Life with twins: pause the panic … here are 5 positives!

twin babies

So often when you’re a parent of multiples people ask you about the challenges, but it’s easy to forget about the positives this brings, so here are 5!

 

  1. You’re forced to have pretty achievable expectations, and this is good!

You’re surrounded by parents doing this class, or that class, or the other, when in your world you’re pretty much only able to focus on one thing: getting through the day in one piece! Frustrating initially, when you can feel like you’re missing out, but what it actually does is make you thrilled when you achieve anything extra; it’s a bonus rather than a necessity.

Time is limited for a lot of things – which is not always great and does mean things are always a hectic juggle – but it also means it’s limited for the negative stuff too, like the dreaded ‘Mum Guilt’. There just isn’t time! When you have two newborns, then two toddlers, you become a master of efficiency and prioritising the important stuff. Honestly, put a twin mum in the PM spot, and we’d be laughing!

 

  1. The beginning bit is so hectic that come the toddler stage you’re actually pretty used to a bit of crazy as just being the norm!

Going from a stationary baby to a willful toddler can be overwhelming, but I found that the fact the early days with two were so busy and sleep deprived that come the toddler stage – even though it is pretty wild when you have two of the same age! – as it’s easier to leave the house, you can plop food in front of them, they interact with each other etc etc, it feels like a whole other world.

 

  1. You’re instantly in an elite club

There is serious comradery in the world of multiple parenting – a whole club of parents who just get it! They get what it’s like to have two babies to tend to, all the time, and never feeling like you’re ever on top of it, because – being honest – you’re not but that’s absolutely fine. Hearing that that’s how it is for them too is really reassuring.

The challenges of multiple parents are very unique, and as much as your friend with one baby, or two or three a few years apart, will empathise (and how important it is to have a range of people to chat with), they’re coming from too different a place, with their own unique challenges, to always get the nuances of your specific world. That’s why twin groups can be so brilliant for twin parents: instant access to a bunch of people who 100% see you.

 

  1. Watching their different identities flourish…

It’s just amazing seeing two babies, who are exactly the same age (well, two minutes apart in my case), who are sooooo different! And it’s fascinating to watch them grow and develop, and also reassuring as you can see you’re shaping and nurturing identities that are already there. If one is a sleeper and one isn’t, or if one is pretty placid and the other a challenger of every possible boundary in existence, you have tangible proof that it’s not something you’re doing, which is what so many parents fear – it’s just how it is! That knowledge can be quite freeing.

 

  1. Seeing their friendship and bond blossom makes you realise you’re witness to one of the most magical things.

There is a reason you’ll be stopped constantly in the early days: twins are just magical, and so too is their bond, their twin an extension of themselves. I was with my boy twin recently at a hospital appointment, and afterwards bought him a Kinder Egg as a treat. He asked if we could get one for his twin sister too, and waited until they were reunited, an hour later, before he ate his, as he wanted to open it at the same time as she opened hers. Seeing a 4-year-old doing that – placing so much importance on sharing a positive moment with their twin – is just gold.

Right, the plan! 26 weeks to marathon….

If I’m going to survive this thing (you know, just a whole 26.2 MILES!), I best have a plan! This is definitely not something I can wing.

I looked around for a while to find the best training plan to suit my current fitness level (low but not absolutely rock bottom), to cover me from the 26 weeks from this week to the London Marathon.

While I have a way to go to get to marathon distance, for the past 12 weeks I’ve been building up from running very short distances to a half-marathon, which I did last Saturday (hooray!). It took me 2.5 hours, and the thought at the end of turning around and doing the whole thing again nearly made me faint. My knees and hips are creaking at the memory! The reality of the task ahead is really sinking in.

But back to the marathon training plan: starting at week 7 as my week 1, this is the plan I’ll be following between now  and 22nd April, for anyone reading who’s on the same journey and also thinking about their schedule.

Starting at week 7, this covers a distance of over 600 miles between now and marathon completion. So basically East London to John O’ Groats (644 miles), or the Giant’s Causeway to Dingle….and back again (622 miles). Yeah, no bother.

I’m going to check in at the end of each week to track how I got on, knowing that the update is coming, so hopefully that will help me get out of my warm bed on a freezing Sunday morning for my long run!

My next mission is to get a good pair of trainers that fits right, and suits my gait, to set me up for the road ahead. I’ll update on that experience once my shiny new trainers are in hand.
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Running autumn

 

The unpredictable predictability of having a fragile child…

Earlier today, someone online mentioned this phrase – the unpredictable predictability of having a fragile child – and it really struck a chord, as it sums up life with a chronically ill child so well.

Life with kids will always be unpredictable – the chaos that goes with them is seldom tame! But when you have a sick child, there is a whole extra layer of worry and stress, and, in truth, resignation, that (at what is ALWAYS the worst time – e.g. us about to leave for a plane from London to Singapore!) they’ll get sick.

In truth I think that’s partly how we cope: if you’re always prepared it’s never a real shock. It’s a self-protective strategy that’s really necessary, as when things do kick off, they tend to be very urgent, and you need your entire focus to be able to juggle all the necessary balls, with no room for an emotional reaction.

Sometimes I wonder if that unpredictable predictability swings the other day too. Having been through the mill, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve basked in happiness at just doing something utterly predictable and ‘normal’ – we’ve all gone to a cafe, and every child ate, and wasn’t sick; we went on a weekend away, and there was no infection/high temperature/A&E visit needed.

While having a fragile child has more additional challenges than I can summarize here, I do think it doesn’t only bring stresses, but also an ability to really appreciate the everyday and the mundane (e.g. mundane at home = at least we’re not in hospital!), and every time that child laughs in happiness – totally lost in a positive moment – the sound, and the relief you feel that they can still laugh like that despite everything they’re dealing with, is enough to crush your heart.
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sick child

The countdown is on: 6 months to marathon

So today the countdown is officially on … it’s 6 months to the day until the London Marathon on 22 April 2018, where my plan is: a) that a skinnier, fitter, healthier version of myself will smash* the 26.2 miles (* erm, maybe ‘survive’ is a more realistic goal!), having…; b) raised lots of money for the amazing Great Ormond Street Hospital and Children’s Charity!

It’s safe to say that regardless of whether you have yet to be touched by the amazing work Great Ormond Street do, you will be aware of how many lives they have touched, my family’s included.

I’ve got a LONG road ahead with training to be able to do the distance, so this is a real challenge for me, both in terms of increasing fitness, and losing weight. 3 months ago my back-to-fitness journey began, just after my twins turned 3, and a few very wild years following their arrival.

Having cut out the booze completely, and donned the trainers, I started off running a couple of miles at a time, and yesterday I ran a half-marathon, having dropped nearly 2.5 stone during those 12 weeks. Don’t worry – there’s much more where that came from, and that’s the next mission! I’ve committed to saying alcohol-free for the rest of the journey, another challenge to add into the big challenge! If you’re gonna do it, then REALLY do it!

I’ll use this page as well as my Facebook page to update friends and family on my progress – the highs and the lows – which will serve as good motivation to keeping me on the straight and narrow through all the upcoming freezing winter runs!! Nothing like a bit of accountability!

Bring it on!

 

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