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

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.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

She goes one way, she goes the other!

So they've been inseparable for 5.5 years and today they both took their first steps into their new Reception/Gan classroom alone.  The classrooms are in fact next to one another and in the playground at the back of each classroom, is a very low fence separating the two areas. I am quite convinced that there will be plenty of chatting over the fence during playtime!. For me however as their Mummy it was a new phase in life and I have to confess that I had been having a few anxieties about the decision ever since that fateful day earlier this year when I filled in the application forms to separate them.

One of my main concerns is that one of them would have lots of friends in her class and the other wouldn't. Well thankfully the local authority got it right and they split the nursery they were in last year into two and so on the day when I discovered the names of the Ganim that they had each received, there followed a flurry of whatsapp messages, some of which I could barely keep up with, until I had compiled two lists of names as to who was going to be in gan with A and who with E.

The girls have delighted in telling me on many occasions over the summer, which gan they were going to, the name of their teacher and reeling off the names of the girls (certainly no boys were ever mentioned) who will be with them. DH and I on the other hand have had to really try hard to memorise the name of each gan for each child, and as for the names of the other children, well as the year goes on, I guess we will become familiar with who is with who.

Last week they each had to visit their new gan to meet the teacher and see the classroom.  Last Friday I took E. It was strange just driving with E only, and as much as I know they are individuals one of the first things I found myself telling the teacher is that she is a twin and her twin is in the class next door.  I guess it's a twin thing. It is so much of who they are.
On Sunday DH took A to her new gan.  Both girls in their meeting were extremely shy and reserved, stayed close to our side but coloured in the picture to adorn the classroom wall for their arrival.  I don't think their shyness had any bearing on their being separated from each other.

So this morning finally arrived and after much discussion it was agreed by all that I would take A into her class and DH would take E.  DH and I were definitely more excited and nervous than the girls were.

"Aren't you going to say good-bye to each other?" I heard DH call out.

They didn't.

I took A into her classroom, met the teacher, found her a chair to sit on with two of her best friends from last year and I left her colouring in hearts that I drew her on the paper. I took my leave. It was all rather quick and painless.

I noticed DH hadn't come out of the other room, so I peeked in. E was also colouring in. I went over to plant a kiss on her head and to say goodbye and she clung to my leg.  We had a quick chat with the teacher, looked at her drawing and I tried to leave. In the end the teacher took her from me and I ducked out of the room.  I knew within about 10 seconds she would also be fine.

This afternoon, I came a little early as a treat to pick them up, and collected E first as she was standing in the doorway and saw me approach.  A friend of mine,who also has identical twins in the same classes as our two, arrived at the same time and asked me, "Who do I collect first?" It's a tough decision for a Mummy of twins.

Obviously I got into trouble and A has insisted that I pick her up first tomorrow.  I guess it will go on like that all year.

And so they both had a great day. They had chatted at break-time in the playground. They had done different activities but had both received a sweet at some point during the day and they had eaten the same catered lunch and the best news for DH and I is, is that they are both looking forward to going back tomorrow.