Formerly - A look at the ups and downs of life with a double pushchair!

Thursday, 17 January 2019

1st person, plural

My blog has remained untouched for quite a while as each time I think about sitting down to write about some witty incident or twin moment, life just gets in the way.  A full time job, 6 diaries to keep track of, a dog to walk and the realisation on an almost daily basis that this brood of people that I live with require daily meals, occasional homework assistance and taxiing around to after school activities leaves little time to sit down and write.

But this evening, banished upstairs whilst eldest daughter and her friends celebrate her sweet 16th I have stolen a few minutes to write (admittedly one handed as I have to stroke the dog with the other hand to prevent him escaping and getting to the party).

15 days ago was that annual milestone moment when A and E turned 9. As often happens on birthdays we reminisce of how tiny they were when they were born and they found it hilarious to hear that I was completely shocked (and possibly still am) that we got twins. It feels like a short time ago when they were two tiny tots snuggled up in their moses basket together yet in the passing of 9 years so much has changed.  In the early days and months we used to play the game as to who was A and who was E. And now we don't need to and it's not just because E has earrings.  As both girls are growing up they have found their own individual style.  E loves to wear skinny jeans and tops, A is partial to dresses and skirts.  A used to be shy but now she has found her confidence.

A is into basketball and playing the piano, E is into gymnastics, photography and sewing. Whilst in different classes they have a lot of mutual friends and can be best friends with each other one minute and hate the sight of each other a minute later.

This year they both delighted in going shopping with me and spending their own money and buying each other birthday presents which they presented to each other on their birthday morning and I believe they had kept the gifts a surprise.

And they have developed a wonderful way of talking, which only twins can really do. Talking in the 1st person plural just comes naturally -

"We don't like mushrooms, we're too tired to walk the dog, we don't have any homework"

I feel privileged to be Mummy to twins and my aptly titled blog has definitely become even more surround sound. And as we now hurtle towards their first decade I am going to do my best to track more of their special moments.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

I've got thingers!

This blog post has been a long time coming.  The interesting thing about watching kids grow up in a bilingual environment is listening to their pronunciation of certain things.

Being a stickler for the correct pronunciation of the English language I have spent the last 6 months correcting A and E with the sounds 'th', 'f' and 's'. 

I have spent many hours correcting them  -  through instead of frew, three instead of free, although instead of allvow, together instead of togever and so on.

They are getting used to my constant correction and I am hoping that one day in the not too distant future they will grasp all the English sounds. DH is less convinced and feels that bilingual kids will invariably have an accent in at least one language but I am hoping for authentic accents in both language.

It's not easy but as their reading increases I also assume that sounding out words will assist them with their pronunciation.

However it is clear I have driven them mad as on occasion they actually correct what would have been correct and now tell me they have 10 thingers!

Oh well, I can but hope, everysing will be fine - zats all for now.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Now they are Seven

Life is busy and I find I don't have time to sit down and blog as much as I would like to. However as I sat in A and E's room the other night as it was time for them to go to bed I marvelled at how lucky they are and then by default how lucky I am.

They decided they didn't want to hear a chapter of Pippi Longstocking that evening as they had a very tight schedule of dances to get through before going to bed.

Firstly I was asked to leave the room, and once I was invited back in, A was adorned with a garland of flowers and a pink sun hat over her pyjamas. E didn't have any accessories to her pj's.  I was then instructed to find the music of "The Birdy Song" on my phone and play it.

Now the average 7 year old who wants to dance the Birdy Song before bedtime has to coax a parent or another sibling to dance with and often the arm linking part is awkward due to the height difference. Well A and E are lucky enough to have their identical counterpart to dance with. They did 5 full rounds of the dance and then they proceeded to request other songs from their list that they have learnt at school.

Partner dancing has never been so fun.

Whilst there is plenty of fighting and biting and anger between them, we don't get involved, as they manage to resolve every argument and even if they are punching each other one minute, five minutes later they will be hugging again.

And that is the problem and joy of living and sharing a room with your very best friend.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Just because one fits the shoe... the other doesn't

How can identical twins be so unbelievably non-identical when it comes to shoe shopping? It's a mystery to me and the once favoured activity of buying not one but two pairs of fabulous girls shoes is turning into a nightmare.

I thought I was prepared for the summer in Israel as I had bought several pairs of bargain sandals online earlier in the year.  As the days started to get hotter and sunnier I even remember saying to dh "We won't have any issues with sandals this summer as between the 2 girls we have 8 pairs." This was a big mistake.

The cheap shoes didn't last very long and in fact only A was prepared to wear them. E found them uncomfortable. As the soles came apart from the shoes I could hear my Mum's voice in my head saying "Cheap's dear". Seemingly overnight their feet grew and now the sandals that had been bought towards the end of last summer were too small.

Then one day I found myself in the situation that from the original huge variety of shoes, E was only prepared to wear the lovely white Clarke's sandals that had belonged to eldest daughter even though the sole was flapping underneath and A was wearing flip flops for nursery. That afternoon I decided to rectify the situation and took them to my local favourite kids shoe shop.  There was a great variety of sandals and after we checked their size and got a few boxes out with different styles, A chose a pair of sandals that she was very happy with.  I then turned my attention to E, but this is when the differences began.

Every single pair she tried on were lumpy, too big, too small, uncomfortable, ugly, disgusting, yuk.  A got bored of waiting and started rolling around the floor and shouting.  The owners of the shop tried to talk E round to choosing a pair, but after an hour long session I was defeated and we left with sandals for A and E still wearing her older sister's worn out pair.

The next day, I tried another shop but the same game was played and so we left. I found myself saying things like "wow you look so grown up in those" and "come on these gold sandals with pictures of bugs on them really are so smart" but nothing could convince her. And why was she doing that funny walk when she tried them on where her knees just kind of buckled? In the 3rd shop I firmly told E that if she didn't find a pair of sandals then she really would just have to wear the breaking pair or flip flops all summer. She finally chose a pair of sandals and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

However, within a week they broke!

We returned them and she tried on every other pair again, but we left the shop with me carrying her shoeless and with a credit note.  We ended up back in the first local favourite shop again with a smaller selection this time, but a miracle did occur after around 40 minutes and she got a pair of sandals.

This week I took the girls to buy party shoes and I went to the shop where we had the credit note.  There must have been about 30 choices of shoe in their size. I braced myself for the experience. We found a very patient shop assistant who helped us. Within 10 minutes A had chosen a pair that she was delighted with - slip on party shoes and she clutched the box tight to her chest and went to join Boy in the Middle (watching you tube in the corner) while we turned our attention again to E.

"What colour dress is she wearing for the party" the shop assistant asked.
"Silvery and blue" I replied "but it doesn't matter if the shoes don't match. She just needs something, anything to wear on her feet."

Once again, each pair was uncomfortable, too big, too small. E kept claiming "I have big feet you know."

At one point I pulled out a pair of sparkly gold Hello Kitty pumps with a strap that looked kind of partyish that I thought we could get away with, but they were horrible apparently and in her words "No, yuk they do annoy". She tried on black shoes, pink shoes, as the time ticked by I wouldn't have cared if she had chosen luminous green trainers or wellington boots instead. My patience was wearing thin. Her siblings were getting hungry. The shop assistant whilst remaining polite and friendly was rather unimpressed as we were taking more and more pairs of shoes out of boxes to try on.  At one point she fetched her the cut off ends of tights in order to try and make the shoes feel comfier.  And then as we had tried on every single pair and I once again threatened that she would just have to go to the party in flip flops, she said "If I choose a pair can I choose a Ben and Holly episode to watch on your phone on the way home".
"Of course you can darling, anything!"

Then I'll take this pair she said.

It must be pointed out that the pair she finally chose were silvery/grey, almost identical to the pair that her sister had chosen 40 minutes earlier.

Before she could change her mind, I thanked the sales assistant and ran to the till.

And now I just hope that they will both actually manage to wear them on Sunday evening for the party and that they won't fall apart next week.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Drastic measures

It's taken just over 6 years, but we finally achieved noticeable differences in A and E.  I know that A and E sound different and have slightly different temperaments, but last week we went out for the day and they both wore grey tracksuit trousers and blue tops and they got extremely cross every time I called them by the wrong name.

Now the chance of this happening has been reduced and in a wonderfully simple way.
Last night I took all my kids to have their hair cut.  It had been almost a year since their last hair cut and thankfully for the couple of days previously E had been quite firm that she wanted shorter hair. A on the other hand did assume that the hairdresser would be able to make her hair really long and straight.

And so in the space of around 20 minutes, A had her hair trimmed a little and E had her hair trimmed a lot.

This moment had been discussed ever since they were babies and now it has finally happened it's great - both for my sanity and for the sake of their individuality as two wonderful little girls.Now I guess it's just a case of their teachers, relatives and friends remembering that A has longer hair and E has shorter hair!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Now we are 6

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.
 Author: A.A. Milne 

We have just reached the end of Birthday season in our house.  Normally a birthday lasts just one day, perhaps stretching over the weekend to accommodate a party, but with twins it can last for many more weeks.
A and E turned 6 on 2nd January, this year it was a Friday and we celebrated with a great party after kindergarten complete with a clown, sandwiches and two cakes - one cake for E had a gymnast on it and the other for A was a clown.
The following day, Saturday, was celebrated by a kiddush in shul with friends and then a family lunch at home.
Clearly that should be enough celebration for any 6 year old. But no, the most important party when you know that you are really and truly 6 comes in kindergarten.
Parties in kindergarten understandably are grouped together with 2 or 3 children, so we had to accommodate other people in our plans. Being mummy to twins I did wonder if they would be upset not celebrating on the same day. Thankfully they didn't seem to mind.
A lucked out and got a party about 3 weeks after her actual birthday, and E had to wait until the beginning of February for hers.
But they both had a great time. They compared non-stop the details of each party. One kindergarten just required cake and balloons and going home presents, the other required a whole break-time meal - cereal, milk, veggies and cake.
They each thought their own party was brilliant. They didn't mind that things happened differently in each gan. As their Mummy I got to the end of the birthday month and breathed a sigh of relief that I had navigated through more great birthday celebrations. What had amazed me through the whole month is that there is no real jealousy at all between then. They both received different amounts of gifts for their birthday as each girl from each kindergarten brought a gift for the girl that they know. 
In some cases we suggested that they were each given their own gift - for example their fabulous new birthday dresses - they had to have one each, and other times large joint presents are also great such as the large box of Magnatiles that they received as a joint present.  Whether the presents were joint or individual they were both happy and I am so thankful that the act of sharing is an in-built part of their character.

The same, but oh so different

A few weeks ago I took A and E for a child development check up. I went by myself with the girls as at almost age 6 I didn't feel I needed any additional help with them.

I was called in for our appointment with the Child development nurse. I went in with both of them, sat down and handed over their cards outlining all their vaccinations.

She was a very cheerful nurse but asked if there was any chance we could do the check up on them one at a time.

"Well I'm here on my own, I doubt one of them will wait outside".

She humoured me and really did her best to evaluate both of the girls at the same time.

They had to stack 10 blocks on top of each other, draw a picture, identify various objects - nothing too taxing.

However as can be with children, sometimes they don't like to comply. A became shy and sat on my knee. With a few words of encouragement E was happy to oblige and complete all the tasks. Eventually A half-heartedly attempted to amuse me and the nurse and did enough to just pass the satisfactory minimal requirement.

They then had to be weighed and measured and the nurse was completely astounded that they both weighed and measured the same!

"Identical twins!" I told her, but she still double checked that she had taken the measurements correctly.

Once she had completed the checks we then had to have a meeting with the Paediatrician. Before we went in I tried to cajole both of them that they had to comply and to just answer any question that was asked, otherwise we were going to have to come back for further assessments. We met with a doctor who asked them a couple of easy questions. Thankfully E became rather confident in her ability to answer and tried to answer on behalf of both of them.

One of the tasks was to look at a picture and tell the story or to answer questions about what was happening. E engaged with the idea and completed the task with no problem. A sat on my knee and cuddled in to me. I tried to encourage her. I said she could answer in English or Hebrew and eventually she managed a few words.

"Is she always like this?" enquired the doctor
"She's a little on the shy side with strangers" I tried to explain.
"Well I suppose her teacher would tell you if she wasn't learning properly" she continued
"She's doing really well in kindergarten" I found myself explaining.
Truth was I didn't really blame A for not wanting to tell a story from pictures to a doctor she had never met who wasn't overly warm or caring.

Finally A just about rose to the challenge and came up with some mono-syllabic answers and we were signed off and could leave.

As we left the clinic I thought about what I had just witnessed over the past 30 minutes and it made me smile. I imagine that the nurse had written down how physically identical A and E were and the doctor had probably written down that they couldn't be more different.  And of course the second the doors of the clinic closed behind us A breathed a sigh of relief and carried on with her incessant non stop chatter.