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

Monday, 31 January 2011

Let's cut out the middle man and buy a cow!

I never really thought about how much milk my family drank. I used to buy a huge 3.4 litre container of semi skimmed milk when I went shopping, but often used to call dear husband on his way home from work to ask him to pick up some more whenever we were running out.

Then towards the end of last year, a milkman knocked on the door one evening during the kids bathtime, to let us know he was expanding into our area and were we interested. With a baby in my arms I leaned out of our bedroom window to see who was at the door.  Dear husband made it downstairs with another baby in arms to open the front door. He was about to say thanks but no thanks, when I shouted down like the voice from above that it was a brilliant idea and when could they start delivering? I was thrilled at the prospect of not having to lug milk back from the supermarket every couple of days as it really weighs the stroller down and if you try and put it in the basket under the seats it drags on the floor and often ends up splitting and therefore pouring out along the pavement on the way home. But hey there's no use crying over it.

We signed up there and then for 1 litre of full fat milk for the girls and 5 litres of semi skimmed a week for the rest of us.  I felt rather posh to have a milk delivery and was pleased to be able to delete it from my online shopping order and to walk past the milk aisle in the supermarkets.

These quantities of milk seemed to work fine until the babies turned 1 and they were able to progress from formula to full fat cows milk.

We never see the milk delivery as it arrives at 5am and thankfully I am never up any more at this time of the day. The only way to communicate with Terry the milkman is by text. However I had no way of knowing how much to increase my milk order by and invariably whenever I do text him I miss out my home address so he always has to text back to ask me where he should be delivering this increased quantity.

Therefore I felt it important to put Terry in the picture. I am sure he was delighted to hear that we had twins who are now 1 and who can now drink full fat cows milk and that their mother has no idea how much they drink. I increased my order to 3 litres of full fat milk a week but warned him it may well change. I have just spent the last 3 weeks texting Terry on such a regular basis that dear husband is wondering if it is just milk that I am getting from him.

In the end we have settled on a steady 11 litres of milk a week - 6 full fat and 5 semi skimmed! This is 22 pints of milk! Of course I am sure Terry is delighted with our order and is probably sad that I seem to have stopped texting him.

I however am seriously wondering whether or not we should just ditch Terry and purchase Daisy - our very own Jersey Cow!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I am not holy!!

Weird occurence happened to me on the school run that I felt needed blogging. Firstly I was early for school pick up. Baby A and Baby E were awake in the car. I parked a little way from the school gates and loaded both girls into the stroller. We then took the short walk to school.  Walking towards me were 3 or 4 kids with 2 other mummies who attend a different school round the corner. As is usual the ladies were looking into my pushchair and I assumed they would smile and walk on by. One of the ladies came up to me and this is the conversation:

Lady: Are they twins?
Me: Yes
Lady: You must shake my hand and share the love

I obliged but felt a little odd about it.

Lady: You are so lucky. I am praying for twin girls. I have my boys but I really want twins and girls would be perfect and so shaking your hand will pass on the love and I hope to get my girls.

I was a little taken aback but then she carried on to tell me that she just lost twins at 7 weeks pregnant and that she was hoping her next preganancy would be twins. They were mesmerised by how identical the girls are and couldn't stop talking to them and staring at them. I did tell her that twins is double the fun but double the work and she said they are all a blessing and wished me well. I wished her all the luck for the future and carried on to the school gates just in time for pick up.

One of the more unusual conversations I have had with a random stranger that made me realise how lucky I am to have two such gorgeous girlies.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Wind the Bobbin Up and Block the car park up!

I took Baby A and Baby E to our weekly singing class earlier this week. We have discovered a great class which doesn't involve us signing up for a term and payment is per family not per child. This is probably the only activity which won't cost me double with two babies so it has to worth going.

I aimed to get there early so I could get a space in the car park and get the girls dressed before the singing started. However I took the advantage of the girls sleeping in the car following the school run to use the time to run around my house and get my daily tasks done. I managed to dislodge the cheerios from the high chair, remove the breadsticks from the toy box and take boy in the middle's tube of toothpaste out of the toilet which Baby E thinks is a great game!

By the time I arrived at the singing group the car park was full and the class had started. Not wishing to negotiate reversing into a busy road, I decided to park in the middle of the car park blocking in 4 cars and would deal with any car parking issues after the session.

I put the girls into the pushchair to get them from the car to the hall (I really need them to start walking now) and headed into the class. Wishing to make a subtle entry so no one would notice me I carefully opened one of the double doors and tried to reverse the stroller through the door. The class was in the full swing of "Wind the bobbin up" and I was keen to enter quietly. Having a vague memory that this door wasn't wide enough for my double pushchair I kept on pulling, willing that it would get through. I then started to fumble with the lock on the other double door but alas was unable to pull it open. I pushed the stroller back out into the corridor, put my bag over me, hauled the babies out with one in each arm and headed back into the room, with half of the 35 mum's tutting at my late arrival, and half giving me supportive, well done you made it looks!

We chose our spot in the room and the girls were very excited to join in and start clapping. I wriggled them out of their snowsuits and then remembered that they were still in pyjamas. I then spent the next 10 minutes stripping and dressing them while they learnt how to wiggle their fingers and count to 5. Being the only twins in the class I always feel bad that we can't join in with the hokey cokey as I can't possibly hold them both at once and that one of them always gets a longer turn at "Row Row Row your Boat". Thankfully half way through the session where it is deemed necessary that we all dance around to the Bob the Builder theme tune, the singing leader always looks out for me and takes one of the girls off me.

At the end of the session it dawned on me that I had to do the whole procedure in reverse plus I was still blocking in 4 other cars. We also have to pay at the end so I had to do my best to find £3 as well. Firstly I got the girls back into their snowsuits then I put them into the pushchair to get to the car. Thankfully one of the cars I had blocked in belonged to the singing leader so I only had 3 other mummies to worry about. They all rather speedily clipped their one obliging baby into the car and were ready to leave while I was struggling to get Baby A into her car seat. With 3 mums all wondering if I was going to take another 10 minutes to get out of the car park I smiled and waved apologetically at them. I then put Baby E in to her car seat, collapsed my giant double stroller, threw my bag into the car which was overflowing with vests and babygrows and got in the car. I managed to move into a free space in the car park before getting out again to rummage around for my wallet in my baby bag. I found £3 in coins and headed back inside to pay for the session. Thanking the leader profusely she promptly put £1 back into my wallet telling me that I had arrived late so I need not pay for the whole session. I really tried to insist that this was entirely unnecessary as there is a chance that I will be late most weeks. She wouldn't back down though so I thanked her profusely and we left.

It may seem like a lot of effort for a 50 minute singing class but Baby A and Baby E really love the session. From my point of view it's been nearly 5 years since I was last singing Aiken Drum and I have just learned that there seem to be 2 new verses to the Dingle Dangle Scarecrow that I am not familiar with so we will be blocking up that car park on Wednesday mornings for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sunday outing to the shops

Boy in the middle was at a party and eldest daughter was out spending her birthday money with Grandma N so I took dear husband and the babies shopping. This was a fun experience for me. Instead of struggling to manoeuvre the pushchair around the shops I could let dear husband experience the pleasure. At the end of the short 40 minute trip dear husband was fuming and experiencing a rush of buggy rage!

We ran into our first difficulty in poundland. Actually entering was our first mistake as the line to pay was long and so we decided that no bargains were worth the wait. Getting out though through the entrance was almost impossible. There was just enough space for the stroller to get through with nothing on either side. There were a lot of shoppers entering and so I suggested that dear husband go in front and clear a space for me to get through. A kind shopper noticed me waiting and and offered us space to pass but the 10 people crowding into the shop after her in search of a bargain didn't have a few seconds to spare. She apologised. Finally we saw our chance and took it. Three or four people had to reverse for us but we did make it out. We then tried out the width of the aisles in a healthfood shop which dear husband just managed to navigate rather expertly through.

We then nipped into a supermarket in search of lightbulbs and it was at this point that the snacks I had brought with me ran out. I left dear husband with the babies and I nipped off to the rice cracker aisle to find some suitable snacks. I could hear the crying across the aisles so I followed the sound back with rice crackers in hand to appease Baby A and Baby E. I had been apart from them a matter of minutes but clearly it was too much.

I am used to the oohs and aahs that come with pushing my girls around, and even the conversations with strangers. As dear husband stood trying to remember which lightbulbs we needed, a passer-by commented to her friend "It must be fun in their house at night with those two crying". Dear husband was aghast at the comment, as why would a random stranger be so bothered, but he was also too shocked to reply. By the time I rejoined them at the till dear husband was rather furious. With the shopper within ear-shot dear husband repeated the comments to me in just as much of a whisper as the shopper had. I opened the rice crackers which were promptly flung on the floor and popper the pacifiers back in which did the trick.

I replied to dear husband "It is fun in our house at night. By 8pm all 4 kids are asleep and we get to chat about the ridiculous comments passers-by have made about us or to us when they peek into our stroller".

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Babes can bake!

Had to collect eldest daughter from school early today as she wasn't feeling well. The timing was all wrong. I had been shopping and as I arrived home and both girls were asleep in their carseats. I planned to unpack the shopping, make some pasta for dinner and make eldest daughters birthday cake for her party on Saturday night. As I was surrounded by 14 carrier bags and was desperately trying to find the ice-cream before it melted the phone rang. It was the secretary from school asking me if I would come and collect eldest daughter.

I put all the frozen and chilled food away, rang a friend to get a lift home for boy in the middle and went to collect her. Of course by the time I had done the round trip to school the babies were awake and  I knew that they would now be awake until bedtime. I bundled eldest daughter into bed and she fell straight to sleep and then in my mind my two girls would have a lovely time playing together with all their toys while I baked and cooked.

Why is it though that as soon as I need to do something both babies crawl at great speed across the kitchen grab my legs and demand to be picked up? They did have an entertaining time unloading the rest of the shopping and now that they are in bed I need to go and remove the box of toothpaste from my cake tin cupboard and take the biscuits out of the pan drawer. I look forward to discovering any other hidden treats!

Somehow this afternoon I did manage to bake the birthday cake, cook some chicken soup and make a pasta bake for dinner. The majority of the time I did have one baby in my arms but you can never be too young to learn how to use the magimix. My kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it and I now need to start the cleaning up process before I can begin the intricate work of icing the birthday cake with a ballerina on the top.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Happy first year!

I can't believe that Baby A and Baby E are 1 already. In just 365 days they have learned to cry, scream, roll, crawl, stand, walk round furniture, drink, eat, play, giggle, say mama - quite amazing.

As I reflect on the first year of having twins there are two main differences between having one tiny tot in a pushchair to having two, that I have noticed. Firsly the amount of time I get stopped in the street by random strangers.

Here are some of my favourite lines that people love to ask/inform me:

Ooh twins you must have your work cut out for you
Are they twins? A Boy and a girl?
Wow twins, I always wanted twins
How do you tell them apart?
I am a twin it's great
My cousin/brothers/nephews/grandchildren/daughters (fill in any type of relation) are twins
Which one's older?

My most used polite stock answers:                   What I really wanted to say:
Yes they are twins                                                   Damn no they're triplets I must have
                                                                              lost one

Yes I was shocked at my 12 week scan                  Of course I was bloody shocked
                                                                             wouldn't you be?

Yes they are identical                                              What do you think? They look
                                                                              completely the same

2 girls                                                                     They are both in pink so of
                                                                              course they are girls

She's 15 minutes older                                            Why on earth does it matter?

Not only do I get stopped in the street but  there is a whole new approach to life. If you have one baby, life can be hard, but with two babies it means that:

1. I am no longer a help at a friends child's birthday party. Instead of passing the sandwiches around, I have to pass a baby around
2. It takes me three journeys to get from the car into a friends house and then three journeys to leave again
3. My older two children are normally late for school as it takes so long to get everyone in the car in the mornings
4. If it's raining I have to bribe a friend to bring my older two kids out of school so that the babies can stay in the car
5. I can't shop in Lidl as all the trolleys only have 1 baby seat
6. When I go to a baby singing group I have to get the teacher to hold one of the babies when we get up and dance
7. I can't travel on an airplane by myself with all my kids until the babies are 2
8. I can't paint my nails as I never have the time and even if I did the amount of washing up I do would chip them straight away
9. Whenever I have finished changing a nappy and washing my hands there is always another baby to change
10. I don't need to lift weights at the gym as I am often carrying 8kilos of baby on each arm

 All said I wouldn't change my lot for the world.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Returning home - good old Easyjet again.

Travelled back last night from our winter break with the family in Israel. As I write this from the warmth of my kitchen watching the rain pound down on the windows I feel a sense of pride that we made it back reasonably easily with all our luggage and all our children. The anticipation of travelling with lots of kids is definately worse than the actual journey. We didn't need any spare changes of clothes or any sick bags and the only down side was that our eldest two kids didn't contemplate sleeping at all.

We flew with our favourite no frills ticketless airline which provides a great service to London Luton. As we approached the gate to board the plane I looked in wonderment at the huge line that had built up for boarding. Perhaps it is my laid back attitude, but I know that there is a seat for each passenger on the plane. However people looked like they were lining for concert tickets that were about to sell out. They were adamant not to lose their place in the line. As we were travelling with so many children we were allowed in the special assistance line. In order to reach this line we had to cross through the first line of passengers as it stretched from one side of the airport to the other. You would think that when people see us approaching they would stand aside. Boy in the middle was pulling a Trunki, eldest daughter was pulling her suitcase, dear husband had a suitcase and a large bag and I follwed behing pushing the stroller, holding a baby and with 3 carrier bags of food just in case we are delayed for a couple of days! No one looked like they wanted to move for us. Dear husband noticed a familiar face in the line and chose that spot to cross through the passengers. They begrudgingly shuffled aside but my stroller is wide. I was happy to wheel over as many feet that got in my way as my main concern was not to drop the baby. We got through and the gap narrowed behind us in a split second in case anyone else should try and take that space.

We lucked out on the plane and got 6 seats for the 6 of us. There was some crying from our girls before they fell asleep but there was no tutting from other passengers that I noticed. Of course there was the moment when both babies had fallen asleep that boy in the middle was desperate for a wee. Thankfully eldest daughter took him down to the toilet and was a great help. Later on though when she needed to go boy in the middle wouldn't return the favour and accompany her and I had to go with Baby A who was asleep at the time over my shoulder. There definately isn't room for 3 people in an airplane toilet and it is pretty impossible to provide any assistance at all with a sleeping baby in your arms. Thankfully she is nearly 8 and just wanted me there for moral support for when she flushes the toilet and it makes that scary loud wooshing noise.

On landing at Luton - no toilet emergencies this time - we asked our ususal question. Can the groundstaff provide us with the stroller before the luggage carousel? Answer came back as no. Nothing new there then.

As we touched down to land Baby A finally closed her eyes and slept.  So we sat in our seats and decided that getting off last had to be the best option. We sat and sorted out our bags. The crew were so desperate to get home that they carried all of our 4 bags down the steps to the waiting bus on the tarmac. There was barely any room for us on the bus but I managed to take a seat from a 3 year old who then moved to sit on his mums lap. The bus was off to the terminal. Should only be a few minutes now. After about 3 minutes the bus came to a halt. We were at the back of the bus at midnight in the dark watching the windows steam up. All the kids started writing messages and drawing pictures on the windows.   People started grumbling and swearing politely to themselves. Finally dear husband shouted down the bus to find out what
was happening. A plane was stuck on the runway and the bus couldn't get past. Typical.

Finally the bus reversed and 15 minutes later we were out into the terminal. We managed to queue jump through passport control as an official took pity on us with all our bags and children. We made it to the luggage carousel. Babies were relieved to be re-united with their stroller and dear husband went off to find £2 to pay for the no frills trolley. As we were the last passengers through we expected to see our three bags all travelling round the conveyor belt.

We spotted 2 pieces and waited for the third. No more bags seemed to be appearing and so I decided it had gone to Copenhagen as that was the other flight being checked in with us. Then there was a loud beep and the whole system stopped. Together with one other family we were the last people there and that was it all the luggage was out.

As if by magic a member of baggage handling appeared from a door and told us that the beep indicated a stuck bag. Please let it be ours. Eldest daughter was panicking that her tattoo kit was packed in the missing bag and boy in the middle was almost asleep on his Trunki.

The conveyor belt juddered awake again and we all held our breaths and then cheered as the stuck bag turned out to be our final suitcase. The other family were quite distressed but then noticed that their bag had just fallen off the carousel and they could have been on their way a while ago.

Our car was waiting for us which proves the Meet and Greet service does work and we all squashed ourselves and our double stroller, 4 pieces of hand luggage and 3 cases into it. Travelling is so easy!

As we pulled into our driveway at 1.30am UK time which was 3.30am Israel time all 4 kids finally were asleep. We managed to carry all 4 up to their beds and they all carried on sleeping.

The bonus of the whole trip was today. They had already missed the first two days of school so I felt compelled to have to send them in their tired states but luck was on my side. The heating had broken at school so they all had a day off. 1 extra holiday day at home watching movies and watching the rain drip down the windows.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Table for 6 please with 2 highchairs

We took the kids to a fabulous park with a rollerskating area, animals and lots of places to climb and play. In the middle of the park was a lake with a gorgeous cafe - the type of place where you could sit peacefully, sip a cup of coffee and take in the scenery. That is what the other diners were doing until our family turned up.

With boy in the middle claiming he was starving and eldest daughter saying she couldn't rollerskate anymore without some food for energy and baby A just crying as she was getting over a cold we thought it would be a great place to stop and re-fuel. We asked for a table for 6 and the hostess walked through the tables, past a large enough table for us and carried on as she thought we would prefer to sit nearer to the lake. As I was scrambling through the cafe pushing my extra wide double stroller, narrowly missing the feet of one of the diners, I decided we would stop at the first table.

Baby A and Baby E were removed from the constraints of their stroller and were strapped into highchairs and passified with some pieces of banana. Baby E insisted on trying to stand in her highchair, and Baby A turned 180 degrees to watch the sparrows hopping around trying to gobble up the scraps of food. Boy in the middle was shouting that he was hungry and eldest daughter was smuggling biscuits from my bag.  Whilst holding Baby E and picking up banana from the floor we negotiated the menu and ended up with a pizza, some pasta and a salad.

Luckily I had remembered to bring bibs for the babies but Baby E managed to cover herself, the table and the floor around her in bright red tomato sauce. She had a lovely time and even dared to remain seated as long as the food kept coming. Baby A on the other hand kept her mouth firmly closed and refused to eat anything and spent the entire time screaming until I sat her on my knee and smuggled her the biscuits from my bag.

So much for a peaceful lunch.

They say the best way to eat  a meal is to savour it and enjoy it. Personally I think that standing up every 2 minutes to sit a baby back down in her highchair or to remove the microscopic bits of oregano from the pizza sauce so boy in the middle will eat it or to pick up a cup or wipe a face or cuddle a crying baby is just the ordinary every day ups and downs of life for me. At one point I even found myself eating a slice of pizza while standing up and walking round the table while holding a baby.

Dear husband remains traumatised by the amount of mess that an almost one year old can make when given a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce. Many of the other diners seemed to finish and leave whilst we were there.

As for me I sat back briefly for at least a minute and watched my family and although to an outsider it may have seemed stressful I sat back and could relax as I was in a cafe on holiday with no responsibility for cooking the lunch or clearing up the mess.