One Born Every Minute liveblog 9/1/2013

Squeaky bum time. Almost thought I wouldn’t have enough time to do this here liveblog tonight. The whole school drop off, work, commute thing really impacts on the whole ‘having a life’ thing, if you can call snarking at a TV programme from behind a keyboard living, which I don’t really.

Tonight’s episode focuses on two young ‘uns, 23 and 20 respectively. See you back here at 9pm. I’m off to watch some track cycling highlights on ITV 54  4

21.00 OOH. Terribly distracted by the cyclists and nearly missed the start. *breathe*

21.01 I just did a very loud OOOH at the twins in the title sequence. Twins and cyclists cause me to make this noise, it seems. Imagine the effect that TWIN CYCLISTS would have…

21.03 I’d always have Dh as my birth partner. I love my Mum dearly, but it wouldn’t occur to me to choose her over Dh. Plus, I’d want to make him suffer as he got me into this mess in the first place. Share the pain!

21.06 I’ve been in Oceana in Leeds. It had an air of sex and menace about it. I was wearing a reasonably short dress and felt like a nun.

21.08 Feeling slightly panic-attacky about some highly unsuitable bounder knocking one of my girls up at an unsuitable age. I might buy some ninja stars to ward off oiks.

21.11 Are ninja stars legal? I suspect they’re not.

21.13 16 kids and counting! *sets V+*

21.14 I hear the name Biaggio, I imagine a Vespa-driving Italian stallion. I don’t imagine a long ginger haired bloke from Leeds in a hoodie and combat trousers for dwarves.

21.17 I don’t have any tattoos. I did have *some* piercings. Don’t think they quite equate to the pain of childbirth though. ALTHOUGH WHAT WOULD I KNOW? I HAD A SUNROOF.

21.18 Have these people not heard of condoms? The pill? The coil? Any contraception at all? No? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

21.20 Maybe he spelt Bilbo wrong and it stuck.

21.21 Mmmm diamorphine. Mmmm. (loved diamorphine. Maybe I loved it too much.)

21.23 It’s nice that he was pleased about it *lemonface*

21.30 I miss Nancy the receptionist from One Born Southampton ‘Good morning Nancy speakING…’

21.31 NO. NO. NO. I DO NOT like this in-car footage. Please stop doing this.

21.32 I can’t imagine being a birth partner for R and G. I’d be too busy beating the living shit out of the cad that’s knocked them up. Unless he’s a doctor. Or a cyclist. Or a cyclist that’s training to be a doctor. Or a lawyer.

21.39 Ummm. Oh-kay. I didn’t realise the cutting of the cord was a power struggle. Iiiiinteresting.

21.42 Eh? I’d call having a baby a fair old acceleration of the whole relationship thing. Is it me?

21.45 The cork coming out of a bottle moment. It defies logic. It really does.


21.55 I was well good at baking babies. Like it’s a thing I could control…

21.58 I see your 6lb1oz and raise you 6lb5oz AND 6lb7oz IN YOUR FACE NATURE. IN. YOUR. FACE. (ahem)

Oooh. Next week looks shouty. And screamy. When are the twins on? Tell me that. I WANT TO SEE TWINS.


Fin. Presque.

Here’s the thing. I actually wrote this post about a month ago and sat on it while I decided what to do. All of the stuff below still stands – I won’t be writing about R and G and our life in the House of Twins any more – but I have really enjoyed liveblogging One Born Every minute over the last couple of years and the new series is starting tonight and…well, I’ll certainly do a couple of episodes and see how I feel.

Anyway. Here’s why I’m ending the House of Twins blog:

House of Twins began life on the Babycentre website shortly after they developed their social networking platform and allowed users to create their own journals. It was a wet Sunday morning, Dh was working and the month-old R and G were snoozing peacefully. I created my Babycentre social networking profile, wrote my first journal entry ‘A little about me’ and said that I wanted to write a journal to satisfy a creative itch (and privately, to prevent my brain from dissolving into a puddle of sleep-deprived mush.)

In April 2008 I duplicated the journal on a separate blogging platform and plucked the name House of Twins from the air because I couldn’t think of anything better. By then the blog had become my public soapbox, on which I railed, ranted and tried to reason with myself about parenthood and, more specifically, All The Things About Other People That Drove Me Mad. Also, I felt that lots of other Mummy blogs were painting a rather rosy picture of parenthood whereas I was determined to be truthful. Parenting is both great and horrible, often at the same time and I wanted to portray that honestly.

Occasionally I was too honest for my own good. I certainly pissed a few people off with things I wrote. People questioned the wisdom of me writing about my mental health so honestly and publicly. I wrote about it because I am a crap liar. I couldn’t present a happy-clappy front whilst privately wishing I could run away. It’s part of the HoT story.

A side-note on me. The dark days of September 2008-March 2012 are – hopefully – firmly behind me and I came off my anxiety tablets in July, with no ill-effects and no November crisis. I now feel more like the early 2007 version of me than the terribly sad, frightened and bewildered creature that I became when the girls were small. I have kept my (current) good mental health quiet deliberately because I didn’t want to jinx it, but I feel really good at the moment (apart from my early mid-life crisis, but that’s not for here.)

I knew at some point I really ought to stop writing about R and G and earlier this year I decided that I would keep HoT going until the end of 2012 and bring it to a graceful end.

Why now? Well, the girls are now at school and they will soon be fluent readers and internet searchers. They don’t know that I write about them and I don’t want to get bullied at school because of HoT, or for them to read it and feel that I don’t love them or to feel exposed. I simply have no time to write HoT now and do it justice. I spent a lot of time writing about teeth and we’re now at the point where the girls are going to start losing the gnashers I waited so long for them to get. Real life has well and truly taken over and things like HoT have been squeezed to the margins. Finally, I’m simply not that cross about it all anymore. The things that mattered to me in 2008 and 2009 no longer seem that important. I can happily read or hear something now and think no more of it whereas 3-4 years ago I was a total keyboard warrior. I’m not totally reformed – occasionally I read something on Facebook or Twitter that is SO MIND-NUMBINGLY STUPID that I actually have to sit on my hands to prevent myself from replying but I’m mostly very well-behaved these days.

I think I have acquired a modicum of wisdom over the last five years and I suppose I ought to share it before signing off:

  1. Whatever you write you’re going to annoy someone, even something seemingly innocuous and that’s not something you can control.
  2. This too shall pass. I bloody hated this phrase when the girls were smaller, but it is annoyingly true. See also: it’s just a phase.
  3. Whatever you’re going through, someone else is going through something much worse. They may enjoy constantly reminding you of this in order to make you feel guilty.
  4. Every household, even a child-free household, should have a plentiful supply of baby wipes. They are useful for EVERYTHING.
  5. Some people, no matter how generous you’re feeling, will get on your tits for no apparent reason.
  6. Just because your children are friends, you don’t have to be friends with their parents
  7. If people vaguely promise you ‘help’ with your baby/ies, make them sign a contract. In blood.
  8. You can cope with a lot more than you think, especially if you get a decent amount of sleep.
  9. Just when you think you’ve cracked it, something happens and you realise you’re still a hopeless hack
  10. Having a baby won’t magically heal a relationship that’s already going wrong. It will make a bad situation much MUCH worse. Dh and I are lucky and we really liked each other before we had the girls. Thankfully, five years down the line we still do. That said, you also have to work at a relationship and you both have to want to do so.

Finally, I say this to Dh a lot (probably to convince myself as much as him) but I am firmly convinced that we will look back on this time at some point in the future and feel ridiculously proud at what we achieved with the girls. That or we’ll be insane. One of the two.

One Born Every Minute liveblog 2/1/2013

I’m blaming Dh for this (if anyone ever wrote about him he’d be described as ‘Long-suffering’.) I was all set to give the liveblogging thing up along with the rest of the HoT enterprise but I mentioned that a new series of One Born was starting tonight, he asked if I was going to do my usual and looked a bit surprised and pouty when I said no. Then he casually threw in the whole ‘Don’t you get loads of page views and visitors when you do it…?’ thing and my competitive nature kicked in.

I’m starting a distance learning course in psychology at the end of the month so most of my evenings will be taken up with studying but for an hour a week, on a Wednesday I’ll try and do the liveblog thing. I suppose a study of people giving birth could be called psychological research, yes?

The blurb on the Channel 4 website states that tonight’s episode includes the usual two couples: one with lots of false starts and one with natural birth and active labour. I’d like to say that I won’t write anything in a ‘comedy’ Northern accent but I can’t promise that and I need to use up some cheese from Christmas so I might be in a stilton-induced fug later.

Be back here at 9pm or be the Australian Olympics team at London 2012 *loserface*

20.56pm. Evening! Gok Wan has stolen the format of one of my favourite ever tv shows ‘Would Like to Meet’. It was on BBC about 8 years ago and I loved it. Gok is a shameless hussy and I love him.

21.01 Buckle in lads. “Every minute…of every hour….of every day….”

21.02 there’s always some dick that blows up a surgical glove and thinks it’s the funniest thing EVAH.

21.11 Ok, confession time. I struggle with the whole ‘I want a natural birth because that’s how it should be done’ mindset because I always want to reply: ‘I’d rather have a live, healthy baby thanks to intervention rather than a sick or dead baby because I insisted on a ‘natural’ birth that went wrong’. Yes,hundreds of years ago all births were natural but women generally gave birth to a lot more children and more of them died in childbirth or in early childhood. If a natural birth works for you: great. If it doesn’t, you shouldn’t feel like a failure. **RANT OVER**


21.15 In a slightly alarming role-reversal, Dh has just said ‘Big guns’. That’s MY line.

21.16 Sod the diamonds and handbags. I got an iPod after I gave birth to R and G. Much more useful.

21.17 There are three couples tonight (I think) and apparently this guy looks like a fat Frankie Boyle.

21.20 Oh no. I don’t like this ‘car on way to hospital bit’. Makes it all seem really staged.

21.22 ‘I want a natural birth’ rapidly becomes ‘GIVE ME THE DRUGS’ with the most vociferous natural birthers, doesn’t it? *smugface*

21.24 The word speculum makes my insides curl up and die. Bad experiences when pregnant. Bad, bad experiences *hears chopper overhead, imagines ‘Nam flashbacks*

21.29 If, as Beyonce sang, you like it you should put a ring on it. Maliyah was teeny. V cute, but teeny.

21.34 This dad to be has the beard-hair combo of a man that has a technicolour dreamcoat in is wardrobe AH-AH-AHHHH.

21.36 Or Matt Berry.

21.42 “She did some chanting, yeah”. So going in the midwife book of birthing anecdotes.

21.47 I am actually yelling IT’S THE BLACK BUTTON YOU HIPPY at the telly. I knew the chutney was a bad idea.

21.54 I love the WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME YOU FREAKS face and cry that newborn babies do. They look so cross.

21.59 You just hope that when the dad has had a colourful past and says lots of good things about meeting someone that changes them and that they’ll bring a baby up right…you just hope that they deliver on everything they say.

22.01 That felt like quite a low-key opener to the series. Three reasonably straightforward births, three nice names (for a change), very little drama (c-section aside.) During the preview of next weeks’ show, where the mum of a prospective mum said she’d take the pain away in a heartbeat, I commented to Dh that I’d actually like the girls to suffer a bit, especially G if she gets knocked up by Dappy. I’ll be there cackling “THAT’LL LEARN YOU GIRL! THIS IS FOR THE TIMES YOU PEED ON THE FLOOR WHEN YOU WERE TWO AND IN A MOOD WITH ME. TAKE THAT!”.

I’m a horrible mother. See you next week.

We’ve got five on it

Tomorrow I become the joint owner of two five year old girls, which is weird because last time I looked R and G were toddlers and I was wondering if they would ever actually reach school age and if I would be sane enough to appreciate it when they did.

Prior to the girls’ fourth birthday I was wondering whether they would ever actually night train (G managed it in the spring/summer and R in the autumn) and wondering what we’d do in the nine months before they started school. I was determined to just let them be children for a bit before they went on to the full-time education treadmill, with all that entails. I think we managed that and had a fairly amazing summer with a family holiday, the Jubilee celebrations and the whole London 2012 thing.

The girls have been at school since September and as a family we are still adjusting to the changing rhythms of our days and weeks. We were settling into a pattern when they both (separately) had chicken pox and everything got thrown up in the air again. Things will settle down. They generally do.

We attended their first parents’ evening prior to half-term and came out from the meetings with their respective teachers feeling extremely proud and impressed at how well R and G had adapted to school. There have been some teething problems: G’s determination to learn everything and be best friends with everyone at once has impacted on her behaviour at home because she is constantly exhausted (having her at home for the last few days with The Pox has reminded me how sweet she actually is) and R is slowly emerging from her sister’s shadow and learning to tell people how good she actually is at things, instead of hiding her talents and only revealing them when she’s absolutely ready to do so.

They are both fiercely competitive in different ways. G seems quite fluffy and airheaded but she’s got a well-hidden ruthless streak. They both have kindness charts in their respective classrooms and G was very proud when her name went on to the ‘Kindness kite’. R, slightly affronted, asked what she’d done to achieve the accolade. G’s sage reply was ‘Well, you do something REALLY NICE for someone and when you’ve done it, TELL A TEACHER’. R followed her sister’s advice and her name went on to the ‘Kindness tree’ a few days later.  R’s competitiveness is probably summed up best by her reaction to watching GB cyclists ‘only’ winning silver at the Paralympics (even now, when reminded about it, she will berate me for being fair and cheering all of the competitors, not just the ones I wanted to win) and the fact that she finally got the ten achievement stickers she needed to get a prize (a notebook), and promptly giving said prize away to her sister.

I was concerned that the school transition would lead to a rapid loss of innocence, but oddly that hasn’t quite happened yet. They have learned some interesting lessons though. R takes what people tell her extremely literally and was terribly upset when one of her friends said that a party the girls had been invited to had already happened and they’d missed it, when they hadn’t. I had to explain that her friend was joking (not lying – definitely not lying) and that sometimes people did that. We were walking to school one day when one of R’s classmates leapt up to them and said ‘I STOOD ON AN ANT AND IT WAS FARTING’. R and G both giggled uncertainly and R whispered ‘Mummy, what’s farting?’. G lives on her own Lola-like world so I wonder if she’ll ever lose that innocent quality. I think R will become more cynical and less innocent through experience.

I don’t quite know what to expect next. By their sixth birthday they’ll be in Year 1 and Reception will be a distant memory. They might have learnt to swim (every week I watch them at swimming lessons and pray that one day they might actually take their feet off the bottom of the pool) and they may no longer have stabilisers on their bikes. They are already making good headway with learning to read, so I reckon (hope?) they’ll be reasonably fluent by then (there’s only so much phonics one can cope with.)

This will be the last annual update I write on HoT though, as I’m going to end this blog at the end of 2012. There will be a separate post on this so I won’t go into it here but I think R and G’s sixth year is going to be great (although slightly less exciting than 2012.)


R had it two weeks ago. G is on day 2 of her 5-day quarantine period. We are Chicken Pox central here. After being exposed to the virus on five separate occasions in their (very nearly) five years we were starting to think they had some strange immunity to it. Not so. Turns out sixth time is the charm for the girls.

R actually didn’t fare too badly with it. She had around 30 spots, large but evenly-spaced around her body. She had a temperature (had to dust off the still-just-about-in-date Calpol that we hadn’t used for months) and was sleepy and off her food for a couple of days but other than that, wasn’t too bad. She was well enough to do art and craft things, puzzles and demanded that Dh do phonics practice with her after lunch because that’s when they did it at school. The main issue was that the girls’ birthday party was on day 5 of her quarantine period, and had to be cancelled. It has been rearranged for early January and both of them were really good about it.

We were rather hoping that, if G were destined to get Chicken Pox, she would get it very soon after her sister. Instead her body decided to wait until the point that we thought she might have escaped it entirely. Yesterday morning she leapt into our bedroom wearing her Cinderella dressing-up dress and bellowed LOOK AT MY RASH DADDY! She is now covered from head to toe in tiny, red, extremely angry-looking spots. She is so itchy that every so often she actually howls in pain (she’s our drama queen but on this occasion I don’t blame her.) We are trying out all of the remedies that were recommended for R and didn’t need: bicarbonate of soda in the bath, calomine lotion and cream. She looks so sad and can’t bear cuddles for very long because they make her itch.

It’s horrible when they’re ill but I’m actually relieved that the girls have finally got Chicken Pox. All of their friends had it when they were much younger, so they are in a minority of children in their year that have had time off school with it. G should be feeling much better by the end of this week and might even go back to school on Friday if her spots have scabbed over (they might mass together and become one massive spot – scary.) She isn’t missing much: all of the Christmas activities at school are taking place next week and she should be absolutely fine for Christmas, the girls’ sleepover at Nanny and Grandad’s between  Christmas and New Year and their belated party in January.

However it’s the girls’ fifth birthday on Wednesday, which is day 4 of G’s quarantine period and means that she’ll be off school on her birthday but R will have to go in. We didn’t have any grand plans for their birthday as it is on a school day and their party was supposed to have already happened, but we have to make sure that R doesn’t feel left out. She’ll make damn sure of it anyway.

Alice? Who the…

Meet Alice:


She’s Lola’s new companion – hopefully. I had a horrible moment this morning when I went to feed Lola and there was no movement in her hutch. I gently tapped her little house and there was no response. I told everyone she’d died as well, including the girls. R and G didn’t believe me so I took them out to show them the lack of activity in Lola’s house. At that moment, a black twitchy nose appeared and Lola scampered over to munch some hay. Relief!

Anyway, one of the signs of guinea pig depression is lethargy and Lola is definitely suffering from that, although she is still eating well. Dh and the girls bought Alice (named, according to G, after Alice the camel who lives in wonderland) home this afternoon and she’s in the indoor cage for now while she gets used to us. Dh told the girls to be quiet, so they decided to dress up in pseudo-Halloween costumes and ran around the house howling like ghosts at the tops of their voices.

We’re going to introduce Alice and Lola to each other slowly, as they may fight to start with. Hopefully things will work out and Lola will start to feel a bit happier.

Farewell Charlie

Charlie the guinea pig died yesterday.

Dh went out to feed Charlie and Lola and reappeared with his ‘I have to deliver bad news’ face on. I was really shocked. Charlie was less than two years old and we expected the piggies to live for another couple of years, at least. She hadn’t shown any signs of illness in the last few days (although apparently guinea pigs hide illness as a defence mechanism) and had been eating normally and running around as usual. There were some loud bangs from the fireworks over the weekend but they have coped fine with them before.

I told the girls this morning. R went very quiet, developed a very wobbly lip and launched herself at me for a big cuddle. I stroked her hair as she sobbed quietly. G looked confused for a moment and said ‘Yes but when can we have breakfast?’. I asked her how she felt and she said ‘Not sad’. I suggested that the girls made cards to remember Charlie by. G said ‘Charlie won’t be able to see them and anyway, we didn’t make cards for the fish when they died’. Sometimes G is so very much like her father/Richard Dawkins that it is frightening!

It was with some trepidation that I went out to see Lola this morning. She seems to be fine, although hadn’t touched her food since yesterday. This is also quite common in guinea pigs. The loss of a companion can make them depressed and off their food. I brought her indoors and the girls and I gave her lots of cuddles. She has now eaten all of her food, plus some carrot that the girls and Dh fed her earlier.

We’re going to keep an extra-special eye on Lola over the next few days to see how she copes with the loss of her companion. Charlie was always the first to the food (she practically inhaled lettuce leaves) so Lola is probably adjusting to having first dibs at the buffet for a change. I’m not sure whether I want to get a new baby guinea pig as we might end up in a cycle of replacing piggies. Plus, we don’t know if Charlie’s death was a freak incident or if Lola has something untoward too.

Charlie – you loved your food but didn’t like eating out of our hands. Every time we cleaned your hutch out to tried to escape Steve McQueen-style across the garden. You were always the first to the vegetable buffet. You had quite a lot of junk in your trunk despite the guinea pig run and squeaked indignantly if you thought we had forgotten to feed you. You were a good and true friend to Lola and we will all miss you.