Tag Archives: life with twins

Saving your relationship from your kids

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A friend recently threw caution to the wind and bravely asked what all of us have probably wanted to ask a zillion times but were too skittish/scared/embarrassed. I’ll paraphrase her to protect the innocent. Is your relationship surviving your kids? Well is it?

Kids suck the life from your most significant relationship in more ways than you can count. I never seem to be able to write about a thing when I’m knee deep in it. Too emotional, too close for comfort, too much too soon. Maybe it’s dishonest of me not to, but I do know I have more insight when a crisis has passed. We all love hindsight right? I am also bound by my main rule of social media and blogging…husband didn’t sign up, so don’t sign him up. He gets right of veto on anything I put out there. My vow in social media and in general, is to never say anything publicly that would embarrass him, belittle him or cause others to think ill of him. I won’t discuss the intimate details of my relationship with him. But I’ll acknowledge that none of us are alone in various levels of relationship crises brought on by the little angels we, starry eyed and naive, brought into our lives.

There are things I know that see us through the tough times we’ve already had and are having and will have. One of course is dating. We have been totally crap at dating these past two years, but are determined to make it happen again. Leaving the house with nothing but your clutch in one hand and your partner’s hand in the other is a feeling like no other. For the first few minutes you feel like you’ve forgotten something, but then you ease into the quiet conversation that flows on and on without ever being interrupted for fight resolution, toilet assistance or apple peeling.

Quiet time alone has helped us too. We are both capital I Introverts. In the Myers Briggs sense. Time alone is not a luxury, it is a necessity. This is another thing that we are crap at, at the moment. When we make the effort to give each other quiet time, we stupidly wonder at the difference it makes. Like a lot of things, we know what helps, we just forget to do it. Running, for example. It makes me feel amazing, I should have my lazy ass out there every day but I’m doing well if I hit the road two or three times a week.

Some other things that help to kid proof your relationship…

Cuddle often in front of your kids. Don’t let them join in. Let them know that sometimes, mummy/daddy is more important than you are little one.

Let them see you fight, but make sure they see you say sorry.

My husband is trying to make me stop and take a few minutes, with him, just before sunset. The kids are playing, it’s cool, the light is lovely and he almost has to tie me down to stop me from being busy. When I do, it’s lovely. Stop together, every day.

This one I would like to do but it’s hard at the moment when my husband gets set upon the moment he walks in the door. I want me and him to be the first person he and I want to see and say hi to at the end of the day. We’ll get there.

When I am having a conversation with him, and the kids interrupt, they get scolded. I’m snatching some precious seconds here people, wait your turn! In a few ways and at some times, I do want them to know that he comes first.

Nothing new or particularly wise here. It’s hard. Young kids will make you or break you. They used to say that about travelling together. Nothing so far has been as hard as this for us. What is different now is that I feel great excitement for the years to come. I don’t have any doubt that it will be easier, more fun, full of laughs and maybe even some travel. I am already feeling moments of peace that I didn’t have for quite a few years. Just little pauses in the chaos that are coming more frequently and are lasting just that little bit longer.

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How to drive your mother insane

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Brothers, it’s me. Twin 2 she calls me, or Trouble, or Baby B. When she is in a good mood, or has had a couple of glasses of that yellowy water, she might call me Bunny, or Sausage, or Chicken. Anyway, I’ve snuck away. There may only be moments to spare. Not a sixty second period goes by where she doesn’t suspiciously say where is your brother? Or she shouts my name, quickly followed by what ARE you doing? Honestly that woman does not trust me alone for a single moment. If we tally up the number of times she shouts all the names, I’m way out in front. I am not suggesting for a moment that I am the innocent in all this, but I do think she overreacts at times.

Take for example the time I flushed the bath plug down the toilet, followed by the face cloth, and my teddy, undies and other things she doesn’t know about. She and Daddy pulled out their serious, deep voices that day. So overdramatic brothers. And I can’t help it if I like to empty things. Like bottles of Dettol, and whole bottles of bubble bath, and cooking oil, hand sanitizer, toothpaste tubes and my cup of water into my dinner. Just trying to be helpful people what’s the big deal? Sheesh. And why not bring the business end of the garden hose into the house to speed up the cleaning? She is always wiping things and cleaning food off the floor, surely the hose is more efficient brothers?

I am a born risk taker brothers. When I am a teenager this quality will ensure I am on a first name basis with the local Emergency Department nurses. As an adult, it will make me a millionaire in stocks. And then bankrupt. And then a millionaire. But at 3, well it’s a tricky skill to balance. Mum freaks out when I come out of the garage with a razor sharp pocket knife that I’ve managed to locate (those parental types continually underestimate my detective skills). She also loses her shit when she finds me in the playroom with Dad’s screwdrivers, secateurs and lawn mower.

I am also an unsung artist. We all know about my previous escapades with poo painting. Now that I hold a somewhat more mature view of excrement, my media are less offensive. Or so I thought. She seems impossible to please brothers. I thought that the white floor tiles downstairs were, well BORING!! I thought some dark brown paint would look GREAT! She is always carrying on about how freaking amazing my drawings are so why the big meltdown about my paint work? Brothers, do not try to understand adults.

If the stock market is not my future, then Junior Masterchef certainly is. But still I go unrecognised for my skills in my own home. Let me tell you, grated cheese and breakfast cereal IS a delight, no matter what your mother tells you about having to pick all the cheese out of the cereal box. And why am I the first to discover that custard and orange juice is a match made in heaven? People please.

Brothers, I will soldier on. If only to carry your faith in me as a valiant warrior would. But I am not without self reflection. Before I go (get caught) I must bare my soul in order to seek absolution. To the innocent fish at Day Care, I am sorry. I am so very sorry. You did not deserve the terror that was visited upon you. Please forgive me.

A word from the illogical

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We are the twins. We have guest blogged before but it was quite some time ago. This is the first time since then that we’ve had access to the puter for long enough to write to you all. At present, Mum is sufficiently distracted with her end of day bit of a sit down. We may have to work fast as that woman seems to know what we are up to even when she’s in another room. So long as we make sufficient noise, we should be OK. That woman is SO suspicious of silence.

Look, brothers, we are going through a bit of a rough patch. We feel so misunderstood you know? So we felt that we should try to explain some of our situation to you. Perhaps we might gain some empathy from you the reader, and possibly, when our Mum reads this, we can all start singing from the same song sheet.

We are learning our words and we talk heaps these days but when emotions run hot, tantruming is still our go-to mode of communication. Take for example, breakfast time. So, we know that Mum has been trying to wean us off our favourite breakfast cereal because it has too much sugar or some such bollocks. We assume she naively thought that if she just didn’t mention it for long enough, that we’d just, you know, FORGET. Like she did with dummies. Like she did with bottles. The hurt remains Mum. The hurt remains. So with the breakfast cereal thing we weren’t going down quietly. We nagged. And nagged. And nagged. And guess what! She GAVE IN! So the much anticipated morning came. We were woken with the delightful news of what was in store for us for our breakfast. Mum was excited, we were happy, it was a great start to the day. For about two and a half minutes. She served up the much loved breakfast cereal and we took one look at it and our course of action was clear. We had no choice but to throw our bowls and scream. I know you will understand brothers. You won’t believe it, she put the milk in before the honey! The humanity.

It’s a mere snapshot of the type of tribulation with with we live daily. Another example brothers. On our way home from day care today. Yes day care brothers, don’t get us started on that one. We had our backpacks on, happily walking to the car. And then disaster struck. SHE asked us to REMOVE the backpacks so that we could be strapped into our car seats. Well. You see that the only option available to us was to throw ourselves on the dirty bitumen of the car park and scream out the agony that lives inside our hearts. Then she had the nerve to get mad because of the spectacle of wrestling two tantruming almost three year olds into the car. Always more concerned with her public image than with our well being. Sigh.

By now you’re beginning to see how difficult things are for us on a daily basis. The last example and perhaps the most poignant. Certainly the most painful.  One of our number recently saw fit to throw the bath plug down the toilet and flush it. Naturally. It made a good sound brothers, why wouldn’t you? And besides, holes were made for putting things in. So anyway, after the obligatory, but overacted that was so naughty speech, things seemed all forgiven and back to normal. But no. Bath time came around. Brothers. You won’t believe what she did. She showered us. Made us stand naked in the freezing cold and sprayed us with some kind of torturous water jet. Somebody please call the authorities, she must be stopped! Why she couldn’t just reach her arm down there and pull the damn plug out of the s-bend is beyond us brothers. She just wanted to make us pay.

So our message to you brothers is that you are not alone. Hang in there. Persist with honour, and you will bend her to your will. Eventually. Our message to Mum is simple, be ever watchful mother, there are two of us, and only one of you.

Gratitude

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My last post was too long ago and I meant to raise the tone much earlier than this. The whole point of HOPE was to talk about recovery, not to wallow in pain. Yes I have started taking medication, yes I am “seeing someone” again (not in the dating sense), but those two things make up about 10% of who I am and what I am doing with my life right now. It’s a thing, just a small thing among many other things. Here are some other things I’d like to talk about.

As of May 27, 2013, 124 people have died on Queensland roads. I drive 30 minutes to and from work every day and there is a lot of driving though my workday. Not once this year have I died in a car accident. Not once have I lost the use of my legs forever, nor have I ever had a catastrophic brain injury from a car accident, not even once. In fact, I have been driving for 23 years and I did not lose my life even one time with all of that driving. What a gift.

In this past week, Adam Goodes, AFL legend, double Brownlow Medal winner, two time premiership player and all round total gentleman had not one but two utterly stupid comments thrown at him by ignorant, unthinking, insensitive people completely lacking in a clue. He responded with grace, and social media went nuts. I thought, you know what? Not once in my life have I ever been a part of a minority such that I have had to overcome prejudice, ignorance or discrimination. I do not know what it is like to be in the receiving end of racist comments. Again and again and again. I do not know what it is like to have to fight for my right to walk in certain streets, sit in a certain place, vote, drink in a pub or be considered a human. How freakin lucky am I and what the hell did I ever do to get such a privileged position. Hardly seems fair really.

Another thing. I have said this one before and it never ceases to amaze me. I woke up this morning and you’ll never believe it, I didn’t have cancer! Again! I know, isn’t it amazing? This happens to me every day! It’s utterly joyous. No cancer. I am being dead set serious. Every day that I wake up with no serious illness is a day to be filled with gratitude. Every. Single. Day. In addition to not having cancer, as if that wasn’t blessing enough, I did not have Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, psychosis, AIDS or even arthritis.

My kids. Wow. Pregnancy and childbirth is a minefield. So much can go wrong and for me, nothing did. Unbelievable. Aside from a few emotional teething problems on my part, we have a happy, healthy family. Even having kids in the first place is amazing. I know plenty of people who would cut off a limb to have just one beautiful, healthy baby. I got three. I am falling head over heels in love with them. Again. I can hardly believe my luck. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

And here’s another thing. When I go to bed tonight, it will be in a warm, comfortable bed. My tummy will be full and I will not be afraid of anything, except maybe the rabid possums playing rugby on the roof. The incredible thing about this is that every night of my life, the same thing has happened. That’s 14 714 times I have had a warm bed to sleep in. But even better than this is that, when I wake up in the morning, I have a job to go to. A good one. One that gives me great satisfaction and even a bit of decent coin for my efforts. I’m a bit overwhelmed.

If I go on too much I will start getting emotional, but I cannot write about gratitude without saying something about my husband. You know, I could easily have made the wrong decision about who to marry. Easy. I was an insecure twenty-something year old. But I didn’t. I married for all the right reasons and I married totally the right guy. Oh, and I was LEGALLY ALLOWED to marry him. How awesome is that? Imagine not being LEGALLY ALLOWED to marry the perfect person. How painful that would be, if marriage was what you wanted and you couldn’t have it. But I can have it. And I am so lucky.

So here I am. My gratitude is profound.

Virtually Married

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How does procreation affect a marriage? We have had the heartbreaking news recently of more than one set of friends seeing their relationships falter and fail. I feel sick to my stomach with the sadness of it, so I cannot imagine how painful it must be to go through. Kids are cited as a major pressure, not the ’cause’, but a major, major pressure. With about a third of marriages in Australia ending in divorce, it is perhaps pessimistic, but sadly realistic to say that these will not be the last of our friends to go through such a seismic life change.

I once would have said that there was no way my marriage would end in divorce. No. Way. I am far more realistic now. I would like to know the statistics on families with multiples and divorce/separation rates. Someone once (perhaps well meaningly) said to me see, having twins is no big deal. Well, I can tell you, it’s been the biggest deal of my life thus far. It has nearly broken me and it has come close to breaking my marriage. I just wrote and then deleted a whole qualification on how I shouldn’t look at things so negatively and had better count my blessings. Our experiences are what they are. For better or for worse, these are my thoughts, feelings and learnings.

We have spent years putting off conversations. Years of nights too tired or talked out to talk again once that sweet silence descends on the house. Years of we really should get a babysitter this weekend only to forget. Years of texting each other important stuff because it is only in that second when the thought comes to you that you can remember what it was you had been meaning to say for weeks. Years of frenetic pace, much too fast to look, listen, be gentle, talk softly. Years of everyone else but us. Years of just just keeping our heads above water.

We have pledged and pledged again to each other that we will not do that to each other, our kids, our family, our friends. No doubt about it, we have had our moments. My I wanna hurt myself moments are often accompanied by I also wanna leave. But I do not. Want to. I want him and everything that goes along with him. He has taken to leaving me notes around the house. I call him every afternoon when I get into the car for my half hour drive home form work. I am always home first. When he finally comes in the door I feel better. He has heard all my stories. He is still extremely funny. Yes, I love him, but apart from that, I really like him. This life has stretched us to the very limit. We have been close to broken and there are many things that need repair, but we are not broken. I’m a bit broken myself, but it’s nothing a bit of mind and heart work can’t fix.

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Jelly Power

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THANK HEAVEN. The brains are coming along nicely. By age three, kid brains have double the “synaptic density” (connections between brain cells) than they will as adult brains. This means one thing people…THINKING! Hooray for thinking! Lots of things happen around this age in the brain, but the best one is a developing understanding of cause and effect! Allow me to elaborate.

Twin 1 has a regular habit. Upon yelling for his dinner for many torturous minutes, Mr Almost 3 will be presented with said dinner. Upon making the stupefying discovery that dinner is not of the favoured kind, Mr Almost 3 will fling said dinner across the room, or tip said dinner onto the table. The result of this insubordinate action will either be a seething but silent mother, or a ranting like a mad thing mother, depending on the day. Either way, Mummy is mad. Twin 2, in concordant twin cunning, will also raise objection to the lovingly thawed and warmed dinner presented by pushing it away and stroppily shouting NO DINNER. Mummy is getting madder.

I have tried in the past to simply accept that some days they won’t eat. This is a position I find hard to hold without some level of feeling like a crap mum. Sending my kids to bed without dinner was never on my list of things to do when I accidentally had twins. In recent weeks though, I have seen emerging evidence of this brain development upon which I have waited with abated breath. My genius Mr 5 has hit upon a fool proof plan to get them to do what I want. Just pretend like I’m going to eat it Mummy. He said one day. The child is a wizard. Once the twins saw the offending dinner heading to their big brother they’d be all like I WANT MY DINNER!! OK, fine by me, here you go. PSYCH.

The other awesome tool of manipulation that has come under my power is jelly. Wonderful jelly. One month ago, if I tried the old if you don’t eat your dinner then you can’t have your jelly and forthwith made them watch their brother eat jelly while they missed out, it would result in an epic tanty. My theory is that the cause and effect bit of the brain wasn’t quite there yet. There was no ‘then’ and ‘now’, no well this or that happened last time so I better…..No. There was just now. And right now, I see jelly and I can’t have it. Utter. Catastrophe. What has happened in the past couple of weeks though is encouraging to say the least. Not only can I psych them out by using their big brother, I can now also successfully withhold the magic of jelly! In pretend don’t care flippancy, I calmly state after dinner refusal, oh well, no jelly for you. And then guess what? They eat. Mummy 1, Twins 0.

All day, all the way

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I documented my day last Wednesday in a blow by messy blow account including photos. It was eye opening.

6am

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Awake before the kids. 11 hours in bed last night due to complete exhaustion. Feel better for it. Girding my loins for 13 hours with the kids by myself.

6:05am

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First kid wakes. It’s Dad’s birthday! Mr 5 always gives us some of his toys for our birthdays. So cute. This year Dad goes to the dark side.

6:30am

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Dressed for the day. Need my superpowers today.

6:55am

I have entered the irrational zone already. Threatening to throw out toys I find lying around. May scar children for life. Mr 5 reminds me that I should be happy on Daddy’s birthday.

7:10am

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TV is on. No other way to contain kids long enough so that I can eat breakfast. Heart beginning to sink. Already the house is a cacophony in my ears. Failing twin 2 at toilet training because I don’t want to chase him around in case of accidents while also chasing the other two around. Nappy goes on. Fail.

7:15am

A moment of quiet. Breakfast and a very quick coffee.

7:20am

Husband leaves for the day. Sinking feeling in my guts. We take a moment for a cuddle and apologies for the morning’s harsh words. The intensity makes us both irrational. Sadness when he closes the door behind him. Eating, quick.

8:05am

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Laundry in, more laundry on, kitchen cleaned up, teeth done, playroom sorted…sort of. TV off and play attempt begins.

8:20am

Another reminder from Mr 5. Have you got your smile on Mummy? Obviously not.

8:20am

Is it really only 8:20am? I am PRAYING that the trampoline gets delivered today.

8:25am

Twins locked me out of the house. Maybe I’ll just stay out here.

8:26am

Twins let me back in. Huh, who woulda thought. They learnt something.

8:32am

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Fights over how to build a zoo with blocks and plastic animals. Massive pile of laundry.

9am

A text from a friend ‘you can do it’. Goodness, that’s timely. She’s been there and feels my pain.

9:20am

Wow, almost a whole hour of blocks, books and whinging. It’s like any one of them (us) is on the edge of emotional turmoil and could go feral at any given moment. No trampoline yet.

9:25am

Twenty minutes until reinforcements arrive. Time to get morning tea ready. This is one area I’ll claim as successful. My kids eat loads of fruit.

9:36am

Is it time yet? About 15 minutes to go and I’ll escape for an hour to do a weekly radio segment on parenting. This week’s topic – surviving holidays. Ha.

9:43am

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Morning tea. Food and TV. The only times they are quiet. I am about to go out looking feral. Red eyes from recovering conjunctivitis, dreadful hair and splotchy skin. Lucky it’s radio, I sure do have the face for it!

10:02am

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Escape!

10:24am

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Waiting in the Green Room for ABC612 segment. Feel like a human.

11:12am

Home again. Here we go for the long stretch.

11:56am

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We have made it to lunchtime. But not without several trips to time out for throwing colouring in pencils all over the yard, throwing one’s drink cup over the fence, tipping one’s drink into the pencil case and throwing one’s replacement drink cup over the fence. We have 2 out of 3 who have eaten lunch. Some kids live on air.

12:01pm

Only 6 hours and 29 minutes until bedtime.

12:04

Sandwich abandoned. Sandwich thrown on grass. Sandwich rescued. Sandwich now being eaten.

12:06pm

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Sandwich abandoned again.

12:10pm

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I have given up on sandwich enforcement. He is obsessed with watching the cleaner use the vacuum cleaner.

12:15pm

TV back on. Wind down for rest time in 30 minutes. I can make it! Temper is holding well.

12:50pm

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Rest time. The best time. Rest wins over laundry, online groceries and eating.

2:40pm

Twins still asleep. Why poke the bear? A few more quiet minutes for me and Mr 5.

2:43pm

Twins awake. Mental note: DO NOT flush toilet during rest time.

2:58pm

Home stretch. Off to a fenced park to blow off energy.

3:15pm

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Milton Train park. Fenced goodness. All that is missing is a dirty big flat white.

4:15pm

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Approaching storm ends park trip early. Damn, I was hoping to hang out here until 5 and then get stuck in traffic.

4:45pm

After a getting out of the car tantrum and ensuing shout fest from me, Mr 5 again reminds me to put my smile on. I do, along with the TV. That’s 1.5 hours of TV today. I thought it would be worse.

4:49pm

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Dinner prep time. Martha Stewart I am not. Time to warm some crap up. I am starving as I eat very little on days like this due to lack of time. I’ve thrown on a few chicken pops for myself too.

5:28pm

One hour until bed. I ache all over. Inside too. Need quiet. Need bed. Need to fold the laundry and finish online groceries.

5:30m

TV off. Time for the dinner fight. Dinner actually goes pretty well. Wonders never cease.

5:45pm

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Forgot about filing the bath and bubbles went WAY overboard. Kids loved it. I know I will be too tired to write this post up tonight. I feel grotty. smelly, greasy. Yuk.

6:03pm

Things turn on a dime around here. Or I do anyway. Putting on PJs tantrum led to more shouting from me. Now feeling extra-ultra crappy. I have zero tolerance left and my kids pay the price. Mr 5 tries the put on your smile thing and the I love you thing but both fail. My head, heart, body and mind all ache. I want a dark hole.

TV is back on for the Night Garden. Don’t ask me why they love it but they do. I have added up that they’ve seen 2 hours and 50 minutes of TV today and I am shocked and disgusted. Another thing to feel guilty about. Still, I suppose I could say that in a 12.5 hour day that’s 9 hours and 40 minutes that they didn’t watch TV.

6:30pm

Book time. Or rather, fight about books time. Mr 5 does his valiant best to ‘read’ to his brothers. He loves it. If only they were on board.

7pm

Kids in bed. Husband home. I am shattered.