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.

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Sellout

After ploughing a lonely little blogging furrow for almost four years I have decided to do a little bit more to promote HoT. I have always been a bit antsy about Mummy bloggers that make money off the back of their children – [puts on ancient rocker voice]I’m all about the ART, maaan, the writing process, being creeeeaaaative in my own virtual space [reverts to normal voice] –  but actually, I quite like the idea of connecting with a wider audience now that I’ve got a firmly established blogging identity*.

*I can’t believe I wrote that either.

I’m now a member of the Mumsnet Blogging Network. HoT is listed on their site and there’s a funky little badge to the right of the text you’re reading now. Apparently it means that I’m going to reach lots of new readers, connect with other bloggers and might eventually even make a teeny tiny bit of money, although I’m not entirely convinced about that part.

I have also set up a House of Twins Facebook page (it’s the thing to do, apparently) and at the moment I’m the only person on there, so drop by and give me a Like, or whatever it is that the cool kids do these days. I rather miss the old Facebook groups but I’m just a fuddy-duddy these days.

So, there we are. It’s all quite exciting. I just need to dislodge the song Sellout by Reel Big Fish from my brain.

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!

House of Twins – Q&A

So, for the benefit of any new readers and for any regulars that would like a refresher, here’s a House of Twins Q&A:

What is HoT?

I started blogging back in January 2008 on a Sunday afternoon when my five week old twin girls were sleeping between feeds and I felt like I was losing my mind. Initially it lived on a website called Babycentre, which I joined when I was pregnant. Then I moved it over to Blog.co.uk in April 2008 where it became House of Twins, or HoT for brevity.

Why write yet another boring blog about babies?

There are about twenty zillion parenting blogs out there. Many of them are shite. I’m sorry, but they are. Most are started in the first flush of pregnancy in that ‘I’m the first person to have a BAYBEE ever. Aren’t I AMAAAAZING?’ phase that only first-time expectant parents go through and list amazing achievements like ‘My baby is SMILING and it is only EIGHT weeks old. I have birthed a GENIUS’! Actually, some of my posts are a bit like that but I try to rein it in, promise. I always aimed to offer a slightly different take on things.

I actually wanted to be honest about parenting. Specifically, the difficulties associated with parenting twins. Many blogs fall into the trap of presenting a rose-tinted view of having babies and I wanted to tell people the truth. Yes, some bits are brilliant but there are also phases where everything is just horrible. I love my girls, my goodness I love them to bits but there have been many, many occasions in the last two years and eight months when I have fantasised about walking out of my house and running off to Peru. Through writing HoT I found out that this was absolutely normal.

I talk about the stuff that other people are afraid to tell you, like the horrors of pregnancy, the reality of giving birth, how debilitating sleepless nights really are, the agonies of: weaning, controlled crying, routines, potty traning; and the really nasty stuff like anxiety and depression and baby poo. I also wanted to put a vaguely humorous slant on all this stuff so as not to put off anyone that might be thinking of having babies!

I try to balance this out with cool stuff though,  like being told that your twins are non-identical and finding out when they are thirteen months old that they are actually genetically identical and feeling like a fool; becoming a (minor) local celebrity; the joys of witnessing the interactions of twins; gloating over their achievements; watching them grow up into little people and think that maybe, just maybe, I might not be quite as bad at this parenting lark as I often (and by often I mean every single day) think I am.

How do I find the time to write HoT?

Simple answer: I don’t. It used to be easier when the girls napped during the day but now I just about manage to dash on and write a post in the evening after putting the girls to bed, spending some time with DH (Darling Husband) in case you’re wondering, working (oh yeah, I work full time as well), having a (limited) social life and keeping up with current affairs like X Factor and Supersizers…

This is actually good news for you. Subscribing to and reading HoT is not going to take up hours of your time. I usually manage to write a dozen posts a month (sometimes less, sometimes more) so it’s a fairly limited investment.

Is there anything you don’t talk about?

1. I won’t refer to anyone by their full name – occasionally R and G will be referred to by their proper names – but all of the adults, and the children that don’t belong to me are referred to by first initial only
2. I won’t whinge about dh. I have never been a ‘Sex and the City’ type woman that sits with her ‘girlfriends’ and discusses intimate details of relationships and I’ve carried that practice over to my blog. My relationship with dh is private and I choose to keep it that way.
3. I won’t slag off people I know in ‘real life’ – if you’re looking for soap-style whingeing about family and friends, you won’t find it here. There have been MANY occasions when I have had a bad day, wanted to write a spleen-venting blog about someone and had to physically restrain myself from typing out something nasty and pressing ‘submit’. From time to time a real life person tells me they have been mortally offended by something I have written that they felt was directed at them. I can honestly tell them it wasn’t.
4. I won’t tell you what I had for breakfast. Honestly, who cares?

Aren’t your children going to hate you when they are old enough to read this?

Probably. They’ll hate me anyway so I may as well give them good reason…

Welcome to HoT 2.0!

If you’ve been following the antics of House of Twins on Blog.co.uk since January 2008, welcome back! Those shoes are gorgeous and is that a new haircut? Thanks for following us over here. I’m not planning to change too much so make yourselves comfy, grab a drink and a handful of crisps and I’ll be back with you in a minute.

If you’ve inadvertently stumbled across this blog on your voyage across t’internet then I shall wave hello <HELLO!> and welcome you to HoT as well – you’re looking lovely. Have you been on holiday? Hopefully you’ll come back as well from time to time…

So, HoT 1.0 lived on another blog hosting site and over the last year or so, as I’ve become increasingly blog-savvy, I have become a bit fed-up with closed nature of that site. WordPress meets my needs so much better and so I’ve decided to make a new home over here.

My old blog host was SO stupid that I coldn’t actually transfer my old posts over here in any normal way. They have been grouped into PDF files and are here if you’re bored enough to read them (warning: they are small novels so I’d advise reading them – extremely – selectively):

House of Twins – Jan-Aug 2010

House of twins 1.0 – 2009

House of Twins 1.0 – 2008

So, that’s where we were and here is where we are now. Got that? Good. I’ll be asking questions later…