Monday, 27 February 2012

Ode to joy

G&T - 26-and-a-half months  M - 4-and-a-half months

What do you get really excited about? Your team scoring the winning goal in added time? A fabulous new pair of shoes? Suddenly realising it's Wednesday and therefore a new episode of Masterchef? That last one might just be me. Anyway, this week, M experienced a joy and wonder far beyond anything any of us are capable of any more. She discovered her own feet. She's been in charge of her hands for months now, but until now, her feet had been a mystery. Then, this week, they caught her eye. Staring intently, she wiggled, kicked and finally made a grab for one of these little pink-clad wonders. The look of sheer delight that crossed her face as it dawned on her that these amazing devices were hers to control was fantastic. And a little sad. I will simply never experience such pure wonder myself again. I lost that ability thirty-odd years ago. But I guess that's the real joy of having kids. At least you have the vicarious thrill at each new discovery. And I've got a while before that runs out yet. Yesterday the twins were at a local playpark with their current favourites soft toys in tow. As soon as Charlie Chimp took his first trip down the slide, that was it. With jaguars and chimps flying through the air, the girls were hysterical with delight, laughing until they could barely move, not giving a single thought to who was watching or that we really needed to get some shopping in. And you know what, I started to feel that way too. Their joy was utterly infectious, and soon their dad and I were helpless too. Being a grown-up can be so boring sometimes. Once in a while, we should all launch a stuffed animal down a slide and just let go!

The agony of separation

G&T - 26-and-a-half months  M - 4-and-a-half-months

For the past four-and-a-half months or so, M and I have been pretty much inseparable. She has been looked after by Daddy or Granny for the odd hour or so, but otherwise, we're a unit. And that's the way I like it. I'm revelling in the fun of having just one, and the laidback nature of done-it-all-before parenting. I remember the first time I left the twins with anyone. They were ten months old, and I cried, each step away from them feeling like wretched abandonment. (They, of course, had a great time playing with Granny and Grandad, and failed to notice I was gone. But that's beside the point). Now, having moved closer to family, and being a more relaxed, second-time mum, I was determined to get M accustomed to time away from me much sooner. With Daddy and Grandad in charge, I knew the twins would have a ball, so, this week, I swallowed my fears about how the wee one would cope on a day of bottles, and headed out for a whole 12 hours to play at being the old me. OK, so last time I joined my mum and sisters on a theatre trip, I didn't have to pack a breastpump, but after a few wee sniffles on the way to the station, I really did start to feel like a normal person. Having enjoyed a nice gossipy train journey, all I needed to do was find somewhere for a quick express before the play. Cue a handy department store baby room nearby, everything was looking good. Until I tried to plug in my pump. With the wrong plug adaptor. Nope, no matter how I fiddled, plug and pump simply couldn't be made to agree. And with no manual option, I was stuck. I soldiered on, enjoying a little Shakespeare and even a cheeky spritzer (well, half a spritzer. Have become a truly spectacular lightweight) but by the time the players were taking their bows, I was giving Dolly Parton a run for her money. And I still had a three-hour train journey home. Oh, the pain. Suddenly, the final scene of Grapes of Wrath seemed like a blissful release. If only I could find a handy tramp... When I finally got home to my girls,  I couldn't wait to bond with M again. For my own sake as much as hers. As it turns out, without careful packing, the pain of separation can be very real indeed.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

No Supermum

G & T - 26-and-a-half months  M - 4-and-a-half months

After publishing my last post, my husband went online to have a look and spotted two typos. I was gutted. An over-reaction, you might think, but spotting typos used to be my job. My whole career. I was paid actual money by people to ensure their magazines went out each week perfect and error-free. My husband is an accountant. A numbers man. But he spotted my errors straight away. Yes, I know you can never edit your own work, but I still felt deflated. Had I lost the touch? Would I ever be able to return to some meaningful career one day, where I actually use my brain for something more than remembering the words to nursery rhymes and analysing nappy contents? But then I thought about it. As I typed that post, I was holding a sleeping baby in my arms and trying to referee a disagreement over how to construct a train track. When presented with a 'broken' train, I actually got up to look for the screwdriver before I realised that changing the batteries in a Brio probably wasn't a task that was possible with one hand. As a woman, I think you feel you just ought to be able to multi-task. And as a mum, those tasks just keep coming. But contrary to what our offspring might think, we are only human. I might be able to simultaneously feed a baby, read a Pooh Bear book and identify the Seven Dwarfs, but perhaps I shouldn't then also be thinking about what to make for tea and if it's bin day. So, hubby has been enlisted to read every post before it goes live (hence any mistakes from here on in are his fault), and I'm going to keep the multi-tasking to three things at a time. Well, five. OK, ten. Max.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

No longer number one

G & T - 26-and-a-half months  M - 4-and-a-half months

The twins were in the bath last night in their swimming costumes (what can I  say? Sometimes a little extra persuasion is needed), when T piped up, 'Are we going to the swimming pool?' Before I could answer, G turned to her and said, 'No, honey, we'll go to the swimming pool later. It's bathtime.' Do you ever get the feeling you're becoming redundant? As you struggle through the difficult first few weeks and months with twins, it's hard to believe everyone who tells you you're going to get payback big time when they are toddlers. But it's true. They entertain each other so well, concocting complex games and laughing uproariously at things I don't have a hope of understanding. If I didn't have my little M, I'd be able to sit back and relax. Drink a whole cup of tea. While it's still hot. Bliss. Kind of... After over two years of feeling exhausted and dreaming of time to myself, now the twins give it to me, I find myself missing the constant demands. I liked being the centre of their world. The one they relied on. I guess that's being a mum for you. But they're growing up, becoming independent, and I'm proud of the little ladies they're becoming. Still, it is nice that still, only Mummy is good enough to kiss their 'ouchies' better. And when they suddenly decide I should join in their secret game, I feel a sort of happy tingle. Even if I have no idea what's going on. So when M starts to shun my company in favour of  her sisters', I'll appreciate the space and wait to be called to join in. I'll sit down and really enjoy that cup of tea. And maybe even eat a biscuit unmolested. Watch some TV. I won't just sit there listening to their games and feeling left out. Honest...

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Not again... surely...

G and T - 26 months  M - 4 months

Most days, it's a relief to collapse into bed. Don't get me wrong, my girls are so much fun. But there are a lot of them. And they are rather full-on. I love being a mum, but it is beyond exhausting. Then at 3am the other night, while feeding M and desperately trying not fall asleep in my chair (NB this is a feat I rarely manage at the moment. It is bizarre how soundly you can sleep for an hour upright and pinned awkwardly under an infant), I caught myself staring wistfully at her tiny little feet. They are just so perfect. Such flawless little miniature versions of my own. And I felt something. A stirring. So soon, those feet will be allowing her to crawl, to walk around, to play, to go to school... They'll grow into, you know, just feet. I love baby feet. I love babies. I'll miss having a tiny baby. No! What the hell was happening to me?! I must have finally been driven mad. Was I actually considering doing this again? Already?? Thankfully, I think this time the memories are clearer. I always wanted two kids, nice and close together. Then along came G and T, one minute apart. You don't get closer than that. But I soon began to realise I not only wanted two children, I wanted two goes at the experience. Being pregnant, giving birth, having a tiny, helpless bundle to care for. I'd say it took two weeks of being pregnant with M before it all came flooding back to me. I hate being pregnant. 'Morning' sickness only aptly named if it refers to feeling sick from one morning all the way to the next, bone-crunching exhaustion, insatiable hunger... and don't get me started on the contractions. Nope, common sense will out this time. I'm done. I've had fertility treatment and conceived naturally, carried twins and a singleton, had a C-section and given birth the old-fashioned way. What is there left to do? This time, I won't fall for nature's old amnesia trick. I will enjoy every new development with my girls, and savour the memories. You won't catch me shopping for billowy tops and stretchy-waist jeans again. Or heading to Mothercare for tiny little sleepsuits to cover those perfect little feet... Those tiny, perfect little feet.... Hmm, I wonder what it's like to carry a boy...

Thursday, 16 February 2012

An introduction

Let me explain how I got myself into this predicament. Happily married for a year, but aware since I was a teenager that having kids may be a problem, we started down the fun fertility treatment path. Numerous tests, all manner of drugs and a course of IVF later, we got lucky. Very lucky. The scan showed two little heartbeats, and I was soon to become a mum to two gorgeous girls, G and T (no, not deliberately named in honour of my favourite drink, though just as inebriating). A perfect little family. But then I started to get clucky. Perhaps the lack of sleep drove me a bit mad... Anyhow, we started thinking of when to use our frozen embryos.
The girls have just turned one, so perhaps we'll give it another year... But why am I feeling so irritable? And  nauseated. I'll just do a pregnancy test to rule it out...
Nine months later, along came M, another little girl! So, there you have it, my three little miracles. Closer together than I ever imagined. In fact, had I by some incredible feat of will been able to start this blog a couple of months ago, it could have been entitled 'Three under 2'. So I intend this to be not a guide perhaps, but a window into the world of extreme parenting. I hope you pick up a few tips, or at least have a laugh. Or just feel grateful that it's not you!