Saturday, 28 January 2012

Which of your multiples is the oldest?

I am writing this as part of the Multiples & Mayhem Carnival being hosted over at Mari's World.
Because I'm hoping this itself might generate a few readers I wanted to write my random stream of consciousness, with the hope that people might contribute their thoughts.

There have been some excellent, thought-evoking posts recently, on the decisions we take as parents. Trouble Doubled recently asked about whether people dress their twins the same. On a non-multiple related issue, Blue Bear Wood raised the question of gender differences.

And these all get my brain itching.

And then recently I received a notification that TAMBA had released some more material from their honorary consultants about the relevance of birth order.
By my own interpretation, the consultant recommends not telling multiples of the order in which they were born, and the rationale for this is the roles that will be adopted- of older, responsible child, and younger, baby child.

And then the itching really starts.

I am not sure where I read it, pre-twins arrival, but it was along the lines of- name the first born with the alphabetically latter name ie 'Tom', and whilst you will call them in that order ie 'Tom & Seb', when they get to school the child with the name first in the alphabet ie 'Seb' (you knew where it was going by this point, didn't you?!) will appreciate thier name coming first.
Or something like that.

I had got very used to the boys being "Tom & Seb".
Until Christmas and their Birthday, when people wrote or called them "Seb & Tom", and at first I noticed it, and was surprised at how much I had grown use to 'the order'.

And I have never thought too much about Tom being older, that is the way it is. It is usually one of the initial questions people ask, and I usually try to answer people honestly!

So, should I tell the boys they were born on the same day, and not get drawn on who is older.

And why is this yet another decision parents of multiples need to consider?
I am a middle child, I have an older brother and a younger brother. Yes, we have all been constrained by our place in the family- both for positive, and not so positive reasons. There wasn't much getting away from it.
So, should multiples be treated differently? Is it not just the way it is- one was born first.

And I was sort of happy with this resolution.

Until my little brain started ticking further.
And I thought- do I actually know which twin is older?
Twin 1 is given 'his' name simply because 'he' is most likely to be born first. Despite Tom being Twin 1 throughout pregnancy, if Seb had made a break for freedom first he would automatically have gained the title 'twin 1'.
It is not really due to who is older, that surely is to do with which egg was fertilised first,  and I'll be damned if I know that.
Who arrived first, yes, I know the answer to that.

So, does that mean, when asked the question, I can legitimately say I don't know who is older.
I just know who was born first.

Don't you just love semantics!

And as you can see, I really am confused on this issue, so any views really would be gratefully appreciated. Please!

    #R2BC Reasons to be Cheerful 1, 2, 3 - Week 4

    Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

    I am sure that just appreciating the good things helps my optimism. It's only my third post for #R2BC and the year continues to be good. I have no doubt that there will be challenges around the corner, but for now, life is good:

    1. I am cheerful because I am retaining some semblance of a work/ life balance. I have spent quality time with the children this week despite being away with work. From birthday parties to soft play, it is good to be out and about as a family.

    2. The boys are becoming tots. Definitely not toddling, or even cruising, they 'front crawl'. The boys personalities are coming through now, and they are revealing their differences to us. Tom is the little adventurer, the one to go where neither of them has been before- frequently to be found 'swimming' across the kitchen floor. Seb is the chatterbox, why be quiet when you can chatter? Both are now clapping and waving 'on demand'. The time is passing so fast but I am appreciating it so much.

    3. The housework is done! Ok, an odd reason to be cheerful, but the last few weekends have been manic with birthdays, family and friends, and we have not been in the house so much. I knew it was getting bad when I got home last Sunday and the OH had resorted to getting the hoover out whilst the house was empty. Today, the house has been cleaned, I would like to say the laundry was done- but as soon as the basket is emptied it is filled. But the clothes are in wardrobes, the washing machine is droning on, and we are on top of things.

    Saturday is Caption Day

    This is my first entry for Saturday is Caption Day.
    After spending a few weeks marvelling at other blogger's entries, this photo brought a smile to my face this week- what do you think?

    Friday, 27 January 2012

    Project #366 : 26/366

    "Mummy's a genius- after 14 months she's managed to figure out these in-car harnesses- and now, I have a big girl's seat... I think I liked my baby seat more"

    Project #366 : 25/366

    "I woke-d up this morning mummy, and you weren't here. So, I'm raiding you're side of the bed... Ok?"

    Project #366 : 24/366

    "Are you missing me mummy?"

    Thursday, 26 January 2012

    Project #366 : 23/366

    TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

    The Gallery: Photography Resolution

    This week's theme at Sticky Fingers is Photography Resolutions.

    I have had the same wish for a long time,  to improve my photography skills. I have always had an excuse- a mobile job, going back to uni, having children. But a knew when we decided to move home that this would be my opportunity.

    I started looking into photography courses locally before we even moved back. And found an excellent one thqat starts every September, knowing we were moving after this date I have set my sights on September 2012. There was only one problem- the course requires you to have your own SLR camera. No problem I thought- my birthday's in August!

    And then, my wonderful husband interved. He has always known my love of photography, my need to capture everything, and he has even joined in. We have photos all over the house, representing some of our favourite memories.

    And last week, he had a tax rebate from the six months he was working whilst I was on maternity. By that evening he had spent the rebate in his head ten times over.

    So, imagine my surprise when after working away in Sheffield, I got home in time to put the boys to bed, and when I went to get their sleeping bags, found one a lot heavier than it should be- and a lovely new camera inside. That he had used his windfall to make my dream happen.

    Along with discovering a local Arts Centre runs regular photography courses.

    So, my resolution, is that by the time we go on our family holiday in June, that I am able to take decent photos of my gorgeous children.

    Check out other Photography Resolutions over at The Gallery:

    Wednesday, 25 January 2012

    #OneBorn Every Minute #Conception

    I was in two minds whether to write on this week’s prompt from Netmums and One Born Every Minute.
    Some stories just border on being too personal.
    Some experiences are more heartwrenching than I can comprehend. And my experience pales into insignificance.
    And yet, at the same time, for some people it is understanding the range of experiences that can help.

    My experience was not as ‘easy’ as some, and yet so much ‘easier’ than others.
    The OH and I had been together for three or four years. We had just got engaged. And we decided we did want children in our future. I was just about to start back at uni, and things hadn’t been going so well as work. It seemed like there would never be a good time, and so this was as good a time as any.
    We told a couple of close friends.
    Roll on six months, our friends diplomatically stopped enquiring as to ‘our progress’.
    Roll on twelve months, it had gotten too much. I, on occasion, had thought myself pregnant and investing in test kits, only to be brought down to earth with a bump. The whole thing was too stressful.
    I looked at my dates in the diary, and found that there was no pattern.
    I went to the doctors, tests were done.
    The odds were presented (is ‘odds’ the right word, it felt like it was, I think it is offered as ‘the statistics of becoming pregnant’).
    The only advice that could be given was to let nature take its course.  I am not sure what they thought we had been doing for the last year.
    I wasn’t sure where I could take that advice.

    So, it went into a compartment, you know the ones in your head, that fall into the ‘too difficult to deal with’ category.
    I got on with my MBA, got promoted at work, and as a ‘two fingers’ to our predicament, I celebrated the promotion by *wisely* investing in a convertible.

    Some months later, I realised that my diary dates had not only got more random, but after following a pattern for two months, they had completely disappeared.
    Oh, how some days I question the intelligence that is meant to exist between my ears.
    A trip to the midwife, and a dating scan that weekend established that I was nine weeks pregnant.
    You see, my random body ‘doesn’t do’ morning sickness.
    When I looked back over my Facebook posts (see there is benefit in updating your status!) I realised how much I had referred to how tired I was.

    Seren was born seven(ish) months later. I was warned by the midwife that it probably wouldn’t take me so long to conceive next time (Note to self: take a midwife’s advice on board).
    My dissertation was due on my due date.
    Seren attended my graduation.

    Roll on plans for baby number 2, we decided we should get married first- otherwise we never would, wedding plans were put in place, Seren turned 1.
    And I threw all advice received out of the window- it hadn’t helped the first time (had it?!).
    We originally decided to start trying after our wedding, but I ran out of patches two months prior to the wedding. And going to the doctors for more was seemingly pointless (“just to get a two month prescription”) I came to appreciate that midwives know a lot more about repeat pregnancies than me.
    On our honeymoon I started to have ‘that’ tiredness- the tiredness that no amount of sleep gets rid of.
    The second week I was convinced I was pregnant.
    The day we got home I sent ‘my husband’ (I could say that now!) to get a testing kit.
    We booked an appointment with the midwife. We got an appointment for a dating scan.

    It seemed body had decided my difficulty in conceiving the first time should be over-compensated for the second time.
    And seven months later our non-ID twin boys were welcomed to the world.             

    This post is written as part of the Netmums linky for One Born Every Minute.

    Tuesday, 24 January 2012

    Where does the control freak stop?

    I know I’m a control freak. They say the first stage of recovery is acknowledgement. I’m not really sure it’s a problem though.
    The thing is as I got ready for work at half five this morning (it’s always in the morning I have my most random thoughts) I began to wonder if my tendency towards control is more about compensating for how much life changes.
    You see, at 30 I was not married and had no children. At 32 I was married with three children. It’s not an entirely accurate statement (When I turned 30 I was about 10 weeks pregnant and had been in a relationship for five years). But it does reflect how much life has changed.
    If somebody had told me at that juncture about where we’d be now, about where my friends and family would be, well, choosing a hat off the menu would have been my first response.
    My little brother is happily married. Taking responsibility for two little boys.
     My older brother moved back to Thailand.
    My parents have three grandchildren and two step grand-children.
    Three of those are mine.
    J has moved back to Cardiff.
    So have I.
    Ok, these are the more extreme changes, but if this has happened in 3½ years, who could even begin to imagine where the next ten years might take us.

    And then it doesn’t seem so odd that last night before I could relax, I had to:
    -          Pack my overnight bag and work bag.
    -          Get my clothes ready for the morning.
    -          Straighten my hair (to save a bit of time in the morning)
    -          Get Seren’s clothes ready for the next two days. Hang them on the wardrobe so they can be seen.
    -          Get the boys clothes ready for this morning. Hang them outside the door so they are easily accessible.
    -          Pack their changing bag with supplies for the next two days. Leave by the front door for mum.
    -          Pack an overnight bag for the boys (for staying with my parents). Leave next to the changing bag.
    It’s odd. I now get stressed before I go away with work (like the work when I get there won’t be stressful enough). All these things to do, just to go to work.
    There is an order to my life, I like it. The things I can control. That the beds are made. That everything is laid out. That we have a food planner. That I have a ‘to-do’ list. That doors are kept shut. That there is a place for everything.

    And yes, there is a SAHD in the house whilst I’m away, and he could get the children dressed and all the rest.
    But I know it helps him out that everything is laid out. And I know Seren’s not going to playschool in shorts and t-shirt and wellington boots.

    But as I think about all the things that have happened so far out of anyone’s control, I wonder if this is just ying and yang at work?

    Sunday, 22 January 2012

    Project #366 : 22/366

    #R2BC Reasons to be Cheerful 1, 2, 3

    I am joining in with Mummy From The Heart again this week, as I do think the positivity of the new year has much to do with reflecting on what is good about life, in the midst of the chaos and disorder that can envelop so easily.

    This week I am grateful for my job, it makes me cheerful because:

    1. I have a new project to work on. Sheer coincidence, at the end of last year I discussed with my manager that I wanted a new challenge, the following day we were made aware of a new opportunity, roll on 2012 and the opportunity is being aligned to my area of work. It is good to get the brain cells rubbing together again as a proposal is worked up.

    2. I am grateful that I have a job. Tuning into the News every day is so difficult, from companies going into administration, to youth unemployment, and the pessimistic forecasts for the economy. No matter what my job throws at me, at least it affords us of our home and a parent at home full time. These are things so important to our happiness.

    3. I am always happy to be coming home. This week it was Sheffield, next week London, the following week Norfolk. However difficult it is for me to be away from home, and for the OH to hold his own for that time, there is nothing quite like the feeling of travelling home and nothing quite makes the heart soar than hearing my little girl saying "It's mummy! Mummy, where have you been?" My heart melts a million times, and then to see the little boys laughing with their bodies shaking- There's no place like home.

    Why not pop over and see the other fantastic people joining this linky:

    Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

    Project #366 : 21/366

    Wednesday, 18 January 2012

    Selecting a school

    Today we had the news that we had been expecting. Seren did not get into our first choice of school.

    It is sort of ok, in Wales children can start school, at those with nurseries, from the term after they turn 3.

    We could not apply before we moved here, and from what we've found out in the run up to applying and what we've found out today it wouldn't have made any difference.

    We popped into the school when we first moved here. It really is a wonderful school, I started having a really good conversation with the lady in the office, it transpired she was the Head (You know that moment when you're rapidly replaying everything you've said in case you've said something wrong to an authority figure?)- but yes, they take a hands on approach- reflective of its excellent reputation and grade 1 reports.
    The Head was honest, there was no chance of us getting a place for the Easter intake, they were full from September and they still had the December intake to consider.
    I phoned the Council and despite the same message submitting an application anyway. The application asked for three choices so I selected the two nearest schools for the other two choices.

    Today we've found out that other people nearby have not got a place at the school. I don't think it is worth getting upset, the intake is simply full.

    Since submitting the application we have done more research and we are left scratching our heads.
    Notwithstanding the excellent reputation and grades for the primary school, the feeder secondary schools are not great.

    There is another primary school (by chance our second choice) which is in the catchment and has an excellent secondary feeder, the secondary school is not in our catchment. So should we choose this primary school which is 15mins away, we do so in the knowledge that it has a great feeder school.

    Or go with the excellent primary school, a 5minute walk away, and risk which secondary school the children attend. (Just to say, because this is the discussion we've had with friends, I can't see the feeder schools locally improving, they haven't in as many years.)

    So, the letter came this morning. Seren has not got into our first choice. The second choice doesn't have nursery provision (duh!) so Seren can't go there, and we have been offered a place at our third choice.

    Having had the day to reflect, I dont' think there is any point accepting the third choice. Like our second choice it is a 15minute drive. I had only written it on the form because I had to put three choices down. Seren is in playschool three mornings a week, and can be till September. I can submit another application for September. We are better sticking with an either/ or, rather than complicating things with this third choice which in itself provides little benefit.

    But then the question is, if we go with our original first choice, do we think about taking her out when she reaches reception class and applying for our second (good feeder) choice.
    And what is really the benefit of this approach.

    It's odd, I have had discussions with friends about faith schools (I went to a CofW primary school and a Catholic college), and by our choice, we don't want our children to attend a faith school (there aren't any 'locally') and then we reach the realms of discussing private schools.

    This is where the conversation becomes divisive. I had a colleague say, a little jokingly (?), "If you sent your child to a private school I'd never speak to you again.". I appreciate their passion, it's great when you have good schools locally, and yes, I will invest in my child and support their learning outside of school hours, but how can I risk my child's future by not getting them the best opportunities. I want my child to have choice, and be confident that the subjects they enjoy they can thrive in. I don't want a bad school experience to put them off before they've even had chance to try.

    The reality is however, we have three children, two the same age and one 22 months older. Reality check-  have you seen the cost of private education, and with two children in the same year- you're having a laugh.

    So, after said reality check:

    Is it excellent first choice, questionable feeder. Trying for the September start.
    Or does the great second choice, with its journey time, and great feeder, become our first choice. And if this is the choice, do we wait till Seren is 4 to apply.
    And if we go with the second choice, we will be doing school runs till they are 16, the feeder school is 30mins away, outside of catchment, so our own transport arrangements.

    How come we've got these problems which are months and years away to deal with, when it's difficult enough dealing with the here and now!?!

    Project #366 : 18/366

    TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

    Project #366 : 17/366

    Tuesday, 17 January 2012

    TMI - Potty training

    So, we have started down this road.
    It might be a little later than most.
    Tony is over 40 Seren is three in March.
    I had wanted to potty train her when I was on maternity leave last year, but despite investing in all the paraphernalia she showed absolutely no interest. Our health visitor was lovely, she told us of her experience of taking her son to pre-school and saying he was potty training (I've never mentioned her name have I?) and then after spending time with Seren said that she probably would not respond to peer pressure or 'training' and to just let her get on with it in her own time.

    Since then we've had good intentions: wait till the summer, wait till we've moved, wait till half term, wait till Christmas...

    Fortunately, as predicted, Seren has got on with it. The potty came out in the Christmas break. The nappy came off. And Seren is happy to use the potty, and the toilet.
    When she is at home, we are all confident- as long as Seren is frequently asked about weeing.
    The bad side was that as soon as we put her nappy on for bed she'd have a bobby davro (there's another post!).
    But we've now, after a fortnight, made that breakthrough, and the potty is now used for number 1s and 2s.

    The next challenge is pants. We've got loads, on advice gained.

    And then, we need all to have the confidence to go outside. This one seems a long way off. But who knows.

    Did someone mention Easter!?

    Seren's unconventional potty position
    I'd appreciate any tips about achieving the last two stages please!

    Monday, 16 January 2012

    Project #366 : 16/366

    I've never the seen the boys playing together before!

    Seb & Tom's 1st Birthday Party

    On Saturday we organised a first birthday party for the boys. As this was our first party since moving closer to family we decided to invite all of our extended family as well as friends.
    This resulted in 25 children and lots of aunties and uncles joining to celebrate the twins hitting their first birthday. We hired the soft play at the local leisure centre to cater for everyone, well, the children anyhow.

    We managed to get ahead of ourselves in terms of organisation, goody bags were prepared in the week, food planned, shopping plan drawn up. And by midday on Saturday the food was prepared, car loaded, and we had to wait for the party to start.

    A close friend who usually makes the children wonderful cakes was unable to make it. Fortunately Facebook came into its own and we managed to find someone locally who made the boys an amazing cake.

    Nothing prepared me for the chaos that was about to prevail. It transpires that birthday parties are like conveyor belts at leisure centres. Waiting for one party to leave so we could go in and the next party desperate for us to leave.

    Fortunately we managed to get the table ready and after everyone had time to get exhausted, the table got demolished.

    Before we knew it, our time was up.
    And I went home and waited for the earliest respectable time so I could start on the vodka.

    We had the most amazing time, everyone appeared to enjoy themselves.
    The boys were happy and content the whole time, appreciating their role as centre of attention.

    But the time did go too fast, relying on someone else is never good for the control freak, this was the best venue for the number of people we had planned to invite, and it was very reasonably priced.
    ...We will never be doing this again (famous last words).
    The tea parties we have had for Seren's first two birthdays were much more calm (well, as can be).

    Nothing can take away from how wonderful it was to see all our friends and family, to enjoy the boys first birthday.

    Although, I've just booked Peppa Pig World for Seren's 3rd Birthday. It should be a little quieter?!
    Not sure Seb's too happy about that plan!

    Thursday, 12 January 2012

    Project #366 : 12/366

    Twin boys 1st birthday

    Happy 1st Birthday Tom & Seb

    twin boys at 1Twin boy at 1
    Today my little babies turn 1.
    It seems so long ago we went through daily monitoring, willing Tom to grow.
    Until it was agreed that we should have the boys at 36 weeks.
    It seems so amazing that we have two happy, lively boys that are now wearing 12-18mth clothes.
    When our first photos of them in 'early baby' were so baggy around Tom's 4lb7oz legs.
    Twin boy born at 4.7
    It was a year ago that I was confused that they told me about our 4lb 7.5oz baby: why mention the half? Are you trying to make it sound better?

    That we arrived at hospital at 6am to have the conversation:
    "You're the third twin mum we've had in this morning."
    Me: "Oh, wow , we're all in labour?"
    "No, they weren't."
    Me: (doubts as last time, am I not actually in labour?).
    Cue rush to labour ward, not enough time to get to the theatre (standard procedure for multiple births).

    06:35 Little baby Tom welcomed into the world.
    06:53 Seb arrives, a little more fraught but perfect.

    8am: alarm reminder "Phone hospital for bed to be induced".

    My gorgeous impatient boys.
    Twin boys a few hours old
    A year on, we have survived a move to Wales, Tom's Pyloric Stenosis, adapting to a family of five, and a return to work.

    I have two boys, so different and so similar.

    Seb, who is so willing to share everything, but has to take everything to enable the sharing. Who, like his big sister, doesn't want to miss a thing- so sleep is not an option unless it's bed time.
    Tom, the most ticklish baby, who smiles at everyone, and is so relaxed in himself that he can sit and watch the world and sleeps when he wants to, regardless.

    Both, love their big sister, and giggle as she bears her weight down on them for cuddles, as she climbs into their cots for the "good morning" routine.

    Both love to eat, drink and sleep (they could have inherited this from mummy or daddy).
    Both love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and In The Night Garden.
    Both need to know where the other is when they are upset.

    We would never have thought a year ago that we would be having a party with most of our friends and family. And yet this weekend will see our nearest and dearest (some of those furthest can't be here) gather together to incite chaos and disorder as we celebrate the boys turning one with a birthday cake and a bouncy castle (who would've thought this made a good combination!).

    The year has had its challenges, but hand on heart, we have had far more good times than bad times.
    Sometimes it has seemed the biggest struggle, sometimes it has been a walk in the park.
    But we are fortunate, the babies have put up with us, survived us, and now we can look forward to: the climbing, the falling, the squabbles, the tantrums... but first we have to get through the next 17 years.

    Happy Birthday Tom & Seb
    Lots of Love
    Mummy and Daddy

    Wednesday, 11 January 2012

    Life as a working mum

    I laugh at my own optimism, because usually it is a cover for missing the blindingly obvious.
    I went back to work yesterday (Note, after three weeks off).
    I felt organised and refreshed.
    My diary was refreshingly empty.

    I heard myself telling friends about how often I was working from home over future weeks.

    At the end of day 2 back at work, my diary is filling up, Sheffield next week, London the week after.

    The reason my diary was empty was because for at least two of those three weeks I was off people were building up lists of things to talk to me about when I got back.

    And optimism of being on top of things for at least the next month turns to the spinning of plates.

    I don't mind, I would rather be too busy, and I am still feeling grateful for the time I have had at home.
    Working from home
    But, the usual compromises are apparent. Today I worked from home, and for the sake of the OH (thinking I interfere!) I had to stay 'at work' and not keep popping into the lounge to see how my little people were. It is so difficult to be so close and so far from them.
    Paddington Railway Station
    Yesterday was London, and it is so much easier in some respects to leave before they wake, miss them all day, but know there's nothing to be done about it, and get home in time to put them to bed. A rare occasion (getting back in time to put them to bed) but a very good first day back.

    I do feel incredibly grateful that we are able to have one of us being a stay-at-home parent, but just sometimes I wish we could do a job share and share the stay-at-home parenting.

    The Gallery: Phone Photo

    This week the challenge has been set by Tara at Sticky Fingers and the only rule was the photo had to be taken on a phone.Part of the challenge may have been about using an app, but having only inherited my phone at Christmas this was a great excuse to look at what my phone could actually do.
    Most beneficial, of course, was how impressed the OH was with my panoramic photos, made slightly entertaining as he had a newer model of my phone for Christmas so it was quite fun to show him what his phone could do (because of course he took the time to read the manual!).

    This was by far my favourite picture taken on our Sunday walk, this time to the Knap:
    The Knap
    Although, I quite liked this one from a birthday party on Saturday, although I suspect that's more to do with the awe of bubbles:
    Toddler party fun
    Pop over to the Gallery and have a look at all the entries:

    Project #366 : 11/366

    Sleeping twin boys

    Project #366 : 10/366

    Working from home

    Project #366 : 9/366

    I took a photo on my mum's camera, and need her memory card... photo to be added!
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