max and Fia’s lives.  Has it really been six weeks already?  Has it really taken me that long to write my first blog post on here?  Well, yes it has!  It has been a very busy but already fulfilling month and a half - the fact that we have two seemingly content babies is testament to the both of us.  Quite frankly, I’m still surprised I haven’t left them in a supermarket trolley or something similar yet.  I must say that I’m quietly confident now that I won’t either!

I shall attempt to explain, from a Dad's point of view, how I have found living with twins for the past six weeks.  Hopefully it might help others in the long run as I have found literature specific for Dad's (i.e. one with lots of pictures and gory details!) can be hard to come by.  I'll start with some of the main changes in our household that we have had to get used to.

The biggest shock for me was not what appears in the bambino’s nappies when there is a quietly proud look on their face; nor how many metres (and yes, I mean metres!) that they can projectile vomit milk across the room; but simply the sheer amount of ‘stuff’ that is needed for the early months/years.  In the first couple of weeks we accumulated enough stuff to fill up our house.  Twice.  We’re working on the third time…

This is one of the, admittedly strange – in relation to caring for children generally not being a walk in the park, unless you’re walking through the park…  You know what I mean! - new things in our lives that has been difficult in some ways and it technically has nothing to do with caring for Max and Fia themselves, as finding a place for everything has become a challenge of Krypton Factor proportions.  Cupboards, drawers, wardrobes, cubby holes, the floor have all become full to the brim – even our pockets store things that have no other home!  But seriously, after all the horror stories I had heard previous to Max and Fia’s birth, I am finding - even though things like a lack of sleep are hard - that actually looking after them is so joyous, no matter how repetitive it may seem, that you forget about everything else.

This might, in part, have something to do with the fact that I have been working for (as weird as it sounds) a majority of their lives and do not see them as much as I would like, I guess I also do not have to constantly think about when their next feed is etc as Kirsty does during the day; but it obviously comes with its own pitfalls.  Namely that of very heavy sleep.

Kirsty is quite honestly a godsend, as for the last few weeks I have really struggled with some of the night feeds.  A combination of long hours at work and patchy sleep has lead to such heavy sleeping patterns that I can’t remember when the twins were last fed or sometimes even wake up to their calls for food at all!  On occasion I have woken in a panic thinking I still had either Max or Fia in my arms and fallen asleep.  I want to help Kirsty out as much as I can, considering she has to do the day shift as well as some of the night shift so you can see how it has become troublesome.  Without Kirsty prompting me or reminding me when they were last fed I would be finding the whole process much harder.  It’s not every night, but the push in the right direction is definitely something I need at two in the morning and I think I'm getting used to it.

Getting the twins in a broad day routine has helped a lot for the night feeds, generally they are quite good at keeping to the one proper night feed (approx 2am) and the later/early feeds that bookend it (10-11pm and 5/6am respectively).  That is apart from the moment in time I am writing this entry, apparently!

To sum up my first six weeks succinctly, here are the polar opposites of best and hardest things about being Max and Fia’s Dad.  The hardest thing is being away from them so much, as I feel I’m missing an important time in their development.  The best part?  Everything else.  Honestly, I enjoy every moment I spend with them, as I do with all of our suddenly massive family, but if I had to pick one thing - at the moment play time is my favourite.  Lot’s of smiles!

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh...We need some routine

After a few sleepless nights almost 6 weeks into our new life I have decided it's time to implement a set routine. Everyone kept telling me how important this is with twins, for my own sanity apparently, but I thought I would see how it goes.  The problem was that I would find myself up more in the night than asleep and I was slowly becoming grouchy.  On Saturday I did something I always swore I wouldn't do....I bought a 'baby manual'.  Top tips from the baby whisperer: Sleep by Tracy Hogg was the book of choice and it has given us some help so far.  This book is aimed a singletons but I am finding I can adapt it to twins easily.  The main priciple it works around is the acronym E.A.S.Y- Eat, Activity, Sleep and You.  We are currently attempting to implement this in a three hour routine and we have adapted the timings to suit the routine of Holly.  We want the twins to go to bed at 7 so that we have some time with Holly before her bedtime at 8 so I have implemented a three hour routine that incorporates a 6pm feed. 

The idea is that you feed baby, have some activity, put baby to sleep and have some you time before it starts all over again.  I was slightly concerned that at 6 weeks babies can't partake in much activity but the book does point out that for young babies activity can be just gazing at the wall (an activity my babies love).  Activity also includes bath time, changing time etc so it isn't too hard to fill.  As I said we wanted routine mainly so I could get more sleep, and Tracy Hogg suggests that a good day time routine leads to a good night time routine.  A cluster feed is suggested for babies that are having a growth spurt (although I am unsure how you would know this until you are already involved in a sleepness night), this consists of two feeds close together around bedtime; in this house at 6 and 8.  This is then followed by a dream feed at 10pm, this 'tanks up' baby to encourage a longer sleep period.  Both babies are fed at the same time and as they are similar sizes they should be able to sustain themselves for similar timings.

There are slightly mixed results on this at the moment although I'm feeling positive - partly due to not being woken til 2am last night.  Max only took one cluster feed but took the dream feed well, Fia, however, took both cluster feeds and not the dream feed.  Maybe if both had taken all three feeds slightly more sleep would have been had.

The other big thing we are taking from this book is the 'shush-pat' method to help with sleep.  fia is a geat self settler but Max doesn't find it so easy.  This recommened method has been used by Daddy and Max, it appears to work great for them, with Max settling easier last night.  I, however, am still trying to master this method but I'll keep shushing away in the meantime.

It is, however, early days and I'm not expecting too much just yet.  My aim is to get to 4am without a peep from either baby, hopefully maintaining this routine will help us get there. 

This book was definitely worth purchasing as it has given plenty of ideas how to help, just incase though I have ordered the contented house with twins.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

New Arrivals

After an eventful week Max and Fia arrived into this world on 1st July 2010 weighing 6lb and 6lb 12 respectively (yes-I was huge!).  Since that day, 5 weeks ago exactly, life in the Warren/Relton household has been strange.  Over night we grew from a quiet, well adjusted family of 3 to (what seems like) a huge family of 5.  I always intended to have 3 or 4 children (Lee may disagree here) however I thought it would be a gradual process, we would be a family of 4 for a while then 5 etc.  Going from one child to two is a big step however going from one to three is a gigantic leap.  This difference in size has made life interesting to say the least and for the first time in five weeks I am going to say this is hard!

I didn't think this was going to be easy, having one baby isn't easy however I have refused to admit this is hard (and there are some people I still won't admit it to).  Throughout the pregnancy I got all the usual comments faced by twin Mums

"double trouble"
"you've got your work cut out"
"how are you going to manage that" ((not so) reassuringly from my Nan)
"Congratulation but Good Luck!"

I always smiled and responded "we'll be fine, we are really lucky".

Now when "asked is it hard?" I respond "no everything just takes a little longer".  Well I have to say, that little longer makes it hard.
What with one is a 30 minute night feed is an hour night feed with two.
Where with one you might sterilise 8 bottles a day with two you do sixteen.
When one baby has been settled down there is still one crying waiting for their hug/feed/change/*insert here

Life now revolves around washing, cleaning bottles and feeding and if I'm really lucky there may be time for an uninterrupted hug with Holly or a kiss with Lee however that would be a good day.
Despite this I wouldn't change it, we are lucky-a thought I keep repeating to myself, many would love the opportunity to have one baby and we received two.

In return for the sleepless nights and testing days we will receive double the love and double the laughs. We have two little people to watch grow and develop, two that we can enjoy and nurture.  The next few years may be a challenge but its one I intend to succeed at.