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I am WOMAN, THIS is ME

i am
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Its really since motherhood that I’ve begun to realise quite how amazing it is to be a women. I was always a girl power type of chick at school and Uni but never truly appreciated the determination and resilience of women. I am honoured to know some incredibly strong ladies who inspire me everyday to be proud of who I am. These t- shirts and jumpers available for just a limited time celebrate the diversity and strength of women. Lets shout from our chests that we are proud to be women and that our sex helps define who we are.

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Packing for a trip with twins

We are soon heading off for a short, much needed break to Center Parcs. For hubby it’s been a hard ole slog at work and with my mum away and schools out for the summer, I’ve had the girls by myself for at least 4 weeks so am desperately in need of the adult company!

In my need to be fully prepared, I admit packing began a number of weeks ago. Some of this is of course the anticipation and excitement, some, behaviours I’ve inherited from my own mother. Who likes to put aside clothes she’ll be wearing ahead of any trip so they don’t get worn. But also some must just be the “be prepared” so heavily drummed into me as a Girl Guide, apart from never having the 20p, I always had everything in that little leather pouch. ( The 20p incidentally was always used for buying sweets).

So I’ve been squirrelling away things I thought we may need into the spare bedroom making it look more like a jumble sale than the relaxed calm room it was a few weeks back.
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This said I still find myself frantically packing the night before. We’ve been lucky enough to have quite a few trips away now with the girls and every time I challenge myself to pack less, worry less and enjoy the build up more.  But that Girl Guide in me loves to prepare for every eventuality and when, like we are this time we are holidaying here in the U.K. the unreliable weather means, more definitely makes me a happier mummy. Wet weather gear, dry weather stuff, sun lotion and even woolly hats have made it to the pile this week.

The reality of life now is that my days of throwing a few bits in a bag and leaving the house have gone and twins mean our baggage allowance has doubled overnight. More so than ever I now rely on a few essentials to keep the trip a happy one.

Here are the top 5 and more importantly the first 5 things I prepare ahead of travelling with the girls:

1-Paper and crayons. Now this could quite possibly be the artist in me as more often than not in my own bags you’ll find a small sketchbook and a pen. The multi functional tool, diary, notebook, scribble pad, folder, sketchbook. I’ve tried keeping a diary but am rubbish at it and refuse to carry the calendar around so this works just fine and when I have the time ( yeah right!) I can draw. So as a rule of thumb I am rarely without the same equipment for the girls.

My very dear friend gave them the most amazing fabric holders for the crayons last christmas which snuggly hold a box worth of Crayola’s and roll neatly to take up minimal space in your bag. This and either plain paper or small colouring books are my best go to if the girls are bored, or if I need to keep them quiet for 10 mins. In addition I have them in my changing bag for meals out so again super useful.

2-Lots of snacks. I’m really sorry if this is a blatantly obvious one but the snack pile has been accumulating in the small bedroom for longer than any clothes. You see they don’t last very long in my household and without them I actually feel rather panicked. WHY? Well a good stash of snacks can make the M25 traffic a doodle. Lunch 2 hours later than normal? No sweat! Shreddies was not up to madams taste this morning, no worries, elevenses it is then.

What snacks, well that is a little weather and outfit dependent. Anything with Chocolate can be a little risky especially if it’s warm but is guaranteed a smile so they sneak in the bag far too often. Mini Cheddars, err always! Raisins can happily live at the bottom of a changing bag or handbag for a good few years and still come up trumps.  Basically the more the merrier. Gotta love a snack.

3-A selection of small hardback books. I have two book worms. Give the girls the choice between a pile of books and any other toy and hands down the books will always win. They are also now of the age that they love to imittate us reading which we do a lot of and so they love to sit in the car or their buggy chatty away pretending to read each other books. Whats more, unlike some other things I don’t need to take twice as many just a small selection as they love to swap (or snatch depending on the mood).

Why the hardback? well when you’re mixing them with snacks, drinks and inevitably mucky fingers they are just so much easier to clean and are a bit more hardy to being lobbed across the car.

4-Packable waterproofs. So I’ve said about my need for preparation thing well there have been a few times in the past I’ve actually been caught short. Having left the house  with the girls clothed for the sun,  we’ve been mid park session and its turn near arctic on us. What has saved me every time have been the waterproofs. Of course they are not at all thick or winter proof but they break the wind and keep in a fair bit of warmth. That and the fact they bundle up really small means they take up minimal room but I’m ready come rain or shine.

5- Spare pairs of socks, for me and the girls. So imagine the girls delight when on holiday in Tenerife we came across an amazing soft play. But the one thing I hadn’t expected on a sunny holiday was to take the girl to a soft play. Like so many I’ve been to of course the lack of socks wasn’t a problem, you could purchase a pair. In this case, for the same price as the entrance you could be the proud owner of a pair of bright yellow, one size fits all, kid pop socks which were dispensed via a kinder egg contraption. They were the most ridiculous unnecessary purchase I’ve probably ever made. Well as soon as I got back I ensured anywhere I go I have three pairs of socks. Never again shall I be swindled out of fortunes by the humble sock!

 

Of course I wouldn’t say they are that my top 5 are the greatest essentials to any family holiday but I find time and time again they make for happy children and therefore one happy mummy!

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“It’s not you, it’s me”- accepting your need for space.

Dear Children,

Please don’t take this personally, this isn’t about you, you’ve done nothing wrong. It’s me.

You see I’ve changed, as a women in her late 30’s I  have had all those years of discovery and independence. A job, a car, my own space, my own time.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t want that again, what we have is amazing, beautiful.  It’s just when you came along life changed so dramatically.  So much better but so very very different.

I don’t want to come across as one of those ungrateful kinds. I’ve been there, desperate to have a child in my life, heartbroken whenever someone new fell pregnant and I still wasn’t. But here on the other-side, as a Mother, I now get that need for some space.

This was my decision, was my choice. I stand by that, being with you everyday, watching you grow is still the best thing I have ever done. BUT I need some space, some time away. Not to recharge but to reboot, update my software to a better version of myself. Without the ‘Me’ moments I see glitches appear, I get tired, ratty, moany and I don’t want to be that type of Mum.

I’m not talking days, an hour or two. To walk to the shops to pick up milk without pushing a buggy there and back. To get my nails done and not feel rushed, to sit and eat a meal and a glass of wine without interruption.

Why am I telling you this? Because although I’ve had days off, weekends off, even a dream trip to Dubai, I feel overwhelming guilty for leaving you. It is one of the hardest things to admit that I sometimes need time away from you. I fear it seems like I don’t love you, that I don’t care, that to others I am being selfish and I am letting you down.

Because I wanted you, and therefore that should mean I am there for you every moment. Understand, I have in the past taken this time begrudgingly but I know now, I am beginning to understand, that this is for you. Because a better me is the best for you. So although when I’m not with you I feel vulnerable and a little lost, I know that this space is good, it is right.

 

About me.

I’m not very good at taking time out for myself. I often have plenty of things on the calendar, nights out, yoga classes but I rarely consciously say, I need some space.

As the girls sleep, I don’t chill, I busy myself with mundane tasks around the house, I work but its irregular, so there’s not the routine of leaving them behind.

The offer is always there, I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive husband and exceptional family who happily give me the opportunities to have “me” time, I know they will be cared for, they will always be safe. It is me who makes the barrier, who creates the problem and generates the guilt.  I find it hard to ask, feel it is like admitting defeat, means I’m not doing the best I can.

In reality no-one else views me in this way, it is something I conjure up in my mind. A punishment maybe for wanting to be away from my children. So day by day I am trying to teach myself that having a bit of space is okay and to park the guilt and try to enjoy those precious moments as they help make me a better mum to my girls.

This weekend as I get a lovely pedicure paid for my birthday back in April ( case in point), I will take that little bit longer to wander home, will buy a coffee, window shop and try not to rush back. It’s a small step but it is a start!

 

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The problems with twins

It maybe the sleep deprivation, onset of Autumn or the fact I walked all the way home in the rain to realise I had left keys with the hubby. But I felt in todays ramblings I would address the issues with having twins.

Before I start don’t get me wrong, twins are flipping brilliant and it really is a special job being a parent of twins. Watching the blossoming of their relationship and yet seeing how two people so incredibly alike on the outside can be so polar opposite within is a magical thing to behold.

It’s just there are a number of challenges one faces in the jolly world of multiples.

Here are my top 10.

  1. STUFF, STUFF, STUFF; of course they can share but all the same the amount of stuff you need when you have two the same age is ridiculous. When I  was pregnant I read lots of articles and comments where people said ” buy just one and they can share”. Well for any of you pregnant with twins, yes that works maybe with the odd toy or book but lets face it they both need carseats, beds, coats, clothes, favourite teddies, cups, bottles, shoes. You get the picture and then there is storing all that stuff, transporting it ( I look like a pack horse whenever out and about) and getting rid of it after! Charity shops love it when they see me coming. That leads me nicely onto….
  2. Expense- Now I appreciate this isn’t necessarily a twin issue but it didn’t really dawn on me the expense of two until I really began paying for things. In the early days they are tiny, you are surviving on the baby shower and birthing gifts and more importantly they are tiny enough not to have to pay for them anywhere. Then the stockpile of nappies which you think will last you at least 6 months, vanishes. They’ve had a growth spurt and need a whole new wardrobe or all of a sudden they are paying customers. BANG thats when it hits your bank balance,  a pack of nappies well that lasts us half the time, a pack of 5 toddler treats don’t stretch out that far. Those pack of 3 multi buy tops which are great value for anyone buying for one, doesn’t quite work with two. A trip to a soft play becomes the equivalent to your monthly gym membership when you were single and had time to do things like go to the gym.Of course there are ways to keep costs down and I’m becoming a pretty thrifty mummy but I hate to think what will happen when the real expenses come my way. The stuff all teenagers cannot live without, phones,laptops, cars!
  3. Nappies- Mentioned above. All I can do is apologise in advance to the planet and its future generations of people. The landfill we have created in the two short years in which  the girls have graced this earth has surely made a contribution to the global destruction and for that I am forever sorry.
  4. The beast ( buggy)- We have sampled a variety of buggies. We started with a one in front of the other, moved to a side by side. Owned 2 individual strollers and have a double stroller. The individual strollers aside however nifty and whizzy the others are they have gained the Beast status. Their sheer size, and job of accommodating two means width, height, length and weight is beastly. Even when the girls were tiny I remember pushing a friends buggy for her, I cant remember why and realising what additional weight I was pushing around. Now at two its like I’m in an episode of Worlds Strongest Man flipping tyres through the high street. Style, hey the double buggy can be stylish but how I crave a zippy little number. One of those ones which collapse to nothing, have hand-stitched beautifully patterned chic fabric and can be pushed using just your little finger. I get serious buggy envy. Options are definitely more chic for single buggies. But I would not be without my beast, it is my saviour, my hero!
  5. The general public- ” oh you’ve got double the trouble there”, ” you’ve got your hands full”, ” are they twins?”, ” poor you”, ” lucky you getting one of each all in one go”. As I’ve got older I’ve realised I’m actually a little bit shy. I’m really chatty if you get talking to me but I’m not one to start up or make small talk with a stranger. However becoming a twin mum as dragged me kicking and screaming out of that pretty quickly. Everyone talks to you, which is really nice but the comments, jokes and sometimes debates and cliches about twins is non stop. Its great hearing stories about how twins skipped a generation in your case ( BTW ID twins do not run in families, thats Fraternal) and I can assure you a boy and girl twin are not identical. For the record to all those who have got it wrong Amelie and Fleur are Identical and they are most definitely girls, I’ve checked.
  6. The squabbling- I know having two is easier in the fact they entertain each other but when the coin flips and out pops the toddler equivalents of Doctor Jekyll they can be each others very worst enemy. The shoving, pushing, biting ( at least its each other and not someone else’s child), arguments, screaming and shouting and want to play with the same thing at the exact same time is the reality of two.  No sooner have you split them up like a boxing referee but tranquility returns and they are laughing, hugging and sharing like a joy. Normality is restored until….
  7. Shoes- I did mention these in expense and of course they come under stuff too but I need  to just address how blinking expensive they are oh and for the record they wear out or grow out of them at the same bloody time!
  8. The echo- The girls are very independent to one another but when wanting something or calling my name their synchronisation is first class. Mummy chanted repetitively in unison, double demands for biscuits or milk and crying in the car is enough to make a mum drink….where’s the gin?
  9. The club- actually a positive of twins is that there is a great gang of multiple parents and like coach drivers passing on the motorway, the acknowledging nod or smile as you pass on the street gives a great sense of belonging but it does also bring its challenges. Bring  together more than two sets of twins and you’ve got far more than a crowd so although I love meeting up with twin mummies it always feels so busy, with numbers of kids dwarfing those of adults. It can also be a lonely club in that if like me you have a fantastic bunch of single child mums being the only twin mum is sometimes a little daunting and your problems are some they don’t always have to deal with. Please note however I have amazing mummy friends ( in case they’re reading).
  10. Tiredness- It was worse when they were babies, but I’ve grown numb to those days but night feeds were hell on earth, they didn’t always sync on feeds, certainly didn’t and still don’t on nappy changes and the only saving grace when they were tiny was that they could sleep through each others screaming. But as they’ve got older if one is awake everyone is awake and yes, they could have separate rooms, but we don’t have the space and actually I don’t want them to. Plus the lifting, chasing, changing, feeding and everything else I’m doing with two is draining. So although I do not vouch to be any more tired than any other parent it does sometimes suck how tired you are at the end of the day.

BUT for every issue and challenge with twins there is something amazing too and as the sun peeps from behind the clouds and I remind myself that its Friday  I count my lucky stars that I have two amazing, crazy kids who for all the stuff, expense and trouble they cause me, are magical and quite literally the best things in the world.

 

Uncategorized, Art and crafts

Craft ideas with 2 year olds- Paper dolls

As a qualified art teacher and painter I feel there is an expectation that my girls should like me be ” creative” and so whenever possible I try and make and craft with them. Now my house is in no means set up for this, most of my art things have been shoved in the garage, my kitchen is tiny and I have carpet throughout my lounge/diner, not a recipe for messy play. However  with years of dealing with other kids mess I’m toughened to it so crack on all the same.

Crayoning/colouring is a daily activity in the Goodier house, the girls can help themselves to colours and books and love nothing better to scribble away creating post modernist masterpieces. So when we have a making day they relish in the change of materials and get stuck right in.

Now I deviate a little from my story as I need to mention my local   library   It offers not only a weekly singing extravaganza called Rhyme Time, which we LOVE  but also holds amazing free workshops in the holidays offering crafts and stories. These are great because its not my front room, carpets or tables which are getting messy!

But we also love the library as children can borrow LOADS of books, we regularly take 10 a week but I think we could borrow 20 if we really felt the urge. One of this weeks offerings was Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb.

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Image credits to Amazon.co.uk

A bit of a tear jerker ( although maybe I’m just a soppy cow), beautifully written and  illustrated and about a little girl not much older than mine.

So after the hundredth read in a day I decided that I would be that mummy in the book ( spoiler alert) and help my girls make paper dolls of their own.

So materials required as follows:

Roll of paper- backing paper did nicely.

Scissors of course for adults only, mine were blunt so a nightmare to use.

A random selection of things to stick, Poundland do a great selection. We have mini pompoms, glitter, stickers, tissue paper,  goggly eyes and feathers.

Glue or “sticky sticky” as its known by in my household

oh and the trusty pens and crayons.

 

I stupidly decided to go freehand with the cutting, multiple layers of paper and blunt scissors made this a very hard task. I suggest drawing a design first and then cutting, but the girls loved them anyhow. Then freedom, I let them do as they pleased and they understood the idea, made reference to the book and even tried to make every paper person individual.

The result a rather random and slightly disturbing at times selection of paper monsters but work they were pretty proud of all the same.

A quick activity and not overly messy BUT TOP TIP from me, put a sheet or mat down under the table first. Amelie decided she would tip the whole of the craft box onto the floor and it took me as long to pick up eyes and pompoms as it did for them to focus on the task.  Would I do it again? Yes and urge you to do the same but it worked really well with the story and now when we read the book the girls float around the room with their very own paperdolls20170905_161030.jpg

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Parenting “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it!”

Gone are the days when I would leisurely rise from my slumber and have my day perfectly planned ahead of me. Breakfast, travel, 5 hours of crazy teenagers, meetings, markings……you’ve got the picture. Being at home, as a SAHM ( us teacher folk love acronym’s) means my sleep is more often than not broken by the sound of little fists hammering against their door, followed by at least 20 “MUUUMMMMEEEEE” in a row followed by demands for biscuits, milk and Milkshake Monkey. When I eventually get to think about the day ahead, my first question in a slightly panicky tone is what shall we do today?

At this point I dream of all the amazing things we could do and achieve but in reality and funds dependant days with the girls can be fly by the seat of your pants and anything but planned.

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A firm favourite of mine is to go to a park. We live in a town with a pretty decent selection of children’s play-areas and my appreciation of the humble playground has definitely gone up since I’ve had toddlers. I like to mix it up a bit visiting different ones on different days. More so that I don’t get bored and will at least, twice a week happen to go to the one nearest hubbies work so he gets to tag along in his lunch break.  Rest bite for me, normally a freebie coffee ( he’s paying in my eyes thats free) and he gets to see the girls. Win Win.

I often fear that the girls miss out attending nursery but my living room is a fully stocked day care facility. Arts, crafts, books, Duplo and so many Happyland characters we are falling over them for space. But play generally ends up being more experimental. Dancing in our hats, taking tea with teddies or building dens with blankets, towels and the freshly folded washing.  Dinnertime comes around and another day has slipped away and I wonder ” what actually did we do today?”.

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I’ve not had time to note any key miles stones hit or seen any progress addressed from previously play sessions. BUT what I do have are two very happy girls, whose social skills, language and logic some how are doing pretty damned well. They are thriving, so the trips to coffee shops, parks, random activities don’t matter. It isn’t what they are doing which is making a difference, it’s the way we do it. The experiences are all new and although I have to remind myself of this very regularly and I feel I am failing them by them, missing out, actually what I am doing is okay and I have the best seal of approval possible. Two happy children.