House of Twins – Jan-Aug 2010 - Wordpress Wordpress by wpr1947

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									                                                       Table of Contents
House of Twins....................................................................................................................................................1

They get it from their mother............................................................................................................................2
       Feedback for Post "They get it from their mother..."               ...............................................................................4

Where s-a Wally?...............................................................................................................................................5

You re WELCOME!.........................................................................................................................................7

More matters of Etiket (sic)..........................................................................................................................9

Stealth potty training preparation..................................................................................................................11

The potty training diaries Part 1 (of a million, probably...)..........................................................................13
       Feedback for Post "The potty training diaries Part 1 (of a million, probably...)"..................................15

Busted!...............................................................................................................................................................16

The obligatory snow post (with a picture)......................................................................................................18

Chairs, cups and changes.................................................................................................................................20
        Feedback for Post "Chairs, cups and changes"......................................................................................22

Back to the drawing board?.............................................................................................................................23
       Feedback for Post "Back to the drawing board?"..................................................................................25

Nursery nuances                choosing a nursery...........................................................................................................26

Nursery nuances                attending nursery.............................................................................................................28

Choices...............................................................................................................................................................31
       Feedback for Post "Choices".................................................................................................................33

Ladies who lunch (and tea...)...........................................................................................................................34
       Feedback for Post "Ladies who lunch (and tea...)"................................................................................36

The odd couple..................................................................................................................................................37

Twenty-six month update.................................................................................................................................39
      Feedback for Post "Twenty-six month update".....................................................................................41

I'm not one to boast but....................................................................................................................................42

Oh Pixar, the things you do to me...................................................................................................................44

Tantrums and Tiaras........................................................................................................................................46
      Feedback for Post "Tantrums and Tiaras".............................................................................................48


                                                                                                                                                                           i
                                                      Table of Contents
Twenty-seven month update............................................................................................................................49

One Born Every Minute...................................................................................................................................52

Washing therapy...............................................................................................................................................54

Mother s Day....................................................................................................................................................56
      Feedback for Post "Mother s Day".......................................................................................................58

The no-sleep grump solution............................................................................................................................59

Boingy Boingy....................................................................................................................................................61
       Feedback for Post "Boingy Boingy"......................................................................................................63

Multiple doesn't always mean premature   .......................................................................................................64
       Feedback for Post "Multiple doesn't always mean premature".............................................................66

Twenty-eight month update.............................................................................................................................67

Bad blogger!......................................................................................................................................................70
       Feedback for Post "Bad blogger!".........................................................................................................73

The HoT is a baby-free zone............................................................................................................................74

I fought the PND-monster and won................................................................................................................76
        Feedback for Post "I fought the PND-monster and won..."...................................................................78

Beyond babyhood - and Babycentre?.............................................................................................................79
      Feedback for Post "Beyond babyhood - and Babycentre?"...................................................................82

and another thing..............................................................................................................................................84

That's our girl :)................................................................................................................................................86

Potty progress....................................................................................................................................................88

Hardly-wins.......................................................................................................................................................90

My parenting style............................................................................................................................................92

A dummy-free existence...................................................................................................................................95

Isn't it ironic - don'tcha think (no it ISN'T, Alanis!).....................................................................................97
          Feedback for Post "Isn't it ironic - don'tcha think (no it ISN'T, Alanis!)".............................................99

Party politics....................................................................................................................................................100




                                                                                                                                                                    ii
                                                      Table of Contents
Play date a go-go.............................................................................................................................................103

One slip of the thumb.....................................................................................................................................106

Nursery complaint..........................................................................................................................................108

                                   .
Today I kicked some nursery butt... .............................................................................................................111
       Feedback for Post "Today I kicked some nursery butt..."...................................................................113

Potty training...the nursery way....................................................................................................................114
        Feedback for Post "Potty training...the nursery way"..........................................................................116

Things that really get my goat about other parents (Part 3,395)...............................................................117
       Feedback for Post "Things that really get my goat about other parents (Part 3,395)"........................119

Political limbo land.........................................................................................................................................120
        Feedback for Post "Political limbo land".............................................................................................122

I think mine got lost in the post.....................................................................................................................123
        Feedback for Post "I think mine got lost in the post"..........................................................................125

Twenty-nine month update............................................................................................................................126

Keep your Whig on!........................................................................................................................................129
       Feedback for Post "Keep your Whig on!"...........................................................................................131

Potty mouth.....................................................................................................................................................132

Bye bye babies.................................................................................................................................................134

Channelling Joyce...........................................................................................................................................136

A bit rashy.......................................................................................................................................................138

Rough and tumble...........................................................................................................................................140

A bit rashy part II...........................................................................................................................................142

Summoned!......................................................................................................................................................144
     Feedback for Post "Summoned!".........................................................................................................146

The Funky Gibbon..........................................................................................................................................147

Grace under pressure and Ruth Against the Machine................................................................................149

Rules of engagement or the evolution of a blog........................................................................................151
       Feedback for Post "Rules of engagement or the evolution of a blog"               ..............................................153


                                                                                                                                                                   iii
                                                    Table of Contents
Parents' evening..............................................................................................................................................154

Thirty month update                 or now we are two and a half.................................................................................156

                           .
The second rule of HoT is... ...........................................................................................................................158

Lord Tumble and the big axe.........................................................................................................................160
      Feedback for Post "Lord Tumble and the big axe"..............................................................................162

I might regret saying this...............................................................................................................................163
        Feedback for Post "I might regret saying this...."................................................................................165

There was once an emergency budget...........................................................................................................166

Another brick in the wall...............................................................................................................................168

"My learning journey"...................................................................................................................................170
       Feedback for Post ""My learning journey""........................................................................................172

The Under 24 s Club is growing up!............................................................................................................173

The HoT goes to a Wedding...........................................................................................................................176
      Feedback for Post "The HoT goes to a Wedding"...............................................................................178

Overheard in the HoT....................................................................................................................................179
      Feedback for Post "Overheard in the HoT".........................................................................................181

What would your dream job be and why?...................................................................................................182
      Feedback for Post "What would your dream job be and why?"..........................................................184

Born and shoot, booooorn and shoot. Yeah baby!.......................................................................................185

We re all going to the zoo..............................................................................................................................188

Our Venture adventure..................................................................................................................................191
      Feedback for Post "Our Venture adventure".......................................................................................194

Photo shoot: Take Two...................................................................................................................................195

Getting my photo mojo back..........................................................................................................................197

The not so great escape...................................................................................................................................199

The mechanics of parenting...........................................................................................................................201

Parenting unplanned......................................................................................................................................203




                                                                                                                                                               iv
                                                      Table of Contents
Competitive weeing.........................................................................................................................................205
      Feedback for Post "Competitive weeing"............................................................................................207

Is this a zoo or a library?................................................................................................................................208
         Feedback for Post "Is this a zoo or a library?"              .....................................................................................210

Author's friends..............................................................................................................................................211

About the author.............................................................................................................................................213

Pageviews.........................................................................................................................................................214




                                                                                                                                                                    v
House of Twins
They get it from their mother...
...the singing ability:


by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-07 - 21:10:10

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/07/they-get-it-from-their-mother-7711864/
Feedback for Post "They get it from their mother..."

deleted user [Visitor]
http://www.locksmart-uk.com
2010-01-07 @ 21:28
stars of the future :-)


Michelle [Visitor]
http://mdplife.blogspot.com/
2010-01-11 @ 20:12
We have got to find a karaoke bar in August!

  | Show subcomments
       Joanna79 pro
       2010-01-18 @ 22:06

My singing will make your ears bleed and the local dogs will start howling! You have been warned...
Where s-a Wally?

The girls recently discovered dh s collection of Where s Wally books (I know, I know...) and have
become rather obsessed with them. They are so familiar with the original book in the series (dh and I tend to
steer them towards that one because they get progressively harder as the series go on the Wonder Book is
utterly impossible) that they can now point out Wally on each page within a couple of seconds and shout
MORE MORE to turn the page.

Teaching them how to find Wally hadn t been a straightforward process though, thanks to Martin
Handford s red herrings. Dh and R had a lengthy argument conversation last week over Wenda (Wally s
girlfriend) and Wally. R kept pointing at Wenda and insisted it was Wally. Dh kept trying to correct her. R
DOES NOT like being corrected. Or wrong. Eventually (after about an hour), R conceded defeat, pointed at
Wally and said Wally. Not Wenda in a Captain Mainwaring I was wondering when you d spot that
manner.

The obsession with Wally, or Wallace as G sometimes calls him (they also like Wallace and Gromit) got so
severe earlier in the week that we decided to remove the books from their girls bedroom because they
insisted on doing a Wally a book every night in preference to an actual story. I was missing the pigeon stories
   we have a new one: The pigeon wants a puppy         and the girls haven t really noticed the absence of the
stripy-jumpered one from their storytime so I ll keep Wally hidden for a bit longer. Or at least, until I ve
figured out where every Wally is in The Wonder Book!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-07 - 22:13:27

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/07/where-s-a-wally-7712208/
You re WELCOME!

Earlier in the week I FINALLY got round to posting the girls thank-you cards for their Christmas presents
after grumping and groaning about having to do them so soon after their birthday. My sister and I used to
write thank you cards when we were children and I probably groaned about doing it then as well. Dh was
amazed that I bothered to do them at all which may explain why we haven t received one from our niece
(dh s sisters little girl), not that I m annoyed about it or anything (much) and said it was quite a
middle-class thing to do.

I just think it s polite to formally thank someone for bothering to give you a present. At least R and G got lots
of nice pressies that I could write about reasonable enthusiastically. I m VERY glad that I m now far too old
to have to formally thank my SIL for the Richard Hammond autobiography when I don t really care for him
that much. (Short version: I made a comment about his hair on Facebook about six months ago and this was
interpreted as a declaration of love). Any takers?

Anyway, the thank-you cards and done and dusted for another 11 months now, and I m going to devote the
rest of the year to teaching the girls to write so they can do their own next time!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-07 - 22:14:44

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/07/you-re-welcome-7712212/
More matters of Etiket (sic)
I moaned about people not RSVP-ing to invitations last month and have subsequently discovered another
etiquette misunderstanding between dh and I. We were invited to spend New Year with some friends about a
month ago. It was pretty clear that unless we could also take the girls along, we wouldn t be able to go. I
nagged asked dh every day to send an apologetic e-mail to his friend.

The following exchange took place between dh and I on New Year s Eve:

Me: have you told N that we re not going to theirs for New Year?

Dh: Um, not yet. I ll send him a text.

Me: can you also apologise profusely to them also for the lack of Christmas card. You didn t tell me their
address until Dec 22nd and then I ran out of stamps.

Dh (looks up from tapping out a message on his phone): Um, ok

Me: Oh and also, can you ask if they d like our copy of Conception, Pregnancy and Birth by Miriam
Stoppard ? We re not going to need it now, are we? I m not sure we re supposed to know about April,
China and their whole baby thing but never mind.

Dh (taps for a bit longer, then puts his phone back in his pocket): Done.

Me: What did you say to him?

Dh: Um (he ums a lot), I said we wouldn t be going tonight and wished them Happy New Year.

Me: AAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!

Dh (genuinely baffed) What?

No wonder they all think I m a compete tyrant! I know what you re thinking ..and they d be right but I
strive to maintain basic standards of etiquette and dh is so laid back about such things that he barely thinks
about them at all. I feel like the Margot to his Jerry sometimes.

Gah! Anyway, I have staged a coup (the tyrant tag suddenly makes more sense) and taken charge of the HoT
social calendar. I fear that if I don t we may not have any friends left. I suspect that this is what dh probably
wanted all along...

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-07 - 22:16:44

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/07/more-matters-of-etiket-sic-7712222/
Stealth potty training preparation
Over the last few months, when dh hasn t been looking, I have gradually snuck pieces of potty training
paraphernalia into the house. Two potties. A step stool for the toilet. Packs of grown-up pants. A child seat
for the toilet. A picture book on potty training containing stickers. I m ready to give potty training a go. I m
fairly sure G is ready she is super aware of 'poos' and wee-wees . R seems less fussed but if I know her as
well as I think I do, she ll be so furious that G is doing something she isn t that she ll use the potty to prove
a point. (Not at all like her mother. Oh no.)

The one person that needs more convincing is dh. He is in deep denial about the whole process, citing
accidents, obstacles, stress and mess as reasons not to train the girls just yet. I can see what he means but
when you have a child that is getting the changing mat ready the moment she does a number 2, and hates
being in a dirty nappy, I think he has to accept that perhaps G is ready to be trained.

I m pretty concerned about the whole process as well. When the girls were tiny, I said that the two things that
really scared me were weaning and potty training. I HATED weaning. It was such a long, drawn-out, time
consuming process. Of course, the weaning worries are a distant memory now that the girls eat with us all the
time and I don t even really think about what to feed them. I m sure the same will happen with potty
training. In a year or so I ll reflect on this period and wonder what I was making such a fuss about, as always!

Dh needs to be on board with the idea because he looks after the girls as much as I do. However, I feel I have
to take the lead as he hates change, especially to the girls routine. I m going to make sure I have a pack of
chocolate buttons ready to placate him with (maybe some beer as well?!) when he gets stressed about it!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-09 - 20:33:58

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/09/stealth-potty-training-preparation-7723588/
The potty training diaries Part 1 (of a million,
probably...)
So, with dh safely at work yesterday afternoon I decided to get to work and had a chat with the girls about
potties:

Me: Do you know what a potty is?

G: POTTEEEEE! WEE WEES!

R: (nods)

I told them that I had potties upstairs and proceeded to get them. Lesson number 1: when potty training twins,
buy exactly the same potty in the same colour. In my making them different zeal, I had bought a pink potty
and a red one. Cue lots of excitement from the girls as they sat on one potty for a few seconds, shouted
  SWAP! and changed places.

I explained that they had to take their nappies off and sit on the potty to do a wee. R took her nappy off rather
uncertainly, sat on the potty and insisted that I take her top off as well. G let me remove her nappy and sat on
the potty for a second before leaping up with a panic-stricken look on her face, grabbing a nappy and
attempting to put it back on. R remained (naked) on the potty for a bit longer before leaping up and
demanding to swap potties with G.

The dance of the potties continued for a few minutes before R stood up, took her nappy back, put it on and did
it up. She then sat back on the potty with her nappy on, emitted a small sigh, stood up and shouted WEE! I
checked the nappy. It was wet. R looked extremely pleased with herself in a I did exactly what you asked
Mummy sort-of way. Technically, she had.

G, having watched this, decided to keep a tight hold on her nappy and happily sat on the potty for a little
while reading a book with her nappy on.
Wind forward to bath time...

G generally does a wee when I put her in the bath (oh, she ll love me for this when she s older!) so as they
were getting undressed for bath time, I got the potties out again and explained that it would be extremely
grown-up and clever to do a wee-wee in the potty before getting into the bath. Cue G sitting on the potty with
her nappy on.

I see a long and winding road ahead.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-09 - 20:44:30

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/09/the-potty-training-diaries-part-1-of-a-million-probably-7723636/
Feedback for Post "The potty training diaries Part 1 (of a
million, probably...)"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-01-10 @ 22:40
I traumatised the girls today. They were watching me on the toilet (as you do!) so I asked if they wanted a go.
Both said yes so one at a time I took their nappies off and tried to sit them on. Both went absolutely rigid,
wouldn't bend their knees and totally hysterical.
Back to the drawing board I think...............

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        Joanna79 pro
        2010-01-18 @ 22:02

LOL! Same here. They offered to 'help' me last week when I went to the loo. Their eyes widened as I
produced a tampon from a packet. At that point I shut the door!


Michelle [Visitor]
http://mdplife.blogspot.com/
2010-01-11 @ 20:08
Lol you two! Girls here are now 2.5 and can go a whole day just using the potty - as long as we are not going
out that is! I am waiting until the weather is back a bit nicer again and then we will go for it full on once more.
It is too traumatising (for me!) for them to wet on every cold trip to school walk we do!

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        Joanna79 pro
        2010-01-18 @ 22:03

Mich - you will be our guru as yours are older than mine or Tracy's! We're relying on you for advice on pt-ing
twin girls!


Young Mummy [Visitor]
http://youngandyounger.blogspot.com
2010-01-13 @ 22:09
This made me giggle. My twins are 4 months so are a long way off potty training, but I'm sure I'll be having
the same fun and games as you before I know it!
http://youngandyounger.blogspot.com

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        Joanna79 pro
        2010-01-18 @ 22:05

Ah, you will, you will    Love your blog by the way. Takes me back - cue misty swirly reminiscing...
Busted!
G found the (I thought) carefully hidden stash of Where's Wally books under our bed this morning. Cue lots
of excited squealing. R actually shook with excitement as she clutched her favourite book in the series and
kept saying 'Wally! Wally!'.

The girls sat on our bed while I got dressed and proceeded to read them to each other. Each page: 'Where's a
Wally? 'THERE HE IS! MORE MORE'! 'ALL DONE'!

We managed to distract the girls with the promise of being able to 'help' with the washing. They LOVE
helping around the house. I say helping, I actually mean being in the same room and leaping about as one of
us hangs up washing, empties the washing machine, hoovers the floor, etc. Actually, I'm being a bit
uncharitable. G actually does try to help. R tends to grab a book or jigsaw and sit on the floor next to the
activity taking place.

Anyway, it was enough to make them leave the books on the bed. I'm very, very impressed at their ability to
spot Wally (Wenda, assorted animals, etc) but I like my sanity almost as much.

The books are now stashed away in the bed linen cupboard.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-09 - 20:55:11

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/09/busted-7723688/
The obligatory snow post (with a picture)
R and G have now experienced two periods of snow in their short lives. There were too young and not steady
enough on their feet to enjoy the snow last February, but they are quite fascinated by it now.

Here they are with their very own snowman (R on the left), which they helped dh build in the back garden:




I haven't been able to join in with much of the snow-based jollility as I've been working and in my one brief
foray into the big wide world - to pick the girls up from nursery (where they built another snowman) on
Thursday - I managed to fall over and hurt my (aherm) derriere and right shoulder.

However, it looks like the 'adverse weather conditions' are going to be sticking around for a while so I think
we'll get more opportunities to build snowmen (and for me to make another elaborate pratfall) over the next
week or so.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-09 - 21:13:30

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/09/the-obligatory-snow-post-with-a-picture-7723787/
Chairs, cups and changes
Inspired by a discussion with some twin mum friends of mine, I decided it was time to ge rid of the
highchairs. The girls could theoretically use them for another few months but if we don't need them any
more...

...plus, in true 'Keeping up with the Joneses' style, I didn't like the thought of the girls being the last in their
peer group to still sit in highchairs for meals. The thought made my competitive urges itch. So, my mind was
made up.

One problem: the girls still have milk first thing in the morning and before bedtime. In bottles. The horror!
The received wisdom is that babies should give up drinking milk from bottles around their first birthday to
avoid tooth danage cause by the teat. The girls are now 2 years and 1 month old. Time for a change.

So, the bottles have been replaced by cups and the girls now sit in proper dining chairs for their milk and
meals. The much-used and loved Tommee Tippee 'Closer to Nature' bottles have been consigned to the bin.
They have done sterling service for the last two years but they has served their purpose. The highchairs sit
folded up and folorn in the corner of the dining room, looking like folorm (yet rather colourful) cybermen
waiting to be put out for the binmen to take away. We thought about trying to sell them on or advertise them
on Freecycle but the seats are ripped and quite frankly they are extremely manky after 18 months of being
used five times a day so they are probably better off being crushed and made into cans or...or...something...

The girls have made light of the change - don't they always? Change is generally more momentus for the
parents than the children, it seems. They sip (guzzle) their milk from open (plastic) cups with barely a spill
twixt cup and lip and look terribly grown-up having meals in the same chairs as Mummy and Daddy. They
were clearly ready for the change - they were just waiting for dh and I to catch up.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-18 - 21:53:58

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/18/chairs-cups-and-changes-7783562/
Feedback for Post "Chairs, cups and changes"

        silverscribbler [Member]
        2010-01-20 @ 16:50

It does get easier - have friend that has seven year old identical twin daughters and watched her go through the
trials you mention. Now they have moved out of their high chairs rather than use potties, you might consider
the toilet seat and step stool?

I'm sure if they are anything like Chloe and Cyan - the cleverest one will take the lead? Good luck

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        Joanna79 pro
        2010-01-26 @ 22:18

Thank you we have a toilet seat and step stool ready in case the potties really are an abject failure. 'It's just
a phase' is my mantra!
Back to the drawing board?
We're continuing with the whole 'getting the girls used to the potty' thing. This involves: two potties, two
naked children and a lot of running around. Dh bravely decided to give the girls some nappy-free time while I
was working at home last week.

When I emerged from my study after a hard day of taking over the world journal article cataloguing, I asked
how it had gone. Not well, was the reply. R did a poo on the floor, shouted 'OH DEAR!' and pointed at it. I
expressed my sympathy to dh. Apparently he was just glad it was a solid one.

Isn't parenthood joyous?

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-18 - 22:00:32

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/18/back-to-the-drawing-board-7783596/
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Plan B [Visitor]
http://isthereaplanb.blogspot.com
2010-01-26 @ 23:03
Oh help! I am DREADING this! Just got there with L (2 1/2) and beginning to realise that it's not so long until
we have to do it all over again, only TWICE (A&S are 13 months).... keep the hints and tips coming!

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-01-31 @ 14:27

   I'm rather helping that you'll be able to help US out, as you've already done it once! Potty training twins, I
suspect, is an entirely different ball-game (as they say) though...
Nursery nuances                            choosing a nursery
Based on our experiences with two different nurseries, here are some tips and bits of advice for parents who
are thinking of sending their child to a private day nursery:

1. Visit at least two or three nurseries (more if you can) and put your child s name on the waiting lists (yes,
lists don t commit to just one nursery at this stage) when you are pregnant. Do it after the twelve week scan
if you can. Nursery spaces are at a premium, particularly in London so it pays to act quickly. There are stories
of women who visit nurseries before they have even seen two lines on a pregnancy test and put their fictitious
offspring s name on the list. Don t let your REAL child miss out.

2. There are plenty of guides you can read to choosing the right nursery for your child (a simple Google will
do the job) and do check out the Ofsted reports, which can be found here:
http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxcare_providers/list However, nothing - I repeat - NOTHING beats your gut
feeling. If you feel uncomfortable with something or somewhere, your baby or toddler will sense it. Go with
your partner if you can. At some point you ll both be involved in dropping the child off or picking them up.
Don t dread going into the building.

3. Have a reasonably good idea of what you want your child to gain from attending nursery. If you want them
to go on nature walks, have the ability to paint a picture whenever they feel like it, pick up a book and read or
simply dance around for no reason, seek out a nursery that encourages free play with some structured
activities. If you want them to learn Mandarin and French from the age of 2 and have proper classes from the
age of 3, seek out nurseries that will do this (we visited one. It was spookily quiet and far too scary). Do you
want your child to mix with lots of children to the detriment of their adult pastoral care or to attend a small
nursery with lots of chances for 1:1 interaction with carers but limited opportunities to extend their social
circle?

4. Don t be afraid to ask questions. My big concern was that the carers wouldn t treat the girls as individuals
and I asked for them to have different keyworkers when they were younger, so I tested out the answers to my
questions about individuality and experiences of looking after twins. You ll have your own areas of concern.
Speak to everyone.

5. Explore every area you re allowed access to. Ask to be shown examples of reports, of artwork and activity
records. Look at the changing facilities. Ask about weaning and potty training procedures.

No nursery is perfect. Don't compile a wish list that no nursery could possibly compete with. However, you
are going to be paying a fair whack of money so you have a right to expect certain standards. Decide what's
important to you (both) about a nursery and make your decision on this basis. Failing that, just choose the
nursery nearest to home so that you can 'drop and run' if you have a last minute deadline/sleep in/early
morning meeting. It's up to you.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-26 - 22:11:41

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/26/nursery-nuances-choosing-a-nursery-7881102/
Nursery nuances                             attending nursery

You ve gone back to work and your child has completed the settling-in period at nursery. What should you
do next?

1. Relationship-building. Having a rapport with all of the carers that may come into contact with your child is
useful, but cultivate better relationships with one or two carers (preferably their keyworker and/or room
leader) that you can go and speak to if you want to raise issues.

2. Cliques. Every nursery has one couples that go though NCT classes together, give birth at the same time,
have playdates with each other when their babies are tiny and subsequently discover they have all put their
children s names down for the same nursery. Sometimes the cliques are closed the one at the girls nursery
is VERY selective sometimes they are actively seeking new victims members. It s up to you whether you
join the babysitting circle/drinking/dinner parties/wife swapping parties/seances or not. Your child will also
make friends, which will determine which parents you bond with. So far, the children that the girls are friends
with have parents with similar parenting styles and lifestyles to our own, without any influence from us at all.
That may change in time but don t feel pressured into spending time with people with whom the only thing
you have in common is your respective offspring.

3. Get involved. No, I don t mean lingering after dropping-off time to ensure that your beloved child eats
their cereal and is complimented on their beautiful outfit (see no. 4) by at least three different carers. Most
nurseries have open days, sports days, fund days and Christmas parties. If one or both of you can get the
afternoon off work, it s worth attending.

4. Clothes. Nursery is not the catwalk. Do not send your children to nursery in designer clothes, unless a. You
don t mind them coming home with paint splatters all over their D&G hoodie or b.You have more money
than sense. Think cheap, think comfortable, think practical, think Primark. Save the Gap stuff and dresses (for
girls) for social events. The girls nursery wardrobe is kept entirely separately to their normal clothes and
consists of Primark tops and trousers and anything that they are close to growing out of. Make sure you keep a
small bag with changes of clothes in (a few tops, a spare hoodie and a couple of pairs of trousers) at nursery
and rotate the clothes regularly to ensure a. They still fit and b. They don t smell. Label everything that you
care even remotely about or it will get dirty, get taken off and mixed up with a bundle of random clothes.

5. Reports. Every few months you ll be presented with a report about your child s progress: X is very good
at doing puzzles and next we re going to encourage their ability to split the atom . DO NOT get hung-up on
the nuances of these reports. They are generally based on a day or two of observation by their keyworker. This
is very much pot/kettle with me as I recently spent a whole Monday night fretting about the girls
intelligence, fretting that the split egg had given them half a brain each (I was very tired) and dh rolling his
eyes and repeating THEY ARE TWO. THEY ARE TWO. THEY ARE TWO. Read the report, boast about the
good bits and file them away. If the nursery had any concerns about your child s progress, they would let you
know.

6. Get organised. Pay the fees on time. Join your workplace nursery voucher scheme. If your child runs out of
nappies, ensure you take a new pack in the next time you drop your child off. Read the daily reports they give
you they are generally deadly dull but it s useful to know whether you can expect a poo at bathtime or not.
Most nurseries produce a newsletter. Read it. Sometimes they include pictures.

7. Discipline. At some point you WILL have the 'Can I just grab a chat with you about X' moment, in which a
carer gently explains that your beautiful, gentle, darling child has been biting/kicking/hitting/pulling
hair/fighting/not napping/running around naked and that they are going to take a number of steps to deal with
it. As a parent it's mortifying but also ABSOLUTELY NORMAL. It's actually ABNORMAL for your child
not to do this stuff. Or so they tell me...
by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-26 - 22:16:20

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/26/nursery-nuances-attending-nursery-7881130/
Choices
One of the things you re supposed to do with children (particularly twins, I would argue) is to start giving
them choices from a fairly early age. Cornflakes or Weetabix for breakfast? Skirt, dress or trousers? The girls
have already started expressing preferences for things. If I ask G what she would like to wear, she always says
  skirt . Interestingly, R shows no real interest in what she wears and would probably pop on a bin bag if I
offered it to her. She just goes along with whatever G asks for. I don t give them any say in the clothes they
wear for nursery, partly because I always lay out their outfits the night before and it s far more practical for
them to wear trousers and I just want to prevent an argument in the morning!

My instinct is always to buy the girls the same product but in different colours or styles. Last weekend we
popped into Mothercare to buy them some new plates. They ve had the same plastic bowls for a while now
and as they don t use highchairs any more I thought it might be nice for them to have some more
  grown-up tableware. There was an offer on character tableware and cutlery so without thinking, I picked
out Peppa Pig plates and cups for G and Charlie and Lola tableware for R. Then I checked myself and asked R
and G which ones they would like, offering them the choice of the entire shelf. They both decided that they
liked the Charlie and Lola cups and small plates and Peppa Pig dinner plates. I found it fascinating that they
chose exactly the same items. I would say that R was more decisive about what she chose and G took a little
longer to make her mind up, but they plumped for the same things.

I looked at dh. At least it makes it easier as they won t fight over which one is theirs . I had to agree with
him but the whole thing got me thinking: are the girls going to start wanting the same of everything? Are they
going to want to start dressing exactly the same the one thing I have always strenuously avoided? I ll
certainly think twice about assuming that I know what they will like and imposing my choices on them in
certain areas, anyway - in future.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-30 - 20:35:40

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/30/choices-7906764/
Feedback for Post "Choices"

Plan B [Visitor]
http://isthereaplanb.blogspot.com
2010-01-30 @ 20:57
I find this really interesting. Our two are too little still to be given the choice over most things, but they
certainly already have their preferences. S adores a pig that they were given at birth (one each, but I have
snaffled A's so that I can have one being chewed and one in the wash) and A already knows that the pig
belongs to S, and if S drops it will give it back to her... But certainly adult friends who are identical twins say
that despite their parents' best efforts to allow them to express different facets of their personalities, they
almost invariably went through a phase of always wanting to wear the same thing! Which I'm rather
disappointed about - I'm rather enjoying being able to buy lots of different baby clothes; don't want to have to
buy two of the same all the time!

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-01-31 @ 14:26

I feel exactly the same as you - I have always strived to make the girls different - buying clothes in the same
styles but different colours/designs, etc and I'm going to find it very hard when one day (as I suspect they will,
sooner or later) they decide that they want to wear exactly the same outfit as each other.

Also (as I know you can relate two, having three of them!), dressing girls is SO much fun! Terribly shallow, I
know but true nonetheless.
Ladies who lunch (and tea...)

We take the girls out for lunch or tea on a fairly regular basis once or twice a month - and after a few
food-throwing incidents (them, not us) when they were much younger, they are generally extremely
well-behaved.

Over the weekend we went out for tea twice, wantonly wasteful parents that we are. On Saturday the girls and
I took dh out for tea as a pre-birthday celebration (dh met me for a much quieter birthday lunch when the girls
were at nursery on Monday) and I offered him the choice of restaurants. We went to Ed s, the American-style
50s diner in Bluewater. They do a pretty good children s menu (chips with everything but the girls seem to be
following in their mother s footsteps as they tend to reject the chips in favour of chicken and milkshakes) and
it s reasonably cheap.

Other restaurant favourites include Nando s (one of the waitresses remembers the girls and comes over for a
chat whenever we pop in for a bite to eat), Pizza Express, Cafe Rouge and the sadly departed Chili s. I'd been
avoiding Pizza Hut since a decidedly dodgy take-away I had from them about a year ago (small curly hairs
with your cheesy garlic bread? Laxatives on your pizza madam?)but just before Christmas we popped in to
our local branch and were really well-treated by every single member of staff, inclding the manager who
ensured that every need and whim of the girls was catered to. I was seriously impressed - and the food was
absolutely fine.

On Sunday we went to visit my parents, who had my sister (the much loved J) and her partner staying with
them for the weekend. We all went out for a Carvery and the girls were on five star form. Feeding eight
people takes a while and the girls lasted well over two hours (no highchairs, no entertainment) before they got
restless.

I know of plenty of parents who quail at the thought of taking their young children to restaurants. We found
that there was a period, around the time when the girls were first being weaned, that it was really difficult to
take them out for a meal. They weren t able to eat grown-up food but were a bit beyond being pacified
with a bottle of milk and snoozing in their buggy, as they used to do when they were newborns. We went out
for a lunch a fair few times when the girls were tiny, up to when they were about four months old and then
(after a rather bad time at Nando s) stopped taking them out for meals until they were about 11 months old.
The girls would probably have been fine before that but I think dh and I were still scarred by Nando s-gate.
Once we got our confidence back, we ve got into a fairly regular routine of going out for tea.

It s one of things where the more you do it, and normalise it, the more the child gets used to it. Plus I m
convinced that social eating (at nursery and with us) has improved the girls table manners and eating habits
enormously. I recognise that we re lucky to be in a position where we can take the girls out for meals and so
perhaps our experiences are a little different to other peoples . Plus we re not exactly taking them to the Ritz
so we re not shelling out a ridiculous amount of money for food. It's also a good winter activity - I'm
seriously missing being able to take the girls to the park - and feels like good, quality family time.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-01-30 - 20:44:09

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/01/30/ladies-who-lunch-and-tea-7906817/
Feedback for Post "Ladies who lunch (and tea...)"

        silverscribbler [Member]
        2010-02-01 @ 10:16

Very commendable - bet you wouldn't order Spaghetti Bolognese though for them at an Italian resturant? (not
without issuing cagoules to the other diners!)


Babes about Town [Visitor]
http://babesabouttown.com
2010-02-15 @ 16:50
Really enjoyed reading your post. I wholeheartedly agree it's best to 'break' your kids in early when it comes
to going out to eat. And the fact that you're out with twins shows it can be done! Rock on :-)

Lunch time and tea time are my most social hours of the day with the babes!

I recently blogged about teatime at St. Pancras which is one of my fave spots (also involves trains for the boys
and shopping for me!). It's definitely a great way to pass the time during the colder weather.
The odd couple

R and G are like an old married couple: they bicker and annoy the heck out of each other but they can co-exist
quite happily. One minute they are arguing over a toy and the next they are giving each other cuddles and
kisses. They are their own mutual appreciation society: R clapping and encouraging G when she does a
puzzle; G, in her softly spoken little voice asking R if she is ok when her sister is angry or sad. Even when
they are really getting on each other s nerves, they have to be near each other. They could choose to find a
quiet corner for a bit of me time, but being in a bad mood is infinitely better if you can share it with your
nearest and dearest, isn t it?

The girls are excellent at getting each other out of a bad mood (when they want to sometimes they just wind
each other up): R tries to make G laugh; G gives R toys and pats her soothingly on the back, murmuring
platitudes. Sometimes when I feel frustrated by their behaviour I sit back and watch how they deal with each
other. I ve learnt some really handy little parenting tips that way.

R and G communicate with each other in a number of ways: they use words of course, but much of their
communication is non-verbal. A look or an action seems to convey more between them than a handful of
words or sentences. How else can we explain the fact that they can just look at each other, smile and perform
exactly the same action at the same time without either of them making a sound? I used to think the twin
language stuff was a load of American hokum, but I m starting to think differently.

They will quite happily go off and do their own thing: at nursery they have different groups of friends. R has a
gang of boys that she hangs around with, causing mischief and mayhem wherever they go. G has a few boy
friends but is also quite happy playing with girls and doing pink and girly things.

At Toddler World (soft play/toddler gym) yesterday, dh and R disappeared off to do lots of daredevil climbing
and aggressive bouncing while G and I wondered around trying out different activities, G chatting away,
singing and dancing to the music and looking at the other children and babies. G is more of a gentle soul; R is
shaping up to be a tomboy. After a little while, G would stop doing whatever activity she was enjoying and
shout RUUUUUTH. Dh reported that R would do the same from time to time. They didn t want to play
together necessarily, but they like to know where the other one is.

How odd it must be to have a constant presence in your life from birth someone that has always been
around and looks like you, is the same age as you, does the same things as you. Most of us, particularly eldest
siblings get to experience solitude but twins don t. R and G seem to be hyper aware of each other and very
tuned in to each other s feelings. Theirs is an odd yet fascinating relationship that only they really understand.
I m their mother I grew them and gave birth to them but sometimes I feel like an outsider in their
relationship. In many respects I occupy a privileged position and they clearly love their Mummy and Daddy.
However, the relationship and the bond that they share is amazing and fascinating and I can t wait to see how
it develops in the future.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-02-15 - 20:24:05

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/02/15/the-odd-couple-8014379/
Twenty-six month update
It s been absolutely ages since I last did a monthly update thingy. I gave it up when the girls were 18 months
old but as real life has taken over from my blogging life, I m going to try and re-introduce them again.

Twenty-six months, eh? I remember writing the four month one. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Teeth. G now has 15 teeth and R has 14. Only another 11 to go, collectively. I m going to break open the
champagne when their twentieth teeth (finally) pop though. I might even do a jig.

Weight. We weighed them in January and G is about 27lbs and R is around 26lbs. They aren t exactly
bruisers but they don t sit down for more than a few minutes at a time and are constantly busy-busy so I m
not surprised really.

Height: G is 88cms tall and R is 86cms. I feared that they may be long-bodied, short legged hobbits but their
legs appear to have got longer over the last few months and they look more in proportion now.

Speech and words: G is very chatty and combines beautifully constructed sentences of perfect English with
quite a lot of babbling. Often, she ll say something that is clearly meant to be quite profound and important
but sounds like gobbledegook to us and she gets terribly upset when we don t understand her. R is Gromit.
She is quite happy to communicate through gestures, nods and eye-rolling but will suddenly come out with
sentences paragraphs, almost - of well-spoken English when she decides that she needs to. They constantly
surprise me with their knowledge. Until recently they have shown no interest in learning about colours but
today they sat and pointed at everything around them, the clothes they were wearing and the cups they were
holding and told me (mostly correctly) what colour they were. They are at the sponge stage, where they
appear to be absorbing and remembering huge amounts of new information every day.

Puzzles: G is extremely good at them and happily tackles and completes puzzles that are designed for much
older children. R will help G with a puzzle when she s in the mood but isn t comfortable with doing them
herself. She prefers Where s Wally books.

Food and drink: they eat the same food as us. They sit in booster seats at the dining table for all meals now
(we tried them without the booster seats but R kept climbing on to the table and standing on it) and they
happily drink milk and water from open cups. They still haven t had juice. They love olives but hate pesto.
They don t like baby foods. They like spicy, garlicky foods.

Cross-stitch project: um, I did a tiny bit more on it about three months ago and put it away again. There
simply aren t enough hours in the day!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-02-15 - 20:50:18

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        silverscribbler [Member]
        2010-02-16 @ 14:40

Good luck - I suggest you forget the cross stitch and concentrate on this valuable time with your twins.

Like me you can always pick up the cross stitch when they are both at school.

Having a record of your girl’s progress will come in handy next time around!

My eldest was happy to learn her colours shapes and numbers at about that age - the ‘sponge’ stage as you
describe goes on as long as you continual to communicate and teach them.

It was my eldest who taught her younger sister the things Mum had patiently sat and taught her some two
years before – even down to using her left hand to write – yet curiously they both eat right handed.

I found we had a problem when the youngest started school at four – she not only knew how to read and write
but also could play chess. Her reception teacher was at a loss keeping her interest, as she was bored with what
the others were being taught so perhaps it doesn’t always pay to push them? Luckily the problem was solved
when she was moved onto another class.

Can I just add that both have since passed University degrees and now in their twenties, have professional
jobs?


        Joanna79 pro
        2010-02-16 @ 17:24

That's an interesting point: I do wonder if my expectations of the girls are quite high because dh and I have
five degrees between us and dh has a PhD so we expect the girls to be 'advanced' and 'brainy'. In fact, I will
feel like a failure as a parent if they don't emulate our achievements, if not exceed them. Unfair on R and G?
Yes, extremely. I *know* that I should let them be and I will try to do that but I fear that my true nature will
win out. Luckily for the girls, dh is much more relaxed and is a good counterweight to my hothousing urges!
I'm not one to boast but...
...if i were, I'd write an incredibly long and detailed post on G's ability to do jigsaw puzzles meant for 3-6 year
olds. Mostly on her own. Over and over again. Several different puzzles a day.

Luckily, I'm not one of those mothers... ;)


by Joanna79 @ 2010-02-28 - 20:10:10

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/02/28/i-m-not-one-to-boast-but-8091652/
Oh Pixar, the things you do to me...
Dh and I finally watched 'Up' last Saturday. A single tear rolled down my cheek within a minute of the film
starting and by the time the credits rolled I was surrounded soggy tissues.

(I last cried that much at the cartoon adaptation of The Snowman when I was a teenager and I simply haven't
been able to watch it since. In fact, I can't even think of the little boy running down the stairs to see his new
friend The Snowman next morning only to find (gulp) a small mound of snow (sob) with a hat and scarf on
top (sniff) and the realisation that a small part of his chilhood innocence has DIED (waaaaaaah) and that
flipping music and I'm a wreck)

Anyway, back to Up.

Pixar films tend to have that effect on me. I adore everything they make and think they produce beautiful,
wonderful, magical (can I think of another superlative? Probably...) films but boy, do they put you through the
wringer.

By 'you', I actually mean 'me'. Here are my top Pixar waaaaah moments:

1. Monsters Inc. The moment near the end where Sully opens the door to Boo's bedroom, steps inside, you
hear Boo shout 'Kitty' and Sully smiles.
2. Toy Story 2. Jessie's song ('When she loved me') about being abandoned by her previous owner. It makes
me want to go and find all my childhood toys and apologise for growing up and leaving them behind.
3. Up. Pretty much all of it.

I don't know anyone that 'suffers' this much when watching Pixar films. Actually, I do. It's a boy. He's
straight. Our partners think we are nuts...

My question is, how ON EARTH am I going to take the girls to see Pixar films at the cinema when they are
older? Are they going to be hideously embarrassed by their mother, supposedly a grown up reduced to a
sobbing wreck by a bunch of CGI characters on a big screen? Is there any sort of aversion therapy I can do?
Reprogramming?

For what it's worth, based on their current personalities, I suspect that R will giggle evilly at her silly Mummy,
while G will either be shedding a tiny tear or two herself, or will be fretting about Mummy being sad.

DAMN YOU PIXAR!!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-02-28 - 20:40:50

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/02/28/oh-pixar-the-things-you-do-to-me-8091884/
Tantrums and Tiaras
Yes, we've reached thatstage at the HoT. I'm sure there are plenty of parents of twins (and singletons) that are
sailing through the 'Terrible Twos' with barely a raised voice but we aren't.

Don't get me wrong - the girls go through long periods of being cute, charming, lovely and fabulous but
sometimes they just totally lose it and there is chaos.

G is fairly easily distracted out of tantrums, although we've had one or two 'I'm going to have a nervous
breadown in a busy shopping centre and lie on the floor kicking, screaming and sobbing because my evil
parents won't let me go up the escalator' wobblers but generally she's the more even tempered of the two.

R is, to put it mildly, something else. The witching hour for her is 5pm and if she's feeling particularly tired or
cantankerous, the slightest little thing will reduce her to a screaming paddy - not playing 'Where are you' with
the towel at bathtime for the 49th time, the wrong cup at milk time, that sort of thing.

I have to say though (and I'm not smug about this at all. Not even a little bit.), that she plays up far more for
dh than for me. When dh is working in the evening and I put R and G to bed on my own, R is a little star. She
splashes in the bath quite happily with her sister, may have a little grr at having her hair washed but nothing
too serious, lets me put her pyjamas on without a fuss, we read stories together, I pick her up, say 'Cuddle,
kiss, then bed' and she does exactly as she's told. I shut their bedroom door and there is usually a little bit of
chatting and giggling before the silence.

Not so when dh is here. All usually goes well until we try to put the girls to bed. R doesn't let me pick her up
(even resorting to wriggling out of my arms and shouting for dh) and when dh cuddles her, she snuggles into
his arms and won't let go. When dh tries to put R into her cot she has an absolute nervous breakdown of the
swivelly headed monster variety. We do cuddle, kiss, bed and G behaves beautifully, snuggling under her
duvet clutching her beloved doggy. R stands in her cot, refusing to let dh or I so much as attempt to put the
duvet over her. It's got to the point now where I actually dread dh being around at bedtime because I find the
screaming too much to bear.

Dh leaves R to it for five minutes and goes back in to see her, gives her a kiss and a cuddle (and the same for
G, who is usually a little bewildered by R's behaviour) and she settles. This technique seems to work and she
generally sleeps through but why the histrionics? It's not like there's anything wrong with her. Conversely, G
occasionally does bedtime on his own and R may have a mini wobbler, but nothing too serious. She's
definitely worse when we're both here, yet she wants nothing to do with me. It's all about dh.

As my favourite parenting phrase (the one tattooed on my forehead, metaphorically speaking) goes: 'It's just a
phase' but argh. I can't wait for this one to be over.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-02-28 - 21:10:23

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/02/28/tantrums-and-tiaras-8092056/
Feedback for Post "Tantrums and Tiaras"

        silverscribbler [Member]
        2010-03-01 @ 10:13

Have you thought to offer to leave the light on, perhaps try them both out in a bed rather than leaving them to
sleep in a baby cot - a regular bedtime routine used to work well for my two - bath story bed - then Daddy
would come home and the hour I'd spent putting them to bed so that he and I could have our team would be
totally lost as he'd want to see "his girls"
Twenty-seven month update
Hair

The girls had their first 'proper' haircuts (until now they have just had trims every few months) and now have
short bobs with little fringes. They look terribly grown-up.

Teeth.
G now has 16 teeth and R has 15. I sense no. 16 coming but can t feel the tell-tale point yet. No sign of the
back teeth yet.

Weight and height.
We haven t weighed or measured the girls for a while but they appear to have thinned out now and have lost
some of their round babyishness and have definitely got taller.

Speech
  R still has Gromit tendencies, preferring to point and nod when she wants things but we are making her ask
before we let her have them and she is getting the idea now, although she does roll her eyes and sigh quite a
lot.
  G appeared to have a couple of problems pronouncing the letter C at the beginning of words and for a
while, she liked Pornflakes and Packers but after lots of gentle but firm correction from us:
  CORNflakes CRAckers , she s now pronouncing them correctly.
  G likes counting things she s quite happy with counting up to five and then leaps from seven to nine and
back to six again. Every time we go up and down the stairs, we count them. I ask the girls how many
blueberries they have left. I get them to count up animals in books; the number of cars on our road; the
number of cuddly toys in front of them; the number of books G is carrying, etc.

Toys and games
  R and G are, like, totally over finding Wally now (far too easy, apparently) and prefer looking for Wenda
(Wally s girlfriend) instead.
  G s still really into her puzzles and happily completes those designed for children aged 3 and older. R
doesn t really like puzzles at all but when she s in the mood she ll help G out. When R is in a bad mood, she
throws G s puzzles across the room, leading to a toddler riot
  The girls both like their Peppa Pig playhouse and will hole up in there for ages reading books to each other
and playing with cuddly toys.

Potty training
   G is still surgically attached to her nappy and won t be parted from it, so I m not pushing her to start potty
training.
   R likes wearing her Charlie and Lola knickers for short periods of time (around half an hour to an hour) and
has only wet herself once, at which point she demanded to be put back in a nappy.
   We have abandoned the whole idea of potties at this stage and have opted instead for a toddler toilet seat. G
keeps referring to it as R s seat so at some stage we ll probably let G choose her own seat.

Books
Here are the girls favourite books this month:
 The tiger who came to tea by Judith Kerr
 Elmer and Wilbur by David McKee
 Hairy Mclairy by Lynley Dodd
 The Pigeon books by Mo Willems

Television
The girls still don t watch very much television and have the attention span of a couple of hyperactive gnats,
but they do like watching these:
  Wallace and Gromit The Wrong Trousers. They watch this once a day at the moment. They are obsessed
with Gromit s Birthday Naughty penguin and Gromit sad . They know the story forwards, backwards
and sideways. Dh has downloaded The Wrong Trousers and A Grand Day Out (SPAAAAACESHIIIIIP!) on
to his phone, which has proved to be a godsend on long car journeys.
  In the Night Garden. They adore Makka Pakka. I have to pretend to be him/her/it (delete as appropriate)
when I help them wash their faces. They do not like the Pontipines.
  Show me show me. Argh! G loves the theme tune and the bits with Chris and Pui, but gets bored with the
rest of it.
  Something Special. I really want the girls to get into this but they are a bit reluctant. I now know the signs
for toast and shiny shoes my makaton education starts here!


by Joanna79 @ 2010-03-14 - 19:43:12

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/03/14/twenty-seven-month-update-8176936/
One Born Every Minute
Now this is proper water cooler television. One Born Every Minute (OBEM) has been on Channel 4 for the
last few weeks and has become a must-see for me. For those that haven t seen it, the premise of the
programme is simple: it s a fly on the wall documentary of a maternity unit in Southampton. When I say fly
on the wall, I mean, no holds barred, grunting, groaning, blood, guts gore and everything else associated with
giving birth.

I love it for three reasons:

1. All human life is here, bringing yet more life into the world. All ages, all ethnicities, all backgrounds and
classes are featured. Some of the women cope with birth admirably, adopting a gung-ho spirit to the thing
and embracing pregnancy and childbirth for what it is: a (sometimes) long and (usually) boring and
(extremely) painful process that has a remarkable and scary end product. The others...well, it s hard to
criticise my fellow woman during childbirth (particularly as mine were forcibly removed through the sunroof)
but I ll just say that some of them have been woefully unprepared for the ordeal. As for the fathers/birth
partners...some are sarcastic, some are rude and some look overwhelmed by the whole thing. Only one so far
has proved to be really up to the job and he was 17 years old, supporting is 16 year old girlfriend through a
natural birth. He coped with it better than many of the thirty and forty-something fathers to be.

2. The midwives. Talk about a heroic profession. They spend their working lives looking at the business end
of thousands of random women and take it in their professional stride. They are calm and unflappable, even
when all hell is breaking loose in the delivery room. They survive on tea and carrot cake. They are
marvellous, even when dealing with complete and utter morons. Rather them than me. Give them all massive
pay rises now. Just get a few bankers (with a capital W) to give up their bonuses this year.

3. The smugness. Oh boy does it make me feel smug. I can watch it with the detached amusement of someone
that has been there, got the t-shirt and won t ever be doing it again. Also, I do the absolutely awful thing of
comparing the looks of the babies to my own. It is, of course, a given that all newborn babies are tiny,
scrunchy and cute. However, I have yet to see a baby that is anywhere near as pretty as my two were when
they were born. Smug and awful? Yes. However, I bet there aren t many parents that can recount the story
that we can, of the anaesthetist looking down at R and saying with genuine surprise in his voice after looking
at Dh and I and saying She s so pretty! As someone who is distinctly un-pretty, I relive that moment in my
dark hours and it makes me smile. I may not be all that but a stranger said that my children are.

I have yet to see a twin birth and I don t know if the programme is going to feature one but I love OBEM and
it makes me weepy at least once per episode. I ll be sad when it ends.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-03-14 - 20:07:47

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/03/14/one-born-every-minute-8177071/
Washing therapy
I m not the most house proud person on the planet we re not unclean people by any stretch of the
imagination but I m sure Kim and Aggie would criticise our dust layers but I have a confession: I
absolutely LOVE doing washing. Very few things make me happier than an empty washing basket and piles
of clean clothes.

Luckily there s no shortage of washing to do in the HoT. Four people: two of whom work full-time, one of
whom wears a uniform; and two small children that attend nursery three days a week and get through about
three million outfits, plus a little girl that regularly overfills her nappy at night, plus one clothes-mad mother
that has a work wardrobe, a wannabe yummy mummy wardrobe and a selection of funky pyjamas, and we
create more than enough washing to keep a small launderette business going.

When I m at home, I can easily do four loads a day. Dh offers to do the washing every so often (or sneaks a
load or two on when I m at work) and I feel actual disappointment that I won t have as much to do the next
day. I even have a system , which I can t reveal to you as I might have to kill you (or reveal how OCD I
am) and it (quietly) drives me mad that dh doesn t follow it. Of course he wouldn t he s SANE.

In my busy working mother life, full of responsibility and stress, the washing is a small piece of normality and
humdrum for me; something I can control and can see an end product for. I have threatened to make dh and
the girls wear nothing but pants and nappies when they are at home (when we don t have visitors, obviously)
but in truth, I d miss doing the washing. Weird but true.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-03-14 - 20:24:30

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/03/14/washing-therapy-8177153/
Mother s Day
This years Mothers Day was one of two halves:

Morning: had a lie-in (I read yesterday s Guardian and Times cover to cover for a change) while dh got the
girls up and gave them breakfast. I got breakfast in bed bacon and egg toasted sandwiches. I received my
presents: cards made by the girls at nursery accompanied by pictures of the ladies in self-glittered (read: glitter
everywhere) photo frames; and home-made cards (with the help of dh) and a new set of funky David and
Goliath pyjamas. R and G came to visit me while I wallowed in my own filth and I read them stories. Dh took
the girls to Sainsbury s and I went back to bed and phoned my Mum. I finally got up at lunchtime and went
for a shower and sang show tunes as I got dressed.

Afternoon: dh went to work at 2pm. I got the girls up from their nap. They were grumpy. I started to do four
loads of washing and realised that we had run out of washing powder so I could only do two loads (the
horror!). I hovered downstairs. The girls and I had tea. The girls played with stickers, watched Wallace and
Gromit, did some puzzles, I read them some (more) books and then it was milk, bath, story and bedtime. Dh
won t be back until late so now I m blogging and thinking about work tomorrow.

Enough! I m off to watch the film version of Pride and Prejudice for the zillionth time. Matthew Macfadyen,
here I come!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-03-14 - 20:34:51

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/03/14/mother-s-day-8177210/
Feedback for Post "Mother s Day"

       silverscribbler [Member]
       2010-03-14 @ 21:29

Matthew McConaughey would be my choice of bedtime viewing!
The no-sleep grump solution
The girls gave up naps at nursery at the beginning of February (they still nap for between an hour and 90
minutes during the day at home) and they've been an utter joy at home time ever since. Did I write 'joy'? I
think I meant 'vile'. R and G may think that they are too grown up, at the age of two and a quarter, for naps at
nursery (they are concerned that they might miss something, I think) but they clearly need them.

Take tonight for example. They actually weren't too bad when I picked them up from nursery, aside from that
fact that they had decided to take off their shoes, trousers and socks and run around in just a t-shirt and a
nappy and weren't exactly keen on getting dressed again. So far, so normal.

All hell broke loose just after milk time when they both demanded (by screaming at the top of their lungs) to
be carried upstairs for their bath. At the same time. Now, as they are a combined weight of more than 50lbs, I
can't exactly scoop them both up in my arms and whisk them upstairs. I have to choose which child I am
going to carry up first. Talk about choosing your favourite chi...oh, hang on...

Cut to me running the bath, singing 'The Wheels on the Bus' at the top of my voice ('ALLLL DAAAAY
LOOOONG!') while R and G howled, wailed, screamed and head-swivelled their way through stereo tantrums
in the doorway. Admittedly they did eventually calm down after their bath when I read them 'The tiger who
came to tea' before putting them to bed but I endured a fairly fraught quarter of an hour with them.

Now, there are a zillion parenting 'techniques' to deal with tantrums of this magnitude: ignore them, hold
them, whisper softly to them, distract them, perform a jig and produce a rabbit from your hat (I may have
made this one up) and I'm here to tell you that nothing NOTHING works when toddlers are THIS tired and
THIS fed-up. The only thing you can do is give them cuddles (when they let you - R has a tendency to lash
out when she's really furious), put a brave face on it (lots of John Barrowman style jazz hands, singing and
smiling) and get them to bed as quickly as humanly possible.

The one saving grace is that they (generally) sleep unbelievably well at night...




by Joanna79 @ 2010-03-15 - 20:15:26

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/03/15/the-no-sleep-grump-solution-8183318/
Boingy Boingy
We bought me the girls a trampoline yesterday and I they love it. It's one of those big, round, 'needs a
protective net around it' types and the girls and I (and dh slightly reluctantly) have spent most of the day doing
'Boingy boingy' on it.

(I'd better add in here that dh assembled about 90% of it between the rain showers yesterday and was defeated
by the dark in his mission to finish it. He completed the construction job this morning, after breaking several
tools from his beloved tool set in the process)

R, the more daredevil of the two absolutely adores the trampoline and leaps around like a...leaping thing..(?)
with absolutely no fear at all. G is slightly less sure about it, preferring to sit on dh's lap and encourage R from
the sidelines. She got slightly more into it this afternoon but still finds it harder to get back up from a fall and
carry on. R seems to be more resilient and bouncy.

Anyway, all of this is academic because the important thing is that I LOVE IT. I've even started to think of
playlists I can put onto my ipod to listen to while I'm bouncing up and down. (Songs so far: Jump around by
House of Pain, Jump by Van Halen, Jump for my Love by the Pointer Sisters) I spent a very happy half-hour
during the girls' nap this afternoon jumping to my heart's content. This taught me two things: 1. I need to think
of more bouncing songs, 2. I need to invest in a new sports bra. I see the trampoline as my route to fitness: my
way back to the thighs I could crack walnuts with that I had in my gym, pre-children days.

R and G can go boingy boingy as much as they like in the day time. In the evening the trampoline is MINE.




by Joanna79 @ 2010-03-28 - 18:28:07

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/03/28/boingy-boingy-8264936/
Feedback for Post "Boingy Boingy"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-04-01 @ 08:24
H&L went boinging at the weekend for the first time with their cousins. They both loved it and kept
demanding to be taken outside to boing! Luckily their cousins have the patience of saints so obliged!
I'm quite tempted to invest in a trampoline but quite like still having a bit of garden to call my own LOL!
Hope you enjoy!

  | Show subcomments
       Joanna79 pro
       2010-04-03 @ 18:25

Did you have a go on it yourself Tracy?! I recommend it! It's rained here every flipping day since we bought
the trampoline so the girls have only been on it once since roll on summer!


Michelle [Visitor]
http://mdplife.blogspot.com/
2010-04-06 @ 19:41
lol, we have just invested in a nice big trampoline too and the kids are loving yet. I am yet to be brave enough!
Multiple doesn't always mean premature
One Born Every Minute focussed on two premature babies last week. One of the babies was one of triplets
and the other was a surving twin. Their stories were amazing and heartbreaking in equal measure.

I wouldn't want everyone who watched the programme to think that all multiples are premature and/or have
problems that extend well into childhood. Yes, the likelihood of early delivery and subsequent complications
is higher, but this doesn't necessarily follow in all cases. I know of several twin mums who carried their babies
to 'term', which in twin births is 37 weeks gestation (and in triplet births 34 weeks) and one or two who hung
it out to 40 weeks - and I thought I was 'late' at 39 weeks! Equally, I know several twin mums that endured
difficult twin pregnancies, had premature babies and went through the awful NICU and SCBU process. In
most cases the scraps they gave birth to are now strapping toddlers and pre-schoolers, with few or no lingering
after-effects of their early arrival in the world.

I'm not sure if I could watch OBEM if I was pregnant. What am I saying? I can barely make it through an
episode now without reaching for a tissue. My point is that a multiple pregnancy doesn't always lead to
premature babies. There's an awful lot of luck involved and thankfully, were were incredibly lucky with R and
G.


by Joanna79 @ 2010-03-30 - 19:32:33

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/03/30/multiple-doesn-t-always-mean-premature-8279298/
Feedback for Post "Multiple doesn't always mean
premature"

Plan B [Visitor]
http://isthereaplanb.blogspot.com
2010-03-30 @ 21:24
So true. It also depends hugely on the hospital. I had my girls by elective section at 36 weeks after a totally
uneventful pregnancy because that was the hospital policy for identicals. My sis-in-law went to 39 1/2 before
being induced and had hers naturally.... In fact, it was only once I had twins myself that I realised a twin
pregnancy was considered "high risk". Lots of multiple pregnancies do have complications, but lots don't. I'm
so grateful that I too was one of the lucky ones.


Allison [Visitor]
http://www.sixlittlefeet.com
2010-04-04 @ 19:37
I'm a twin mum who made it to 37 weeks. I was induced because there was no amniotic fluid left and my
blood pressure kept going up and down. My babies were very healthy and we all went home 2 days later.
Twenty-eight month update
Teeth.
The girls now have 16 teeth each and we are awaiting the appearance of the back teeth. They have been
chewing like mad and dribbling a fair bit so maybe...maybe...they will both have full sets of gnashers soon

Weight and height.
G weighs 12.4 kilos and R weighs 12.1 kilos.
They are both 89 cms tall.

Speech
   It s weird having conversations with two year olds. They have much longer memories than you might think
and they pick up new words and phrases constantly and store them away for future use. I tried to help R pour
out her milk this evening and was told to LEAVE IT in exactly the same tone that dh uses when telling the
girls off for touching something they shouldn t.
   G mothers R quite a bit and constantly asks: You ok Ruth? Want help Ruth? Grace help Ruth . She also
tells R off: OH DEAR RUTHIE! . G is quite sensitive to other people s moods and doesn t like hearing
raised voices she s pats me on the arm when we overhear an argument and says Shouting Mummy. No
like it .
   We re working hard to discourage R from grunting and pointing for things she wants by telling her to ask
us nicely what she wants and not giving it to her until she uses the correct words. We re making good
progress with this now.
   We ve also cracked down on whingeing with both of them and we ask them to speak to us in nice voices if
they start wailing and again, we don t give in until they give us the correct response.

Toys and games
  We ve bought the girls a few garden toys, including a trampoline (it s not a Boingy Boingy now,
apparently it s a TRAMP-O-LINE), a slide and a cricket set. R loves physical activity but G is less fussed
so my parents have bought her a swinging garden seat so that she can sit outside and do puzzles and read
books while R rampages around burning off energy.
  The girls love singing songs, especially nursery rhymes and we are often woken up by a duet of Wheels on
the Bus, Baa Baa Black Sheep or Roly Poly.

Potty training
PT hasn t progressed since the last update but R and G are both obsessed with their nappies and the contents
thereof. They also like helping me on the toilet, which is....nice(?!)...well, nice if you like two small people
accompanying you to the loo (I believe prisoners and royalty are also blessed with this pleasure) and
cheerleading as you perform your ablutions...

Books
The girls are currently obsessed with:
 Room on the Broom
 Each peach pear plum
 Knuffle Bunny
 The very hungry caterpillar

Television
Wallace and Gromit is still a favourite but I have finally got R and G into Something Special. Hurrah! Dh and
I can now have quite limited conversations in Makaton and the girls are getting good at copying the signs. Dh
asked R what the sign for caterpillar was last night and she not only did the correct hand movements for the
creature but also did the right sign for the word sign

Events and trips
The girls have a much more exciting social life then dh or I, so I may as well note it down:
 Nursery trip to a city farm and playground, accompanied by dh
 L-R s 2nd birthday party
 Visit from Nanny F
 Open afternoon at nursery on Maundy Thursday and Easter Bonnet parade
 Visit from A, T and bump
 Visit from Nanny and Grandad F and Aunty J
 Visit from Nanny and Grandad W
 A train to visit Mummy at work and lunch at Nando s
 O and S s 2nd birthday party
 Visited Nanny and Grandad F
 Visit to our hairdresser for their second proper haircuts.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-13 - 19:29:26

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/13/twenty-eight-month-update-8363755/
Bad blogger!
Bless me readers (ho ho, like there's more than FIVE people reading this) for I have sinned. It has been more
than two weeks since my last post and I am a bad blogger. Truth is, I'm finding it incredibly hard to fit blog
writing into my busy working mummy life these days.

I haven't mentioned my job for AGES so I'm going to bore my hardcore readers with it now. I manage a
library and information service for a government body that employs social workers. I helped to set the service
up four years ago in partnership with a charity, with whom I was based. Two weeks after I returned from
maternity leave in May 2008 the charity told me they were dissolving the partnership due to a restructure, and
I would be made redundant. The government body decided to bring the Library in-house and I moved
organisations and locations in April 2009, with a handful of books, no IT equipment and no shelves.

A year later...the Library is thriving. There are now more than 6,000 books and articles in the collection and it
is expanding rapidly. I've just employed a temporary cataloguer to help me get through my 1,000 book
backlog. I'm going to be employing a full-time assistant in the Summer. I now have lots and lots of shelves.
My IT setup looks like something from The Matrix. I have more than 1,000 library users in my organisation
and I have just signed a contract to provide a remote library service to a local authority. I now manage a
six-figure budget. I had a meeting with the Chief Exec of the organisation this morning to discuss an exciting
new development for the Library, which, if it comes off will be a fairly major thing. It may not, so I'm not
going to go into it at this stage. My post has finally been re-graded so I've had a major payrise.

All of this has meant lots of extra work, which has in turn meant working longer hours (around the girls'
routine of course) so I'm often working in the evening when they have gone to bed. I'm able to claim overtime
for this, which is good but it cuts into my freee (blogging) time. The extra work hasn't impacted on my
involvement with the girls too much because I work when they aren't around but obviously I have much less
'me' time now.

It may sound sad but I'm passionate about my work. Ok, in the great scheme of things a Librarian isn't as
'important' as a doctor or a lawyer. However, if a literature search I do or a book or article I provide from the
library helps a social worker to improve their practice which in turn informs their thinking and enables them
to make a 'good' decision about the future of a child or family that they are working with, then I feel that I'm
doing a good thing. I couldn't be a social worker but I admire the people I work with that have chosen that
career path and I want to help them to do their job.

Dh has (predictably) been marvellous about it all, even though it's affected him more than anyone as I'm often
in my home office working when I could be downstairs with him. I try to restrict my overtime hours to the
weeks when he works in the evenings as we wouldn't see each other anyway and it makes no difference to
him. Our time together is precious and I don't want to lose it.

R and G understand that Mummy works and that on Wednesdays and Fridays I work at home. However, I will
only go up to my office and work when dh is at home. When he goes to work, I stop working and spend my
time with the girls. My time with them is also precious and I enjoy it. We're lucky that dh's shifts allow us to
do this. If he had a 9-5 job it would be impossible for me to work full-time. As it is, he is around either in the
morning or afternoon so I work around him. Occasionally R or G will look at me and say 'No Mummy work'
and I explain that it's ok and I'll be playing with them today, and/or Daddy will.

I don't really get the working mummy guilt thing. I was chatting to someone at the weekend that had just
returned to work - her daughter was five months old - and she felt terrible for leaving her because she really
enjoyed working. Men don't generally have this dilemma - why should we? As I've said a million times
before, I admire SAHMs hugely but their life isn't right for me, for dh, for the girls or for the HoT
collectively.
Life in the HoT is busy and often exhausting but I enjoy working, dh gets to spend loads of time with the girls
and R and G get equal amounts of Mummy and Daddy time, with lots of fun in their three days a week at
nursery into the bargain. As a woman, I can't quite 'Have it all' but I tell you what - I can have a hell of a lot,
even though it cuts into my writing time!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-13 - 20:00:29

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/13/bad-blogger-8363999/
Feedback for Post "Bad blogger!"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-04-14 @ 08:44
"As a woman, I can't quite 'Have it all' but I tell you what - I can have a hell of a lot." - I like this phrase Jo so
I'm going to pinch it!
Someone asked me last night if I feel guilty for working and seemed quite shocked when I said if I didn't go to
work and have that time to 'be me' I doubt very much that H&L would have made it to their second
birthdays!!

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-04-14 @ 20:57

How cheeky of them! I bet they wouldn't ask your DH the same question. Do they have children of their own?
Grr on your behalf.
The HoT is a baby-free zone
Rampaging Toddlers? Oh yes. Babies? Not so much.

I realised how far we had all moved on from the heady(?!) days of pregnancy and babies over the Easter
weekend, when we were visited by some friends who are expecting their first baby in the Summer. A and T
are still at the 'Yes there's a bump and we've seen some scans but there's NO WAY that we'll have an actual
baby in a few months' stage that dh and I went through during my pregnancy. You see scans. You hear the
heartbeat(s). You buy stuff for a baby. You look at the newly constructed cot and you can't ever imagine a
baby living and sleeping (hopefully) in there. I think every first-time parent goes through this. Also, A and T
are MUCH more relaxed about the whole pregnancy/baby thing than I ever was (dh was also pretty terrified
underneath his laid-back exterior) so they will be absolutely fine. (Also, after dh was 'done' back in October I
passed the procreation torch on and I'm glad they picked it up and have run with it)

This evening I found a new blog by a new Mum of twins and if I didn't know better, I would have thought that
I had written it. It's called Babies 2-1 Mum and you can read it here: http://thetwinship.blog.co.uk/ It's brought
so many things back that I had long forgotten about newborn twins and once again, it reinforced how different
our lives are now and how quickly things change.

I love hearing and reading about other people's pregnancies and babies but I couldn't go through it all again
now. I'll just live vicariously through others.




by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-13 - 21:53:57

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/13/the-hot-is-a-baby-free-zone-8365416/
I fought the PND-monster and won...
...I think. I'm not even sure if my anxiety and depression was PND but I can see the light at the end of the
tunnel now. I went back to see my GP last week and told her that I wanted to reduce my anti-depressants, with
a view to coming off them completely. I have beeen taking them since 10th March 2009 and have had regular
reviews ever since but this was the first time that I had felt 'ready' to make the big decision.

I've actually been feeling really good for a couple of months now but obviously you can't just stop taking
something that alters your brain - you have to wean off if slowly. My GP has given me a prescription for
10mg a day instead of the usual 15mg and when my old prescription runs out this weekend, I'll start taking the
reduced dose. After 56 days, all being well I'll reduce to 5mg for a further 56 days and then down to nothing
at all and we'll see how I go.

I resisted anti-d's to start with but now I wish I'd been brave enough to admit that I had problems and started
taking them much sooner. If truth be told, I think I should have sought help in September 2008 but in my
usual way I decided that I could conquer this 'thing' like I conquer everything else - by working hard and
bulldozing the problem. However, anxiety and depression can't be got rid of like that. I couldn't control them
and needed outside help, even though it pained me to admit it, even to myself.

I don't think I'm back to perfect health - who is? - but I feel about a thousand times better than I did a year
ago. Time will tell as to how I'll be without the anti-d's but I have to try. If I start feeling bad again I'll simply
carry on taking the tablets. If I've learnt anything over the last year it's that there is no shame in seeking
medical help to help you cope with a problem.

We'll just see how it goes.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-13 - 22:06:39

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/13/i-fought-the-pnd-monster-and-won-8365550/
Feedback for Post "I fought the PND-monster and won..."

        silverscribbler [Member]
        2010-04-14 @ 08:48

Good luck weaning yourself off the anti-depressants - let us know how it goes
Beyond babyhood - and Babycentre?
Following on from my post yesterday about feeling that we've left the baby days behind us now, I've been
thinking about my involvement with a parenting website called Babycentre.

I first discovered Babycentre (BC) when I Googled ovulation charts in those heady 'Ooooh maybe we should
try for a baby - how does that actually work?' days in February 2007. Initially, I used BC to check out basic
pregnancy and conception information but discovered that it also had a forums section. I ignored it at first,
decreeing that such places were for scary military Mumsnet types and therefore not for me.

When I got the BFP (the lingo of such websites seeps into you pressy quickly) in April 2007 and worked out
that my due date would be 19th December I did some searching and found that there was a birth club for
December 2007. Again, I didn't post because I didn't want to 'out' myself as being newly pregnant to a bunch
of strangers. Plus many of the women who posted suffered miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies and I didn't
want to know too much or tempt fate.

That all changed in June '07 when we got the 'It's Twins' news and I started searching online for support. I
posted my news on the December '07 birthboard and was told to go and visit the Pregnant with Twins board,
which I duly did. Over the next few months I became a serial lurker, reading everything and posting very
occasionally. When I first went on maternity leave I started lurking on the Parents of Twins board but found it
so utterly alien and terrifying that I made myself stop looking at it.

I guess my immersion in BC began when the girls were born. I really needed advice, support and a shoulder to
cry on from people who 'got' the twin thing but didn't know me in real life and therefore wouldn't judge or
criticise. I cringe at some of the questions I posted - do I need to impose a routine on the twins?(doh!!); what
teats should I use on the bottles?; can I get a tandem pushchair on the bus at rush hour? - and I admire the
restraint of the lovely people that patiently replied and helped me out whilst probably privately thinking I was
an absolute fool.

The POTOMS ladies talked me through the first evening that I put the girls up to bed as part of their new
bedtime routine and assured me that I wasn't a bad mother for leaving them to cry for a few minutes before
they went to sleep. I ranted about feeling lonely and isolated. I sobbed when my fellow POTOMS went
through hard times and I marvelled at the 'Newbies' that joined after me.

The POTOMs community became a lifeline for me. When we got stuck on something, dh would urge me to
post a question to the 'Twin Ladies' asking for advice. When I first went back to work and felt less able to post
a couple of the POTOMs sought me out on Facebook and checked that I was ok. My local support network
was severely lacking but I had a virtual community that I felt I was part of.

A number of the POTOMs ladies have become 'actual' as opposed to 'virtual' friends now. We had a
mini-meet-up in April 2009 and our big Mums night out last August. A dozen or so people from all over the
UK who would not have met had they not had twins have become an important part of my life. We've shared
triumphs and tragedies, funny and sad moments.

Before I go all 'Beaches' on you, I'm going to have a grumble about Babycentre. In 2008 they decided to adopt
a social networking model and the long-standing forums were effectively usurped by a plethora of new
groups. Instead of having one group for Pregnant with Twins, one group for Parents of Twins, etc they
decided to open it up so anyone could set up a forum, even if it duplicated other content. This of course led to
people with grudges setting up rival forums and the twin group became fractured. The group I was part of
stayed together but the fallout hit us all - really petty things started happening, like 'poaching' newbies from
Pregnant with to join rival groups. All done behind the scenes of course but we knew it was happening.

I realised that if I were newly pregnant with twins now, I wouldn't know where to start with BC. I'd probably
take one look, dither over which Twin forum to join and give up and go somewhere else. I think this is a
shame as I made some (hopefully) lifelong friends on the original POTOMs and the private offshoot group,
POPOTOMs. Also, I think we could have collectively offered more support to pregnant ladies with twins and
more and to those coping with newborn multiples.

As it is, if someone posts on the new POPOTOMS now with a newbie question, many of us feel less inclined
to post because they will usually cross-post to the other twin forums. Those of us (most of the group I'm part
of) that aren't tied to our laptops 24-7 can't always respond straight away and therefore we get usurped.

Also, I'm HOPELESS at giving advice. Absolutely useless. As my children are boringly textbook I can't
answer many of the really technical questions and defer to the experts in prematurity and other such matters.

This has meant that my active involvement with BC has dwindled to almost nothing over the last year and the
only forum I regularly post on is the private POPOTOMs group because I 'know' everyone there and feel
comfortable. Also, I don't have that many daft questions to ask these days and I don't need my hand held quite
as much as I used to.

I lurk on other areas of BC but don't post, mainly because I don't have time but also because I feel
increasingly disconnected from it these days. I have my group of friends, we're all friends on Facebook so I
don't need to be on BC to see how they are getting on. Also, I'm not going to have another baby so I won't
re-make the connection. I can see myself going back to being the occasional lurker that I was three years ago.

I used to cross-post HoT over to BC - in fact, the original HoT started there as part of their social networking
site - but I haven't cross-posted anything since August 2009 because I felt that HoT was becoming less and
less relevant to BC. Plus some of the hardcore members of BC really get on my t**ts and I don't want them
reading (and bitching) about me or the girls. I also dislike some of the 'Twin mums are freaks' undertones of
some of the posters and I wanted to distance myself from that.

So, I'm not leaving BC and closing my account in a huff - also known as 'flouncing' (whereby someone in a
mood announces they are leaving in diva-ish Gloria Gaynor style and decides to tell everyone about it) but I'm
quietly slipping out the back door. I'll still post on POPOTOMs and occasionally on POTOMS and I'll lurk
elsewhere but I think for me the end of the girls' baby and toddlerhood will signal the end of my involvement
with BC.

I still *heart* my POPOTOMS girls though!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-14 - 20:36:42

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/14/beyond-babyhood-and-babycentre-8372716/
Feedback for Post "Beyond babyhood - and Babycentre?"

natalie Shaw [Visitor]

2010-04-14 @ 20:46
It was such a shame when they changed the format. I used to post on the Pregnant With Twins forum before
my girls were born and remember reading your posts on the POTOMS board and thinking how nice it was
that there was such a nice group feeling. I remember how much of a help it was to me reading that other
people were asking the same questions or had the same problems but I stopped posting or even lurking once it
all changed and have been going it along ever since!

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-04-14 @ 20:56

Hiya,

Were you Nat1002 or something similar on BC? I'm sure I remember you. I'm sorry that you felt discouraged
by the changes that BC made and that you stopped posting. I don't think they considered the effect that the
changes would have on existing members.

How are you doing now? How are your girls?

  | Show subcomments
Natalie Shaw [Visitor]

2010-04-14 @ 21:08
Yes that's me! I don't know how I would have coped without all the inside information that BC gave me.
That's also why I love reading your blog as it gives me a little insight of what's to come. The girls will be 2 in
July and are very different. We are all doing well thanks and enjoying it very much.

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-04-15 @ 19:14

Two already?! Where does the time go? So glad you're enjoying twin Mummyhood. Keep in touch xx


Ela1980 [Visitor]

2010-04-15 @ 18:40
Hey there Jo, glad you still love us then xxx

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-04-15 @ 19:13

   I had no idea you read my ramblings 'over here' Ela. Should I be scared??!!


Michelle [Visitor]
http://mdplife.blogspot.com/
2010-04-16 @ 19:54
and we heart you too! I suppose I have also flounced really, have only posted on POPOTOMs for about a year
now. How sad.....


Laura Ingram [Visitor]

2010-05-04 @ 11:34
Hiya Jo,

To be honest i totally agree, the virtual group i was with has the same thing happen since i joined... we have
had 4 different sites and in so lost valuable members, i have lost all my orginal posts, even my angels in
heaven tread set up for my angels, there were hundreds of posts on it, each remembering and lving each other
and offering support.. All gone!!! I tried setting another up but now there is just not the support there was..
So like you as Toby is now getting older 19months i have pretty much nothing to say there and the people i
did want to have gone... However if it wasn't for these little place i would never have found some of the lovely
people i can chat freely to now. Including youself... i love following the girls and found your post funny
interesting and sometimes very useful to know whats coming up... So i'll say Thank you for having such text
book girls!!!! lol

Your true friends will follow you what ever you choose.

Keep up the post on here or we may all be forced to shout very loudly, glad its BC thats ending and not
here!!!!

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-05-04 @ 19:48

Hi Laura,

Glad to be of service, lol! Maybe it's just that we naturally move on after a while. Don't worry, I'll keep
wittering on over here and it's nice to know that people still read it

Take care
xx
and another thing...
...the other thing that REALLY bugs me about Babycentre and similar websites and forums is the 'Car crash'
or 'Jeremy Kyle' aspect. If you write a post about finding your partner in bed with your Grandmother just after
Social Services have knocked on the door and the social worker child snatchers have taken away your darling
offspring, you'll get the world and his wife replying to offer you advice, sympathy and virtual hugs. If you
dare to post that something good is happening in your life you'll be greeted with tumbleweed and mutterings
of irritating smugness.

I'm as guilty of it as the next girl. It's the reason I buy Heat Magazine - it's always fun to hear of someone else
that is worse off than you. The voyeur thing. Awful, but we all do it. I've even found it here - if I post
anything slightly dramatic and fed-up I'll get comments and if I write something upbeat I'm generally greeted
with a wall of silence, aside from comments from my lovely 'real life' and/or POPOTOMs friends.

A friend of mine coined a hilarious phrase: 'Comments Whore', which means that you write something
controversial or provocative on your blog and sit back and wait for the comments to start coming in. There's
even a well-known forum phrase for a controversial topic 'Pass the popcorn', when things are going to kick
off. As a blog writer, half of you wants to be controversial and the other half acts in moderation. If you don't
get any comments, you feel unloved but if you get loads of negative comments you want to go and cry and eat
a vat of chocolate.

The OTHER thing that gets me about baby websites and forums is women who post regularly and DON'T
EVEN HAVE CHILDREN. THEY AREN'T EVEN PREGNANT and sometimes AREN'T EVEN TRYING
FOR A BABY! Before I was pregnant, I found women with children about as interesting as watching golf on
television i.e. not very. It's all different now but the 26 year old me would not have sought out a bunch of
random mums to start an online social life with. I was too busy going out and having an *actual* life. I find it
weird.

I don't live a Jeremy Kyle lifestyle. The only DNA test I've been involved with was the one to determine the
girls' zygosity. I don't need to take a lie detecto tests as I'm absolutely hopeless at hiding how I'm feeling. The
phrase 'Poker face' does not exist in my vocabulary. However, I'm fascinated by the people that do. In truth,
aren't we all?


by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-14 - 20:52:10

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/14/and-another-thing-8372838/
That's our girl :)
I've just received an e-mail L-R's Mum about a playdate and she also mentioned something she saw at nursery
today:

"Had to smile this morning when we dropped L-R at nursery. For some reason she had a tearful moment and
G come over to L-R to comfort her with a pat on the back. B was saying that when fetched L-R this evening;
G came over and gave L-R a kiss".

That's our little G. We made her and she's sweet, kind, caring and sensitive. I don't think I could feel more
proud right now :)

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-15 - 20:45:22

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/15/that-s-our-girl-8379809/
Potty progress
R and G have been taunting us with their potty games of late - they take their nappies off and sit on their
potties howling with laughter and singing songs but produce absolutely nothing by way of wee and poo. They
know what they need to do but have been taking great pleasure in making it clear that they'll do PT when
THEY are ready and on THEIR terms.

Tonight at bathtime the girls went through their 'Aren't potties hilarious? 'routine, which proceeded as normal
until G quietly sat down on her potty for a few seconds, then got back up again with a slightly worried look on
her face. I looked inside the potty, more in hope than expectation. To my complete an utter amazement, G had
done a wee. A small one, but a wee nonetheless.

I practically whooped with joy and congratulated G on being such a grown-up and clever girl. I gave her some
toilet paper to wipe with and showed her how to put it in the toilet and when I emptied the potty into it, I
showed her how to flush. G looked really pleased with herself.

R grinned broadly at her sister, clapped and said 'Well done Grace' but didn't follow suit.

Progress at last?

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-15 - 20:56:57

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/15/potty-progress-8379873/
Hardly-wins
The girls attended their second ever rugby game on Saturday. Actually, I think it s technically their fourth as
they did go to a couple of matches in their embryonic state in April 2007 but they aren t likely to remember
that, are they?

(We took R and G to their first rugby match in May 2008 when they were five months old. You can read
about it elsewhere on this here blog)

This time we went mob-handed with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend. My Mum and Sister are
Saracens fans and dh and I (and by extension R and G for now at least) are Harlequins fans. My Dad and F are
neutrals. Rugby fans are generally much more benign than football fans no fighting, no segregation,
although Dad decided he should sit between Mum and I as we d already started bickering before kick-off.
Ahem.

The game was at Wembley so we travelled on the tube. We decided not to take the buggies at the last minute
  our first major excursion without them and it was fine. R and G loved sitting on the proper tube seats
and made several friends on the 40 minute journey. Commuters in the making! They walked most of the way
up Wembley Way and we carried them for the last bit. The others were already in their seats when we arrived
and the girls squealed with delight when they caught sight of Nanny, Dandad , J and F.

The girls loved the pre-match entertainment. It was a home game for Saracens so they laid on a bit of a
spectacular, involving gymnasts, fire eaters, stilt-walkers, a marching band, cheerleaders, a tightrope walk and
Right Said Fred. Yes, you read that correctly: Right Said Fred. They of I m too sexy fame. Of course, they
sang that (and their other one Deeply Dippy ) and finished off their set with the new Saracens song Stand
up for the Saracens , which had an annoying earworm quality particularly for us Quins fans. The girls
predictably loved it traitors to their tiny Harlequins shirts!

R particularly loved the animals. At one point there were two horses on the pitch because...actually, I m not
quite sure why they were there. A man dressed as St George defeated two men dressed as a dragon. The
Saracens mascot is a camel called Sarrie and R was FURIOUS when he disappeared. Came gone. Camel
hiding . J explained that the animals had gone to sleep. Yesterday R kept repeating Animals sleeping .
Sigh.

They were less fussed about the *actual* game of rugby although I can t blame them as Quins were
USELESS. Sarries won the game in the first half, pretty much. Every time they scored they played the bloody
 Stand up.. song. Talk about rubbing salt in. R and G were pretty well-behaved for three-quarters of the
match but (understandably) got a bit restless towards the end. G told dh that it was "Silly rugby" and based on
Quins performance, so wasn't wrong. She also chastised dh for joining in the chanting with a gentle "Stop it,
Daddy".

They were much quieter on the journey home, although they got a second wind at our final stop and decided
to walk to the car. We put them to bed at 9.30pm, two and a half hours later than their usual bedtime and they
were pretty grumpy yesterday. Nevertheless, it was a good day (despite the score line) and I must say thank
you to my family (in particular J for paying for the tickets) for their help with the girls on Saturday.
I don t think we ll be able to renew our season tickets for a few years yet (Saturday reminded me how much
I loved going to watch rugby regularly and it s one of the few things I really miss from our life BT Before
Twins) but I think we might be able to manage a couple of games with the girls next season.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-19 - 19:27:33

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/19/hardly-wins-8405882/
My parenting style
Over the last two years and four months I ve regularly thought about my way of parenting. I wouldn t say
that I subscribe to a particular parenting philosophy, but I must base my parenting ideas on something
concrete. At least, something slightly more scientific than gut feeling or the twee and frankly dreadful
  Mummy knows Best , which irks me because, taken to a logical extreme, it assumes that the mother is
always naturally the primary carer and consigns the father role to that of grunting and hunter-gathering.

BT (Before Twins) in those heady days of pregnancy (insert disclaimer here...) I sought out reading material
on twins and multiples but actively avoided most of the Gina Ford (oops, better not name her, she might get
antsy GF) style tomes on parenting. As a Librarian (and self-confessed book addict), my instinct when faced
with a new topic is to go and read about it. However, I acted against myself when it came to parenting books.
I didn t want to read them. Maybe I was adopting a head in the sand attitude. Maybe I couldn t actually
believe that I would ever actually have to look after a baby, I don t know. I genuinely didn t read any
parenting books.

Of course, I know the basic philosophies of most of them and based on this, and my own experiences, I would
describe myself as a Magpie parent. I have inadvertently adopted bits from one parenting philosophy and
pieces from others and have evolved my own parenting style.
The girls had a strict routine as babies. They have never had dummies. They still have a strict bedtime routine,
although occasionally they don t have a bath now. They were mix-fed. They only co-sleep when they are ill
and as a last resort. I could only carry one of them in a sling when dh was around to carry the other one. They
slept in their own room, in separate cots from three months. They were weaned (in the traditional way) from
five and a half months. They drank formula until their first birthday. We use disposable nappies. They have an
outward-facing buggy. They are still in cot beds with the sides up. They aren t potty trained yet. They eat all
meals (when they aren t at nursery) with one or both of us, at the table. They watch controlled amounts of
television. They are occasionally allowed chocolate and cake, but not sweets. They have to have fruit before
they have pudding. They only drink milk and water. They do not drink juice or fizzy drinks. They started
attending nursery when they were five months old. They are disciplined using the time-out method.

Some of this has been down to necessity and I suspect that if we had had one baby we may have adopted
slightly different principles. Some of my style can be attributed to the fact that I returned to work relatively
early and therefore certain things had to happen in a particular way. Other elements, such as the food and
drink choices, have been determined by dh and I. I wrote extensively on the benefits of a strict routine when
the girls were babies. Indeed, I went from being a wannabe free-wheeling, no routine parent whilst pregnant,
to being a military, GF style routine obsessed tyrant when I had the girls. My only caveat is that I worked out
what the girls wanted (three hourly feeding) and then implemented a routine that suited us and them, and
adapted it when the time came.

I would say that as the girls have got older, my parenting style has evolved. I m still the multi-tasking,
hyper-organised parent (and person) that I have always been I think it s my way of coping but I d like to
think that I ve become slightly more relaxed the people that know me will probably chortle at this point.
It s interesting to compare dh and I. On the surface he appears to be the chilled, laid back one but he frets far
more than I do about certain things (safety being the big one) and adheres to the point of obsession to their
routine. If we re at home and have visitors and the girls are still awake after 7pm, he gets itchy and starts
looking at the clock with a worried expression. Things like that don t worry me quite as much. I worry far
more about the girls development. Are they developing along the right lines for their age? Are they behind in
anything? Things like this don t worry dh at all.

I m always amazed by parents who claim that they have read one parenting guru book and followed its
advice to the letter. In my experience, babies (and children) don t work like that. To paraphrase Adam Savage
from Mythbusters They reject your reality and substitute their own .
by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-19 - 19:29:19

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/19/my-parenting-style-8405892/
A dummy-free existence
Now, here s a confession: R and G have never had dummies. Well, that s not quite true. Dh wanted to try
them out when the girls were a couple of weeks old and I gave in but after the fifteenth time of retrieving the
dummy that R had spat out in the night, I took matters into my own hands and filed the dummies in the bin
when they were about five weeks old. The girls have been dummy-free ever since.

There have been times when I thought that G may have benefitted from having a dummy. She was a
 difficult sleeper as a baby (oh how times have changed now that R is our semi-regular night waker while G
snores through) and I wonder if a dummy may have helped her to settle and provided comfort. R looked
utterly insulted when we offered her a dummy how babyish(!) so I wouldn t have entertained it with her.

Amazingly, R and G aren t thumb suckers either. That was the thing that parents whose children had
dummies told us we were causing one thing by preventing another. Erm, nope. G has her beloved Marley
doggy that she takes everywhere and R is a cuddly toy rotation kinda gal, not committing to one particular toy
for any length of time but that s it. No dummies, no thumb sucking, nothing.

I know loads of parents who have used dummies (sorry, the politically correct term is soothers ) and got rid
of them successfully but they didn t work for us. I suspect that our old next door neighbour would have liked
us a lot more is we had used dummies, preferably ones that were welded on to R and G s mouths and there
have been times when I would have given anything to stop the screaming, wailing and whingeing. However, I
took the long view. If the girls had dummies we would now be trying to take them away and I foresaw all
sorts of problems with this. Therefore, I decided not to go there in the first place.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-19 - 19:30:41

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/19/a-dummy-free-existence-8405901/
Isn't it ironic - don'tcha think (no it ISN'T, Alanis!)
So, I wrote a long-winded post last week (aren't they all?!) about my disillusion with a website called
Babycentre, under the impression that my blog posts were no longer being transferred over there as they
haven't since last August and I hadn't bothered to do the science bit and check. Or concentrate.

So anyway, EVERY SINGLE POST I have written since then (oh, just one or two) bulk transferred over to
BC in one go at some point last week. After I wrote the post about being fed up with the site. Gah.

Luckily, only two people I'm friends with on BC have noticed that I've done this and the other posts have
(thankfully) been buried under 'proper' BC blog posts. This means that a. Hardly anyone has read my rantings
so b. I don't feel bad about them and c. I still can't work out the logistics of permanently removing my journals
from there so they'll still transfer from time to time.

Sorry about that...

by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-28 - 19:40:25

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/28/isn-t-it-ironic-don-tcha-think-no-it-isn-t-alanis-8474479/
Feedback for Post "Isn't it ironic - don'tcha think (no it
ISN'T, Alanis!)"

Little Real Jo [Visitor]

2010-04-28 @ 20:16
Theyve got a new layout and stuff so its probably a bug or something! x


Tracy [Visitor]

2010-04-28 @ 20:20
I did chuckle when I saw your posts pop up on BC xx
Party politics
*Insert disclaimer here to avoid offending everyone*

I've always been reasonably interested in politics. I've always voted in elections because WOMEN DIED SO I
COULD HAVE THE VOTE and THREW THEMSELVES UNDER HORSES to give me the right to enter a
polling booth and put an X in a box and other people the right to (wrongly) say pathetic things like 'I don't
understand politics so I won't be voting as it doesn't affect me'. You may have guessed that I get slightly
worked up about this subject. If you don't want to live in a democracy, go and eff off to Zimbabwe or
somewhere equally welcoming.

I don't know whether it's because I'm now a parent or simply because I'm getting older and wiser (ha ha) but
I'm ridiculously excited about the upcoming election. There's an election, I hear you say? Where have you
been? Mars? I have watched the debates. I have followed the rantings of loons on Twitter. I have done the
'Vote for Policies' survey online http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/ and have had great fun with the David Cameron
random quote generator: http://www.fridgemagnet.org.uk/toys/dave-met.php. I have watched Party Political
Broadcasts (yes, even THAT one) and have read manifestos. I have cried with joy at the Eddie Izzard film on
You Tube. In short, I consider myself to be pretty well-informed.

In this day and age, when we all know how to Google random facts and we are active members of various
social networking sites there is NOTHING to stop anyone from finding out more about the candidates and
making informed decisions. The information is more readily available than ever before. It's not hard to visit a
couple of websites and read some stuff. There's simply no excuse for being apathetic about voting these days.
I can also understand why people feel confused and I don't blame anyone for who they vote for (except if you
vote, Tory, BNP or UKIP - you're all off my Christmas card list), as long as they feel they've made an
informed decision. If you can vote in the X Factor, you can vote in an election.

My sister and I were brought up well. My Mum votes in every single election, from local council debates to
European elections to local elections to the General Election. My sister and I have followed in her footsteps.
As I now have two daughters of my own and WOMEN DIED and HORSES (sorry), I'll be bringing them up
the same way and hopefully they'll feel engaged with politics as well.

We voted in the London Mayor elections in 2008 and took the girls along to the polling booth. They were five
months old at the time but I'm sure that they'll always(??!!) remember me strutting out of the scout hut past
the Tory hustlers and bellowing: "Another TWO votes for Ken. I'll be DAMNED if Boris gets in". That turned
out well, didn't it?

This time I'll vote on the way to nursery, so the girls will get to come and see Mummy and Daddy making an
X on a bit of paper and putting it in a ballot box. They lead an exciting life, don't they?

As for my political party of choice, well. I'll leave you to deduce that. I'll just say this. I worked at the Oxford
Union a few years ago, which is a breeding ground for prospective Conservative MPs and Prime Ministers.
They were a bunch of spineless, chinless, idiotic, public-schooled, so out of touch with the real world that they
once refused to add a book to the Library because it was about a black person, moronic, couldn't debate for
toffee, argued over 25p library fines (I was once accused of RUINING someone's political career for refusing
to waive a fine) utter and complete cretins. They might one day run our country. Think on that.

(I also think that Thatcher was an evil harridan who killed off both of my Grandfathers with her Iron-Lady
policies in the 1980s, but that's another story).

On 6th May, we get the chance to go and vote. Whoever you vote for (or not), all I ask is that it's an informed
choice.
by Joanna79 @ 2010-04-28 - 20:06:12

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/28/party-politics-8474618/
Play date a go-go
*Apologies for the repeated use of a blatant Americanism, but it best describes the act of having a family with
young children over to play, and vice versa.

As the girls get older, we seem to be hosting and attending an increasing number of play dates. In fact, our
family social life seems to revolve around such events and I spend small but significant amounts of time
arranging them.

Take this weekend, for example. Boy/girl twins A and H came over on Friday for lunch with their Mummy (S,
A.K.A. my twin Mummy voice of reason). I ve been really busy at work recently (yes, actually really busy)
and the house looked like a bombsite so I instructed dh to clean and tidy it on Thursday, which he did. He s
marvellous is my dh (he s also terribly bossed around by the three women in his life, but that s another
story...). We all had a lovely time and the four children seemed to enjoy themselves.

On Saturday we went down to Portsmouth to visit another House of Twins and STAYED OVER. Oh yes, the
ultimate play date, incorporating a sleepover. O and S are the twin boys that, if medical science wasn t quite
as advanced as it is, probably wouldn t be here now. Yet they are now two (small and tiny two, but two
nonetheless) and regard R and G as their girlfriends . I do keep mentioning that R and G have a (growing)
number of boy friends but A and N (O and S s parents) seem keen on a 2026 double wedding, Gretna Green
style and they are so lovely that I don t like to argue! ;)

Anyway, on Saturday afternoon the eight of us braved the rain and went to a farm and country park. R looked
very at home striding around among the farm animals in a pair of wellies and a mac, hair flying in the wind. G
was rather less happy with the whole thing. She told a sheep off for shouting (baa-ing to the rest of us) and
shouted DON T ATTACK ME CHICKEN! at a passing hen. I suspect that she will be a Ghetto princess
while R will be a country girl.

I m very pleased to report that despite only having ever spent one night away from home in their short lives
(the other time was for the boys Christening in Oct 08), the girls were absolute stars. They slept in travel
cots in the same room as us and slept right through (small murmur from G at about 12pm, but that was it).
Once the children were in bed, the four adults settled down for an Indian takeaway, a glass of wine and some
lively conversation. Dh and I crept into the room at 11pm and the girls didn t even notice. They woke us
shortly before 7am with a selection of their greatest hits: Wheels on the bus , Zoom Zoom Zoom ,
  Twinkle Twinkle and the ABC song. G squealed with delight when dh rolled over and she realised we
were there and they came in with us for cuddles.

On Sunday morning we went to a soft play place and OMG, I think I loved it more than the girls. Unlike the
soft play place we go to locally, this was a permanent house of fun (now I ve come of age. Welcome
to...ahem) and they let the adults play as well. It only needed Pat Sharp and some go-karts and it would have
been the Fun House from my childhood. R and I spent most of the time climbing up to, and sliding down a
massive yellow bumpy slide. R leapt down it on her front and it looked so fun that I gave skeleton bobbing a
quick go. Bad idea. I m not built to slide on my chest and my top was rather...inappropriate....for the
occasion. I quickly adopted a sitting up position again. O and S were less sure of the big structures and
spent more time in the area for under 4 s. R looked positively aghast at the idea of spending time with
  babies and G popped in there briefly for a chillax before attempting the curly slide with dh. It even had a
Starbucks. Talk about HoT heaven.

The effervescent eight then went to a Beefeater restaurant for lunch. R and G had barely sat down before they
attempted to flag down a passing waitress to ask for chicken and garlic bread. By this time the children were
flagging a bit and O fell asleep before lunch was over. R and G pushed on through in their usual style and
wolfed down a roast chicken dinner each (plus obligatory garlic bread for G) and had chocolate ice cream for
dessert
We parted company with the Portsmouth HoT mid-afternoon and the girls passed out in the car on the way
home. This of course meant that they woke a couple of times last night but at least they slept through when it
mattered. Play dates ROCK!*

*they are rather exhausting though...

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-03 - 19:11:50

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/03/apologies-for-the-repeated-use-of-a-blatant-americanism-but-8506847/
One slip of the thumb...
...and last night I managed to join a group called 'Actively Trying' on Babycentre whilst idly playing with my
iphone. I left the group as soon as I realised my mistake but not before the news had reached a couple of my
twin mum friends who sent me WTF?? style messages.

Doh!

I'd better state for the record that Dh and I are NOT trying for a baby and moreover, I'm not trying for one
with anyone else! Plus, as dh pointed out - we can try as much as we like but we won't make a baby anytime
soon as he doesn't 'work' any more!

Just thought I'd better clear that one up :)

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-03 - 19:19:18

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/03/one-slip-of-the-thumb-8506901/
Nursery complaint
I'm not very nappy with the girls' nursery at the moment and instead of wittering on about it, I'm going to
instead publish the letter that I have written to them (names have been obscured, as is my usual practice on
this blog:

Dear K,
Re: R and G W, Bubble Room
As a result of a conversation I had with K on Thursday 29th April, G and I have a number of concerns about
current communication procedures at the Nursery that we believe should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Key worker responsibilities:
1. R and G were assigned to the same key worker (D) when they started attending the nursery in June 2009.
We both found D to be extremely unapproachable. For example, when we dropped the girls off in the morning
she didn t greet us or even say hello to the girls.
2. D only spoke to me about issues with R and G variously: biting, their decision not to nap anymore (which
was treated as a problem to be dealt with rather than a natural part of their development) and I didn t
hear about anything good, interesting or positive that they had done, from her.
3. D rarely acknowledged G presence, although he drops the girls at nursery and picks them up more often
that I do. G and I are joint primary carers of R and G, take decisions about the girls together and should be
treated with equal respect by nursery staff.
4. We were not told that D would be leaving the nursery in March/April 2010 and that the girls would be
assigned a new key worker. I only found this out after asking to speak to K informally about D s apparent
lack of interest in R and G. K couldn t tell me who the girl s key worker was, although she suspected it was
D. Why weren t we informed of the changes?
Progress reports and key worker parent meetings:
1. D gave me the girls progress reports in January 2010. I wasn t told what I should do with them or who I
should discuss the contents with. My main concern was that the reports seemed to mix R and G up they
have distinct personalities and yet Dseemed to have trouble telling them apart. I didn t feel I could approach
Dabout my concerns due to the problems outlined above.
2. The Feb/March 2010 newsletter mentioned parent-key worker meetings. We haven t had any meetings
with nursery about R or G progress yet.
3. I received an e-mail from another parent telling me that G had been very kind to their child when they were
upset at nursery. Why weren t G or I told this by nursery staff? Was G praised for this?
We would like the following actions to be taken:
1. R and G to be assigned to different key workers immediately.
2. New progress reports to be written by their new key workers within the next four weeks
3. Follow-up meetings with their new key workers to be arranged after the reports have been completed,
within the next six weeks
4. Notification of dates for future progress reports and meetings.
5. Put a timeline in place to move R and G up to the Star Room by September 2010 - and to see evidence of
the transition plan.
6. Put new procedures in place to communicate to parents changes to personnel, particularly key workers
and to see written evidence of these policy changes within two months.
G and I would also like to arrange a time to speak with you face to face about these issues. We believe that the
BDN is the right environment for R and G but that they (and by extension, we) should not be overlooked or
our concerns ignored because we are not pushy enough. We pay a significant amount of money each month
to send R and Gto your nursery and should receive the same amount of attention and respect as any other
family.
If the actions outlined above are not treated with sufficient severity and dealt with to our satisfaction, we will
lodge a formal complaint with Ofsted and review the girls current nursery arrangements.
Yours sincerely,

J and G W
by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-03 - 19:38:17

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/03/nursery-complaint-8507058/
Today I kicked some nursery butt...
...and boy does it feel good!

I handed the letter in this morning and dh picked up a lengthy response when he picked the girls up this
evening, along with several lengthy verbal apologies. The upshot of all of this is:

1. The girls now have new, separate key workers
2. Their new key workers will write new progress reports on them in the next month
3. We will get follow-up meetings with their key workers after the reports have been completed.
4. The girls will be moving up to the Star (Preschool) room in the Summer and we have been given an outline
of the transition process
5. Their old key worker left under something of a cloud, having seemingly upset a number of the staff as well
as several other parents. Nice lady! Apparently she left really suddenly, said she might come back, then didn't.
Might do some asking around to find out what's really been going on. Anyway, at least she'll have nothing to
do with R and G now.
6. We have received a fulsome written apology for D's behaviour and the terrible communication that led to us
not being told that she had left

Dh made a big point of having a chat with the, Manager, Deputy Manager, Room leader and R and G's new
key workers this evening and they were all practically falling overthemselves to talk to him - makes a change!

Can I admit to feeling a tiny bit chuffed with myself? I was furious, did something constructive and it seems
to have worked out. Hopefully the girls will now get the level of care that they need and deserve and dh and I
will be much happier with nursery as a result. I'd call that a good outcome! :)

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-04 - 19:36:35

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/04/today-i-kicked-some-nursery-butt-8515552/
Feedback for Post "Today I kicked some nursery butt..."

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-05-04 @ 19:46
Well done you!!
Potty training...the nursery way
Another rather good outcome of my wobbler at nursery is that they have started potty training the girls. This
morning I took R and G into nursery armed with their potties and a pile of spare clothes and about 300 pairs of
knickers. Each.

As I type, I can hear the washing machine whirring as it cleans the first of two loads of 'soiled' clothes. The
girls got through all of the clothes and knickers that I sent them in with and a big pile of nursery spares. Their
reports detail a list of 'accidents' (all wee, thankfully - no number 2 disasters today). Apparently, the girls love
sitting on the potty but won't 'perform' on it. I think G managed one wee in the potty, probably more by
accident than design.

Still, it's day 1 and we can't expect miracles, can we? (Well, you know me - I do but I'll have to revise my
expectations considerably...)

On Thursday I'll send the girls in with double the amount of spare clothes and knickers that I did today. I'll
also be going shopping (to Primani) to buy piles of cheap pants and jogging bottoms. No sense in them
ruining nice clothes and while they're training, I'll put them in things that are easy to take off and put back on.

As I keep reminding dh - once they're trained, he'll save £50 a month in nappies. We shall persevere. Or
rather, we'll get nursery to do it for us!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-04 - 19:46:08

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/04/potty-training-the-nursery-way-8515664/
Feedback for Post "Potty training...the nursery way"

Michelle [Visitor]
http://mdplife.blogspot.com/
2010-05-05 @ 22:04
Good luck Jo, or should I say nursery. I am sure the girlies will get it pretty quick if they are ready. I can't
belive you take your own potties in!

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-05-06 @ 21:41

Um, if I was feeling grumpy I might interpret your comment negatively Mich, but I'm not so I won't!

They are doing pretty well - not too many accidents today (at nursery as I am obviously incapable of potty
training them myself but we know that I'm a crap parent!) so I'll be carrying on with it over the weekend.

  | Show subcomments
Michelle [Visitor]

2010-05-06 @ 23:02
Glad you are not feeling grumpy. You surely know me well enough to know there is nothing negative there,
my girls go to nursery too Jo. It is great they do some of the shit work (literally!) for us. M x

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-05-09 @ 18:55

I hear ya girlfriend! I'd be in a padded cell if it wasn't for nursery! xx
Things that really get my goat about other parents
(Part 3,395)
"My X was dry day and night by the age of 2 and a half and they were toilet trained in four days"

Oh just **** off! We're on day six in the HoT here and while we're making progress, it's slow going. R has
got the idea much better than G. She didn't have any accidents at all yesterday and I was at the WOOHOO
stage but today she regressed, refused to sit on the potty and had two large accidents. G isn't making the
connection between the need to wee and the action of sitting on the potty at all. We just need her little brain to
have the lightbulb moment and she'll be fine. They both love wearing their knickers and don't get too upset
about the accidents because it means they get to wear a clean pair of knickers. I mind though. I'm bored of
cleaning up puddles but am at lest grateful for our wooden floors!

We stayed in on Friday and Saturday to concentrate on the PT but by last night I was climbing the walls. Dh
suggested that we take to girls to soft play this morning before I went mad with a cocktail stick and stabbed
everyone. Of course, the girls wore nappies all morning and this probably contributed to the accidents this
afternoon. Sigh.

Anyway, they can carry on training at nursery for the next couple of days. One of the joys of being An EVIL
Working Mother is that I can pack the girls off to nursery and pay them to do my dirty work for me while I
swan around at work drinking Starbucks for the next two days. Allegedly.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-09 - 18:27:27

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/09/things-that-really-get-my-goat-about-other-parents-part-3-8549413/
Feedback for Post "Things that really get my goat about
other parents (Part 3,395)"

Michelle [Visitor]
http://mdplife.blogspot.com/
2010-05-09 @ 22:11
Not sure if I said we went on hols for a week in early April and we were so busy the girls went into pull ups to
avoid too many clothes changes. It was freezing in Skeggy and I had no where near enough clothes with me.

It was the worst thing I did, 2 girls that had been dry for quite some time went back to loads of accidents each
day once they were back in pants the next week. Even now we are still trying to get Lizzie to stay dry and that
is about 3 weeks later. Seems my girls found it very easy to regress arrgghh I hate potty training, everything
always smells of pee!

Have a great week with it. Mich

  | Show subcomments
       Joanna79 pro
       2010-06-09 @ 19:50

Oh, oh the smell! It stays with you doesn't it?! Luckily Ruth is really good now but Grace is hopeless and
she's now back in nappies at home - they are persevering with her at nursery and I think they are mad!
Political limbo land
As I type, we don t have a Prime Minister (no Gordon, we don t. Not really) or a government as such. We
are in political limbo. The Lib Dems are in talks with the Tories about forming a coalition government. Hey,
all those people have voted for Clegg and change how will you feel if he gets into bed with Dave and the
party that represents pretty much the opposite of what you purport to believe in? How do you feel now?

(I kinda like a lot of the Lib Dem people though: Evan Harris, Ben Goldacre, Brian Cox et al    all geeky
hotties. Yes, I m that shallow....)

All I know is that 13 years of Labour rule is over and I m feeling sad today. I was 17 in 1997 and therefore a
year too young to vote for the first time but I remember how excited we all were but the Election result. I
watched The Portillo Moment on You Tube the other day and it loses nothing with the passing of time. It s
still a wonderful moment in politics: the young, progressive and hopeful sweeping aside the old guard. I lived
in a Labour-governed country for all of my adult life, until Thursday.

Labour have angered me repeatedly over the years: tuition fees, Iraq, Afghanistan, limited help for first-time
buyers and the banking crisis but they have also done some great things: improved funding for state schools,
Sure-Start, recycling programmes, nursery vouchers, Child Trust Funds, the fox hunting ban, Civil
Partnerships, minimum wage, the People s Network and the increase in funding for the public sector, which
has in turn improved front-line services such as the NHS, immeasurably.

Now we all have to wait and see. Despite the spin put on the Election and the results by the Murdoch-owned
right-wing newspapers, we didn t vote the Tories in with a massive majority. I didn t have to sit and watch
groups of George Osborne type toffs quaffing champagne on yachts on the Thames, celebrating the return of
their glory years. *shudder* I think that s been overlooked in the doom and gloom.

We know that all of the parties have promised to reign in public sector spending. This may well mean that I
don t have a job in a year s time. I wonder how many of the people I share my office with will scurry off to
the private sector as fast as their little legs can carry them if the Con-Dem deal goes through or another
election is called and the Tories win outright. Maybe I should abandon my principles and do the same? After
all, I have two small children to feed and clothe these days. My head tells me that this would be the prudent
thing to do but I have the heart of a Civil Servant and the idealistic nature of someone that wants to make a
difference. So shoot me.

Bye bye New Labour. Go away, enjoy opposition, regroup and come back fighting in five years time.

FIGHT THE POWER!

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-09 - 18:45:03

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/09/political-limbo-land-8549538/
Feedback for Post "Political limbo land"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-05-09 @ 20:07
This post makes me want to cry. I honestly think people have forgotten the long list of things Labour have
done and want to go back to living like we did under the Tories last time when the rich got richer and the poor
got even poorer A lot of those who were the 'poor' last time round under the Tories have clearly forgotten
where they came from.
I think mine got lost in the post
My bump, that is. At soft play today dh and I noticed that virtually every other Mum with a two year old child
was also sporting a small, neat bump. Did I miss the memo?

It freaked me out a bit. Was I supposed to have some sort of epiphany when the girls turned two and decide
that having another baby would be a brilliant idea? Was I supposed to have forgotten the agonies of
pregnancies by now? The utter bewilderment of the newborn days? The sheer TERROR associated with
looking after two tiny beings that were entirely dependent on us for everything? That sucked everything I had
physically and mentally?

Backtrack. Two tiny beings. As Dh said: 'Having one must be easy if they can all contemplate having a
second one so soon'

(stands back, awaits explosions) ;)

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-09 - 18:53:45

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/09/i-think-mine-got-lost-in-the-post-8549602/
Feedback for Post "I think mine got lost in the post"

Jan [Visitor]

2010-05-11 @ 21:54
Ha ha. Yes, one IS easier BUT it doesn't seem like that at the time. I think some hormone shift in singleton
mums means that as one baby gets a little 'easier' then its time for number two. Some of us got more than our
fair share when number 2 turned out to be twins! I can honestly say that after having twins I haven't had that
'hormone shift'(thankfully) or maybe it's just that I'm too knackered to take notice! ;o)

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-06-09 @ 19:49

I completely agree. What baffles me is that ladies that have twins first and then have more - I can only sit back
and admire their bravery!
Twenty-nine month update
Speech

Ooh blimey. It s like talking to two mini-adults now:
  G is shaping up to be a very sympathetic social worker/psychiatrist-type as she adopts a little head tilt
when she speaks to R: You ok Ruthie? Eat your chicken Ruthie . She now makes connections between
people and actions: Mummy tired , Ruth snoring , Daddy eating                 she tells the truth about 80% of the
time... she occasionally babbles when she tries to produce a sentence or phrase, usually when she s really
excited about what she s going to say, i.e. Owwhhumm...CHOCOLATE CAKE! but I would say that
about 90% of her speech is totally understandable, although strangers sometimes get confused about what
she s saying.
  R is a more precise speaker much less babble and more complicated sentence structures but she doesn t
waste words and decides when she wants to speak whereas G s speech is more of a stream of consciousness.
R is a little less empathetic than G (although she may internalise it) and is quite a direct speaker: What
happened? That s Ruth s post. Leave it Daddy .

Teeth.

R and G still have 16 teeth each.

Weight and height.

We were finally able to weigh R and G on some proper paediatric scales a couple of weeks ago and their
 proper weights are: G 26lb13oz and R 26lb3oz
They are both 89 cms tall.

Toys and play

  The girls love pretend play and get their soft toys to help them do things i.e. opening and pouring the milk
and they congratulate them afterwards Well DONE doggy! . They do the same when their toys walk up
the stairs: BRILLIANT GROMIT! WELL DONE! CLEVER GROMIT!
  They have added the ABC song to their musical repertoire.
  G can now dress and undress herself with some (limited) help not always properly or tidily, but the
intention is there! R can also do it, but why have a dog and bark yourself, eh?!

Potty training

Urgh. Day 9 here and R seems to have got the idea of it more than G, but neither of them like using the potty
very much so they ll be using nappies for a while, I suspect.

Books

  The Kipper books by Mick Inkpen
  Where s Spot? By Eric Hill
  Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Events and trips

  Harlequins v Saracens (rugby) at Wembley
  Shopping at Bluewater and tea at Pizza Express
  Visited Mummy at work and went for lunch at Cafe Rouge
  Playdate with H and A
 Overnight playdate with O and S
 Soft play (twice)
 Lunch at Beefeater

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-12 - 19:30:31

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/12/twenty-nine-month-update-8574660/
Keep your Whig on!
(Thought I d open with a terrible, yet topical political pun...)

So, we now live in a Con-Dem nation. Sorry, Con-Lib coalition where everything is bright and shiny and
government is going to be marvellous and benefit everyone. I think Dave AKA Lord Tumble and Nick
AKA The Toast Rack are actually married now, which is nice for them...oh, forgive me. I am trying to be
excited about all this but as a raging lefty it s a bit hard to swallow.

I can see why they ve gone into government together but certain things are really worrying me: will they get
rid of nursery vouchers? If they do, we re absolutely F****D. I honestly don t know what we d do. My own
personal nightmare may come true, in which I become a SAHM , the girls don t go to nursery and we end up
living in a bedsit in Lewisham. The Tories have long expressed a desire to change the remit of the Department
for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) back to an Education Department and I don t know where the
organisation I work for fits into that. Hopefully we ll fly under the radar with so many other, more nationally
important things to sort out. It s all quite uncertain at the moment. I don t like uncertainty very much.

I know lots of other people are genuinely frightened as well: they don t want to lose their child tax credits and
working tax credits, on which they rely and no-one really knows at this stage how the public sector cuts are
going to affect them. There are many other examples of uncertainty that I won t list here but many of my
friends are really scared.

Hopefully Labour will grow in Opposition and come back stronger at the next election. We don t know how
the coalition will work out it could go the distance or it could go horribly wrong in six months time. All
we can do is watch and wait.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-12 - 19:43:52

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/12/keep-your-whig-on-8574787/
Feedback for Post "Keep your Whig on!"

Perrine [Visitor]

2010-05-13 @ 11:22
It's been a while since I last commented here (around buggy-gate time I think!) but just wanted to say I feel
exactly the same than you do.
If we lose child/working tax credits we won't be able to afford nursery and like you and a large proportion of
my friends, I will become a SAHM.
We can only but hope that the coalition fails miserably and they are forced to call a new general Election next
year by which time we can dream that Labour will come back stronger. Sad times...


Tracy [Visitor]

2010-05-13 @ 21:23
Noticed today that the Department for Comedy Skills and Science Fiction has already been renamed. Dread to
think what they will do next...............


        Joanna79 pro
        2010-05-13 @ 21:38

Yup, back to an Education Dept, although they are also retaining control of children's services, so I guess we
work for Mr Gove now.... :/


fawatson [Visitor]

2010-05-18 @ 20:24
You hear more of the politics working for a national organisation, but even here in Tory-land (East Anglia is a
pretty blue place, for the most part though where I live elected a Lib-Dem and ousted Charles Clarke) we are
being affected. Last government approved Norwich - a generally Lib-Dem/Green Council to become a unitary
authority (much to the County Council's dismay - the County is blue as blue can be). The new government has
said they will reverse it. God only knows why the County Council wants to retain Norwich which has been a
political thorn in its side for many years.

I wouldn't worry too much about the child care vouchers; they need people to work and pay taxes to get them
out of that budget hole, which has got to be a big incentive to keep the scheme.

  | Show subcomments
       Joanna79 pro
       2010-06-09 @ 19:51

Hopefully after 22nd June we'll all still have jobs from which to claim child care vouchers!
Potty mouth
There is only ONE THING more DULL than potty training your children: other people telling you about potty
training THEIR children in MIND BOGGLING detail. If you mention that you're in the middle of the weird
and wonderful stage of teaching your darling toddlers to perform their bodily functions in a small plastic potty
or toilet you'll be overwhelmed with information from a variety of sources.

Essentially, it's quite simple:

1. Remove nappy from child
2. Put knickers on child
3. Wait for an accident
4. Repeat steps 1-3 ad infinitum until child decides that they will humour you and actually wee or poo in the
potty. DO NOT BE FOOLED - child is messing with your mind. Five minutes later they will have another
accident.

If you find the concept of potty training as interesting as watching golf, stop reading here. I promise you won't
miss a thing.

For anyone that actually wants to read about my children's progress, I'll carry on.

It's week 3 here and R has pretty much got the idea now. Over the weekend she had a couple of accidents and
now takes herself off to the potty to 'perform'. The secret? Bribery. Each time that R successfully does a poo
or wee she gets a piece of chocolate. Oh yes - she'll be the sort of child that we'll have to bribe at exam time
with the promise of a car to motivate her to get 10 A*s at GCSE.

On the other hand, there's G. She does not understand the concept of bribery and is terribly hurt that R get
chocolate and she doesn't. If R is in the mood she'll occasionally bestow a morsel of leftover chocolate on her
sister, but most of the time she finds it far more fun to wave the chocolate in G's face and shout "RUTH'S
CHOCOLATE!" and laugh maniacally. G likes wearing knickers. She likes that she gets to wear a new pair
each time she has an accident. She does not, however, make the link between needing to go to the toilet and
actually sitting on the potty. It's much for fun to stand in the corner and wee all over the floor, apparently.
Sigh.

I've spent the last few days telling all and sundry that it just goes to show that even identical twins are ready to
potty train at different times. If we just had R, dh and I would be feeling pretty darned smug right now. If we
just had G, we'd be throwing our hands up in despair. If G is potty trained by the time she turns three, I'll be
amazed.

Anyway, potty training is DULL, MESSY and SMELLY and I'll say no more about it until G is trained *folds
arms, tuts, nods sagely, adjusts bun*

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-24 - 20:14:52

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/24/potty-mouth-8661032/
Bye bye babies
Over the last few weeks, R and G have started to leave the last stages of babyhood behind. There's the PT of
course (shhh - I now have to do a little exorcising dance if I write those words) but a few other little
developments have taken place:

1. The girls no longer have daytime naps at home. They abandoned naps at nursery a few months ago but last
week I decided that it wasn't really worth them having naps at home any more either. The reason? They had
been spectacularly grumpy after waking from their nap and I figured that if they stayed awake all day they
would only really get grumpy from 5pm rather than waking at 2pm and being grumpy all afternoon. So far, it's
working. The girls don't seem to be missing the nap and they drop at bedtime.

2. The girls now walk to nursery and back. This means that the Nipper buggy has been folded up and put
away in the cupboard under the stairs. I honestly don't know when it will come out again. I suspect we'll still
use the single buggies on occasion but I genuinely don't know when the Nipper will see the light of day again.

3. The questions. R loves pointing at a random object: an aerial, an ant, a person and bellowing "WHAT's
THAT DADDY/MUMMY?" at us. We then have to explain what it is. At the end of the explanation, she nods
wisely. Two minutes later she jabs her finger towards another object: "WHAT'S THAT?" Hopefully some of
the information is being digested and stored somewhere.

4. Bibs in the bin. The girls haven't actually used bibs for ages but dh found a stash at the weekend and threw
them out. Why use a bib when you can spill cornflakes down your pyjamas?

Last week dh asked me the question I thought he's never ask: should we take down the gate in the living room
that divides the adults playroom and the children's playroom? I assured him we wouldn't need to do that for a
while yet but that it will be removed before the girls' third birthday.

However, I draw the line at taking the sides off the cotbeds. As the girls show no signs of trying to escape, the
bars can stay put for now.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-24 - 20:47:28

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/24/bye-bye-babies-8661486/
Channelling Joyce
I recently wrote a post about my parenting style:
http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/04/19/my-parenting-style-8405892/

More than one person has told me that I'm actually channelling the spirit of Joyce Grenfell so please have a
look at this. I'm essentially a less posh version (thanks dh for THAT particular comment...):


by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-24 - 20:55:03

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/24/channelling-joyce-8661602/
A bit rashy
One of the MANY things that no-one warns you about when you have children is viral rashes. They are
mostly harmless - although NHS Direct always get you to do the glass test when you phone them, just to make
sure the rash isn't symptomatic of something more sinister - but they look pretty horrible.

R gets them fairly violently. G doesn't. They are, lest we forget, identical twins. Go figure. Tangententially, R
is also allergic to penicillin - it was fun finding that out last Summer.

R currently has a nomadic rash that moves stealthily around her body, from her back to her tummy to her
arms, legs, face and back again. It isn't itchy and doesn't appear to be bothering her but she
looks....diseased...for want of a better word.

I didn't even know that viral rashes existed in children until I had R and G but according to the efficent yet
reassuring nurse I spoke to today, they spread like wildfire through nurseries as, as she put it 'Children do
love to share their little germs with each other'. The rash normally disappears within a week (she's had it
since Monday) so R will look slightly horrific for a few more days. I put her to bed coated in a thick layer of
E45 cream (nurses' orders) which put me in mind of a cross-channel swimmer covered in goose fat. Lovely.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-26 - 19:49:55

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/26/a-bit-rashy-8678279/
Rough and tumble
There are few things more satisfying in life than a good old bicker with a beloved sibling. My sister is four
years younger than I am and while we have never had a physical fight, we really enjoy a verbal battle of wills.
Essentially, she is the Niles to my Frasier. We actually get on incredibly well (most of the time) but are
arguments are a sight to behold. Best of all, we're usually agreeing with each other, albeit coming to the same
conclusion from slightly different angles.

Twinship ratchets the sibling relationship dynamic up by approximately 1,000 percent (there's a good
X-Factor quote for you). Imagine (if you aren't a twin yourself) what it must be like to have always shared
your life with someone that looks exactly like you (in R and G's case). With whom you always have to fight
for toys, food and attention. Who you adore but would quite like to kill with your bare hands when they annoy
you. Who you can always hit out at when you're having a bad day.

I hadn't realised quite how physical R and G are in their play with each other until recently. They've had a
series of playdates: some with other twins, but mostly with singletons. A twin playdate is a nicely matched
affair but the girls really gang up on their singleton friends.

On Sunday we had G's best friend from nursery over and as it was a hot day we got the paddling pool out.
Little L-R was happily splashing away when G decided to tip a cup of water over her head. L-R, not used to
this sort of behaviour (a nightly occurrence in the HoT bathtime routine) didn't know how to react and got
upset. Being the mean mother that I am, I encouraged L-R to get her own back. She refused, so I did it for her.
G was, predictably, FURIOUS but she didn't do it again.

Hopefully as they get older, R and G will do less of the physical rough and tumble and embark on the usual
verbal sparring that siblings enjoy so much.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-26 - 20:06:39

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/26/rough-and-tumble-8678407/
A bit rashy part II
R's nomadic rash isn't showing any signs of clearing up so I have made her a doctors appointment tomorrow
morning. Now, this should be a straighforward process - phone up, make an appointment.

Oh no. Oh no, no no. First, to contact our surgery you have to phone an 0844 number. Then you are treated to
a lengthly spiel about commuter clinics and weekend surgeries. Finally you are given three options. Option 1
is appointments. I'm so used to doing this now that I immediately press 1 as soon as the call connects, even
when I want to ask about test results (option 3) - as far as I can work out the different options all go though to
the same personon anyway. Then you are put in a queue and told that you are number 1 in the queue. Then
you are treated to a series of bleeps. No hold music. Just bleeps. You are usually on hold for an average of
five minutes before someone answers the phone:

Receptionist: "Hello surgery"
Me: "Hello, I'd like to make an appointment for my daughter"
Receptionist: "To see the doctor or nurse?"
Me: "Doctor please"
Receptionist: "What's wrong with her?"
Me: "A rash"
Receptionist: "She'll need to see the doctor then"
Me: "Yes, that's what I said. Doctor please"
Receptionist: "No appointments until next week"

At this point I employ what is commonly known as a 'tactic'. Quite simply, I sigh heavily and wail something
along the lines of "She's had this rash since Monday. I phoned NHS direct and they said it was nothing serious
but it's getting worse and she's itching it and I'm really worried" and then do a little sob.

(Easy to do on a day like today when I've had trouble at work dealing with a TOTAL AND UTTER
BELLEND who I would quite like to PUNCH in the FACE.)

If that doesn't work (on this occasion, thankfully, it did), I play the twin card: "She's a twin and I'm really
frightened that her sister will catch it as well..."

Anyway, I got R an appointment tomorrow morning. She was perky enough when I picked them up from
nursery but the rash is still very hideous so hopefully the GP can tell us what it is. If they use the phrase
"Non-specific viral rash" I will not be responsible for my actions...


by Joanna79 @ 2010-05-27 - 20:03:31

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/05/27/a-bit-rashy-part-ii-8685165/
Summoned!
After being emphatically ignored by Health Visitors (and the medical profession in general) since they were
six months old, the girls have been summoned to their two and a quarter year (yes, they are nearly two and a
half years old but who's arguing over a couple of months' worth of development?) check with the HV
tomorrow afternoon. Erk.

How did they find us? We moved house last year - still registered at the same GP but even so and the girls last
attended the HV in June 2008(!) so goodness knows how they were plucked out of the 'We've not seen these
children for a bit, maybe we should check they are actually still alive' lineup.

That's the thing - R and G have occasionally seen the GP for various reasonably mild ailments in the
intervening two years - but we could have done (or still be doing) ANYTHING to them at that time and
NO-ONE in any kind of authority would know. Or, indeed, care. We were put firmly in the 'Middle class,
parents still together, still interested in the children, not likely to do anything daft' bracket and left to sink or
swim with the whole parenting, childcare, raising babies thing.

Luckily, we have (mostly) survived, but I think this shows how easy it is for children to slip through the net.
For abuse to get to the stage where it's so bad that someone in authority might finally notice, or get involved
and by then it's probably too late for many children.

Anyway, I've done a bit of online searching and found a website that lists some of the things the HV might
look for and the only thing that neither R or G can do is drawing in any meaningful sense - we've tried at
home and they bring 'creations' home from nursery but they just aren't interested. Give R a climbing frame to
scale, or G a puzzle to complete and they're fine but drawing? Not so much.

I suspect that the girls will do their usual 'We're in a new place so we'll stick together and just stand there for
ten minutes, looking around, smiling but not speaking' thing and the HV will say 'Can they talk?' at which
point I'll go mad and attack her with a building block. I probably won't, but I'll be imagining it IN MY MIND.
I'm half tempted to take the latest progress reports from nursery and a selection of video clips of the girls so
that if they don't perform I can say LOOK! They are BRILLIANT! They can do EVERYTHING and are
clearly GENIUSES you FOOL!

Luckily dh is coming along so he'll restrain me stop me from doing the crazy stuff and I'll just grit my teeth
and pray that they tell us what we think we know: the girls are just fine.



by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-06 - 19:43:03

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/06/summoned-8746586/
Feedback for Post "Summoned!"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-06-06 @ 20:31
Agree with you completely that you can see how abuse cases slip through the net. We haven't seen the HV
since I went back to work (when the girls were 6 months old)and I wonder if we ever will! LOL For all she
knows I could never have bothered to wean them!

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-06-09 @ 19:47

It's amazing really isn't it? I marvel at their ability to see us for a few minutes when our babies are tiny and
'decide' that we won't need further help from them.

Generally I've found that HVs are useless - I've yet to hear of a brilliant one that is actually helpful and offers
practical advice. I don't think they exist!
The Funky Gibbon
R and G are obsessed with animals but have a particular interest(?!) in monkeys. I think it's because they
actually ARE cheeky monkeys, but there you go.

Anyhoo, one of Dh's friends does (or did? I don't know) stuff with monkeys. No, not in THAT sense although
I'm sure you can guess the oh-so-hilarious stream of comedy that this thought produces. He was/is (delete as
applicable) a Zoo Keeper (I think) with a particular interest in monkeys. Does that sound less dodgy? He
could also be a part-time Adam Buxton impersonator (dh and many of his friends could have been in Lord of
the Rings thanks to their lack of height and general hairiness) but it's the monkey bit that the girls were most
interested in.

So, he did some impressions of monkeys and the girls now refer to him, in reverent tones, as Monkey Man.
'What does Monkey Man do R/G?' cue ooh-ooh-ah-ah noises and ape-arms. 'What did you do last Sunday?'
'Monkey Man!' Tonight, R selected an old Donkey Kong beanie of mine (don't ask) to take to bed with her. I
asked her why? She grinned, pointed at DK and simply said 'Monkey Man' and insisted that I tuck him in with
her.

So, the way to R and G's heart is monkey impressions. It may be worth any future suitors bearing this in
mind...

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-06 - 20:06:19

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/06/the-funky-gibbon-8746709/
Grace under pressure and Ruth Against the
Machine
Well, they are OBVIOUSLY fine. What on earth was I fretting about? As dh pointed out, if I'm this bad about
a developmental assessment when they are toddlers, how on earth will I cope when they do exams at school? I
now understand why my Mum used to redecorate a room in the house when my sister or I did exams. I think I
might take up cupcake decorating or poetry or heavy drinking or something...

So, G was brilliant - a proper little swot. After each activity she asked for more to do and raced through the
puzzles, tower building, drawing, role-play and object identification assessments. She was sweet and eager to
please and performed really well.

R was a little more...reluctant...to complete the tasks. She was fine to start with but soon lost patience with the
process. By the time the Health Visitor got to the picture identification, R was a bit fed-up. The HV pointed at
a picture and asked R to tell her what it was. After a few seconds of silence, R rested her head in her left hand,
let out a heavy sigh, said 'SITTING on a CHAIR' in a mildly exasperated/sarcastic tone and sighed again for
good measure.

The final picture of the set was a cat and a mouse. 'They'll ace this' I smugly thought to myself. G identified
the cat and after a moments hesitation, decided that the mouse was an ant. Argh! The HV repeated the
exercise with R and she also correctly identified the cat and decided to pass on the mouse. Dh and I sat willing
them to say the word mouse but they refused. They LOVE animals. It should have been a picture of a monkey
and a crocodile. They would have been fine then.

They were also weighed and measured and are perfectly fine for their age - R is half a centimetre shorter and a
few ounces lighter than G but they are developing along the same lines. The HV commented that they spoke
very well and clearly and commended their scribbles - G told her that her drawing was of a fish - and said that
she could tell they went to nursery.

Ok, so I get that some of the girls' achievements are down to attending nursery but SURELY dh and I have
had some hand in this as well? The in-laws also put the girls' development and skills down to attending a
private nursery and I just think that it would be nice if our contribution to the girls' upbringing was recognised
and appreciated as well. I'm just nitpicking really, I know.

Anyway, the girls won't have any more formal assessments until they start pre-school, although we will have
to fill in a questionnaire that will be sent out to us when they are 3.5 years old - of course, this system won't be
open to abuse by unscrupulous parents AT ALL, will it?

Dh and I high-fived each other earlier and we're both feeling rather smug at present. Long may it last!


by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-07 - 18:32:56

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/07/grace-under-pressure-and-ruth-against-the-machine-8753412/
Rules of engagement                                or the evolution of a blog
I didn t ever set out to write a long-running blog. Back in January 2008 when I wrote my first blog entry I
didn t imagine for a single second that I would still be writing nearly two and a half years later.

I have a small, yet loyal readership and I ve never forced or begged anyone to read my blog because I don t
expect or demand that people read my rants and ramblings. I didn t really start writing in order to win friends
and influence people but I have been fortunate enough to meet some lovely readers along the way, many of
whom have become friends. I m not going to win any literary prizes and I have long since abandoned any
fanciful notions of getting published      how ridiculous!

My blog started off as therapy when I was a bewildered and frankly quite frightened new mum and has
become a way of recording the events of the girls lives for posterity. Hopefully one day when they have
forgiven me for writing about their sleep, tantrums, bowel movements and for telling the Internet how bloody
irritating they can be, they ll be pleased that I loved them enough to devote hours of my life to writing all
about them.

I ve developed a number of unofficial rules for my blog over the last two and a half years and I thought it was
about time that I finally wrote them down:

1. I won t refer to anyone by their full name - occasionally R and G will be referred to by their proper names
- but all of the adults, and the children that don t belong to me are referred to by first initial only
2. I won t whinge about dh. I have never been a Sex and the City type woman that sits with her
  girlfriends and discusses intimate details of relationships and I ve carried that practice over to my blog.
My relationship with dh is private and I choose to keep it that way.
3. I won t slag off people I know in real life       if you re looking for soap-style whingeing about family
and friends, you won t find it here. There have been MANY occasions when I have had a bad day, wanted to
write a spleen-venting blog about someone and had to physically restrain myself from typing out something
nasty and pressing submit . From time to time a real life person tells me they have been mortally offended
by something I have written that they felt was directed at them. I can honestly tell them it wasn t.
4. I try to keep the vomit-inducing gushing to a minimum. Yes, it s marvellous having twins, yes I can be
unbelievably smug, yes parenting is an amazing journey, yadda yadda yadda but I ve always tried to be
honest and realistic. Parenting is all of these things and more. It is also some crap things as well. There s a
balance.
5. Everything refers back to R and G in some way. Without them HoT wouldn t exist.
6. I won t tell you what I had for breakfast. Honestly, who cares?

These are very much my own rules and every blogger has their own version. That s the beauty of the format.
Everyone makes up their own guidelines and creates their own parameters.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-09 - 19:22:47

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/09/rules-of-engagement-or-the-evolution-of-a-blog-8769361/
Feedback for Post "Rules of engagement                                                or the evolution
of a blog"

         silverscribbler [Member]
         2010-06-10 @ 08:37

I for one like reading your Blog for its honesty - its hard admitting to feeling frightened as a first time Mum -
sadly when I was there (living in a strange new town with little or few friends), there wasn't the release/advice
available to me that you are fortunate to have now online - for my point thanks also for the advice on fostering
you sent recently to me - it was helpful.

   | Show subcomments
        Joanna79 pro
        2010-06-10 @ 18:52

It's funny isn't it - I think all parents are terrified yet we rarely openly admit to it, for fear of appearing weak or
unable to cope. I've always found that the best way to deal with things it to tackle them and be open and
honest and hopefully my blog shows that. Thanks for your lovely comments, as always
Parents' evening
The first of many, I'm sure. Following R and G's new reports from nursery from their new keyworkers, I have
just had a meeting with them to discuss the girls' progress. It was reassuring to hear that the girls are exactly
the same at nursery as they are at home: R is extremely strong-willed and tomboyish; G is kind and more
girlie and it was lovely to hear some little funny anecdotes about them.

Interestingly, the girls rarely play together. They have different friends and engage in separate activities most
of the time. R and G haven't napped at nursery for months and they are now the only children (aside from one
other) in their room that don't have a post-lunch snooze so they take the hour or two away from the others to
spend some time playing together. When their friends wake up they play separately again. Occasionally they
check in with each other - G will call for R and check she's ok and vice versa - but otherwise they are
individual.

We have taken a joint decision to stop potty training G. A month on and she's just not getting it, so we've
decided to put her back in nappies full-time and try her again in a month or two. R is brilliant and only has
accidents with poo now. She even woke up with a dry nappy this morning and decanted a rather large wee
into the potty. Nursery are going to work with us to get R completely potty trained and we'll tackle G again
later in the Summer.

I'm so pleased that I complained and that their original keyworker left. Their new keyworkers really care
about R and G and it's lovely to hear about their individual achievements, rather than the homogenous
achievements of 'The twins'.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-10 - 19:01:46

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/10/parents-evening-8776855/
Thirty month update                               or now we are two and a
half...
As the girls get older, the monthly updates get harder to write. They do lots of stuff but their evolution
happens in smaller increments - they don't go through the big developmental leaps any more.

They still have sixteen teeth each. They haven't put on much weight or grown any taller in the last month.
They still walk, talk and run. G is back in nappies full-time now. R is about 80% of the way there with potty
training. They have had haircuts. They are sleeping ok and the tantrums happen, but we can deal with them.

They have seen both sets of grandparents in the last month. They have had a number of playdates. They came
with Daddy to visit me at work. They have been to the park on numerous occasions. They have been to a
couple of parties. They have seen the Health Visitor. We have been out for lunch and/or tea a few times. We
have been shopping.

They are still obsessed with Something Special (as are dh and I) and adore Monsters Inc - R loves Mike
(MIIIIKE WASOWSKIIIII) and G loves Sulley (SULLLLEEEEE). Their favourite book at the moment is
Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson.

They do a million funny and cute things every day that I feel weird about sharing with everyone. I want to
save them for us to enjoy, and laugh over privately. I'm not one for X did the CUTEST thing every day and
droning on ad nauseum while everyone around me either falls asleep or vomits.

They aren't a set of milestones or a series of developmental hoops any more. They are, simply, R and G.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-17 - 19:46:53

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/17/thirty-month-update-or-now-we-are-two-and-a-half-8823917/
The second rule of HoT is...
Recently I wrote about my blog rules:
http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/09/rules-of-engagement-or-the-evolution-of-a-blog-8769361/ and
forgot to add an important one:

7. I don't write this blog during the day or when the girls are awake. I refuse to play on my laptop when the
girls are around, I'm not working and I can do fun and interesting things with them. This restricts my blog
writing to snatched moments in the evening - and is one of the many reasons for my many fallow writing
periods - but it's probably the most important rule of all.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-17 - 19:50:33

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/17/the-second-rule-of-hot-is-8823942/
Lord Tumble and the big axe
I work in the public sector and I'm scared. I work in an organisation that deals with some of the most
vulnerable children and families in England and I'm scared. I work in a front-line public service and I'm
scared.

Why? None of us know where the Con-Dem Nation will decree that the axe should fall next. No-one that
works in the public sector is safe. We, by which I mean people like dh and I (and many of our friends and
families) that have worked hard, educated ourselves, got good jobs, crawled up the career ladder, lived an
honest, decent life, paid our taxes and made positive contributions to society, are going to be punished most
for the mistakes of others. The changes that the Government proposes won't affect the rich - they are too
wealthy to care and the poorest people (don't get me started on deserving and undeserving poor) will still be
able to claim some help from the government in the form of benefits.

I employed a full-time Assistant yesterday. Had the interviews happened today, I wouldn't have been allowed
to appoint anyone as we are now, as of this morning, subject to the public sector recruitment freeze. Squeaky
bottom time. I had the really nice task of telling someone I like that they had got the job but also warned them
that none of our jobs are safe and we could be unemployed in as little as six months time. They are still going
to take the job, thank goodness but I felt I had to be honest with them.

I tell you what, though, I am going to fight. I am going to stand up and shout and tell people exactly WHY my
organisation matters; WHY the service that I have built up from nothing in just over a year matters; WHY my
job matters. I refuse to kowtow to Lord Tumble and his cronies. I'm not going to scuttle away to my perceived
'place' in a Conservative country and get back in my working-class box. I'm bloody pissed off with always
toeing the line, living a 'good' life and doing the 'right' things and getting crapped on for my trouble.

I suggest that anyone who is in the same position and/or agrees with me does the same. Why should WE be
punished for the mistakes of others? In my book, that's bullying and I refuse to take it. Who's with me?

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-17 - 20:10:07

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/17/lord-tumble-and-the-big-axe-8824083/
Feedback for Post "Lord Tumble and the big axe"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-06-17 @ 20:22
You know I am with you 100%, having worked bloody hard to get my degree, given everything to my job and
the state, educated the future generations I now seem to be worse off financially than when I was a student!
We feel like we're on eggshells at work and we're all dreading September when we think big announcements
in education will be made - mark my words we'll be teaching Latin to 5 year olds by this time next year!!


         uomodistante [Member]
         2010-06-17 @ 21:40

I know I am going to find it very hard to restrain my anger over the coming months and years as the likes of
Cameron & Osborne tell us that;

"we're all in this together"

while making those least able to pay, pay

Very best wishes to you


Jan [Visitor]

2010-06-17 @ 22:24
Normal working people like us getting caught in the crossfire again. MP's have had a pay freeze as a 'token
gesture', I would really like to see how that affects their life. One less holiday perhaps? Not quite the same as
defaulting on your mortgage because you've lost your job is it?
They seem to be attacking anything that could potentially add growth to our flagging ecomony (ie, retail
parks, sheffield steel works) what they need to do is help industry and manufacturing. Talking of the Sheffield
steel works - does anyone remember the last tory government? Coal mines, ship yards, etc Cameron taking
tips from that old bag Thatcher me thinks.


         Joanna79 pro
         2010-06-22 @ 19:46

I'm shocked that anyone that lived through the 1980s (admittedly I was very young but even so) could even
contemplate voting Tory again.

I'm also sick of the 'We're all in this together' thing - I hate the way that the Conservative think tanks have
softened up the public with lots of tales of public sector 'excess'. Yes, there are examples of fat-cattery in
some departments but far fewer than in the private sector. Most of us public sector workers are just keeping
our heads above water.
I might regret saying this....
...but parenting R and G at the moment is BRILLIANT (my cheery disposition is in no way related to the fact
that dh and I spent an all-too-rare day together while the girls were at nursery today).

As I've said on a number of occasions: I didn't have babies to have babies; I had babies to have children. I
always knew that I would grit my teeth and get on with it for the first year or two and that (fingers crossed)
things would get better as the girls got older. I was always baffled by the strangers that came over to coo at R
and G as we went about our business and said 'Ooh, I just love having a baby in the house'. What? Why? Yes,
newborns are scrunchy and cute and portable and smell nice but they also cry, poo, eat constantly and sleep
for only a couple of hours at a time. What's so brilliant about that?

The brilliant (yes, I am overusing this word) thing is that in about five minutes they transform from helpless
newborns to fully functioning toddlers. In fact, I have a theory that every six months or so the girls are
upgraded for newer, improved models with bug fixes and improved operating systems and functionality. Yes,
I am currently updating my iphone operating system as I type...

Dh went a did a spot of shopping today and as we strolled round the Early Learning Centre (yes, we could
have gone ANYWHERE on our day off and we chose to go to a toy shop) I realised that the girls had
outgrown many of the products. I found myself looking at the art and craft materials (age: from 3 years) and
(gasp) the learning to read, write and count books, which set me off on a little Scrubs-style tangential
daydream about teaching R and G...stuff...while they looked on, rapt and admiringly. Screech, stop, yes I
know, I know but it was kind of...exciting.

Over lunch dh and planned trips that we could do with the girls as they got older: the Natural History
Museum, the Science Museum, their first trip to the cinema (Monsters Inc. 2, 2012); and chatted about the
conversations we had with R and G. They aren't quite at the why stage yet but we answer lots of "What's that
noise?", "What's that?" and "Who is that?" questions on a daily basis.

I'm always quite wary of saying how good things are for fear of them going horribly wrong but parenting two
bright, inquisitive 2.5 year olds is pretty AWESOME :)

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-21 - 20:18:38

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/21/i-might-regret-saying-this-8842418/
Feedback for Post "I might regret saying this...."

Michelle Twin Mum [Visitor]

2010-06-22 @ 13:01
ahhh glad to hear that Jo. Mine are pretty awesome right now too. Mich x
There was once an emergency budget...
George Osborne promised not to fudge it.
Now aware of the facts,
We re all paying more tax
And the people, they shouted...OH DEARIE ME 20% VAT RISE - but at least the levy on cider has been
abolished so let s go out on the lash and **** it.

So, how was the budget for you? Dreadful limericks aside, I m almost ashamed to say this, but it wasn t
THAT bad for us as a family. The main things that we ll be affected by are: the 2 year civil service pay freeze
(applies to me, not dh), the 2 year child benefit freeze (better than not getting it at all), the rise in VAT to 20%
and proposed changes to civil service pension schemes. I STILL don t know whether I will have a job at all
after March 2011.

I know that changes to the child tax credit thresholds have worried many families, but we re lucky to earn
enough between us to be over the current limit and have never actually claimed them. In fact, I have a little
story about Working Tax Credits (we were never eligible for CTC). Before I returned to work in May 2008, I
thought I d investigate the WTC. I filled in an online form which stated that we might be entitled to
something (this was before I changed jobs and got promoted) and duly phoned up the helpline. After spending
about 20 minutes speaking to a rather (ahem) laid back person, they told me that we would be entitled to a few
pounds a month but (I quote) As our combined income was good it wasn t worth our while claiming it and
them processing our claim . I insisted that they send me the claim pack and promptly forgot all about it. Two
years on and I m still waiting...although you don t miss what you ve never had.

I was lucky enough to be able to watch the budget live and uninterrupted on the BBC of course. GO
really is an oily little tick and making jokes about him really is like shooting fish in a barrel (so much so that I
created a hashtag on Twitter called #osbornefacts and I ll leave you to fill in the gaps) so I ll comment on
some of the other characters. Lord Tumble managed to completely hide himself behind The Heir of Darkness,
thereby distancing himself from the cuts and putting The Toast Rack and Work Experience Boy firmly in the
picture. WEB looked like he d won a Blue Peter competition to sit on the Front Benches for a day and next
week he ll tell all of his school friends about it after the class bully finishes flushing his head down the toilet.
As for TTR, well, he looked extremely uncomfortable at various points during THOD s speech and so he
should. Abandoning your principles for a taste of power is rather a poisoned chalice, isn t it? For the sake of
balance, I should say that hopefully the Lib Dems will curb the worst excesses of their ringmasters.

I worry myself a bit sometimes because I (and please don t judge me too harshly for this) cheered when
THOD announced that single mothers on benefits would have to return to work once their youngest child goes
to school. Coupled with the abolition of the Health in Pregnancy grant (HIP), the Sure Start Maternity grant
and reductions in housing benefit, there are now fewer reasons for a woman to deliberately get pregnant
purely to avoid working and paying into the system once their child reaches school age. Go on, shoot me.

So, not as bad as I was fearing but each day that I go to work I dread getting the letter or e-mail telling
me about departmental cuts. If I lose my job in the next year we really are screwed.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-22 - 19:15:35

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/22/there-was-once-an-emergency-budget-8847083/
Another brick in the wall.
Just a note on the free schools (by the by, Michael Gove has a very punchable face doesn t he?) idea that the
Con-Dems are so chuffed with. Simply, it won t work. Not where it should, anyway.

In an idealistic world a plucky young Mum from a council estate with a knack for maths will group together
with a bunch of her buddies (one who s a whizz at spelling, a brilliant cook, someone who s been travelling,
someone with a car) and create an amazing free school in which troubled children turn their lives around.
The payoff scene will be of Kaylah, troubled girl from the wrong side of the tracks getting into Oxford. Cue
sweeping orchestral music and OBEs all round. Weep, clap, sniff.

Here s what will actually happen: yummy mummy to be meets lots of simply lovely like-minded yummy
mummies at NCT classes one is a city banker, one works in meeja , one in advertising, one is an
accountant, one has a holiday home in Tuscany and they decide to create a free school because the state
primaries are simply dreadful in their area and thanks to the recession hubby doesn t earn as much and they
can t quite afford the prep school fees any more. Cue Bikram yoga sessions after assembly, lots of wholemeal
hugging and learning and oodles of non-competitive yogurt knitting.

Sarcasm aside, the middle classes will lap up the free school idea and the truth is that they don t, and
shouldn t need it. It is totally misguided to expect schools to do the parents job for them. Any parent,
regardless of class, education, wealth or ability can supplement the learning that their child does at school. It
doesn t take much effort to count the stairs with a child or point to, and name animals in books, or engage a
child in an activity, or name the colours of foods but I ve talked to parents who expect their local school to do
all of the teaching for them while they sit and do...what?...exactly, whilst moaning that their child s school
isn t very good. It may not be, but the parent has a role to play as well.

Years ago I worked in a bookshop in an area that had grammar schools. At a certain time each year, just
before the entrance exams, a certain type of parent would come in and buy every single 11+ exam study aid
they could get their hands on. One mother even told me in detail - about the coaching regime she had
imposed on her son to get him through the exams. The local public library was just across the road and I knew
that they also stocked the books, yet the wealthier parents would happily spend c.£100 on the teaching
materials. My point is that less wealthy parents could borrow the same books from the Library if money was
tight but I wondered if many actually did? There will of course be honourable exceptions and I d count my
marvellous parents among them but there are simply lots of parents who don t really value education and
don t understand their role in it.

I d much rather that money spent on setting up free schools although I understand that they need to have a
workable business model in place before they are established was actually spent on seeing through the
overhauls to the curriculum that were formulated by the previous administration. Give teachers back the
power to create their own learning initiatives and the freedom to teach children more than just a list of facts
that can be ticked off a list. Free schools are only going to benefit wealthier parents who have the time, money
and energy to set them up. Improvements in state education benefit everyone.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-22 - 19:33:08

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/22/another-brick-in-the-wall-8847233/
"My learning journey"
Tonight we bought home R and G s progress folders home from nursery to have a look at. They are called
 My learning journey and put me in mind of a gushing exit from a reality TV show. When the girls
 graduate from nursery to school I have visions of them performing a tearful speech along the lines of
 OMG I ve had an AMAZING time here and I LOVE you all SO MUCH. It s been such an INCREDIBLE
JOURNEY for me and I just want to thank my FRIENDS and my CARERS for being here so share it with
me before singing their final song.

Anyway, they make fascinating reading. Each folder is stuffed with post-it notes, observation sheets, photos
and creations , all dated and labelled. There s a marked difference in the quality of the folders at various
points they were really good when the girls started nursery, are quite sparse in content for the time around
their second birthday and have got a lot better since their previous carer left in slightly odd circumstances.
One thing comes through very strongly though their first carer really couldn t tell them apart. She s
labelled pictures of R as G, and vice versa. Having read through the post-its and observations though, they
seem to accurately reflect their personalities so they were either compiled by other carers or she got lucky.

The folders contain little anecdotes that give us an insight into the girls day-to-day nursery life. Here are just
a couple of highlights:
4th March 2010: I asked G to draw me an ant so she put a toy ant on the paper and drew around the ant
22nd March 2010: R (is) sitting on bricks taking her shoes off. I ask her to put them back on R looks at
me, laughs then puts her right shoe on her foot by herself

The observation sheets (where a carer observes and writes about their behaviour over a 10-20 minute time
period) are fascinating. G generally concentrates on one activity for the whole observation period. R manages
to do about ten different activities in the same period of time. In one observation R has a complete nervous
breakdown over ownership of a spoon she wins the fight but the observer notes that she has to learn to
manage her reaction when things don t go her way. I agree with the sentiment but can t see R changing
really she s such a strong-willed character.

It s lovely to see what R and G get up to at nursery and great to see how meticulously their progress is noted.
Even small things, like being kind to another child are recorded. It s such a shame that their old key worker
used to focus on the negatives so much and didn t bother to tell us about the nice stuff. Luckily things are
much better now. I still feel a little odd about the target-driven nature of some of the EYFS elements we re
talking about young(ish) toddlers here but I now feel we re starting to see some return on our considerable
financial investment. The key thing is that the girls are very happy at nursery and get a tremendous amount
from it.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-06-22 - 20:51:32

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/06/22/my-learning-journey-8847922/
Feedback for Post ""My learning journey""

        silverscribbler [Member]
        2010-06-23 @ 08:46

Wait till they get to school! - my eldest who always had such a fiery temperament at home was supposedly
quiet in class so we were told – their Maths teacher (who taught them both even though they were aged two
years apart) always used to speak about the wrong daughter whenever we went to Parent Evening then would
insist on spending the rest of our allotted time discussing classic bikes with my ex husband!
The Under 24 s Club is growing up!
Many many years ago in a time I like to call BT (Before Twins), back when dh and I were just bf and gf and I
was still a student, I worked part-time in a bookshop. It was the best student job in the world. The pay wasn t
brilliant but I got to read a lot of books, ran the children s books section, got a nice staff discount, drank a lot
of free hot chocolate and made some lovely friends. Four of us me and three boys became particularly close
and were christened The Under 24 s Club by the manager of the shop. Although I was the youngest of the
group, I was called into the manager s office and accused of leading the other lads astray with my wild
student ways hardly! They were all older than me and got into FAR more mischief than I ever managed...

Anyway, nine years later. Dh and I are now married and of course we have R and G. J is now married and has
a one year old daughter. We ve lost touch with A but I can safely bet that he won t be married OR have
children. Yesterday, PJ got married. Look at us doing grown up stuff now! Dh and I are the only people left
that call him PJ, to the point that I can t actually cal l him by his real name because it sounds weird, like I m
referring to someone else.

We used to go to the pub every Thursday night, usually for just a pint after work and invariably ended up
staying until closing time (remember closing time? THAT S how long ago it was). One Christmas we were
(unwisely) given the task of organising the staff Christmas party on a strict budget and hosted a buffet,
disco and quiz in the in-store coffee shop. PJ and I dressed up for the occasion: me with fairy wings,
deeley-boppers and a fluffy wand and he in a Take That t-shirt and bandanna. I d better say at this point that
yesterday he married a GIRL, just to clear up any potential confusion.

Due to our terrible sense of planning, the Christmas party was the night AFTER mine and dh s engagement
party. I was allowed to stay out all night (it was my party after all) but PJ and A decided they would just
come to the pub for a couple of hours and get an early night. Wind forward to 1am. Df (as he was then) and I
left our group of friends in a nightclub. PJ and A were gyrating on the dance floor, being licked by some of
our other (male, straight) friends. It was that sort of night. The following afternoon, I had to stop PJ from
passing out in the supermarket as we purchased the food for the work party. Good times!

PJ was also the star performer at our wedding in 2004. He s got a ...frankly astonishing dancing style which
is difficult to describe but imagine a cross between Mick Jagger and Jamiroquai and you re about half way
there. He dances as though his hips are entirely disconnected from the rest of his body. He does a shoulder
shrug that we have all tried and failed to imitate on the dance floor. During Could it be Magic he ran
into the room and slid on his knees across the dance floor. It was a truly beautiful moment.

At this point he was, perhaps unsurprisingly, mostly single. He had a couple of brief relationships and
flirtations but nothing serious. We joked that he was too devoted to his (male) childhood best friend and
housemate at the time to be truly in love with a woman. Just as it should, we all moved on, moved away, grew
up and got responsible. We got proper jobs, degrees, careers even. PJ is in fact the reason why I m a
Librarian. I laughed like a drain when he got a job at the Bodleian Library and a year later found myself in
Oxford as a trainee Librarian, such was the level that he inspired me, but don t tell him that or I ll get all
embarrassed, ok?

We first met K at one of our Christmas Parties actually, the last one we had BT (sound death knell for
parties) and she and PJ left the next morning I squealed with delight and proclaimed I LOVE her and they
are SO going to get married . Yesterday, for once, I was proved right. It s so lovely to attend a wedding
where everything feels right - not that I ve attended many where it feels wrong but you know what I
mean. They just looked so happy and genuinely excited all day and their attitude rubbed off on the wedding
guests. It was a lovely day.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-03 - 20:16:06
http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/03/the-under-24-s-club-is-growing-up-8907590/
The HoT goes to a Wedding
I know that you re all DYING to know how R and G enjoyed PJ and K s wedding yesterday, because I m
wrongly assuming that anyone CARES, right?
I have to confess that in the lead up to the wedding I was worried. SERIOUSLY concerned. I even had
nightmares (of the waking up in a cold sweat variety) that the girls would HATE the whole thing and dh and I
would end up in bed at 8pm calming down two angry, exhausted children while the party went on without us.

You know what I m going to say next don t you? They girls were absolute STARS and loved every minute
of it. I shouldn t have wasted a moment worrying. Frankly I m a massive idiot but you all knew that...

The wedding was in Yorkshire so we travelled up the day before and stayed in the hotel that would also host
the reception. It was the first time that the girls had stayed in a hotel and they looked to the manor born. It was
a pretty swanky place and they were more than happy to accommodate our needs. We got a larger room in
which to fit the two (supplied) cots with air conditioning (badly needed in this lovely weather) and everything
we needed, although we had of course pretty much brought everything we might possibly need with us
anyway.

The night before the wedding the girls settled a treat at 7pm and dh and I found ourselves outside our hotel
room, baby monitor in hand so we went for dinner. Alone. The monitor didn t work too well downstairs so
we came up with a solution that involved mobile phones and that was fine. We enjoyed a beautiful meal and a
glass of wine and we were tucked up in bed (sneaking in so as not to disturb the girls who were out for the
count and snoring like piglets) before 10.30pm.

The wedding day went really well. I had prepared a pack of books and stickers for the girls to have at the
church and they happily passed the ceremony sticking animals onto pieces of paper. They loved the canapés
during the photographs and enjoyed blowing the bubbles that were handed out at the church instead of confetti
or rice. R clapped at all the right places (and one or two of the wrong ones) during the speeches and they ate
all of their fruit and veg and ignored the chips at the wedding breakfast. They got tons of attention and R spent
a fair amount of time making eyes at another little boy, pretending to hide behind her napkin and giggling as
he ran around. The disco didn t start until nearly 9pm and by this time the girls were exhausted. Dh and I
whirled them around the dance floor to a couple of songs and G asked to go to bed. Back in our hotel room,
after a quick change into pyjamas and a couple of stories they fell into their cots, completely exhausted.

Dh and I rigged the phones up as before but hit a major snag as soon as we went into the reception they cut
out. The monitors worked for a little while before giving up the ghost. In the end, after a couple of quick
dances with me dh went to bed and I was allowed to stay up and carry on dancing. Normally I would have
been on the dance floor until the bitter end but it didn t feel quite right without dh and I took my leave at a
reasonably respectable hour. I crept around the bedroom but didn t need to worry as the girls were fast asleep
and dh was more than happy.

Based on this I think we will actually brave a proper holiday next year. The girls loved being with the
  grown-ups and were reasonably unphased by it all. They have been pretty grumpy today but that s to be
expected after a busy couple of days. G has already asked when we can go to another wedding and see another
princess (she decided that K looked like one in her dress) and R said she lved the food. A result all round, I
think.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-03 - 20:39:44

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/03/the-hot-goes-to-a-wedding-8907656/
Feedback for Post "The HoT goes to a Wedding"

        silverscribbler [Member]
        2010-07-05 @ 09:36

Glad that you enjoyed the wedding here in Yorkshire and the girls were well behaved - did the same when my
two were younger - stayed in a hotel as well but the party came to us being as we had to take it in turns to sit
with the girls as the hotel had no baby intercom - still don't know if food was allowed in the room but then
when you are hungry .................
Overheard in the HoT
The girls are in the playroom; I'm in the dining room:

G: Want to read a book Ruthie?
R: OH-KAY!
G: what's that?
R: ball
G: what colour is it?
R: blue
G: WELL DONE RUTHIE. VERY GOOD!
R: thank YOU! Next one please
G: what's that?
R: car
G: what colour is it?
R: ummm...
G: S-S-S-S
R: SILVER!
G: BRILLLLLLIANT RUTHIE CLEVER GIRL (clap)
R: thank YOU!

They carried on until they had read the whole book between them, correctly naming the objects, identifying
the correct colours, encouraging and congratulating each other. Now, I'm not prone to outbursts of public
Mummy-ness but it was kind-of awesome to overhear my little girls doing that :)

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-06 - 18:55:59

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/06/overheard-in-the-hot-8926242/
Feedback for Post "Overheard in the HoT"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-07-06 @ 20:23
Aww how lovely. We had a similar one on the way home tonight with Hannah asking Lou and I questions and
expecting to be answered 'yes Hannah or no Hannah' in reply. A simple yes or no wasn't good enough!


        Joanna79 pro
        2010-07-15 @ 20:31

LOL Tracy! I find it both fascinating and odd that they are so talkative with each other now and they clearly
get it from their parents! This morning one of them was shouting out the name of an animal and the other one
had to say what colour it was. They were in their cots and it was dark!!
What would your dream job be and why?
We were asked this question in a team meeting this morning and without thinking about it I answered:
Midwife, specialising in multiple births.

Now, where the HECK did that come from? I'm a Librarian FFS. I'm not very maternal. I'm hopeless at
science. I cry at Pixar films. I'm awkward around newborn babies. I quite often want to smack pregnant
women for irrational reasons - not ALL pregnant women, just those that wear their bump like a badge of
womanly honour and shout for a seat on the train when everyone is standing up. I wouldn't be able to wear
make-up at work. The uniform is unflattering. I'd have to deal with yucky stuff. Not every outcome is a happy
one.

In short I would be the WORST midwife in the world.

So why did I say it? Well I think there is a lack of knowledge around multiple pregnancies and births in
maternity services. The many midwives I saw when I was pregnant were perfectly nice and efficient but they
didn't 'get it'. I really wanted to be looked after by someone that had been there, got the t-shirt and was now
applying their experience to their job. It's probably that bit that I'm more interested in than the gore and poo
side of midwifery.

I love my current job but I know (in the current climate) that I may not have the job forever. Don't worry, I'm
still fighting to keep my job but the Con-Dems have declared war on public services and although the
organisation I work for is important, they may decide in their infinite wisdom that the work could be done by
another body. They'd be wrong but the Tories aren't exactly known for their rational thinking are they?

I've always wanted to have a career where I make a difference. At the moment, in a small way, I do. I help
social workers make informed decisions about children by providing them with books, articles and research.
It'll be a sad day when I stop doing that. Maybe I've latched on to the midwife idea because I'd always be
needed. Whatever happens, people won't stop having babies. It's a job for life, unlike so many others now.

I suspect that maybe I'm casting around for an alternative career to cushion the blow when the axe finally
falls. Library jobs aren't exactly ten a penny at the moment and I can't imagine getting another job in the
information profession that would excite me as much as my current job does. I genuinely think I have one of
the best jobs in the library world.

I therefore have my dream job now - but for how much longer? Is midwifery an incredibly stupid idea? I'm
sure I'll come to my senses tomorrow and decide that my dream job would be a writer or rock star or
something just as daft.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-06 - 19:56:48

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/06/what-would-your-dream-job-be-and-why-8926577/
Feedback for Post "What would your dream job be and
why?"

        silverscribbler [Member]
        2010-07-07 @ 09:45

I think considering an alternative to being a librarian is being very wise - I processed new library books
behind the scenes sending them to various branches thoroughout the county - and went from doing that (after
the department was threatened with closure) to working in a betting office !


        Joanna79 pro
        2010-07-15 @ 20:33

I always had a vague plan to do a career for ten years, then do a different career for ten years and keep
changing until I retired. I've now got over my mad thought of being a midwife and am leaning towards
something more creative, like photography, writing or pottery, all pipe dreams!
Born and shoot, booooorn and shoot. Yeah baby!
On Saturday we visited the local branch of a well-known chain of photographic studios to have some family
photos taken. The session was a birthday present from my parents and the aim is to get a decent family photo
of the four of us. The girls have already featured in hundreds, if not thousands of photos in their short lifetime
but very few of these also feature dh and I. Generally, one of us is taking the photo and I am completely and
utterly phobic about having my picture taken. I am extremely thankful for the advent of digital photography
because, at the press of a button, I can delete any photos of me that I deem to be horrible (i.e. 99.9% of them)
and only keep the one of two good ones of me where I: a. Have my eyes open (point in a camera in my face
and I start panicing and blinking like fury) and b. Am smiling in a normal way c. I don t look to weird.

Luckily R and G have none of these issues to overcome. They are both ridiculously photogenic (an extremely
biased mother writes) and adore being photographed. Based on their personalities, one would expect G to be
the camera hogger but actually it s R. She s one of those annoying people that can wake up in the morning
and look slightly dishevelled but still utterly fabulous. Point a camera at her and she produces a beaming,
mischievous smile, accurately reflecting her personality. G is slightly more wary of the camera but once she
relaxes she enjoys having her photo taken.

My birthday was in December. It took me SEVEN MONTHS to pluck up the courage to book the session.
Every time I thought about cashing in the voucher, I came up with a reason not to. Finally, after coming back
from the wedding a couple of weeks ago, in which I actually looked reasonably normal in a couple of photos,
I bit the bullet.

The session lasted an hour and we were encouraged to bring along things that represented us so that they
could be used as props in the photos. After some serious deliberation we took along some of the girls
favourite toys and picture books and all four of us took along our Harlequins shirts. The girls and I wore
pretty summer dresses and dh wore a smart shirt and jeans. We took the rugby shirts with us along with a
change of clothes.

The studios specialise in quirky portraiture no still, formal family photos here. We were encouraged to
run around, tickling the girls and throwing them in the air. The studio was air conditioned (incredibly good on
such a hot day) and the Rolling Stones were playing on the stereo. The photographer was young and really
good with the girls. It was (dare I say it?) fun. The girls absolutely loved the studio and performed (and
behaved) really well. The hour went incredibly quickly.

Tomorrow dh and I go back for our viewing session. I ve done some research on the process and I have a
pretty good idea about what s going to happen. The best photos are going to be loaded on to a slide show
with a musical accompaniment. We ll then get a bit of a sales pitch along the lines of Oh aren t these
wonderful, you should get all of them , etc etc. My voucher entitles us to one framed desk photo. As we left
on Saturday we were given a booklet outlining the types of portraits they produce (they don t do offprints,
just framed artwork and copyright protected CD-ROMs and memory sticks) and while the products are simply
stunning the prices are absolutely eye-watering. To give you an example a decent portrait costs in the region
of £1,000.

Now, here s the problem. I ll go in with the best of intentions and as soon as I see the slide show I ll melt
and wibble. DH has already decided that he will be the hard-nosed one and that we will just take the free desk
photo and choose a picture of the four of us. Bitten by the family photo bug, he s already looked at other
local photographers with a similar style to see if we can get anything cheaper and we can, so there is a
back-up plan. However, I just know that I will end up wailing at dh to buy lots of portraits while he does the
NO NO NO NO NO thing. He s right, of course and if we had the spare money we would of course buy lots
of portraits but we simply don t. I ll keep telling myself it and hopefully by tomorrow afternoon I ll believe
it...
by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-14 - 19:14:39

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/14/born-and-shoot-booooorn-and-shoot-yeah-baby-8975403/
We re all going to the zoo....
....quite a lot as it happens. Dh and I now have annual passes for London and Whipsnade Zoos and we really
enjoyed making the most of them during the good weather. We debated getting the passes last summer and
decided against but as the girls are older and are absolutely obsessed with animals it seemed like a good idea.
An adult ticket for the zoo costs £18.50 and the annual passes cost £90 for both dh and I the girls go free
until they turn 3. That means that we only have to go to London or Whipsnade three and a bit times between
now and next June to get out money s worth. I m fairly confident we ll do that.

Whipsnade is pretty easy to get to for us (about 1 hour 15 mins drive) and my parents live about 10 minutes
drive away from there so we ve already suggested a family day out. Living in London, you would think that
getting to Regent s Park on public transport would be dead easy but actually it s a bit of a mission: a 10
minute walk, a mainline train to London Bridge and the Northern Line to Camden Town followed by a 20
minute walk to the entrance gates. All fine in principle but not quite as easy with two large toddlers, two
buggies (R would manage without, G s legs would fall off if we went buggy-less), a picnic and general
toddler paraphernalia. Also, I really hate Camden (I expect to be mugged the moment I step of the tube
station) and I haven t even mentioned the steps. STEPS. I work in London and regularly travel about and the
number of steps on the tube doesn t occur to me. Factor in two buggies and it s a whole different ball game.
The girls are now so heavy that I can t lift the single buggies on my own so dh ends up doing a lot of running
up and down the stairs. Lifts? Yes, some places have lifts but they are usually in the back end of nowhere in
the older tube stations and by the time you ve located them you could have dragged the buggies up and down
the steps about ten times. It s bad enough for us how do people in wheelchairs navigate around on the tube?

After a LOT of walking on Sunday we re going to drive to London Zoo next time. It costs £12.50 to park but
weigh that up against the train fares, the walking time and general hassle and it becomes a bargain.

We went to London Zoo on Sunday. There is something quite thrilling about waving your annual pass at the
gate and being let through a special entrance for Friends of ZSL (Zoological Society London) and
by-passing the queues. The best part of the day? Well, R doing a commentary on the penguin show before the
real penguin show began ( Look two penguins swimming in the water; penguins are black and white; some of
them are walking; some of the penguins are lying down; look at the penguins walking; the penguins swim
REALLY FAST ) and the girls getting the chance to be mini zoo-keepers.

The mini zoo-keeper thing was not planned or part of our membership. We were in the children s zoo (very
good toilets) and were looking at the rabbits ( Look Daddy, there s a black rabbit and a white rabbit and a
brown rabbit... ) when one of the Explainers came over and asked if the girls would like to try being zoo
keepers. This involved sweeping up wood chippings, decanting them from a dustpan into a mini wheelbarrow
and depositing them in a large black bin. Then they had to clean out some mental food bowls in washing up
bowls filled with soapy water and hang them up to dry on wooden posts. The girls threw themselves into the
tasks and were rewarded with certificates with their names on for their efforts. It was very cute.

I think we ll be using our passes again very soon as the girls are already going through their favourite book of
animals, pointing out the ones that they saw last time and identifying more animals they want to see next time.
As well as the zoo entrance fees, you get free parking at London Zoo on weekdays (not in school or bank
holidays) and at Whisnade Zoo all the time, 10% discount in the food outlets and gift shops, discounted
tickets for family and friends when they accompany us, a members magazine and invitations to special events
   dh has already received an e-mail inviting us to an early morning opening to see the animals have breakfast
and they also do late night openings in August. If you and your children are into animals, I d recommend the
annual membership.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-14 - 19:38:07

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/14/we-re-all-going-to-the-zoo-8975521/
Our Venture adventure
Dh and I had our Venture photo viewing this afternoon. We were led into a viewing room, the lights were
dimmed and around 35 photos of us were projected on to the opposite wall, accompanied by The Greatest
Day by Take That. Now, I suspect that lots of people cry at this point and I fully expected to as well but as I
fell out with Gary Barlow for publicly declaring himself to be a Tory I m currently on a self-imposed Take
That ban and all I could think of was Lord Tumble s large shiny gammon-face, which was an awful thing
when I was gazing at large picture of my lovely family. I focused instead on the images of dh and the girls (I
tried to ignore me but I kept wincing as I saw myself) and it brought back happy memories of the photo
session.

Now, a couple of things before I continue: 1. The images were absolutely stunning; 2. I was bought the
Venture package as part of my 30th birthday present from my parents, the idea being that we had fun in a
studio and as part of the package got a family photo for my desk. I am very happy with this aspect of it.

However, we were subjected to quite an aggressive sales pitch which has rather taken the shine off the
experience. Once we had selected a few images we really liked the salesman put them into a (incredibly
beautiful) collage and showed us the different types of frames and art pieces that Venture produce. Again, all
absolutely beautiful. He chatted and we went through the slide-show again, selecting our favourite images and
I chose one that I wanted as my desk photo. I also mentioned that I liked the idea of one of the frame styles
and suddenly he had totted up the price of a seven image frame and it came to £1,300 and asked how we d
like to pay...

...at this point dh spoke (for pretty much the first time during the session) and asked the salesman to give us a
moment in private to have a chat. In private I wavered, pointing out to dh that the collage was gorgeous and
that we should buy. He, as I predicted, stood firm and browbeat me into agreeing that the price was
extortionate and that we would get a better deal elsewhere. My head agreed. My heart wanted to punch him in
the face! I said that I would agree with his decision but that he had to do ALL the talking from now on. I
wasn t taking the flack for this.

Salesman came back in and dh told him were just taking the desk photo. Cue one VERY pissed-off saleman.
He asked us what the problem was and we were honest and said 1. The cost and 2. The fact that we couldn t
have a CD with all of the images on that wasn t copyright protected. I even said that we would buy the
collage if we could have a copyright-free disc of the images for free as well. He wouldn t budge and then he
tried the hard sell with the following sentence:

 Well, some people value their families and some people don t and they are the ones that just take the desk
photo

Well, if I had been wavering I certainly wasn t now. How DARE he imply that we didn t value our family?
We value them enough to NOT put us in debt and limit our ability to buy them food and clothes, actually.
Yes, the photos were beautiful and yes we enjoyed the session but we were very happy with the desk photo
we had chosen and stood firm.

Relations between us and the salesman cooled considerably after that and he practically threw us out of the
door, such was his disappointment that he wouldn t get any commission from us. Talking about soiling what
had been a nice experience until that point.

I did my homework before we attended the session and I knew roughly what we d get and it is worth pointing
out that Venture are all about photographic artwork and investment pieces of wall art. There s no question
that if money had been no object, we would have taken the collage but we re not in that position.
I can t help but feel a tinge of disappointment though and it sounds like I m being an ungrateful madam but
I m not (well, maybe a bit) we enjoyed the session and it will be nice to have a good family photo of the
four of us. I just didn t like the guilt-trip sales pitch and the fact that you can t have copies of all of the
photos from the session.

Dh and I agreed that we would have another session with an local independent studio and we ve now booked
one for this weekend. Now I just need to block out and forget the images that we saw today and hope that the
new ones will be just as good, if not better. In any case, I'll always have the lovely desk photo as a memento
of our Venture experience...


by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-15 - 19:02:46

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/15/our-venture-adventure-8980954/
Feedback for Post "Our Venture adventure"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-07-15 @ 21:44
Having been subjected to their hard sell outside Tesco's once (they were trying to sell packages) I dread to
think what it's like when they've actually taken your photos. The staff must be so underpaid and under so
much pressure to sell!! Well done for staying strong x
Photo shoot: Take Two
After our Venture adventure we booked a session with a local independent photographer, which took place
over the weekend. I felt that the second session didn t go as well as the Venture one, largely due to the fact
that it took place later in the day whereas the first shoot was at 10am, when the girls are at their happiest. I
went in with grumpily low expectations and came out with even lower ones the girls got fed-up about three
quarters of the way through our allotted hour, they didn t pay as much attention as they did the week before
and it felt like hard work. I even said to dh that I wouldn t bother going to the viewing this afternoon as I was
convinced that there wouldn t be anything worth seeing.

Luckily, dh persuaded me otherwise. The photographer sat us down in her studio (a massive shed converted
into a fully-functioning photographic studio in her back garden) and projected the best 50 images from the
shoot on to the wall. After the ooh-ing and aah-ing at the tenth gorgeous photo in a row I looked at dh and he
looked, well, rather smug. Git! We watched the slide show through once and the second time we were asked
to say which ones we weren t as fond of, which narrowed it down to a more manageable...48 images. Uh oh!
Dh and I had agreed beforehand that if there were more than 10 decent photos we d buy a copyright-free CD
and having five times as many good photos as our benchmark meant that it was a no-brainer.

We ve ordered a CD of all of the images, a hardback photo book of our favourite 48 images, a large 20x24
inch canvas of our favourite image of the four of us and a free 7x5 print which I m going to have on my desk
in my home office (I m going to have the Venture desk photo on my desk at work) all for the princely sum of
£289 the shoot was included in the price.

We re even talking of going back later in the year to get some pre-Christmas photos done and thinking that
we might book a session every Autumn to get up to date family photos done. Yes, we were THAT impressed
with the results. I promised I d spread the word, so the photographer is called Michelle Fry and here s her
website: http://www.michellefryphotography.com/index.html. I m honestly not getting a kickback to promote
her!

She s asked if she can use one of the images from the shoot in her promotional material she was really
pleased with a close-up she took of G which she has printed in black and white and is going to add to her web
gallery. To say that we are chuffed is an understatement...and dh s head is now even larger than it was
before...and he has a LARGE head anyway. Groan.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-19 - 18:46:46

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/19/photo-shoot-take-two-9002666/
Getting my photo mojo back
In common with about 95% of women, I loathe having my photo taken. I m almost phobic about having a
camera pointed in my face because nine times out of ten I ll have my eyes closed, or be pulling a stupid grin,
or I ll just look completely and utterly awful. When I was a very little girl I loved the camera but developed
an aversion to it during the toddler years that lasted through the awkward school years (I used to hate seeing
the stack of school photographs on the teacher s desk and knowing that the plain brown envelope at the
bottom of the pile was probably a glorious shot of me grinning nervously with my eyes shut) and into
adulthood. The advent of the digital camera has made things slightly easier as I can self-edit to my heart s
content but I am still really uncomfortable with having my photo taken, even if I spend about 3 hours getting
ready beforehand.

I just want to thank my Mum and Dad for giving me the confidence to enjoy being photographed again. If
I m perfectly honest, I was very nervous about the Venture shoot that they booked for me as a birthday
present and half of me wanted to send the girls and dh on their own but I knew that they really wanted a
family shot of the four of us. I ve been put off formal shoots over the years by my experiences at school, by
websites like Awkward Family Photos and by the large family portrait that my In-Laws have on their wall.
It s the sort of all facing forwards, grimacing at the camera portrait that I expect to see on a news bulletin,
with a serious voice-over saying It was shortly after this photo was taken that the family began their murder
spree... . The last truly decent proper photos of me were taken at dh s graduation in 2005 and before that
our wedding photos and my two graduation photos.

Despite the slightly sour ending, I LOVED the Venture shoot. I loved being told to run around and enjoy
myself. I appreciated not having to look at the camera at a certain moment and, anticipating the moment, start
blinking like fury. I almost forgot that I was being photographed. The shoot gave me so much confidence
(although I simply cannot appraise myself objectively) that we went on and booked the second shoot...and
soon there will be a large canvas print of my family and I on the wall, including me. ME! Post-pregnancy,
post-twins me, with my gorgeous, amazing family. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I scrub up ok for a
long-time married, thirty-something (just!) mother of two and I m stupidly proud of that.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-19 - 19:04:41

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/19/getting-my-photo-mojo-back-9002757/
The not so great escape
So, I ve got to go and have an exploratory procedure done, the gory details of which I won t be troubling
anyone with. Nothing to worry about, yet for some bizarre reason it makes me feel incredibly sad. I ve spent
much of the day trying to work out why. As I collected the girls from nursery something clicked: I m sad
because I m going to be out of parenting action for a total of three days: the day before, the day of, and the
day after the procedure.

How funny. A year or so ago I would have been pleased to be relieved of parenting duties for a few days and
now I feel the reverse. I used to feel a real rush of exhilaration when I was able to escape from R and G for a
day or two (how awful does this make me sound?) but as they get older I find I miss them much more.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-20 - 19:15:00

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/20/the-not-so-great-escape-9008474/
The mechanics of parenting
Is there a term for being fairly good at the stimulatory and intellectual aspects of parenting but absolutely
useless at the mechanics of it? If a term or phrase did exist, dh and I could certainly be the poster people for it.
In the last two years and seven months we have really struggled with the basic baby and toddler childcare
stuff, such as sleep, weaning and, currently, potty training whilst being fairly excellent (modest, moi?) at
reading to and with the girls, playing with them for hours, talking to and with them, taking them out on trips
and generally doing stuff with them.

As you may have gathered, we re not exactly winning on the potty training front. G is still in nappies
full-time and absolutely refuses to even contemplate sitting on the potty. Any attempt to put her in a pair of
knickers ends with one of us cleaning up a large puddle of wee while G wails FEEET WEEEET OH DEAR.
Put a nappy on! at us.

R is brilliant with her wees (although is prone to accidents at the end of the day when she s feeling a bit tired)
and can do poos in the potty if she feels like it (cue lots of enthusiastic praise from us) but most of the time
she just does her number 2s in her knickers and thinks it is hilarious. The other day she did a fairly large poo
in her knickers and while I was dealing with it, she and G ran off into the playroom and I found R howling
with laughter as she rubbed her messy bottom all over the beanbag. I tried putting her in the shower (a tip
from some friends) the theory being that she hates the shower and won t want to poo in her knickers again if
that s the consequence when she has an accident. Once again, we have grossly underestimated R s cunning
powers. She now asks to go in the shower. Argh. I explain that I have to throw away the messy knickers, even
if they are really nice Peppa Pig or Charlie and Lola ones. She doesn t care. I have tried not reacting at all. I
have tried being positive about it. I have tried bribery. Nothing seems to work with her. She is a poo refusenik.

I m not proud of this but I reached the end of my tether on Wednesday. R had been using the potty most of
the day and just before teatime I asked if she wanted to use it again. She said no. Not ten seconds later she did
a puddle on the kitchen floor. I ended up sobbing my heart out whilst cleaning up the puddle. R joined in
wailing for Daddy. I WANT DADDY TOO! I wailed back. G looked concerned, put her head on one side
and asked when she could have some crackers. It took all of my powers for me not to simply get up, walk out
of the front door and shut it behind me.

When dh got in from work I bemoaned my sheer uselessness at the basic mechanics of parenting. My children
have wonderful imaginations and are bright and funny but they are two years and seven months old and show
no sign of being out of nappies any time soon. They are going to be termed as late potty trainers fairly
soon. I don t want them to be late with anything. It s just so frustrating.

Yesterday, the girls were at nursery and R didn t have a single accident. Every single poo and wee was in the
potty. Dh picked her up and she was wearing the same clothes she went in for the first time since she started
potty training. It felt like a breakthrough. Of course, today she had several poo accidents (no wee ones as far
as I know) so it s back to normal at home but yesterday proved that she can do it if she wants to. She s
clearly rebelling and I m not quite sure what she s rebelling against.

Why am I so crap at this stuff? Why can t I do what millions of parents do, and have always done, and potty
train my children?

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-23 - 19:25:22

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/23/the-mechanics-of-parenting-9028464/
Parenting unplanned
A.K.A. the walk around the block that became two train trips and a bus ride.

Dh was at work yesterday so I was on monkey taming duty. I didn t have any firm plans for the day and
thought the girls and I would do our usual stay at home, eat nice food, play games, do housework, watch a bit
of Something Special, eat cake thing that we do so well. By 2pm the girls were wrestling on the floor, I d
finished the last load of washing and I wasn t quite sure what to do next. I called the girls to order, grabbed
my keys and purse, popped their reins, sandals and sunhats on and we headed out the door. At the back of my
mind I was forming a vague plan to walk around the block with the girls and maybe buy them an ice cream on
the way back.

Then I made a fatal mistake. We reached the end of the road. I asked them which way they wanted to go. As
far as they are concerned, if they aren t going to nursery all roads lead to the local shops or the railway
station. I allowed G to choose the direction first, then R. It seemed fair to do it that way. Without really
realising it, we drifted down to the railway station and then it was just a small step (literally) to getting a train.

I should add at this point that I was wearing jeans and a scruffy top. I had slapped on the tiniest bit of make-up
in the morning and I had showered and pulled my hair back into a wet ponytail so it could dry naturally. The
girls were wearing dresses but R s was smeared in coleslaw and G had chocolate round her mouth. I had left
the changing bag at home and R was just wearing a pair of knickers. I prayed we wouldn t bump into anyone
we knew.

Inevitably, we did. The girls and I got on the train and they clambered on to some seats. I felt a tap on the
shoulder and it was one of the other mums from nursery with her daughter M (one of G s friends) and the rest
of their family, clearly on a day out. She asked where we were going. I made the mistake of hesitating (I got
on the train genuinely not knowing where we would get off) and said something vague about letting the girls
decide. I sounded like an absolute mentalist.

Anyway, they got off (sensibly) at Greenwich (goodness knows what they made of their encounter with the
nutty twin mum) and we stayed on. I work near London Bridge so as we travelled along I decided that we
would get off there, wave at trains for a bit and then get a train back. Whenever the girls get off a train they
insist on staying on the platform and waving the train off again so one of the platform staff noticed us and
allowed R and G to hold up his Train ready baton while he demonstrated his whistle. We walked over to
platform 1, waved off a train on the adjacent platform and then got a train back to our stop.

It had all been relatively easy so far but the journey from the station to home is up a steep hill. I thought on
my feet again and asked the girls if they wanted to take a ride on the bus. I prayed again (for an agnostic I did
a lot of praying yesterday) that we wouldn t have to wait too long and luckily, we didn t. The bus took us to
the top of the hill and it was just a short walk home from there.

The whole trip took about two hours and we had only gone a few miles but it felt bizarrely epic. R stayed dry
throughout and did a massive wee in the potty as soon as we got home. G, wearing a nappy of course, was
absolutely fine. I m not sure I d necessarily want to do such a trip that was so absolutely unplanned (and
without the changing bag) again, but I proved that it can be done. I felt oddly proud of us all.

Dh was off work today so we went to the zoo. Normality has returned to the HoT.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-07-25 - 19:43:03

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/07/25/parenting-unplanned-9037517/
Competitive weeing
What? WHAT? A post about potty training? What are the chances?!
Thanks to two boxes of Toy Story and Peppa Pig stickers (thanks to cutietaz for that tip) we are actually
making progress with the PT-ing. Still slow progress mind you but we re getting there.

R has now had a few days of no accidents at all. A run of such days is, of course, too much to ask but I love
the random days when she decides that the potty is her best friend and that she must perform all of her bodily
functions into it. Giving her a sticker after every successful use of the potty strikes me far much less
dangerous than rewarding her with chocolate. Me 1 : Dh 0 (licks tip of finger, draws a number 1 in the air,
dances around smugly).

G has this week decided that she wants to be a big girl now and wear knickers rather than a nappy. She s still
far more prone to accidents and we have to remind her constantly that she might need to use the potty but the
sheer look of joy on her face when she uses the potty and gets a sticker as a reward is one that I thought I
wouldn t ever see when I was in my PT despair phase a few weeks ago. Therefore I grit my teeth when
dealing with the mishaps.

We ve noticed that R gets quite annoyed when G is rewarded with a sticker and she isn t. This evening she
insisted on sitting on the potty for ages at bath time just so she could squeeze out a tiny dribble and get a
Peppa Pig sticker for her trouble. G is always delighted when R gets a sticker but this isn t always
reciprocated. R takes after me in this respect as I hate being bested by anyone, especially when I achieved
something first so I can understand why she looks slightly disgruntled when we heap praise on G for
something that R has been doing without any effort for the last couple of months.

It s still very early days with G we find that she does things in her own time, at her own pace    but I m
feeling more positive about getting them both PT d before their third birthday.

by Joanna79 @ 2010-08-12 - 18:43:22

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/08/12/competitive-weeing-9171450/
Feedback for Post "Competitive weeing"

Tracy [Visitor]

2010-08-17 @ 12:32
I did the ultimate yesterday - these things we'll never say!! Louise keeps going on about wanting a bike - I
have no idea what has given her the idea but it's something she keeps mentioning. So last night she gets in
from nursery, having been dry all day and promptly wees on the carpet - so what did I say 'If you keep doing
that you won't be getting a bike, only big girls who use the potty get a bike'. So Hannah who has been
listening to all of this, plods off to the potty, performs a wee and says 'Can I have a bike then'!!!
Is this a zoo or a library?
We've been making the most of our annual passes for London and Whipsnade Zoos over the last few weeks.

I girded my loins a couple of Sundays ago and, inspired by my unplanned trip the previous weekend, took R
and G to Whipsnade ON MY OWN. Dh was working all day and I really wanted to do a fun outdoor activity
with the girls. London Zoo is marginally harder to get to so I drove to Whipsnade.

It was all very straightforward, the girls were impeccably behaved and walked all day, even though I left the
buggy in the car 'just in case'. I would regard the trip as an overall success. However, one event of the day
really bugged me.

The girls and I were walking over to the zoo entrance and they were chatting away about the animals they
wanted to see. They were animated but not loud and I was astonished to see the lady in front of us on the path
turn around, look at the girls and I, put her finger to her lips and shh us. At first I thought she was trying to
calm down the baby (probably around a year old) that she was pushing in the buggy and thought nothing of it.
We carried on our conversation and she looked round again, fixed me with a 'look' and did a very loud, very
deliberate SHHHHH!

I almost stopped walking in utter astonishment. The girls and I were not being loud or screaming and we were
in a public, open space yet we were being told to be quiet. I was (quietly) furious and said to R and G in a
voice loud enough for the woman to hear, 'I think we need to whisper because apparently we're going to a
library, not a zoo'.

It niggled away at me for the first half-hour of our trip. As a mum of toddler twins I TOTALLY understand
how hard it is to get a baby to sleep but equally I wouldn't settle the child down then take them to a place
choc-full of excited small children. I tried to see her point of view - she might have been a nervous,
highly-strung first-time Mum (she wasn't - I saw her later with a man that we presumably her partner, and an
older child) or the baby might have been a poor sleeper but I couldn't make my peace with it.

As a great believer in 'What goes around comes around' I was evilly delighted to observe the same woman and
baby at the sealion show an hour later. Said child was now fully awake and I have to confess that I did a little
grin when the keeper told the mother off for letting the child get too close to the pool. My grin turned into a
chuckle when the baby got (slightly) damp during one of the sealion tricks.

Evil, moi?

by Joanna79 @ 2010-08-12 - 18:57:42

http://houseoftwins.blog.co.uk/2010/08/12/is-this-a-zoo-or-a-library-9171520/
Feedback for Post "Is this a zoo or a library?"

Michelle Twin Mum [Visitor]

2010-08-13 @ 08:45
Lol Jo. Lets plan a Saturday trip when dh is next working. Whipsnade is dead easy for me to get to and Tesco
vouchers are alwasy on hand. Mich x
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