Twiglet Top Tips – The Chilli Pickle

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Welcome to the latest instalment of my Twiglet Top Tips series – where I recommend places, products and brands which we love and would like to share with you all 😊 Last week we were lucky enough to be invited along to have lunch at The Chilli Pickle, a street-food inspired Indian restaurant in Guildford.

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Sleep: Definitely not for the ‘WithKid’ ;)

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Sleep. When you have a new baby, it’s one of the questions everyone asks you – ‘How are they sleeping?’ You almost get sick of talking about it, especially when you have not one but two rubbish sleepers. At least when they’re babies though, you feel like you’re in good company – all the mums you meet are moaning about lack of sleep and surviving on coffee. You feel like you’re all in it together, helping each other through. What I’ve found is that it’s a much lonelier place when your children are 3 and a half and *still* not sleeping.

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A Little Back-to-Work Rambly Update

Hello! So, as expected, I haven’t blogged since I’ve gone back into teaching. At all. Life has been super busy and it’s been a big adjustment for us all – I’m not quite sure even after half a term that we’re actually fully used to it yet. So I just thought I’d write a little about it and how we’ve been getting on πŸ™‚
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A Bit of a Natter – Back to Work, Instagram and a Crapload of Emotions

I feel like there’s a lot of stuff swirling around in my head at the moment and I’m in the mood for writing some of it down… So here we are πŸ˜‚

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Twiglet Top Tips – Rachel Thornhill Photography

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A few weeks ago, we spent a fabulous morning at Mayfield Lavender with the very lovely Rachel Thornhill. I’ve known Rachel for a few years as she used to teach the twiglets Gymboree before she embarked on her career as a photographer. Her work is amazing so when she offered to take some photos of them I almost bit her arm off πŸ˜‚ We met at Mayfield Lavender Nursery, the β€˜secret’ lavender fieldΒ πŸ™ŠπŸ˜Š It’s a bit more wild and natural than the main field further up the road but, unlike that one, is not open to the public. It is available for private hire though 😊

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Has It Finally Got Easier?

Back when the twiglets were babies, whenever I met a mum with older twins, one of the main questions I’d end up asking was β€˜when will it get easier?’ Always spoken with a slight undertone of crazed desperation, meaning β€˜please tell me it gets f**king easier, please, PLEASE!” 🀣 The other day, as I got the twiglets out of the car and they walked, both sensibly holding my hands, into their playgroup, it suddenly struck me that maybe we were actually there – has it finally got easier?!
Now don’t get me wrong – it’s not easy, not by any means. We have plenty of sh*t days. H still has the most monumentally epic meltdowns, usually over very little, and has been super emotional recently. C is an absolute diva – knows what she wants, is extremely impatient to get it, will trample on anyone in her way (sometimes literally) and god help us all if she doesn’t get what she wants (which she frequently doesn’t because I’m a mean, horrible mummy 🀣) Strong-willed to the extreme. Both can be soooooo naughty – H in a bit of a silly-hyperactive-annoying-little-puppy kind of way, C often in a more calculating push-all-mummys-buttons-until-she-completely-loses-her-sh*t kind of way πŸ˜– And the times when both are at their naughtiest together… well let’s just say you’ll find me mainlining wine of an evening (erm, that’ll be every evening then πŸ™ˆπŸ€ͺ🀣) Since they turned three a couple of weeks ago, C has taken on her threenager role willingly, and seems to have a newly acquired attitude problem. She’s started answering back, defiantly refusing to do what she’s asked, telling me to go away etc. So that’s all thoroughly joyous. And don’t even get me started on potty-training H πŸ™ˆ
And yet… When I think back, to the hazy fog of the newborn days – the tears (them and me), the rollercoaster of emotions, the struggle to breastfeed and then to pump, the guilt, the endless pooey nappies, the extreme sleep deprivation, the crying, just the sheer overwhelmingness (?πŸ€”) of it all… And then a few weeks and months in – the reflux, the wind, the screaming when feeding, still the endless nappies – the relentless conveyor belt of feeding, burping, changing, rocking to sleep, sterilising bottles, washing clothes – over and over. As they got older, the challenges changed. Suddenly they were on the move so I needed eyes in the back of my head 🀣 I’ve said this before but for me, nothing was quite as tough as the newborn period, yet still I’ve always found parenting twins hard. That’s probably an obvious thing to say, and I’m also aware I’m probably sounding very negative here, and I don’t mean to – I love being a mum, even more so being a twin mum and I wouldn’t change a thing (although children who sleep might have been nice 😁) But it’s ok to admit it’s bloody hard, right? Even a few months ago, every outing was so stressful and anxiety-ridden because of H having no sense of danger and just wanting to bolt at every opportunity.
So being able to walk calmly across that car park holding the twiglets’ hands and chatting to them, without stressing, really did make me stop and think. No more lugging two heavy car seats at once, or wearing one baby in a carrier and carrying the other on my hip, or having to get the tank (aka buggy) out just for a 30-second walk from the car as it was the only way to do it safely, or trying to walk them both and instantly regretting it as they tried to do a runner in separate directions in a busy car park… In a way I miss all those times as it signifies how much they’ve now grown up and matured, but I can’t help but appreciate the ease of things like a simple car transfer now.
So yes I still have sh*t days where I feel lonely and down and like I can’t cope, yes I still need to have a rant sometimes when they’ve driven me to the edge, yes the tantrums are something else and the challenges have just changed as they’ve got older… But even still, I think I can finally say that overall, parenting twins has got that little bit easier at age 3 😊
(*Disclaimer: I reserve the right to fully revoke all of this if they’re being absolute turdmonkeys tomorrow πŸ˜‰)

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When You Can’t Protect Your Children From Other Influences

I remember vividly the first time the twiglets came home from nursery and started singing a song that I didn’t know. They were about 19/20 months and hadn’t been going there long – their speech was nothing like it is now, but they were clearly attempting to sing a song and I had no idea what it was. It was such a weird feeling hearing words come from their mouths that I knew for a fact had not been learned from us. That was the moment I realised that it was no longer just me and twin.papa.po (and our close family) who were responsible for shaping their little minds. Up to then, pretty much everything they’d experienced in their lives had been with one or both of us. We were trying to teach them right from wrong, trying to explain things in a way they could make sense of, trying to encourage them to be kind and caring towards others, above all trying to ensure they were happy. All obviously guided by our own views, opinions and experiences and how we wanted to parent our children. So that singing moment felt significant to me because it was when I had the realisation that other people, with different views, opinions and experiences to ours, were now really starting to influence our twiglets.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I actually think it’s good for children to have lots of different influences in their lives as it will hopefully help them to grow into well-rounded and tolerant individuals, understanding that everyone’s equal yet unique etc. The problem is, some of those influences are inevitably not going to be positive or desirable ones, and as much as we want to protect our kids from them, they need to experience these too. One example of a less than positive influence was something that happened when we were on holiday.
We were in a restaurant waiting for dinner and the twiglets were happily jumping on the bouncy castle there. We were sat very close by. A girl of about 4/5 and her older brother joined them and at first it looked very sweet – C and the girl seemed to be making friends and playing together. We soon realised however, that the girl was starting to be pretty bossy. We then heard her saying β€˜I’m prettier than you’ to C 😱 Luckily C couldn’t have given a flying f**k but it made me so sad that she even experienced someone saying that to her – what a horrid thing to randomly say to another child! I did not want her internalising that and starting to believe it or even thinking it was ok and saying it to another child herself. We weren’t sure of the best thing to do – the girl was being a bit rough too, considering C was much smaller than her, although she is quite tough so wasn’t remotely bothered by that either 🀣 The brother did actually pick the girl up on her behaviour at one point and told her she was being too mean. The parents were on the next table and didn’t say anything – maybe they didn’t hear, maybe they didn’t care – I don’t know. Anyway the girl then ordered her brother and C to stand still by the edge while she β€˜performed’ (H had come off for some juice because juice is life in his world πŸ˜‚) C obliged and waited patiently but then when it was her β€˜turn’ the girl gave her about 2 seconds to jump then told her to stop again. We were a bit p*ssed off by now so I was secretly quite proud of C, at two years old, for standing her ground against this much bigger girl and saying β€˜no it’s my turn now, you need to stand there,’ pointing at the side πŸ™ˆπŸ€£ The girl was not happy at being challenged 🀣 We stepped in at that point and told C it was time to come off for some juice and that her dinner would be ready soon. Being the non-confrontational buggers that we are, we didn’t say anything to the girl or her family, but we did explain quietly to C that the girl hadn’t been behaving very nicely or being very kind. And I guess that is what we as parents and carers can do. We may not be able to protect our kiddies from negative influences but what we can do is use those influences – to teach right and wrong and to reinforce our expectations of our children, in effect to show them what not to do I guess. (Back to the little holiday girl quickly… Interestingly, the next child to go on the bouncy castle was a bigger girl and the three of them were bouncing around quite boisterously together. Then the mum of the littler girl suddenly went storming up and shouted at the bigger girl for being too rough with her daughter! Twin.papa.po and I were looking incredulously at each other wanting to scream β€˜POT, KETTLE!!’ The poor girl was basically hounded off and ran back over to her family in tears! In a way I wish I’d had the guts to say something but I know there would have been absolutely no point – the woman clearly would not have heard a word against her daughter and would probably have caused a huge scene πŸ™ˆ (Just a note here that although I’m being a bit flippant, I do try very hard not to ever judge others’ parenting as I know how damaging, unhelpful and often misguided that can be – in this instance it was hard not to but I’m mindful that I don’t know that family’s story – maybe there were reasons behind it, who knows ✌ )
Anyway that incident made me feel some trepidation at the thought of the twigs going to school next year and the fact that we won’t always be around to protect them from things like other kids being mean or even learning of things going on in the news when they get to that level of understanding. How on earth do you explain to young children some of the things happening in the world? I have no answers for that; I guess as with everything, we’ll wing it when the time comes. It’s just a bit sad that it’s already the end of that time in their early lives where we can keep them almost completely safe and protected in our own little family bubble, and maintain that lovely pure innocence they have. I suppose we just have to hope we can instil enough of a strong moral compass in them that they have the confidence to ignore negative influences and take their own path. And hopefully, we’ll get it kind of half right and that’s what they’ll do 😊