Last post before new year.

14 months old

……..And back to being ill again! We had nearly 2 weeks of great giggly fun kids that were sleeping through the night and everything has gone backwards. The constant whining goes right through the brain. They feel unwell and don’t know how to articulate it and they don’t want to do anything so they sit and go on and on and on whining. This wears me down.

The illness is not as bad as before, so far….but its still not 100% over. The problem is the girls keep passing whatever illness back and forth between them. As soon as you think one is getting better, they go down hill again because the other still had the bug in them. I can’t stop them sharing their cups and toys. That would be a massive challenge to undertake.

Sharing hasn’t improved but they do tend to get a toy for the other one which is sweet. Miss P could see Miss C having a tantrum on the floor crying her eyes out over nothing and she went over and stroked her. She also gave her a hug and kiss later on in the evening which unfortunately ended in them falling over and Miss C hitting her head. As an apology Miss P went and got her water cup for Miss C. It seems a small offering but it is quite an impressive one between such young girls.

15 months

YAY! They have their first tooth!  Miss C got hers first and then got the second very quickly. Miss P has one still.

We had a week break off all illnesses but nights and evenings were awful. This could have been due to teething and growing pains. Then one day they ate so much we couldn’t feed them fast enough. That night was great and they slept through the night. We believed we had cracked the problem and then they come down with another cold and cough.  Problem is we take them to soft play centres which are a breeding ground for germs. The weather is so bad we don’t have any other option.  We spent a whole week of restless evenings and co-sleeping with them during the night. I feel the girls are a conundrum every day that requires careful puzzle solving.

Personalities are coming through more each day. Miss C is thoughtful, kind and shy. She loves all animals and isn’t afraid of approaching them. Every morning at my parents she would immediately go and see the dogs. Miss C was allowed to feed the dogs biscuits with my mum’s supervision. She thought this was amazing.

Miss P is a show off and desperate to make friends with any other child she sees. She is quick with a smile for anyone and she is very cautious with animals. If she knows someone is watching her she will wobble to music she can hear and exaggerate it and keep looking back to make sure the person is watching.  Grandpa taught Miss P to lift her arms after doing something and we say “ta-daa” like a gymnast finishes a move. She thought it was amazing and kept doing it the whole time visiting my parents. She loves to make people laugh.

This is probably the last post for 2014 and I was looking back at photos of the girls. In January they couldn’t even sit up. Now they are walking, saying “UP” and other random words. They like to feed themselves with spoons and they are using some sign language to help with communication and have become little girls instead of babies.  They are very mischievous and into every drawer, cupboard and book shelf. I find myself telling them off a lot and they are testing our boundaries all the time.

Resuming normal service

After 8 weeks to hell and back with illness, this week was nice and calm. I didn’t keep the girls in bubble wrap and I took them to baby classes and they have been having pretty good sleeps and been at their very best in the day. We still have to get up at night around 6-10 times due to them crying out but it was all in their sleep and very rarely did they need any help in finding their dummies. One evening/night went a bit off kilter by Miss C starting at 10pm to be inconsolable and then the two of them were in the same moods throughout the night so we needed to comfort them till they went back to sleep – which took several hours each time. But one night out of a whole week was good news really.

The trouble with these days is that they are getting so confident in walking it helps if I take them to the park in the day to burn off some energy and make the day a bit more interesting but the rain and cold really stops us from leaving the house. We tried to brave the cold, wind and rain and went to the playground in the local park recently but Miss C soon starting pointing to the pram as she wanted to get back in it. Very unlike her as I usually have to use the commonly known ‘knee and leg’ block to push her back into the pram seat when it’s time to go home.

I’m still in awe looking at the little people walking about on their own. It’s amusing and amazing at the same time. They are so small and yet they are waddling around with so much eagerness and independence. They walk themselves to the kitchen for food and bang on their high chair if they are hungry, they waddle to the bathroom in their nappy if we say its bath night and they love chasing the cat all day up and down the flat.

I quite like having a flat at the moment as they get to use all the rooms, including their own to play in whenever they like. If we lived in a house with stairs, I would have to be forever accompanying them up and down them to their room or have all their toys in the living room – which I would find too much.Yes, I like adult space. I like to put things away in boxes to feel a little like our old life and our old adult contemporary feeling of a living room…..ignoring the multi coloured soft play mats on the floor!

Back from a break

I’ve been off the radar for quite a while due to the girls being constantly sick.  I have also had writers block. But today I realised that I shouldn’t just be recording the big milestones or the funny ones but everything – from the meltdowns, to the mundane, the days where I can’t wait till bedtime and everything in between. They grow up fast and being a parent is a journey and everything should be recorded and remembered.

So what’s been happening with the girls?

We are now in week 7 of being ill. The girls have been well for a few days in between each illness and things have gotten back to normal but then they’ve picked up another cold/cough. Usually the girls need comforting to get to sleep so you have to hold them most of the evening and through the night.  Which means we lose “our time” and time to recharge.  It’s exhausting. We try and co-sleep with them through the night as it’s the quickest way of comforting them and its more convenient for us as we don’t have to get up and out of bed each time. But they were ill for so long this time that they stopped wanting to sleep in their own beds. So it came to a head one Monday morning after yet another night of constant waking and comforting on minimal sleep that I decided enough was enough. They had their appetite back, they were behaving their normal selves and were not showing any signs of feeling unwell so I decided tough love was needed and did sleep training. This took 2 days and 2 nights but it worked and the girls were happily back to sleeping in their own cots all night. We got our sanity and “our time” back.  A week later and they were back to being ill….!!

A few months ago they turned a triumphant 1. We had a little party with family and then we got an entertainer and a small function room with other NCT couples and celebrated with their babies. At first I wasn’t interested and just went along with the plans as the other couples seemed so keen. I just thought that as they were only 1 they wouldn’t remember. It turned into a successful party, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I then realised it wasn’t really for the babies at all, it was for the adults. We had all survived the first year and it was an occasion to mark and celebrate. So pats on the back to everyone – well done, it was quite a year and definitely not one to forget.

The girls are now walking. I read somewhere describing a toddler walking – they look like a 70’s stuntman on fire! I think that is a very good description! Miss P did her first steps a day before Miss C but Miss C is more confident and likes to walk around the house and shrugs off a helping hand whilst Miss P is reliant on holding my hand wherever we go.  We went to Clark’s shoe shop and got their first pair of shoes – in the shop they tried them out and it looked like a monty python sketch with the silly walk. They were lifting their feet so high trying to shake off these funny things on the end of their legs. Miss P cried the whole time – it was like she was being tortured!

The word “up” is used a lot by the girls which helps with communication. They can also shake or nod their head for yes and no, although I don’t think they completely understand what we are saying. For example we asked them if they wanted a milkshake made of poo and they enthusiastically nodded their head! It’s a step in the right direction; it just needs a bit more practice.

Miss P seems to be the bossy one. She stands on the wooden tray with wheels that holds the wooden blocks and rocks the handle back and forth, yelling and looking at her sister until Miss C pushes her around the house. If Miss C happens to be the one wanting to be pushed around, Miss P just ignores her!

One morning I had a lie in and Mr G was looking after the girls. I got up and saw them in the hallway playing with something I didn’t recognise and asked Mr G what it was. He didn’t know either so went closer to investigate and realised that Miss C had undone her nappy, pulled out her poo and they were playing with it! Eugh.

I never realised how many times you get hit by a child. Not intentionally but it’s either a toy shoved in the face or a pinch, punch, slap, anything really on most parts of the body as they are too young to realise what they are doing.  The hardest times for me are in the middle of the night and you are comforting them in your arms back to sleep due to illness and they thrash about and head butt the bridge of your nose. It hurts a lot.  Both physically and emotionally as you are trying to help them and comfort them. Once my face was near Miss C and she hit me on the cheek bone with her tippee cup full of water. I put my face back to where it was and asked Miss C for an apology. She found it hilarious and did it again. I had a black bruise on my cheek for the rest of the week. I learnt not to put my face so close to the girls when they have items in their hands.

The girls still do not have any teeth! Strange I know, but it’s not uncommon. I don’t mind and am not worried at the moment as they like to make themselves laugh by biting me on my nose. If teeth were involved I think I would be in hospital.

Disciplining them is fruitless. They look at me knowing they are doing something naughty and smile the biggest smile and carry on doing it. I have to keep trying as I believe (I hope) that one day they might just understand me!

We had a weekend in Bristol visiting friends and we went to a lovely country pub for lunch. The girls sat opposite each other and were not in a particularly good mood. We managed to find a child’s book in the pub that they could look through. Miss C opened this large book and knocked my glass of red wine all over Miss P and Mr G on the other side of the table. I didn’t have a change of clothes for them so Miss P had to go about the rest of the day with large red stain all over her clothes strongly smelling of alcohol. I felt Mother of the Year that day.

Some days can be so boring and repetitive. Days when we spend all day, every day indoors due to illness can really drag. I feel bad thinking I’m bored but I can’t really put my heart and soul into reading the same 5 page book for the thousandth time in the day or punching the same button on a toy to watch the mouse appear over and over again.  It’s these days that I must also write about as they are as much a part of bringing up children than any other. I must also mention the amount of cleaning that is never mentioned but never ends. The cleaning of the highchairs and floors is constant. I cannot describe with enough words how utterly boring and continuous this chore is.

Being a mother makes you fall into a black hole. If your friendship is not a strong one and cannot be picked up every time you meet after a long period of radio silence then your circle of friends get smaller. There is no time to keep in contact with people. If you have time in the evening whilst the kids are sleeping all you want to do is zone out at the tv and go to bed.  Social media has made it easier to connect with people but not interact. Facebook for example has made me lazy. I see people’s photos and status’s and by “liking” them you think you are keeping in contact with them but you’re not. You actually then don’t bother to follow it up with a text, phone call or email to find out how their trip was like in the old days, you instead just assume that ‘thumbs up’ will keep your friendships alive.  I have learnt this lesson but I have realised this too late for some friends.

I’d like to end this post on a good vibe. The girls definitely have a twin connection. They are not so good at sharing a lot of the time but they do like to look at each other and laugh and I have no idea what the joke was! They have also started to sit in their high chairs and shake their heads side to side vigorously to make each other and us laugh. I’m sure it must hurt their brain as I get dizzy very quickly trying to copy them. They also try and cheer each other up if one is upset. This could either be by giving the other a kiss, or searching for, then giving the other’s favourite cuddly toy. They also have tantrums with each other if toys are snatched from their hands and some slapping hands in faces, pretend biting, pulling of clothes till they fall over and my favourite – Miss C once rugby tackled Miss P to the ground because she didn’t like being hit on top of her head. Miss P soon stopped!

What items have you found in your child’s mouth?

Now I know the girls are only 11 months and have not been crawling for long, but I am impressed at how many things I keep finding in their mouths which they find on their adventures. They don’t even want to eat their present, they just want to keep it in their cheeks to savour for as long as possible!

I have to stress before I make the list that I spring cleaned the house and made the rooms baby proof when they started crawling. So to find these items in their mouths not only impressed me as to where they found them but I still cannot locate where they came from.

  • 5p
  • pizza menu
  • packing tape
  • magazine pages
  • bits of the cats scratching post
  • pieces of soft play mat
  • leaf
  • tissue
  • cat food

I am most impressed with finding a whole raisin in Miss C’s mouth 4 hours after eating breakfast (porridge with raisins) AND she had had a morning nap during this time.

I am looking forward with awe and intrigue what else is going to be found in their mouths in the future.

Independent CentreParcs Review

So we bit the bullet and booked a last minute deal at CentreParcs in Elveden for a short holiday break with friends (who also happen to have twins – 3 year olds – eeek, double headache!!!).  We packed the car to within an inch of its life and set off not really knowing what to expect as we had never been to a resort or “village” (as CentreParcs like to use) that is solely for families.

When we arrived I felt like I was at a modern day version of Kellerman’s (that’s the family resort in Dirty Dancing – as if you don’t know this. Don’t lie! Of course you do!) Which isn’t bad, it’s just different for me.


The resort was well laid out with lovely contemporary wood lodges and the environment was teaming with wildlife. The amount of activities that you could pre-book was amazing (which is where you spend the money) and you don’t need to hire bikes. We didn’t and we were able to walk from the furthest set of lodges to the main centre with the restaurants and swimming pool within 10 minutes.   Might take you a bit longer if you have toddlers that what to stop and explore constantly.

We booked a Woodland lodge for Fri – Mon about 3 weeks before the date we were going. This enabled us to get a last minute bargain.

So lets begin with the negatives:

  • We ordered an extra cot before we arrived so there would be 2 in our lodge for the girls to use. When we arrived we found them in a cupboard and 2 single beds in a bedroom. Mr G had to spend the first 15 minutes of arriving to take the mattresses and duvets away from each single bed and balance a cot on each base. If they go to the trouble of asking and charging us for the cot then why not ask where they are to be set up? (Yes this may sound really picky but this is supposed to be a relaxing and ‘easy’ family  orientated holiday.) 
  • Our wood lodge had an overly sensitive fire alarm. It would go off when we open the hot oven door, that had no food cooking inside it and all the windows and doors open. This obviously went off every time the children were in bed! Story to follow below regarding fire alarm and oven!
  • Supermarket on site was over priced. Try and pack everything you need and bring it with you and use it as a last resort.
  • Cars were to be placed back into the car park so that it was a “car free zone” after you unpack. But some people chose to ignore this and kept their car parked at their lodge which spoilt the view through the trees and the feeling of being surrounded only by woods. These cars were left a notice on their windscreen telling them they will be written a ‘strongly worded letter’ if they don’t move their cars. Well whose going to be afraid of a ”strongly worded letter’?! Obviously these cars didn’t move so I say FINE THEM!  Make some money from the lazy so-and-so’s who can’r drive 5 mins to the car park. Every car license plate is taken before arriving at the resort so it is very easy to know whose car it is and charge the card!
  • There needs to be more family changing rooms at the swimming pool because when it gets busy it is hard to entertain a grumpy tired cold child when you can’t get into a room.
  • Pancake house restaurant was AWFUL! I ordered a banoffee pancake that was £7.80 – which in my opinion, is very expensive but the photo looked like it was worth it and I ADORE pancakes. When it arrived it had barely a strip of half a small banana, no sprinkles of flake, small scoop of ice cream and lots of cheap aerosol cream. When tasting the pancake, it had a metallic chemical after-taste that was so bad I ate the ice-cream only and left the rest. We commented to the waiter that all the food was bad and she could see how much food was left and we didn’t even get a discount! Oh and it took AGES to arrive at our table and there was only 6 tables out of a possible 20 (?) in the whole place that had customers! AVOID THIS PLACE!
  • Centreparcs is expensive. Be selective on how many activities you book to watch costs and eat back at your lodge as much as you can.
  • No washing machine in lodge.
  • Wifi didn’t work in our lodge which was supposed to. This is a pro and a con. I like things to work when they are supposed to but on the other hand I like being off the radar on holiday.

But now for the positives:

  • Easy walking access to everything.
  • Wood lodge well equipped with fire burner, tv , dvd, tvs in bedrooms and 2 fridges (even though they didn’t get very cold).
  • Ooodles of wildlife that came up to your living room door that excited and amazed the kids.
  • Lodge well laid out (even though they are a little dated) with “wings” that contained the bedrooms. They were far enough away from the living room and each other as the kids all went to bed at different times.
  • Every restaurant on site had ambles of space between each table, which meant we were never in anyone’s way with our double buggy and had loads of manoeuvrability.  They all had a “baby station” which consisted of a microwave and bottle warmer for you to use.  And most had a soft play area for the kids or access to an outside adventure play area.
  • Swimming pool facilities were amazing. It has everything you need and more by the pool side from cots (YES COTS!), buoyancy aids, chairs, an air tap to help blow up your inflatables, zoned areas for different aged kids with water as hot a bath and a room big enough to fit everyone’s prams. All of this is free!  Food/drink places are also inside the dome without getting dressed/undressed so you could really spend all day there.
  • Zoggs baby inflatable seat was an excellent buy. The girls loved sitting in them and just floating around – it also meant our hands were free and we had more control and stability. We were able to enjoy the big pool, wave machine, lazy river, lagoon pool and adventure cove. We also found that placing the Zogg on the floor in the changing room and positioning a girl on top in the seat without their legs through provided an extra safe pair of hands when we had to dry/dress ourselves or the other sibling.
  • Mr G gives a big thumbs up to the water slides!
  • You are still allowed to use facilities all day on the day you check out so the day is not wasted.

I have to give a special mention to the prompt response we received when our oven stopped working. Our friend burnt dinner and not only did we have the fire alarms going off, thick smoke filling the lodge and surrounding woods but the oven then stopped working completely! We thought it was down to the burnt spillage on the bottom of the oven but when we rang services for assistance, we had two lovely men arrive within 15 minutes on a Saturday evening. We were most impressed and even more so when it turned out the fault on the oven not turning back on was nothing to do with burnt dauphinoise potato but a part that happened to stop working at exactly the same time this calamity occurred. They had it all repaired and fixed within 15 mins and were on their way. Now I did not expect that excellent service, at that time, and so swiftly!

If you are going to go to Centreparcs, either book a year in advance or very last minute as I do not feel it would be worth the same at full price. I feel paying the discount price is actually the right amount to pay for this place but I would definitely go again. In fact we have already booked up for a week next year and I can’t wait.

Double Buggy Chaos

Choosing a double buggy has its own unique problems. You look at double buggies and suddenly the price rockets and you don’t get anything thrown in, you have to pay for ALL the extras. It’s like the “w” word – as in ‘Wedding’. When you buy anything under this category it shoots the price up. Same with the word ‘multiples’ or ‘twins’.  Shops sell an all-in-one ‘travel system’ (pram to you or me) that can have an interchangeable seat / car seat / crib / bassionet to use from newborn until they are 18 years of age (or near enough), with rain cover, foot warmer, kitchen sink and bathroom all rolled in for a reasonable price of under £200.  But do you get offered this fantastic package deal for twin buggies? No. Just a bog standard pram that sits 2 chairs side by side all for around £600 (!!!) AND then you have to buy the rain cover, foot warmer and every other bit extra. (Why????) Anyway, we chose the smallest side to side double buggy on the market.

Mr G and I didn’t want to choose who sat behind the other with no view but the back of a seat so decided side by side seats were for us. I do love it but it does cause getting around a bit of a challenge. My local shops are as you would expect, small and perfectly formed. Which means I cannot get in or out of them. I think I could get into most doorways but then I would be stuck and feel a bit like a cork in a bottle – can’t physically move and block everyone else coming or going. In the early days I was out walking and wanted a sandwich so headed for the nearest Cafe. I naively entered with gusto as I was glad to be out and about but ended up hitting and dragging so many chairs and tables with me that I gave up 4 foot in. I then didn’t want to look even more of an idiot (!) and just back out and leave as the grand entrance of chair legs screeching on the floor had caught everyone’s attention into staring at me open mouthed, so I shouted my order from the door as if that was my intention all along. At the time, in my head, I think I styled it out but looking back, I don’t think I did.

On another occasion when out and about I desperately needed some water but knew the local shops were not big enough for me to get the buggy through the door. So my creative side came out and I drank the left over water the girls had in their Tippee cups! Meeting up with people who choose and decide on the venue is another issue.  No one thinks like me with a double buggy. I worry whether we can get through the door, whether we can manoeuvre when inside the venue then whether there be enough space beside the table we will be sitting at to park the buggy or will it be in everyone’s way? If I have to park the buggy in a different area to where we are sitting what do I do when the girls want to sleep? Do I stay with the pram when the girls sleep, therefore leaving our guests or try and get the girls to sleep in our arms – which is another challenge in itself. There are so many factors to think about it gets quite stressful before I have even left the house!

Don’t even get me started on the day the rubbish men arrive! It’s like running the gauntlet along the pavement. Not only do I have to contend with bags and bins but also trees, tree roots, cars overhanging their drive onto the pavement, and overgrown hedges.  A day in the life of a double buggy is certainly eventful.