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

U is for Unique bottles

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFind a way to distinguish between your twins bottles; different colours, or a blob of different coloured nail polish on the bottom or if you are a bit crafty and have lots of beads lying around make little bracelets for your bottles.  I had two sets of bottle bracelets, one set for going out and one for in the house, a blue for E and a pink for M.  When they were little it helped me keep record of what each of them was drinking, if one was sick they didn’t share bottles and until E was about 8 months he had reflux so often had special milk or things added to his milk so we didn’t want to mix them up.  Needless to say though, bottle bracelets are not suitable for leaving with your babies alone.

And then there was one

Lonesome Lily (

Lonesome Lily (

Sadly Violet is no more…  Lily the lonesome struts around her run, crowing like a cockerel in search of someone to keep her company.

A listening ear?

A listening ear?

During the days following Violet’s demise Tilly, our similarly coloured cat, sat on a wooden toadstool at the end of the run keeping her company.  Tilly never sits there usually, perhaps she could see that Lily was in need of a companion? When this stopped I decided to let Lily completely free range in our garden so she could seek out our company when she needed it, this was not a success as one of my twins developed a taste for chicken poo and Lily had to return to the confines of her run.  We all try and visit her regularly with offerings of raspberries or something equally yummy but although chirpier I fear she is still lonely.

You might think “why has she not gone out and got another chicken or given her away!?!”  Lily was a poorly girl when she arrived with us and the vet suspected she was a carrier of a very serious, sometimes fatal, infectious respiratory disease called Mycoplasma.  When carriers become stressed their symptoms may reappear and spread to other birds.  Introducing her to a new flock or giving her a new friend may cause stress and illness.  My twins are suffering from their second round of tonsillitis in 3 weeks with only 3 days of almost recovered joy in between.  Sleep is a distant memory for us all, so just the thought of sick chickens to care for too is exhausting and frankly impossible.

A recent chat with the chicken vet left us with two feasible options; the safe option is a lonesome Lily or the riskier is a rescue hen that has come to the end of its short working life.  Rescue hens (from colony cages) are extensively vaccinated so in theory should be protected against an outbreak however as they get older the vaccine wears off and she may become more susceptible to future outbreaks.  So here is our dilemma…

The truth about twins…. Sometimes it’s hard

When you have twins you become a celebrity overnight.  I once got stopped 8 times in an hour in M&S when my babies were weeks old, no one asks for an autograph but they do ask a lot of questions.  They ask “are they twins?”, “boys?” even when one is wearing a pink dress, “identical?” even when you have told them you have one girl and one boy, “natural?”, “twins run in the family?”, “planned?” didn’t know what to say to that one! Then there are the passing remarks to which I rarely respond, “double the trouble”, “was it two for one?”, “you have your hands full”, “I don’t know how you do it? I find it hard with one”, “you’re a busy lady”…

The one I hate the most and always respond to is “double the trouble”.  I would never refer to my twins as double the trouble, they are double the cuddles, double the giggles and double the love.  Granted there are double the nappies, dirty washing, crying, the list goes on but my babies are not a trouble, they are an absolute blessing!

However sometimes it is doubly hard particularly when they get ill.  I know to most I seem a little over the top about protecting my babies from other’s viruses, well this is why….

E and M have been gradually getting more difficult for just over a week. Nights are fun, getting up about 8 times, each time involves getting out of bed 3ish times to chase a dummy and sooth before they go to sleep.  Most nights we have an hour of trying everything; rocking, co-sleeping, dummy, singing, lullaby on monitor, painkillers and finally giving up and feeding them just to settle them (routine will be interesting when we come out of this).  Then there is the crying in unison…. Last night was the worst, they felt so rotten they were disturbed so easily by the other and were beside themselves for 2 hours at a time resulting in a 4am puppet show (which helped calm them). Every time my twins are in the same house as someone with a virus you can guarantee they will get it and so we have it.  We thought it was teething at first as it started with a runny nose and sad babies but turns out that was just the beginning of a rotten cold… and teething! M has a tummy bug too, last night we were woken to M being sick in her cot and over everything around her. During the day daddy goes to work leaving a very tired mummy on her own with lots of washing to do and two sad babies who quite rightly both want a cuddle and extra attention because they feel poorly and mummy can’t always sooth both at the same time.   We are all very tired.  Night shift anyone?