Dear Neighbour

I am sorry that my children disturbed you last night.  I can appreciate that being tired makes you act irrationally, believe me I have a lot of experience with this.  I’m sure you realise that banging on the wall neither stops them from crying or helps to get them back to sleep.  Previously you have commented that you don’t like being woken in the night, neither do I and if there was a solution I would have done it.

I know that living next door to a young child often involves experiencing some of the worst parts of parenthood without experiencing any of the joys.  When we moved into this house the boy next door was a baby, every night for many years I was woken over and over by a crying child and fighting parents (about who would deal with him).  I wore earplugs for 5 years, can I suggest (if you don’t already) that you wear some too; I can recommend a good make.  If this does not work how about moving into your empty bedroom?

I have done my fair share of wall banging over the years; through the all night parties, rhythmically squeaking mattresses and a neighbour and the bloke she picked up that night singing Peter Andre and Katie Price’s version of ‘a whole new world’ at 3am and the moaning that followed but a crying child for three years did not warrant a bang on the wall.  However your cockerel that wakes everyone in the early hours…

Watching more tolerant neighbours

So that you do not think we have not considered you I would like to just make you aware of the measures we have taken to try and limit disturbance.  When I found out I was having twins we looked for a new house that had the twin’s bedroom on an outside wall, unfortunately we did not find the right house before I was too heavily pregnant, I am sorry for that.  When they have been ill or gone through long periods of night waking one has slept in the lounge or our bedroom for weeks on end to prevent disturbance to the other and our neighbours.  When the twins wake in the night we deal with one each so no one is left crying but sometimes even when we are there it takes some time to find a solution.  We have spent many hours rocking and cuddling, have co-slept with white noise, wave noise, whale noise, nursery rhymes, star projections, stories, milk, medicine…TV (cringe!).    When the twins had tonsillitis one night I rocked M from 7pm-4am (without dinner) while she cried, believe me if there was a solution…

Having twins is a wonderful experience but brings daily challenges and toddler twins while different to babies are no easier.  We do our best.  If after all this you still believe we are at fault, that we could change something, that you could do better, please do, I dare you!

Yours sincerely,

Frustrated and exhausted twin parents

Playing kitchen

doublethecuddles.wordpress.comE and M love to play kitchen, this morning I had planned to take them to the park but they were so engrossed in their play I felt it wrong to disturb.  Halfway through the morning though of course they were no longer interested and it was too late to depart so I decided to extend the theme of their mornings play with some cooking.

I am always looking for new recipes for our weekly menu and had spotted an Abel and Cole recipe for fresh pasta which looked fun so I though why not?!? With two dining room chairs blocking the entire kitchen gangway, hands washed and ingredients on the side we were ready to embark on an entirely new adventure for us all.

We made the dough, kneaded it and cut out butterflies and stars before allowing it to dry.  E and M managed a good number before hunger pangs kicked in so I cut out the rest while E had a (s)”nack” and M washed her hands and the bathroom while serenading us with a tune.

E and M's sterling contribution

E and M’s sterling contribution

...and with a little help from mummy

…and with a little help from mummy

10 minutes later it was ready to cook (thank goodness as after a mammoth hour and a half of making the pasta and clearing of the chaos left in its wake lunchtime was fast approaching!) Another 5 minutes for cooking, cheese grated and we all sat down to test our endeavours.   doublethecuddles.wordpress.comdoublethecuddles.wordpress.comThis was our first time cooking together but I think a great success!

All is quiet on the chicken front…

So I haven’t posted on our chickens for some while, the last being a rainy day back in May when we had to say goodbye to lovely Lily.  In July last year we adopted our first two ex-caged hens(Essex girls saved from slaughter), Poppy and Clover, who have settled in so well.  We have had our fair share of chicken issues but these two have been a healthy pair (here is hoping I won’t jinx it).  One of them no longer lays which is not unusual as reproductive issues are common for such intensively farmed birds but she is enjoying her retirement none the less in our back garden.

A settled Poppy and Clover

A settled Poppy and Clover

With the loss of Lily and a family with an increasing appetite for eggs we decided to adopt another two in May this year, named Petal and Fleur (though they are so similar I suspect they may have interchangeable names).  As there were already two sturdy birds in residence we had to keep the weedy pair separate until they adjusted to a life outdoors and gained in confidence and strength.

Introducing themselves

Introducing themselves

After a week and a half we started to mix them for short periods in a larger area that we had constructed to increase their free ranging abilities.  The introductions were stressful with lots of squawking and pecking and chasing (and panicking for me).  The decision was made to wait a little longer and they were not fully integrated until the end of week three.  Petal and Fleur still have a long way to go, they are much skinnier than Poppy and Clover and have many feathers to regrow but they now all live happily together.  I will keep you updated on their progress…

Amazing news!!!

doublethecuddles.wordpress.comFor about six months I have been preparing myself for little E having an operation.  Many teary days and sleepless nights have been had, many prayers have been said, in anticipation of my little boy in surgery.  We had waited months to see a surgeon, he has been prodded and poked and we had filled out the pre-op questionnaire in preparation for his op on Tuesday 18th August.  I had planned moral support for me in the hospital so when I rendered useless my mum could take over.  A had planned time off work to stay at home to comfort little M and I had prepared lots of little presents to be opened by both E and M throughout the day to distract them from their separation.

In the last week we have noticed that something might have changed, though was I do believe that something that apparently should have healed itself by the age of one could have repaired itself at the age of two?  This evening little E was prodded and poked for the last time as we received the amazing news that the surgery could be cancelled! This evening we all breathed a sigh of relief, and although I can’t quite believe it, I am so thankful for this little miracle.

The final goodbye

doublethecuddles.wordpress.comJust over a month ago my colleagues and I were called into work for a meeting, the agenda not released, we entered none the wiser that soon we would be leaving a big part of our lives behind for good.  That day we were told that the Education Centre where we worked (9 years!) was about to enter into a restructure, all zero hours contracts were to go and only one part time contract was to be available between the seven staff.  The centre was to have a shakeup, a new ethos, less outdoors, more in schools and little focus on what we were all there for… inspiring future generations to care for our beautiful Earth and everything in it.  After many teary days and nights we accepted the time had come to go, so six of us depart.

I owe a lot to the centre and its history, my first proper job, the one that taught me what I wanted to do with my life, that shaped much of who I am now.  Its staff, my friends an inspiration to me, while no longer my colleagues forever great friends.

Many many hours spent pond dipping here

Many many hours spent pond dipping here

Woodpeckers here!

Woodpeckers here!

Officially unemployed, today four of us (plus two little people) returned for one last hoorah, the ponds, minibeasts and habitats day to end all days with a class size of two.  Today I said goodbye.