Interview with dh – family life

My questions and comments are in bold and Dh’s replies are in normal font.

What do you do?

Train driver, dad to G & R.

Shift work…I swear that several people from nursery think that you don’t work…

…cos I wonder in wearing a t-shirt and shorts

Yes, some of them are really weird about it…like, does your husband not work? Oh..

Everyone else is wearing suits and…

Running backwards and forwards…you’re strolling in…strolling home. You do scary shifts…40 hours a week as a train driver. You tend to work a lot of weekends as well. It means you’re around a lot during the week

It has its advantages

I work at home two days a week so I’m beavering away in my office and I can hear you bellowing at one of the children. It’s generally NO GRACE NO NO GRACE STOP DOING THAT GRACE!

I don’t bellow to start with…after the first five times I bellow.

I don’t think I’d ever heard you shout until we had children

It’s most frustrating when they’re hurting each other, or I think they’re going to get hurt if they’re climbing and grabbing something that’s going to hurt them and they won’t listen. They’ll get upset but you think ‘No, I just don’t want you to get hurt’. They’ve stopped biting and hitting each other. Now they’re just rough with each other and climb things.

I find it strange that we’re seen as young parents.

We get that a lot don’t we?

My Mum was 19 when she had me. In one generation it seems to be normal that you have kids when you’re fifteen years older than us. It’s where we live though. We live in quite a snobby place so the parents are older. We’re probably the youngest parents at nursery [and we’re not that young!] but you can’t ask!

The end of 46 Days

At the beginning of March I had a crazy idea. Instead of giving something up for Lent, I would try to do something every day. The idea for 46 Days came from there. Today is the 46th and last day.

I thought I’d have a look back through the last 45 days and see what’s happened:

0 people offended (that I’m aware of…)

1 holiday booked

1 disastrous week of night training

1 graduation attended

1 Margot Leadbetter moments

2 bouts of nostalgia

2 guinea pigs (Charlie and Lola) arrived

2 fish (Eddie and Bob) bought

3 fish (Maisy, Eddie and Bob) died

3 Easter bonnets made

4 3rd birthday parties attended

4 One Born Every Minute liveblogs

5 separate illnesses (2 for me, 2 for G, 1 for R)

6 twinny observations (I could have written hundreds of posts on this)

7 Friday photos

8 rants (I’m amazed there aren’t many more)

That’s a fairly average seven or so weeks in the HoT. Ok, so you don’t buy guinea pigs and kill off goldfish every day, but everything else was pretty normal…for us at least. It’s a nice little snapshot of our lives.

I only missed one night – when I was away for work – and I made up for it the next night with two long posts.  I have to say, as the weather improved dramatically in April I found it much harder to generate enough enthusiasm to sit down every night and write a blog post. Last night I ‘cheated’ and uploaded the Friday photos from my iphone whilst slumped on the sofa after another busy day. Thank Steve Jobs for the WordPress app!

I speculated at the beginning of all this that a period of sustained creativity might make me want to do some creative writing. It hasn’t, but only because I haven’t had time after writing 46 Days posts. There are a couple of ideas percolating in my brain but I can’t commit them to screen just yet.

Instead I’ve been exploiting my creative mind in different ways. I’m really into card-making at the moment. If there’s an event coming up I’ve probably made a card for it! My cards aren’t going to make me rich and they definitely look ‘home made’ but I hope people appreciate the effort. I attempted my first scrapbook – a graduation present for my Mum. I love getting creative with photos, bit of paper, a stack of embellishments and a ton of pritt stick. I have also made great progress with my latest cross-stitch and am already thinking about the next stitching project. I might do something really challenging this time…

As I get older I can no longer sit in front of the telly of an evening once the girls are in bed. I have to be doing other things, so that I feel my evenings aren’t wasted. That reminds me…I have very strict rules on my ‘me time’ activities. They are all done in the evening in the precious few hours I have when the girls are asleep and before I go to bed. During the day I’m either spending time with the girls or working.

I’m looking forward to having a few nights off (maybe even a week or two) from blogging – or the tyranny of the blank page (which only affected me twice in 46 days) and the feeling that I ‘have’ to write something. I might try something similar later in the year. November is my bogey-month so I might try 30 Days or something like that to ward off the SAD.

That’s all in the future. Now, I’m off to make a Mojito and await our take-away delivery.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Lobotomy

NEWSFLASH: Women who have children do not have full-frontal lobotomies.

SHOCK HORROR!

There seems to be a perception that all women, once they become mothers, instantly dissolve into a massive puddle of hormones the moment they come into contact with a baby. Any baby. Babies in the street, babies in shops, babies in workplaces apparently reduce us mummies to gibbering idiots.

Erm, nope. To be perfectly honest I have very limited interested in children that aren’t R and G. I absolutely adore them. I also like babies and children belonging to friends and family. I’m hopeless with them, but I like them and I’m interested in their development and all-round loveliness. Babies of strangers? Not so much. My womb doesn’t twang the moment I catch sight of a baby.

Amazingly women who are mothers are also perfectly capable of having interesting conversations about things that have nothing to do with babies or children. Speaking for my people, we actually love talking about non-child things. The first thing that people tend to know about me is that I have twins. Some people move beyond that. Most people don’t.

I don’t mention R and G at work unless someone asks me a direct question about them and even then I try to steer the conversation round to something else? Why? Work is my grown-up time; my escape from family life. I have a photo of the girls on my desk and people are welcome to look and ask questions – I won’t be rude – but it’s not what I’m there for. I can’t bear women that constantly reference their children in conversation in the workplace. Do they know that they are spouting drivel? The funny thing that thingy did is probably hilarious to them but no-one else. Everyone smiles when someone tells an anecdote but you can actually see the boredom, the ‘Kill me now’ look in their eyes.

Yes, I’m a mother. Yes, I have twins. Yes, I think they’re marvellous. I also have three degrees. I’m a Librarian. I work with social workers. I’m married to Dh and we’ve been together for years and still like each other. I love music. I do cross-stitch and make cards. I love shopping. I adore handbags. I like expensive make-up. I watch television. I do some writing. I’m an avid people-watcher. I love sport (Harlequins RFC, Surrey CC and Boston Red Sox, since you asked). I’m a space geek. I love 19th Century British History. I’m a bit fond of trains. I’m a Socialist. I’m an avid reader. I love my family and friends. I like eating out. I’m fond of wine and cocktails (not together). I’m sarcastic and love nothing more than some good humoured banter. None of this has stopped being true since I had R and G.

When you pigeonhole me as ‘just’ a mother with nothing else of note to offer you devalue me and every women who also happens to be a mother on the planet. We don’t lose our minds when we have children. Our minds are enriched by children, not decimated. When you choose to define me in such narrow terms you expose the limits of your imagination.

Maybe you’re the one that has had the lobotomy.

p.s. This  post is not about *one* person or one event. It’s not aimed at *anyone* in particular. It’s a general observation. Ok?

Holiday! Celebrate!

We’ve just booked our first family holiday.

The last holiday Dh and I had was almost FOUR years ago. We spent a week in the Cotswolds and brilliantly managed to time it so that my morning (pah! All day) sickness started in the service station on the way there. I proceeded to see almost everything we ate on the holiday – every hotel breakfast, every cream tea and every evening meal. On the first day I ate a full English breakfast…and promptly saw it in reverse mere minutes later. By the final day I was reduced to nibbling a piece of toast. I kept falling asleep at random intervals and was only ok when I was a passenger in the car, which meant Dh did a lot of random driving around. One of the few highlights was buying my first maternity bras because my underwired ones were agony thanks to my MASSIVE SORE BAZOOKAS.Our romantic holiday, booked before I found out I was pregnant, was a bit of a washout.

We haven’t managed to have a holiday since because, well, we couldn’t quite face the hassle of transporting everything the girls need to a different place for a few days and then carting it back home again. I admire people that take their small children on holidays. They must be made of much sterner stuff than I. Basically, I’m a massive wuss.

We’ve done a couple of nights away from home with the girls. Two of those were very cheaty because we went and stayed with people that already had twins so they knew what to expect. We stayed in a hotel for a wedding last year and the girls LOVED it. They strutted around the hotel like they owned the place and thought being ‘grown-up’ was simply brilliant. That, coupled with the fact that the girls are toilet trained and desperate to do anything that might involve being ‘grown-up girls’ inspired us to think that maybe we could all cope with a proper holiday.

So, we’re off to <insert name of well-known UK holiday park> for five days in May. To compound our stupidity bravery we’re doing a Monday-Friday break, so the girls will miss three whole days at nursery. This is completely and utterly unheard of. It nearly put Dh off the idea completely but I managed to persuade him that we wouldn’t all kill each other on the third day….

Best of all, it’s at the start of three weeks off work for me in May and June, so I have two weeks at home to recover afterwards.

Whoop! Whoop! 🙂

Just the three of us

Yesterday I got a glimpse of an alternative life…and it was a bit scary.

R didn’t go to nursery because she had been ill over the weekend. She had started to eat again but was very lethargic and sleepy so dh and I decided to keep her at home and send G to nursery. Dh and I managed to juggle things so that I could still work, but I spent the day working at home just in case G went down with R’s bug and we got an SOS call from nursery.

R spent the day surgically attached to Daddy and I felt extremely left out. It was so much quieter without G. I thought I might quite enjoy it but something didn’t feel quite right. The three of us sat down together for lunch and ate quietly. It was all very civilised and R was super grown-up on her own but I didn’t like it.

My mind constructed an alternative to the House of Twins – The House of the Only Child. The HotOC was a quiet, ordered place. R sat quietly doing puzzles and painting, Dh played with his phone and I felt discombobulated. I realised how much R needs G – how much we all need G. R looked utterly lost without her partner in crime in a way that G didn’t when the reverse happened a couple of weeks ago. G is extremely comfortable in her own skin whereas R is much more self-conscious, something that she hides beneath a thick veneer of mischief. R needs G’s confidence because it rubs off on her.

Before we had children, Dh and I discussed how many we would have and we tentatively agreed that we would be happy to have an only child. Interestingly, many of our only child friends (whom I would consider to be the nicest, most sociable, well-adjusted people I know) threw their hands up in horror when we told them. They said it was hard to grow up without a playmate and that it forced them to make friends outside of their immediate family, something that took them far from their comfort zone. One went so far as to urge us to reconsider, but dh and I were fairly adamant.

Of course, life happens when you’re busy making other plans and R and G arrived together, making the whole only child/sibling thing a moot point. We often despair at how much work twins are and how exhausted we feel most of the time. However, having had a glimpse of the (very quiet, chilled-out) alternative, I believe that you get what you’re meant to have and we were too quiet to have an only child. Dh and I needed to have both R and G to bring us out of ourselves.

I just need to remind myself of that when they drive me to distraction with their antics.