Monday, 14 March 2016

Threads, tags, spillage and new pants

I don't know if I have made this clear in previous posts but I live in an absolute mad house! This mad house is also a terraced house and I feel very sorry for my neighbours as there is always some form of screaming, shouting or waling going on. Very often very early in the morning|! My former self would have hated living next door to me, I am not a morning person which is quite difficult at 5am when two out of four have wet the bed....


I am currently living with a pair of gorgeous but slightly OCD three year olds. Molly, especially gets very upset by any form or spillage on oneself at meal times or even worse stepping in a spillage in socked feet. A wet sock can start a meltdown like no other and often only a full outfit change will suffice, more often than not just when we are about to get ready to leave for the school run. A hanging thread from a sock, glove, legging or any clothes item for that matter needs scissors NOW, GET RID of if NOW and if you can't then I will need a full outfit change immediately. My three year olds are very clever in the toilet department and have been fully potty trained for some time, they are so grown up they don't like any help wiping their wee wee's, which is fine and commendable and I am very proud until a small drip falls into their pants! This results in a full outfit change NOW! No not the scruffy clothes you keep downstairs for emergencies, I need to go back upstairs NOW with you to spend 20 minutes choosing more clothes.


I sometimes wonder at the fact that my three year olds are in fact my second set of twins and this is the second time I have dealt with all this madness. Have I just forgotten how unreasonable three year olds are? Why can't I remember what I did last time? Everyone talks about the terrible two's but there is nothing like a pair of three year olds who work together to plot against you. If one hurts themselves and starts to cry the other one immediately throws them self on to the floor and starts wailing, not in sympathy but because they have seen their twin sister getting a bit of one to one attention. People often tell me I should write a book on bringing up twins but I wouldn't know where to begin, I am amazed every evening that we all made it through the day and when I finally get to bed I am already thinking about the mountain I have to climb the next day and the realisation that there is only two chocolate weetabix left in the cereal cupboard and four children who will want them in the morning.


Right enough rambling, I have school bags to pack, school shoes to find and clothes to get out for the morning, although my littlies will refuse to wear whatever I choose in favour of some colourful non matching attire, which will no doubt be changed three or four or five times during the day..

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

My sad farewell to Benji

Long before I had children or even thoughts of children I lived in Manchester and longed for a dog. I would trawl the rescue sites online in my lunch hour and try and persuade Mr D to let me have one, but to no avail. Then one lunchtime I saw a picture of the most gorgeous little terrier looking very sorry for himself in his kennels and so I did a naughty thing and rang up the sanctuary. They told me he had just been returned for a second time as he was quite a handful. So I booked an appointment to go and see him in Sheffield and amazingly Mr D agreed! When we got there the little terrier we had come to see was in the very last kennel and on the wall was his photograph with a message underneath saying “Benji. Don’t be fooled by his cute exterior!” and the rest you could say is history. Benji came home with us that very day. He was a little superstar in the house and seemed so happy to be in a home with a nice comfy sofa and lots of cuddles. He had the most amazing under bite which made him always look like he was smiling. It soon became clear Benji wasn’t fond of visitors, postmen or anyone walking past the house. When we first took him out for a walk he went for every ankle he passed and tried to grab a ladies handbag and went absolutely nuts at any other dog he saw. He was quite spirited but I loved him from the moment I saw his little furry face on the internet so I wasn’t going to let any of this bother me.

Over the years Benji mellowed (a bit) and he was my best friend and travel companion. He came on many adventures with us, even to Auntie Katie’s wedding! He walked all over the Lake District, up mountains and chased sheep in the highlands of Scotland, he attacked the waves on all the beaches in Northumberland. Came with us camping and accompanied us on part of our honeymoon in Cornwall and was a resident in Doris are fabulous retro caravan. He even fell in to disused canal in the Cotswolds, luckily on the end of his lead, and had to be rescued by Uncle Simon.

There was and never will be another dog like Benji. Some of his quirks were he REALLY didn’t like motorbikes, or tractors or ice cream vans. He didn’t like other dogs, although a few he did especially female westies, but border collies were on the top of his hated list along with builders and postmen. He also wasn’t very keen on small children...

Benji’s life definitely changed when my big girls Lily and Daisy were born and I was quite nervous about how it was all going to work. When Benji came home from Auntie Katie’s and the two little babies were in the house he didn’t seem to mind until they cried and then Benji joined in and howled! My poor neighbours. But he adapted, we just had to put up a few stairgates and I think we would have managed but when Molly and Nell arrived eighteen months later it all got a lot more complicated. I was determined I was going to make it work. Benji was one of the family and I loved him to bits, even if he did have a fondness for eating pooey nappies, but the poor little chap wasn’t get any younger and he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved. Christmas 2012 was an incredibly difficult time for us, my new-born’s weren’t feeding or sleeping well, and they suffered from silent reflux and had a cow’s milk intolerance which hadn’t yet been properly diagnosed. I knew that I was being selfish by making Benji stay and he was starting to get snappy with the big girls so I made the very difficult decision to try and find a new home for him. But who would take on a thirteen year old terrier with his “quirks”. I really thought we wouldn’t find anyone suitable and I wouldn’t contemplate sending him back to a rescue centre but then fate intervened and we found ourselves in touch with Gillian, ours and Benji’s saviour.

Gillian, like me ten years earlier, fell in love with Benji from his picture and when she met him the deal was done. I knew Benji was going to a home where he would be the centre of attention and receive all the love and cuddles (not to mention ice cream and fish and chips) he deserved. Benji and Gillian were my friends on Facebook so I could still see Benji and keep in touch.  Gillian and her partner Colin cared for Benji for three years and nursed him when he was ill. And when it came to the end of Benji’s life he went to sleep feeling safe and loved in Gillian’s arms and is now at peace and bouncing around and causing mischief once again in doggy heaven.

Goodbye Benji my gorgeous furry boy, you brought so much joy, fun and laughter in to our lives. I will never forget you and thank you Gillian for all the love and happiness you brought to that little man you will be always very special to us.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Mermaids and MAYHEM

So it has been a while since I thought about writing a blog post. It gets to the evening and all is finally quiet, after fourteen hours of LOUD and the playroom is tidied and the dishwasher unloaded and the washing put on and the tumble dryer is on and the washing is put away and the clothes are out for the morning. I just about have the strength to turn on the laptop and lift a large glass of wine to my lips and all I can do is sit and try not to think about children for a few hours before the night shift begins!

People keep saying to me “oh but it must be getting easier” and I politely smile and say yes in some ways but what I really want to say is “ come to my house and spend twelve hours in this mad house and then you wouldn’t think about uttering those words to me”!!!! Of course in theory it should be easier. The Bigs are at school and the Littlies go playgroup in the morning but inexplicably it isn’t and I feel more exhausted than ever. Maybe it is because they are all so good at School and Playgroup that the moment they run out of the door they crumble when they see me and tantrums and inter- twin fighting begins. I also seem unable to keep all four happy at the same time. There is always someone crying.

Christmas was a joyous mix of excitement, chaos and screaming. We now have an abundance of fairies (Daisy asked for a Fairy village), unicorns, dolphins and mermaids. Santa brought Lily a mermaid with a dolphin, because Lily LOVES dolphins, the mermaid wasn’t a lot to write home about, some might say Santa found it in a very cheap shop! Molly and Nell love mermaids so Nanny bought them a beautiful Ariel doll each from the Disney store but yet the three of them spent most of the time screaming and fighting over the inferior mermaid who came close to being beheaded on a number of occasions. SO Mummy decided to find the cheap shop that Santa may have bought the mermaid from and bought two more for Molly and Nell. Molly and Nell chose them themselves. One had a pink tail and pink hair and the other had a blue tail with yellow and green hair and a seahorse friend. They were asked repeatedly if they were happy with their choice, to which they replied they were. When we got home all was calm for about two minutes and then Nell decided she wanted a pink mermaid and then Lily got home and wanted the mermaid with the seahorse, not her original one that they all fought over, there was lots of crying and I thought my head may explode. SO the next day Mummy went back to the cheap shop and emptied the shelves of mermaids! Lily got the mermaid with the seahorse and Nell got the blue version of the pink mermaid (as there was no pink ones left which was a bit of gamble!) and then I felt sorry for Daisy who wasn’t at all bothered about dolls or mermaids so I bought her a new purse for her precious monies. At the end of the day everyone was thrilled except Lily who cried because she now wanted the sparkly purse that Daisy had. At this point I texted my other half and said I can’t deal with twins any more they are just too hard and to bring home a bottle of wine SOD dry January.

My next instalment will cover the merging of twins in to one bedroom…..

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

End of an era

I am sitting here thinking about how I should really be in bed but instead I feel the need to put something down in writing to mark the eve of a new era. My big girls start school tomorrow and I am not sure how I feel.

On the one hand it has been a long six and a half weeks refereeing my four little bundles or joy! I am looking forward to some me time, sitting in complete silence, peeing in private and not having to repeat myself six thousand times and ending the day hoarse after twelve hours of trying to make myself heard. But this isn't just the bigs at nursery and the littlies at playgroup this is SCHOOL! They are entering the real world outside of our chaotic family and donning their outsize school pinafores and knee socks and putting their best feet forward all on their own without me to hold their hands.

I was dreading the summer holidays laying awake at night wondering how I would fill all those days but actually it has been pretty good, albeit very knackering. There has been some sisterly bonding, in between punch ups, and some massive milestones have come and gone. I no longer have nappies on my online shopping order and we are now a household with no cots or stair gates. And now we have all got used to each other all being around each other every day and daring to stray from the routine it is time to start the school run...

How will I feel tomorrow when I wave them off into school? Will I do a little jig or will I shed a tear? I will keep you posted x

Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Big Work Dilemma

A New Year and time to start blogging again especially as I am now a lady of leisure! Urgh yeah right!
After taking six months unpaid leave from my job at the University library I should have been returning this week but after much soul searching I decided before Christmas that it was time to realise that I can’t do everything and I handed in my notice.
It was a relief when I finally made the decision. When I went back last year I enjoyed working once I was there. It gave me the freedom of just being me and being able to read a book on the metro and go to the toilet on my own and enjoy some adult conversation. Not to mention lunch breaks browsing in Cath Kidston. It was a breath of fresh air. But I couldn’t switch off when I left the house I was trying to juggle work commitments and constantly checking my phone to make sure that everyone was ok. There was so much guilt involved, guilt that I was leaving them all and guilt at feeling so unreliable at work. I took six months unpaid leave to try and work out a plan of action and hoped that once the girls were all that little bit older that it may be easier to arrange childcare but in the end I knew that it just made more sense for me to be at home with them.
It is hard giving up a good job in this day and age when they are so hard to come by and I miss my lovely work friends who saw me through IVF treatments and two twin pregnancies. I also feel a little out of touch with reality too as I don’t get time to read and rarely switch on the news. I tend to learn things through facebook and my world revolves around Disney, Ben and Holly and Peppa Pig. My days are challenging, having two very strong willed two year olds fighting with each other and their big sisters can wear you down. But in between there are some wonderful moments that I wouldn’t want to miss for the world and I feel very lucky that I have four such happy, healthy and ‘spirited’ girls.

2015 is going to be a year of change with my babies all growing up so fast and my big girls starting school in September! I am hoping I might even find a bit of me time in there somewhere too.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Our five minutes of fame

So Roger Federer and his wife have had their 2nd set of twins and all of a sudden the media is interested in us less glamorous normal folk who have also produced a couple of sets of multiples. So much so that in the last few weeks I have featured in the Daily Telegraph and been interviewed on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. All very exciting indeed. I am very good at saying yes to things before I have had chance to think these things through…
I have now had a few experiences of being interviewed for the papers and magazines which is fine, I quite like talking and I know my subject matter very well. But the home visit from the photographers is a whole different kettle of fish. My children hate being photographed especially when it involves sitting together and all looking at the camera and smiling! Personally if I was writing an article on a family with two sets of twins I would want to see the chaos of everyday life reflected in the accompanying photographs. But it seems that the media disagree and the photographer’s brief is always to capture our happy family of six beautifully presented and all looking at the camera in unison. The result is tantrums, tears, dummies and thumbs in mouths. One of the most painful afternoons of my entire life was when a photographer, an assistant and a stylist arrived an hour late and then took over my living room turning it into a mock Christmas scene. Then whisked me away from all my children for an hour and half plastered me in makeup and squeezed my post two twin pregnancy body in some god awful clothes, after asking my Mum, who was looking after 4 children, to iron them. Then asked me to dress my bored, tired, hungry and very grumpy children in an array of different outfits, only for the photographer to turn round and announce she was going out for a sandwich. Three hours later I had to ask them to leave my house after my husband went out for a walk to avoid a nervous breakdown and one of my wee twins had thrown up all over me and her outfit through stress and upset only to be told she would have to phone her editor to make sure they had got enough photos.

Surely a trip to BBC Radio Newcastle to talk to Dame Jenni Murray would be stress free, simply a morning out from the children and not a photographer in sight. I arrived and all was well and I was shown into what looked like a broom cupboard and given a cup of coffee. I put my headphones on and was told someone would talk to me through them when it was time for me to talk to the nation. I was then left alone and I started to get a bit nervous. I had no idea what time it was or when my slot was on and I started wondering whether I should have gone to the loo before entering the broom cupboard. The more I thought about it the more I needed the toilet and I started to come out in a cold sweat. Eventually panic stricken thinking I was going to have an accident whilst talking to Dame Jenni I opened the door and shouted ‘HELLO’ and luckily a nice woman stuck her head round the door. I explained I was going to be on air in a matter of minutes but I was desperate for the loo. We ran through endless corridors until eventually we found the ladies. I was in such a hurry and a fluster, what if they had cut to me in the studio and Dame Jenni was met with stony silence, that the button pinged off my jeans when I tried to fasten them and I had to run back to the store cupboard holding my trousers up ! Luckily I had a good five minutes before I was on air to compose myself and all went well, although it seems I did conduct the entire interview in my best posh accent, but I will never know as I can’t bear to listen to it as I hate the sound of my own voice. Maybe next time there is a media request I will say no...

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A Multiple Mum’s Guilt

Today seems like a very poignant day for me. It isn’t a birthday or an anniversary but it is exactly five days since wee twins turned eighteen months old. The exact age that big twins were when wee twins were born. It was a planned c section so I knew the date in advance and had everything organised to the nth degree for their arrival. I can remember the evening before like it was yesterday. I don’t think I have ever felt so nervous in all my life. 

There is always guilt attached to being a Mum of multiples. From the moment they are born they have to share your attention. One is left to cry whilst the other is fed, when both cry at the same time in the night who do you soothe first? It takes longer to bond because I never felt like I could lie on the bed or the sofa and let one sleep on me because one would always be left out and then they would want to sleep like that all the time. Guilt, guilt and more guilt.

The morning I left for hospital to have my wee twins I not only felt nervous but a massive burden of guilt on my shoulders. My twins Lily and Daisy, who were still my little babies, had always had to share my love and attention and now they were going to have share me with two more little people. How on earth was I going to give everyone the love they needed? The short answer to that is I couldn’t!  I am lucky to have my Mum and my Sister close by and they helped us, my child-minder helped us and my child-minder’s best friend is a maternity nurse and four weeks in we needed her help too. I tried to so hard to be everything for everyone and sleep deprived and emotional me and hubster were close to killing each other. Karyn helped to save our sanity and our marriage and brought some much needed laughter back into the house. At the time I felt like a failure I thought after already having twins I should be able to do it all again and asking for help made me weak. But Karyn made it possible for me to spend some time with big twins and wee twins and she eased some of my guilt. 

So in this blog I would like to thank all those people who have helped us and kept our children’s lives relatively normal. I have to confess wee twins have yet to experience a trip to the park or a dip in the swimming pool but as everyone gets older I hope this will become possible. Me and hubster aren’t perfect and we do have blazing rows but for the most part the fab four are surrounded by love and laughter and a circle of extended family and friends to shower them with attention. 

Do I still feel guilty? Yes every day for some reason or another and I don’t think that will ever change. But when I see the big twins laughing and giggling and playing with their little sisters and see the close bond all four are going to have I think that will make up for all the times when one of them was left to cry.