One year on, and I’m still hungry!

I didn’t manage to eat much lunch today. My in-laws are visiting, and we went out to eat at a local Chinese restaurant. We’d had a great morning at the park but the Cylonettes were over tired, and too distracted to focus on finger food which usual buys me (or us) enough time to inhale something. So I was entertaining Zoey whilst Naomi was focused on trying to spear a banana with her fork, and Alex got to eat. By the time (oh a few minutes) Alex had “finished” Naomi was off the boil, and Zoey was climbing out of her high chair. So Alex took Naomi for a walk outside, and I held Zoey whilst trying to eat a few slices of double cooked pork, and some bok choi. Then I packed up Zoey, and headed back to the flat to grab the stroller so we could go for a walk.

On our post-lunch nap-walk Alex went off to get me sandwich as a few leaves and shavings of pork will not get me through an active afternoon with the dynamic duo. He came back with a toasted ham and cheese sandwich and a vanilla milkshake. That sandwich tasted so good.

So good.

Then I remembered that when I was pregnant all I wanted to eat was a ham and cheese sandwich from Pret (in the US they advise against eating deli meat when preggers). I had told Alex that he should bring me one to the hospital but post c-section I had no appetite, and we were kinda distracted by the two babies in our care.

The first year of parenting twins has been a trial by fire. A lot of thinking on my feet, and figuring out what works to get us through. Whilst it has been amazing to see the Cylonettes grow up it has been the most physically exhausting year for both of us, and the hunger. Oh my. People ask how I lost the pregnancy weight, and it’s simple: there was no time to eat. But now that the girls are having snacks, holding bottles/sippy cups and moving towards nursery food I’m starting to get to eat more. Five small meals/snacks a day are do able for all three of us, and I’m generally not the one throwing my food on the floor. (I have enough work I don’t need to create more.)

No book could ever prepare me for the last twelve months. Here are five things that got me through my first year as a twin mum to the Cylonettes (FYI Alex is a given):

5. Barry Manilow

Yes, Barry fraking Manilow got me through so many witching hours that I lost count. There is not much you can do when you have two small babies wailing at the same time, and you are doing your best to keep them (and yourself) calm. I harnessed the healing power of big ballads. When the going got tough I belted out ‘Copacabana’, some Simon & Garfunkel, Cher and Carly Simon’s ‘Let The River Run’. As they got older I’d also have to throw in dance moves, and funny voices. There were times I felt like I was the only mum shaking her tail feather for two blobs that could barely make sense of the world they were in but hey whatever works.

4. Girls Gone Child

I’ve been reading Rebecca Wolf’s blog for years and years. When I just found out I was carrying twins she posted about being pregnant with twins. They are over a month older than mine but her blog posts, tweets and Instagrams gave me hope that things would get more manageable (I refuse to say easier). They also gave me peeks into what was coming up. Early crawlers, walkers and that fun period where one or other refused to go to bed and stayed up forever were things that I felt we faced together. She gave me the strength and the foresight to let Naomi hang out with us on the sofa, and crash in her own time.

3. My iPhone

Sweet Jesus what did mums do before iPhones and the like? Lick the yellow wallpaper? It’s hard to get on an iPad or lap top when the girls are awake. With my iPhone I can almost do everything I would normally try to do plus FaceTime is amazing. I can stay connected through Twitter, email and FB. Play songs to keep the girls from crying, and now we listen to audiobooks and podcasts. I can read books through the Kindle app, and play Words With Friends. And of course take thousands of photos. I love my iPhone. I’ve probably worn it out just like the Diaper Genie.

2. A transatlantic network of family and friends

It has been so hard to speak or email (regularly) family and friends until a few weeks ago but just knowing that they were there made me feel secure and not alone. The correspondence has been pretty one-way, and I thank them for sending emails, cards, tweets and playing endless games of Words With Friends. For not being put off by my very delayed and short responses. I’ve gone from only being able to communicate in 140 characters or less to paragraphs and it makes me feel more like me. Thank for sticking by me, and for those who saw me (us) in person THANK YOU! I know we’ve been totally distracted and tired lunching companions but we really appreciate getting out and about.

1. My mum

She may not be physically here making me tea and sneaking cream into food to fatten me up but she is here throughout the day via FaceTime. When the girls cried all the time she was one of the only person I felt I could speak to through the cries, or when the cries subsided during a feed. Because I never knew how much time I had to speak before a melt down it was easiest just to speak to her because I could relax. She understood when I had to drop the call, and she also has been a mine of information.

She has parented me gently on how to parent the girls. Her tips and suggestions have worked. And, when something goes wrong she is there to calm me down. Naomi fainted a few days ago, and we were ready to rush to the doctors but she pointed out that she’d held her breath after a tumble that had taken her by surprise. When Naomi falls and bumps something there is ALWAYS a pause before she cries. This time she’d paused too long. It’s a shock to see your alert daughter go floppy and then bounce back with a LOUD cry but bounce back she did.

My mum has also bought up all the best clothes from John Lewis and Sainsbury’s Tu collection. Parcels of clothes, toys and books arrive at regular intervals. Not only is this a great help financially but we have no time to shop for clothes. And I want the girls to look like little Europeans not like Hello Kitty or Disney threw up on them. So thank you mum for your words of encouragement, and I promise to eat more.

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