Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Twins progress report

So we're heading towards the six month mark now with the twins and I'm happy to report both are blooming quite nicely.

Olivia & Beau (2 weeks old)

Olivia & Beau (6 months old)
 As you can see they are certainly filling out and developing the same chubby cheeks as their mum!!

Beau's starting weight was 5lb and he now weighs a hefty 15 lb 5 oz
Olivia's starting weight was 4lb 8oz and now comes in at 12 lb 5 oz

Yes, there is a 3lb difference but hey, at least it's the right way round!

Beau is our little fidget man, he is not happy unless he can move or stand up. He has developed the art of doing a complete 360 ° on the play mat or where ever you might lay him. I am sure we have a possible sports star in the making - do you think Man Utd sign babies??

Olivia however is a little less fussed about seeing the world from on her feet and would prefer to recline most of the time. She is a sociable little thing, but will quite as easily be happy to sit and be on her own. In fact she almost shoos you away and lets you know she wants her own space with a cry or simply by just turning her head and pretending you're not there!

She acts quite dainty and delicate but she burps and farts like a drunk sailor and has a pout and stare that would scare off a ferocious lion - there is no messing with that girl when she is in a mood.

It's so exciting to see these two little people grow and it seems as though they are completely different in character. At the moment it seems as if Beau will be the louder one of the two and is ready for a bit of rough and tumble, where as Olivia will be the more sensible one. I have a feeling she might use that wise-ness to her ability and send Beau into the front line to test the waters and I don't think he'll complain.

I guess watching to see how they will develop is like reading a good book or watching a brilliant TV programme, a real page turner that gets interrupted by sleep, work, the bus stopping etc etc. Or a TV series that only airs once a week. You so look forward to the moment you can pick up the book or watch the next episode to find out what happens next.

Of course every day I'm listening out for those blessed words "mummy" and I'm sure at some point I will delude myself they have said it when I hear just the slightest "mmm" sound, but for now they babble a lot and sound slightly like wailing cats.

One thing I look forward to is the time when they stop dribbling, these babies give a huge St Bernard dog a run for it's money in the saliva stakes. Bless their little cotton socks for they know not what they do, but going in for a kiss is messy situation and involves the use of many wipes. I've given up on changing clothes every time one of them dribbles, pukes, snots on me as I'll have run out of clothes by the end of the day. Yes I have become one of those archetypal new mums who leaves the house with baby vomit in her hair and formula stains on her clothes which emit a slight musty odour.

But do you know what, it's quite liberating to not have to worry about what I look like or if I've washed my hair. Sre, I'm dying to get rid of my mummy jelly belly, and I still cover my spots, but other than that I'm happy not to have to think about what I'm wearing or doing my make-up or hair. The babies provide me with an Ace card - People look from me to the pram back to me and give me that smile as if to say "it's ok, you look bedraggled but we understand."

There will come a time when I have to delve back into the world of work and my appearance will have to have a major overhaul, but for now I will happily sit here in my jogging bottoms and formula encrusted jumper and embrace living the life of Waynetta Slob!!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Where does this love come from

I love my family and I love Rick, but this love that I have for my children is within another realm. Not to poo poo the love I have with those I've just mentioned, but this kind of love is one that is absorbed into the body as soon as you see that baby come towards you covered in gunk and weird white chalky stuff. It's as though someone did an adrenalin shot right into your heart and makes you spasm all over.

Me & Beau

Me & Olivia

But then I wonder, where did it come from? was it always there living in a tiny pocket somewhere growing quietly and waiting for the right moment to reveal itself.

You take for granted the love you have for your family as it's always been there since you were born. That kind of love is like a very stretchy elastic band that can be pulled away from quite a distance but then always rebounds back.

Then the love that you have for a partner, you've often dreamed about as a youngster, that idealistic nature of falling in love - all the physical stuff obviously, but then the whole feeling of connecting with someone who "gets" you. So sub-consciously we kind of know what to expect when we fall in love.

The love that comes with having a child is something you can't prepare yourself for.

I look back now at things that happened to me in my life that were at times frightening for my parents and realise how painful it must've been for my mum and dad to feel like they were losing their daughter

Throughout all  my teen years I had Anorexia but the worst part was quite early on when I was about 13 -15. My illness was so extreme at one point that I had to go into hospital and on the second night I became very angry and irrational (not to make light of it but the girl from the Exorcist was timid compared to me that night). I screamed and cried for many hours until, exhausted, I fell asleep in my mums arms and she held me all night whilst I slept. When I woke up, she did not see I had opened my eyes and I looked up to her and saw that she had been crying.

It pains me now because now as a mother I can look back and remember the anguish that I saw in my mum's eyes - a look that said "I'm afraid Leah that I cannot save you -  I don't know what to do to make it better".

Whilst I've thought about this many times over the years, it's not until now that I'm fully aware of how difficult it must've been for her.

I had that same feeling when Olivia got jaundice when she was born and lay motionless in a incubator for three days. On a lower level a couple of weeks ago when the twins had terrible coughs and colds, I felt so helpless because kisses and cuddles weren't going to take their sickness away. It really hurt.

However, it's a love that I am glad I've got the opportunity to feel because with all the scary parts to it comes an almighty warm feeling. It reminds me of the old Ready Brek adverts where anyone who ate the sloppy porridge went out with an orange tinge around them as though they were glowing. I reckon if it was dark enough people would seem that exact same colour floating around my body which I think has been there since June 24th 2010.

Like I said, this type of love comes from out of the blue, but I think in some part I owe my mum some credit because if I can give even just an ounce of the love that my mum wrapped around me then my children will never feel the cold.

Monday, 6 December 2010

moving away and moving on

So, we're just about to start packing our things up to head off to our new life in the country confines of Shropshire. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Leeds and out into the sticks. Whilst 90% of me is thrilled and excited, there's just that little part of me that will miss this big old Yorkshire city.

I guess it's where I did my growing up and it holds lots of good and happy memories for me. Me and Rick did quite a bit of clubbing when we first came to the city and spent many nights and early mornings talking and whispering sweet nothings into each others ears in corners of clubs or dancing the night away on a sticky dance floor. We then spent Sunday cuddled up on the sofa recovering with MacDonald's milkshakes and sugary sweets.

It's funny now that back then I was coming home at 5am, these days I'm waking up at 5am and the only sweet nothings you'll hear me whispering is into the ears of two little babies whom I'm trying to get back to sleep!!

Leeds was where I became a fitness instructor, at Virgin Active and it's crazy to think that over the 9 years that I've been there I've probably spoken with nearly 500 people, maybe more, from all walks of life. I think being a fitness instructor is like being a hairdresser or a priest, people like to confide in you and tell you some of the deepest dilemmas or darkest secrets. Yes whilst their sweating away on the treadmill they like to fill you in on their 16 year old daughters pregnancy or the fact that their having an affair with a married man who happens to be their best friends husband! There's been many a time when I was meant to be devising an exercise programme with someone and instead we've spent the whole hour discussing their love life or lack of it! But you know what, I enjoyed it, I loved that part of the job,  I think maybe it's because I'm a nosy bugger and love to find out about people's lives - hence my obsession with reality shows - so always happy to listen. Or maybe that people felt comfortable enough to open up to me and for that I feel truly honoured.

Those of you who know me, know that I love fitness, so other good part of the job was that I got paid for working out - I almost feel I know what it's like to be a footballer - getting paid to do something you love - although unfortunately I didn't get the same wage slip!

There would be some weeks where I would be teaching 2 or 3 classes a day, but the buzz I got from being up in front of people and seeing them both wince in pain but also smile at the end, gave me more energy than a bottle of Red Bull. I'm a total believer in "it's got to hurt a little to get the shape you want". If you're mascara is not running down the side of your face or you've not got blotchy fake tan by the end of a session then you've wasted a work out.

What I secretly loved about teaching classes, is for that one hour or so I'm so much more confident and self-assured. It's like the little Leah who was fearless and feisty suddenly breaks through the more shy and reserved older exterior of myself. I just let's like exhaling after a big long breath.

Whether or not I go back to fitness when the twins are a little older I'm not sure, but I feel
grateful for the opportunity to make people feel good about themselves and for them to appreciate me for doing it.

I also went to university in Leeds at the not so tender age of 23. I'd put it off for many years in the fear that I was not clever or determined enough to get a degree. But the niggle turned into a very big itch that I needed to scratch. So I enrolled on a 3 year English and Media course and smugly can say I came out with a 2:1 BA Hons, although that was not without hard work and I still get fidgety when I think out the many all-nighters I had to sit through in order not to miss a deadline for an essay - as I never quite learned that leaving things to the last minute did nothing for my stress levels. The funny thing is that even now, 6 years on, I still have a recurring dream that I never graduated or I didn't do an exam that would enable me to graduate and I wake up in a cold sweat thinking I'll have to go back to uni and do it all again!!

Of course the one BIG memory I'll have of living in Leeds is that it was where my two little treasurers were conceived and born. It's almost like the end of a film and now we're all riding of into the sunset to start a new life, and I'm hoping that unlike most sequels our one will be better than the first part!!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Who needs the gym when you have a few inches of snow and a twin pram!!

We were all trapped indoors yesterday because of the snow and as cosy as it was I was gutted because it meant I missed a session at the gym and lost about £20 because the creche at my gym just charge you any way if you don't turn up.

I did think about doing a little bit of exercise in the house but as there's no room in the living room thanks to play mats, swings and bouncy chairs, the only place I can now do exercise is in our bedroom, which would mean shifting everyone upstairs and then back again. Plus within 2 mins you could guarantee that one of the twins would not be very happy

So with a mixture of  CBeebies, This Morning (Olivia was dying to see the interview with Bette Midler) Baby TV and Loose Women (Beau has a thing for old (er) women), we all settled down to a morning in front of the telly. 

But then what to do with two 5 month old babies??!! Ok you may say - read, sing, dance, play with toys - did all that - all within the space of 30mins as (i hope) like most babies the interest in any of these activities dwindled within 5 mins. So admittedly I relied a little on the TV to divert attention whilst I managed to do a little cleaning, and ok checked my facebook and a few other things on the internet, whilst looking longingly but glumly outside as what can only be described as an arctic blizzard settled itself on the pavements alongside our house.

To be fair, the twins were very good and barely kicked up a fuss, I think it was their mum that was more bothered about being stuck indoors.

I guess I could've done a number of things really but I do think that when you have babies simple things just become a little harder to do. However maybe I'm using the twins as an excuse not to do them.

Today we managed to get outside in the afternoon. All I wanted to do was go for a nice stroll in the park, but and I can genuinely say that it was like going on an expedition to the South Pole. I don't think I really anticipated how much snow there was on the ground and how difficult it would be to manoeuvre a twin buggy through the snow. If I had been someone looking in at myself I probably would've been laughing.

Visualise it like a scene from an old silent black and white comedy movie, with that tinkling piano in the background. There's the image of a woman sliding all over the place as the pram goes now where up against a mound of snow - yes that would be me in the picture!!

However, after my epic journey I finally did reach the park and once I got there I was at peace with the world again because the scene before me was beautiful

Whilst Beau remained asleep

Olivia woke up but I don't think she seemed too happy that we were outside in the cold

I'm glad that we did get out, the fresh air did wonders for me both physically and mentally. The walk will count as my cardio and my biceps / triceps and shoulders are aching from pushing my beautiful but ever growing twins in a pram the size of a small van!!


The park