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.

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!


The wheels are NOT falling off

The wheels are not falling off.

This is my current mantra. I have had a stomach bug since Saturday night that I can’t shake off. R threw up once on Saturday afternoon, then seemed fine and had severe vomiting and diarrohea yesterday. I don’t know how many complete changes of bedding and clothing we’ve done in the last couple of days.

G went to nursery today and I stayed at home with R. At 12.45pm I got an SOS call from nursery. G had a temperature and needed to be picked up. I phoned dh and as he was ‘spare’ (i.e. at work but not driving a train) he was able to leave and pick G up. G has a cold and is extremely snotty. However, I do not believe for a single second that her temperature was the 39 degrees that nursery claimed. We took it shortly after she came home and it was a perfectly reasonable 35.5.

R now seems completely fine and is back to her normal mischievous self. Nursery has a policy of excluding any child with a temperature for 48 hours, so she can’t go back in until Thursday. We broke the news to R earlier that she would be going into nursery on her own tomorrow. It didn’t go down well.

Dh is (touch wood) fine and is escaping it all so far. I can’t believe that R and G have two completely different ailments have haven’t caught each other’s bugs. Yet. I keep losing any food I attempt to eat and falling asleep at random intervals, which is obviously really, really helpful.

Oh yes, and we started night training the girls on Friday. The first night went really well….

In the immortal words of Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ I’m going to just keep swimming.

The wheels are NOT falling off.

Sick sister

Dh got an SOS call from nursery this morning. G had a temperature and was feeling very sorry for herself. It transpired that she wasn’t at death’s door, but she wasn’t exactly ‘right’ either. Dh consulted with me and we decided that he would look after G at home this afternoon and that R would stay at nursery.

This news did NOT go down well with R. When she realised that dh and G were going to leave without her she did her hurt face and sobbed as they left. I picked R up this evening and apparently she was inconsolable for about five minutes and then lunch arrived and she was magically much happier.

Dh relayed this information to me at work via text and I felt stupidly guilty. G would get a lovely afternoon with her Daddy and R would feel like she was missing out. I’m absolutely snowed under at work at the moment and couldn’t justify taking an afternoon off to keep R happy. This is the way of things when a. You work and b. You have twins. As a parent, you can’t win.

G curled up with dh and watched Toy Story 2 and had a nap on Daddy’s chest.  At one point G looked sad and dh asked her what was wrong. “I miss Ruth” was her reply. I got quite upset when dh  told me. Her temperature was fine all afternoon and by the time I arrived home to drop my things off, she declared herself to be feeling better.

R had a lovely afternoon at nursery. I confess, I phoned them up to check she was ok. They clearly thought I was mental! She had been drawing and painting and was covered in cornflour when I collected her. She went into super-duper grown-up mode and trotted home with me chatting about her day and anything was saw that took her interest. G was waving from the window and dashed out to the door to give her sister a massive hug. R played it cool but was clearly pleased to see her sister.

Dh pointed out that it made him realise how close R and G really are and how much they rely on each other. We spend so much of our time playing up and reinforcing their differences that we forget quite how special their bond is. They are just fine when they spend time apart, but they need to know that the other twin is ok.

Life on fast-forward

What happened to December? I mean, where did it go? At the end of November it snowed and then December went WHIZZZZZZZZZZZZZ and now it’s January.

A quick recap.

The girls’ 3rd Birthday was their best yet. They really seemed to ‘get’ the concept of it this year – or at least the concept of presents, cards and a party. We gave them a dolls house – sorry, as dh tells everyone – a dolls mansion and lots of nice clothes. I always say it but every year I’m taken aback by the phenomenal generosity of our family and friends. The girls had so many presents and cards to open that we saved some for the following day. Their party went really well and they and their friends seemed to understand the idea of pass the parcel, with some gentle guidance. Dh was convinced that party games would be pointless. Au contraire my dear. There was lots of food. There was cake. There was cava. Everyone had a lovely time. My parents were pressganged (by me) into sorting out drinks and did a sterling job. Dh and I collapsed on the sofa when the girls were in bed, everyone had gone home and the house was vaguely tidy and allowed ourselves a small, stiff-upper-lip sort-of pat on the back.

There was a lot of snow. I don’t remember getting that much snow when I was a child. In the girls’ short lives they have seen more of the white stuff than we have probably seen in the last twenty years. Normally I’m a big fan of snow but the two occasions we got it – end of November/beginning of December and the weekend before Christmas – were really debilitating. Plans had to be cancelled or re-arranged. Nursery was closed. I missed a conference. My friends with children were posting up pictures of their offspring frolicking in the snow and I was indoors with one child (R) that liked the idea of snow but didn’t like getting cold and one (G) that refused point blank to even entertain the idea of venturing outside. Luckily the birthday and Christmas plans were unaffected.

We were all ill. I was at my work Christmas lunch, glass of wine in hand when I got an SOS call from nursery. The girls had temperatures of 102F and needed to be picked up. Luckily dh was at home and primed for such an event. He picked up two rather sorry specimens (R suffers when she’s ill) who perked up considerably once they were at home curled up on the sofa with Daddy watching Peppa Pig. I could have stayed out but felt so guilty and neglectful that I abandoned my glass of pinot grigio and dashed home to tend to my flock. Good job I did. Dh went down with the illness the next day and I spent the weekend nursing three rather grumpy patients. I was rather relieved to return to work on the Monday only to be struck down with the shivers. I spent most of the days leading up to Christmas in bed, alternating between the shivers and hot flushes. It was horrible. I felt a little better on Christmas Eve but didn’t really feel 100% until Boxing Day. Dh and the girls recovered pretty quickly.

Christmas was lovely, feeling mildly grotty aside. We hosted dh’s parents for three days (23rd – Boxing Day) and my parents (struggling with a virus themselves) joined us on Christmas Day. I cooked Christmas lunch and got lots of praise for my (home-made, in an attempt to prove my MPM credentials) Christmas Pudding. The girls loved it, although G freaked out a little bit on Christmas Eve because she was scared that Father Christmas would come through the ceiling in the night. Dh reassured her that FC would leave the presents outside and we would bring them in. We think her fears stem from the Christmas episode of Peppa Pig. Oh, the power of television! R tore through her presents (and some of G’s) like a tornado. They loved the wooden train set we gave them. I was pleased to see that they did well present-wise but none of us had gone OTT. I didn’t feel that they had been spoilt and there were no duplicate presents, thank goodness. The playroom looks like a toy shop though.

It was my 31st birthday. However, I’m now claiming that I’m 29. Dh and the girls took me out for lunch and I did a bit of retail therapy. I did very well with gifts and got lots of nice girly things for both Christmas and birthday: jewellery, perfume and lots of lovely gift vouchers and cards. I still don’t feel like a proper grown-up.

Dh and I both had the week after Christmas off work. It was a Christmas miracle. I always get the time between Christmas and New Year off but dh normally just gets Christmas Day and Boxing Day as leave. I don’t know what strings he pulled but it was lovely to have him around for an extra few days. We hosted a playdate with a couple of the girls’ friends from nursery. We both had a morning ‘off’ – I did Bluewater (I was a whirling dervish of shopping bags and hot chocolate) and the next day dh went to Lakeside for a spot of breakfast and a leisurely coffee. I’m very grumpy about the whole New Year extravaganza (I hate it) but dh and I played board games and had a couple of drinks and I made sure I was in bed by 11.30pm.

We took the girls to the cinema for the first time. The cinema near us does kids screenings on Saturday morning and on New Years Day they showed Toy Story 3. We were primed to watch the first half and leave when the girls got bored but they were transfixed for the duration of the film. I don’t think G actually blinked for two hours. Unfortunately they both had nightmares that night – of the shouting, sweating, scared variety – but they don’t seem traumatised by it.

We stupidly got the girls’ feet measured and G had gone up a whole size to 8.5 and R a half-size to 8. This meant new shoes for both (it was my turn to pay) and new wellies and trainers for G now and for R later. I always but things like wellies, sandals and trainers a size bigger than they need and I refuse to buy half-sized, so G is now in a 9 for everything but her fitted shoes. Luckily Mothercare had a sale on so I was able to stock up. We had to explain to R that her old trainers still fitted and that she couldn’t wear her new ones yet. She has consoled herself by wearing G’s old trainers and declaring them to be ‘new’. If it keeps her happy…

What else? Oh yes.

3-1 3-1 3-1 3-1 In Australia. Ashes. Cricket in case you’re wondering. My sister was there. I wasn’t jealous at all. Oh no. Look at what I would have missed if I had been!