I wrote recently on Instagram about how fickle ‘time’ seems to be. A strange commodity — always the same amount of seconds in a minute, minutes in an hour. But when you’re wishing and waiting for something, time drags it’s heels and takes on a much different pace than when you’re busy and happy.
I remember trying to fall pregnant so vividly.
Each month seemed longer than the last.
Time was governed a small window of opportunity; the four hallowed days when I was ovulating. Then rudely punctuated by the appearance of Aunt Flo; which signified the end of another cycle.
A very visual reminder that our wishes hadn’t been granted on that occasion.
Time was a spiteful old woman. Sneering at me. Slowing her pace and making me despair that I’d never be a mama.
And then we were lucky.
Mother Nature smiled kindly on me and time changed tempo again.
The first 13 weeks of my pregnancy with the twins was agonisingly slow. Each day seemed like an eternity.
And even after we’d had the scan to say that the babies were doing well — and they had good, strong heartbeats — it didn’t really quicken the pace.
I think I only started to fully relax when I reached 27 weeks and my babies were classed as ‘viable’. I breathed a sigh of relief and time seemed to do the same. It swung into a normal rhythm for the first time in years.
Then my loves were born. And literally, from that day to this, time dropped a couple of gears and sped up.
Three is explosive; three is pretending to be a superhero and fighting. Wrestling and wanting to leap on your brother (particularly when he has his back to you).
Three is learning the alphabet and practicing it phonetically. On a loop.
Three is very loving. Little arms entwining around your legs or hearing ‘I LOVE you mummy’ for the very first time.
Siblings in January
Three is all about pushing the boundaries — making a stand — wanting to be a big boy, not a baby.
Three has been one of the biggest game-changers since my littles were born. Definitely the year that’s given their daddy and I the most reward — and the most upset.
It’s given us immeasurable pride to see our little sons growing and learning. But it’s also given the most monumental tantrums; sometimes lasting up to an hour or more.
Although, once passed — just like a storm — we’re left with calm.
Sweet and sunny. Reasonable and accommodating. Almost as though it had never happened.
Three has been amazing and testing. A whirlwind.
Extraordinary to see these tiny humans suddenly spread their wings and want to fly by themselves. I think a lot of the tantrums are simply a result of their mama not wanting to let go just yet. A definite conflict of interests.
But anyway. We have just two more months of ‘three’ left.
Recently, as part of their Great Little Trading Testing Team duties (literally the BEST job ever!) my little man-cubs were asked to try out the GLTC Fix It Workbench.
A cool bit of kit for handy little boys and girls; especially ones like mine who regularly see their daddy using a big grown up version.
The workbench is made of chunky wooden pieces, that easily fix together. It took around 20 minutes to assemble. You don’t need to be a structural engineer — or have a degree in joinery — to put it together either.
Nice and simple!
That said, if you’re buying it as a gift, I’d suggest constructing it the night before, so your budding Handy Andy/Andrea doesn’t have to wait whilst it’s constructed. It’s much more impactful for little people to see the item, made up and ready to use.
Apologies in advance for the rubbish quality of my pictures. I decided to take photos on the darkest November day and no amount of brightening would take the grain out of them unfortunately.
The GLTC Fix It Workbench
It took all of 2 seconds for the boys to get stuck in and start emulating what they’ve seen their daddy do.
Over the last few months they’ve watched him in full DIY mode, as he’s taken on the arduous task of building my she-shed from the ground up.
His work-bench has had an absolute hammering — literally — as it’s been in use almost every weekend since the year began.
The GLTC Fix It Workbench is slightly more fancy than daddy’s. There are lots of sweet little touches — a clock and a mini chalkboard to-do list — plus all the tools a budding carpenter could possibly need.
Everything is just the right size for little hands too.
A mini spanner, screw driver, hammer, saw and set-square are all included. Plus nuts, bolts and other bits and pieces for busy little people to get creative with.
Some of the pieces reminded me of Meccano but on a much bigger, chunkier, scale.
One negative is that it’s NOISY!!!
There has been a LOT of very important construction work happening since the boys have been testing the workbench out. And with that comes noise.
Mucho banging and crashing.
That said, it’s so good for promoting imaginative play that the noise, oddly, has given me hours of peace and quiet, as they’ve both been fully occupied.
One thing to bear in mind though — if you’re planning to buy this for twins (or for siblings) to share — I’d recommend buying the Fix It Tool set too. I think we will probably invest in this as there have been a few arguments over who has the hammer or the screw driver.
This additional set comes with it’s very own wooden tool box and contains a duplicate range of the tools that come with the GLTC Fix It Workbench.
For a peaceful life, I’d definitely suggest that it’s worth investing in, if you have two or more children who’ll be playing with the workbench at the same time.
I’m such a big fan of wooden toys.
So much more tactile — and better looking — than plastic. This is the kind of toy that you really don’t mind giving house-room to, because it’s so charming.
They’ve been getting on so well and playing so nicely together. Although there’s definitely been another shift in their dynamic.
It used to be clear that Cosmo was the most dominant of the two; possibly because he’s always done everything first maybe? I don’t know.
But recently Bertie has been ruling over his younger brother (by a minute) with a rod of iron. I sometimes feel as though Cosmo is getting a raw deal; it must be so frustrating to have someone constantly bossing you or muscling in on your game.
That said, it wasn’t too long ago that the boot was on the other foot. And I think this is probably true for any sibling relationship. The equilibrium shifts and the balance of power moves from one to the other, with lightening speed.
But anyway. The little GLTC Fix It Workbench has been a great bonding tool. I’ve been watching them at play; learning to share and work together. And that — like the workbench — is a wonderful thing indeed.
Long may it continue.
I am proud to be a GLTC testing team member this year but all thoughts, words and images, as ever, are entirely my own.
Since the boys were born, I’ve been fully aware that my monthly updates are a little bit schmaltzy.
Full of sentiment, more often than not, and singing the praises of my two little charges.
And whilst I can’t help myself on this front — they’re my children after all; humans that I yearned for and dreamt of for years before they finally joined the party — sometimes I’m mindful that my updates are a little one-sided and rarely show a fully balanced reflection of motherhood.
I tend not to dwell on the negatives — instead I’d rather celebrate the positives — but whilst I don’t often share the warts and all aspects of parenting on my blog, it doesn’t mean that I sail through life and don’t have bad days.
I don’t think that there’s a parent on earth who doesn’t struggle occasionally.
There will always be days when you’ll feel as though you’ve failed — have let your temper get the better of you — not been ‘adult’ enough.
I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough few weeks.
I’ve heard the term ‘threenagers’ bandied about a lot on social media — terrible twos, threenagers, ferocious fours — but, as we seemed to navigate through the twins’ second year without very much drama or conflict, it wasn’t something that I paid very much attention to.
Now that I understand why these terms were created.
One of the boys has been having regular meltdowns recently; daily episodes of anger — more often spurred by frustration.
No amount of calm, gentle voiced reason, pleading, cajoling, or bribery can pull him out of it when he’s in full flow.
I’ve resorted to threats —
‘Right. NOW I’m phoning Father Christmas!!! You will NOT be getting any presents this year!!!!!’
— cue, me, picking up the phone and having a lengthy discussion with the speaking clock.
I’ve been a paragon of calm*.
Talking like a children’s TV presenter — with forced jollity — to try and gloss over the awfulness (and upset) of what’s happening.
*It doesn’t work, by the way.
Shouted back (at the top of my voice) and resorted to equally childish behaviour.
Getting on the floor and thrashing about might have worked on the advert — I wrote about this once, funnily enough — but it doesn’t work in real life.
It just makes you look stupid.
The only thing that seems to work is space and time. To have the good grace to just ignore the head banging, raging, frenzy that’s going on in front of you and try your level best to keep calm and carry on.
Easier said than done. Particularly when it’s in public or you’re desperately trying to strap this thrashing, pinching, furious little human into a car seat.
Thankfully, only one of the boys seems to be going through this phase (at the moment). The other watches in silence. Sometimes with his little hands over his ears. Sometimes crying, because he can’t bear to see his twin — or his mama — so distressed.
These tantrums are the devil.
I blame hormones — they’re always responsible for everything.
The absolute worst was last week. Picking them up from nursery one afternoon — not even getting to the car before the MOTHER of all tantrums descended — my sweet, good natured baby totally overcome by a stranger. He morphed into a blustering, shouting child that I just don’t know. It was crippling.
Needless to say, I was so happy and relieved to hand over parenting duties that night. My boy had barely walked through the door from work and I’d already passed the baton — told him I was off duty.
Lucky that I can do that — hat’s off to the amazing single parents who don’t have that luxury.
Incredibly, that evening, I stumbled upon a blog post from one of my lovely blogging friends Jenny. She was going through the exact same thing with her youngest child. I identified with everything she’d written and seeing someone else’s thoughts, mirroring my own, suddenly made everything feel so much better.
The age old adage ‘strength in numbers’ springs to mind.
When your child is the only one in the supermarket/carpark/soft play/at home having a tantrum just know that you’re not the only one.
There are mums and dads everywhere dealing with exactly the same thing.
So whilst life is most definitely still a bed of roses — particularly when I compare my lot to those in need and crisis — sometimes, there are definitely thorns in with all of the beauty.
A sure sign that life is beginning to settle back down into it’s groove, once again, now that the summer holidays are over for another year.
It’s been a bit of a weird time too.
Some of my tiny boys’ very favourite friends from nursery have left (to go to primary school) and instead of being the littlest in the pre-school room, my Twinkles are on the home straight for the next intake of children starting school next year.
We had a couple of letters, just a few days ago in fact, ominously declaring that:
‘It has been noted that there is a child nearing school age, living in your property’
Weird that it wasn’t one letter. But hey. I guess they’re individuals, after all.
It made me get a lump in my throat. I know it’s a whole year away but it suddenly feels very real — and very close — when you receive a letter to say that you need to select the school — SCHOOL!!! — for your little person (or in our case, people) to attend.
It’s too soon!!!! They’re so little!!!
But then, speaking to parents who’s children have just started in reception class over the last couple of weeks, the phrase I keep hearing — on repeat — is ‘they’re so ready for school’.
So I’m taking comfort in that.
I haven’t spoken to one person who’s said, ‘My child definitely wasn’t ready for school at this point in their lives’.
Albeit, if your child is a July or August baby — and has only just turned four — you might be the parent that is saying that.
I wonder what I’ll be saying, this time next year? I wonder if I’ll be the parent who says;
I have memories from as young 18 months of age so I KNOW that they will remember some of the amazing things that we did during our time with Mark Warner in Sardinia.
The other huge thing to mention is that Bertie has finally started his potty training.
After still not really showing any clear signs of being ‘ready’, I decided to take the bull by the horns and — with the invaluable help and advice from the boys’ pre-school — we made a start the week before we went on holiday.
It was a much easier process than I’d anticipated, to be honest, and he was really, really quick to get to grips with it.
OK, he had some accidents — some big some small — but now (almost four weeks on) he’s totally got it. At Camp Bestival, over the weekend, he stayed completely dry. And, even for a seasoned veteran, going to the loo in a festival toilet is not the best experience sometimes!! ;)
I think that going on holiday really helped, to be honest. The fact that we were together for a lot of the time was a definite advantage.
Since we’ve been home, even his overnight pull-ups are dry in the morning and he asks to use the loo when he wakes up. Clever little sausage — so very proud of him.
And proud too of his lovely twin, who was SO helpful in aiding his brother.
The pre-school said that Cosmo was often heard asking Bertie if he needed a wee!!!
Little things like that make me so proud. It’s incredibly sweet to see how their relationship is evolving and their gorgeous ‘twinness’ is such a precious thing to see.
They can both count up to 20 (with a bit of help) and Bertie’s speech is coming along in leaps and bounds now. Sometimes his pronunciation is a bit out but he’s a proper little chatterbox, which is lovely.
All in all, my two little friends had an amazing month.
And August is gearing up to be just as special. Watch this space :)
Many thanks to River Island for the boys’ gorgeous outfits. I’m SO impressed with their kids’ ranges — the clothes are fab quality and super-cool. Love them :)
This is a collaborative post but all thoughts, words and lifestyle images are entirely my own.
I’ve noticed another huge change, literally, in the last week or so.
The toddlers have gone.
The toddlers have left the building.
The boys were getting ready for bed a couple of nights ago — running around in their nighttime pull-ups — and they looked like GIANT babies. But not babies.
It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Like this transition has passed me by and I haven’t realised — until now — that the babies I brought home from hospital have grown up!
I remember when they lost their newborn looks and turned into chunky, apple-cheeked, babies. Then again, when that phase ended and they turned into stocky, tottering little toddlers.
And now they’ve morphed into little boys.
We are living, cheek by jowel, with them every day but we don’t notice these changes until they’ve happened.
Then all of a sudden, it’s like we’re seeing them with new eyes. One minute they leave the room, and the next, they come in looking like a different person.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post to be honest. Albeit that I’m feeling a bit tired and emotional.
There have been so many changes over the last couple of months. Since they started pre-school, in April, they’ve become much more independent, much stronger willed and much more worldly-wise than before.
The nursery that we send them to is incredible — the staff there are fabulous — and they are teaching them so many amazing things. Last week, the topic was ‘Castles and Knights’. They made shields and all Cosmo wanted to talk about was castles and ‘draw-bridges that keep the baddies out’.
Wow. He’s three!
I’m sure I didn’t learn about things like that until I went to primary school.
It makes me so proud to hear them chattering to each other. I love listening to their conversations. Darling little sing-song voices, jabbering away. Both of them as bossy as each other; both trying to be top dog.
Cosmo has got amazing recall — just like his daddy. Tell him something just once and it will be lodged, inside his brain, until the next time he’s asked about it.
He astounds me with his knowledge — and his incredible diction. His grasp on the English language is extraordinary for a three year old.
And Bertie. My little birdy. He’s so sweet and loving.
He makes my heart swell with his aptitude for drawing and anything creative.
His key-worker at nursery was so excited a few weeks ago. I went to pick them up and she couldn’t wait to show me how he’d traced his name so beautifully. She said that his pincer grip is amazing for a little one of his age — a little high but amazing — and went on to say that his level of writing skill is akin to that of a reception class child.
I was so proud and also a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know this already. Annoyed with myself that I am not more aware of these childhood benchmarks.
I don’t ever want to take for granted how far they’ve come.
How far we’ve all come.
If I cast my mind back to when my boy and I were trying to conceive; month after month, unsuccessfully trying so very hard to become parents. Motherhood seemed like an unattainable goal. Like a mirage almost.
I used to dream about my babies — about my children. I would picture them; practical and logical like their daddy, creative and artistic like me.
I would wish for them — with every single fibre of my being — so that my whole body ached and my eyes stung with tears.
And now here they are. Exactly as I wished.
My gorgeous, clever, funny little boys.
I don’t think I’ll ever really feel as though I’m fully awake, ever again, to be honest. It all feels like a beautiful, surreal dream.
So we’re mid through April and what a busy, busy month we’ve all had already.
From the 1st of the month, my tiny boys moved up from the ‘two’s room’ — to pre-school — and started doing 4 long mornings a week, instead of 2.
But this week one of our cars has been at the mechanic’s (having some major work done — yawn) so the boys have done three full days — from 9am until 5.45pm.
It’s a long old week for two little tots who are used to being at home every afternoon.
They don’t tend to have a nap every day anymore but they do go down for a couple of hours every other day — or when they look like they need it — so a full day at nursery has been a bit of a shock to the system. I’m grateful that it’s just a temporary thing, to be honest. We’re so fortunate that I work from home.
It’s been a busy month for us too; I mentioned in my styling the seasons post that my in-laws have just moved out of their home of 25 years, so we’ve been backwards and forwards — for various reasons — and even left the boys with their nana and papa for a weekend.
Which they loved!
They’re obsessed with my mum and dad. Never mentioned singly, the boys call them ‘nanaandpapa’ as if they were a single entity. Which I suppose they are.
There have been lots of other changes too.
They look taller and leaner for a start; the baby podge is almost gone and the chunky toddlers are being replaced by proper little boys.
Plus Cosmo has totally cracked the potty training (with no help from me I might add).
He’d been doing pretty well anyway — wearing pants during the day and asking to use the potty or toilet if he needed to — but at Easter when we drove up to Yorkshire he had pull-ups on in the car (for the long journey) but didn’t want to wee in the them and demanded we stop and find a loo!!
Particularly when Bertie shows no interest at all in getting out of nappies. I’ve tried coaxing, bartering, pleading with him. Nothing seems to make him want to make a start. He’ll ask to use the potty for the occasional wee, but that’s it.
I guess I’m not keen to hurry him into it though.
The nursery mentioned that he’s one of the few children in the pre-school who’s still in nappies. And to that I just shrug. He’s a little boy, who’s just turned three, and I think there’s plenty of time for him to get to grips with potty training.
Although if he’s still resisting once the summer arrives, I will might give him a gentle nudge. It will certainly be easier to deal with when the sun is shining ;)
I can’t believe that yesterday marks a whole month since they turned 3! It’s passed so quickly — it feels like just last weekend that we had their pirate party!
Their monthly photos for April were taken down at our allotment last night.
It was such a beautiful evening and my boy wanted to check that the birds hadn’t dug up his onions, so we went en-masse to keep him company.
It was so gorgeous.
Beautiful golden light bathing the fields surrounding the allotment, some friendly cows coming over to investigate, and all the time the air was heavy with birdsong, as our feathered friends came home to roost for the night.
I love where we live. I love the fact that we can walk out of our front door and, in minutes, be surrounded by rolling hills.
And I love the fact that my tiny sons will grow up in this beautiful environment.
I watched them for ages; running up and down the allotment, laughing and playing. They are lucky indeed. Not only are they privileged to grow up in this beautiful country — I’ve spoken about my thoughts on that before — but they’re immensely lucky to be born with a built-in playmate.
Listening to them laugh is music to my ears. I can’t think of a more beautiful sound.
In less than a month’s time our boys will be turning three.
In 17 days time, to be precise.
No longer babies, in the literal sense, my two tiny man-cubs are now little boys.
Their daddy and I have been privileged to watch these two humans be born into the world — two ruby-red scraps of bone and skin — weighing less than 6lb each. We’ve seen them grow and change, day by day.
Marvelling at how the sanguine, bird-like bird limbs have transformed into chubby, strong little arms and legs.
Applauding every milestone, every new achievement.
We’ve been frightened for their health; particularly when Bertie wouldn’t wake up to feed, in the very early days, and nearly had to go back into hospital to be tube fed.
No-one tells you how hard it can be to rouse a lethargic, premature baby, who desperately needs milk in order to stay alive.
Or the terror when I realised he was allergic to egg; which resulted in a trip in the back of an ambulance; blue lights flashing.
Ditto when Cosmo almost choked on a small piece of tinfoil.
It’s extraordinary how quickly the protective parental instinct kicks in, once you have children. A fierce lioness, inside me, that I never knew existed.
Even more extraordinary is how much love you can feel for such a small person. How much impact they can have on your lives, before you’ve even met them.
I loved them even before they were born.
And now I watch them, eating, sleeping, fighting, playing.