It's my life, but not as I knew it!

Posts tagged ‘babies’

Reading To Twin Toddlers

World Book Day got me thinking about the books we read to Biscuit and Cracker. I saw so many children dressed as such a variety of characters it got me thinking about the stories the twins have been exposed to.

I have never been one to want to read three or four little stories to Biscuit and Cracker, instead I have read long books to them a chapter at a time. Maybe it’s because that’s what my parents did with me?

I have read to the twins the Harry Potter series, Roald Dahl, Winnie the Pooh, The Faraway Tree, Peter Rabbit and friends, Paddington, Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales, and His Dark Materials Trilogy to name a few. I am currently going through my beloved Chronicles of Narnia. I enjoy reading these sort of books to them, it’s allowed me to revisit my childhood every evening.

Rob is similar and he has read, in Italian, the Harry Potter series (yes, we are a couple of potterheads), Roald Dahl (for the first time for him, what sort of childhood did he have in Italy?!?), and Arabian Nights. He is currently trawling through Lord of the Rings with them (I definitely think this is more for him than for them, my husband is a geek!).

They obviously have a wide collection of their own books and stories which they pick and choose during the day and we will sit down and read them. This ranges from Mr Tumble to Toy Story and everything in between. Stories like Guess How Much I Love You and The Gruffalo we have in both English and Italian so that as they get older they can choose which language they want to read in that day (plus it’s good for me to try and read them too).

I am so glad that the twins love books and stories because I am exactly the same. I have always been told that I “devour” books and Rob bought me a Kindle to save on luggage allowance whenever we go away, I used to take so many books with me to last a week/fortnight!



Christmas at Casa Biscuit and Cracker, part 2

Christmas is such a brilliant time to get crafty with the kids. This year we decided to make our own advent calendars using hand prints.


We got some card and let Biscuit and Cracker paint anything they wanted as a background (it’s their calendar after all!) and then let that dry. I was then going to put their handprints directly onto this using white paint, but I couldn’t get hold of any child-friendly white paint in my area so I decided to draw around their hands onto white paper and cut out their handprints. I then stuck these onto their painted backgrounds.


I cut Santa hat shapes out of red paper. Older children will, of course, be able to paint a nice red hat on their handprint Santa but the Twinnies are a bit too little for that amount of direction this year!! Using my incredible artistic skills I draw Santa’s eyes, mouth and nose onto the handprints. Again, older children will enjoy doing this bit themselves. I found this poem on Busy Little Bugs site and thought it was so adorable that I printed it on contrasting paper and stuck that on the paper too.


I finished the calendars by drawing 24 circles and numbering them. This is where the cotton wool balls will be stuck to make Santa’s beard. The twins stick a cotton ball on everyday to count down.

I love Christmas SO much, we have quite a few advent calendars around the house as I think the anticipation and counting down really add to the fun. That’s why I wanted Biscuit and Cracker to have one for them, made by them.

I hope you enjoyed our crafty Christmas idea. Why don’t you give it a go with your little ones?

Toddler Health; Eczema

Being a mama of two-year-old twins and doing the course I am doing, there are many times that there are crossovers between my personal and professional lives. I learn something from a parent I have met, or a colleague I have worked with or some training I have done and know that I can take that information and it will have a positive impact on my home life. I can also experience something with Biscuit and/or Cracker and it makes me a better public health nurse.

I have been working my behind off at academic work for the past few weeks and one of the essays (yes I did say one of the essays, please feel for me!) was regarding a prescription for topical treatment for eczema. Biscuit and Cracker have always had super sensitive skin and both of them have since been diagnosed with eczema and prescribed triple emollient therapy.

Triple emollient therapy is when a child (I can only speak from experience with children) gets three products- a cream/gel, bath stuff and a soap-substitute (sometimes one product can be used for both the bath and for washing with, it depends on what is prescribed). There are lots of products available on the market, both over-the-counter from your pharmacist or on prescription. It can depend on what the prescriber is used to, what their trust recommends and what the patient (or parent/carer) knows and likes. If you are thinking that your little one needs eczema treatment- remember that the greasier the cream, the better it is. It just may feel a bit slippery on their skin. It took us a couple of different products before we found ones that worked well for us.

I am not writing this post to tell you whether your child needs creams prescribing, or what treatment your prescriber will recommend. If you have any worries or concerns, please see your GP/Health VIsitor/Pharmacist and talk through with them and allow them to assess your child’s skin.

I wanted to write this post to give you tips that I have found out through research, and that we have found useful to know.

1) If you use the bath additive, be aware of how slippery your child will be. Please take extra care. Little ones may slip out of your hand and bigger ones may slip over in the bath or on the bathroom floor.

2) This is one of my Top Tips! We found that, when using a bath additive, our bath was always incredibly greasy and was constantly getting blocked. I have since found out that squirting washing-up liquid round the bath and rinsing it off makes the bath squeaky clean, as well cutting through any grease in the pipes and saving us having to use the plunger to drain the water away!!

3) When drying a child, try and pat them dry rather than rubbing. This is gentler on their skin and won’t rub off any of that moisturising layer from the bath additive.

4) When applying cream to them, smooth it on, rather than rubbing it in, and go in the direction of their hair growth. If you put cream on your arms against the hair growth you can feel that it is not comfortable!

5) As soon as Biscuit and Cracker have had their cream applied at night we put them straight in their cotton pyjamas. We found that you can really smother them in it and the pjs keep it on their skin. PLUS it doesn’t go everywhere.

6) Try to use cotton clothes as much as possible.

7) Use non-biological washing powder and sensitive fabric conditioner. I am waiting for something to happen to my washing machine as we can’t use a well-known product that reduces limescale and helps it to “live longer”.

8) Apply the cream often, we put in on Cracker (whose skin is worse) in the morning, at lunchtime and before bed, plus whenever we see him scratching.

I hope that at least one of my tips may be useful to you if your child has eczema. Let me know if you have any others and I will update my list!

The views and tips listed here are all my own.

It’s a Twin Thing (aka Double Trouble)

Whenever I tell anyone that I have twins, the answer is always the same (no matter who it is): “how do you cope?”. What else are we going to do?!

Of course having twins is both physically and emotionally tricky. ‘Tales of a Twin Mum’ sums it up in her most popular post from last year by looking at the differences between raising her twins compared to her singleton. I felt very guilty a lot of the time during Biscuit and Cracker’s first year (and sometimes even now)- as a mum you are programmed to give 100% of yourself to your baby and cater for all their needs. As a mum of multiples, this is impossible. There are two of them and one of me so they did have to share me, learn to wait for things and spend more time in bouncy chairs and on the play mat so that I could be with both of them at the same time. We haven’t gone to as many baby and toddler sessions as perhaps I would have done with a singleton, from the moment my twinks were mobile they have been off in opposite directions!

I also tell people who comment on how hard it is how fabulous having twins honestly is. They are so funny together, they have now learnt to manoeuvre their little arm chairs so they can play peek-a-boo over the top to each other. Every new place we’ve gone (including visiting family and going on holiday) they have always had the other there as a constant friend and companion. Having the two of them also means you learn when to let things go and what not to worry about.

Multiple parents are also lucky in the amount of websites, support groups and charities out there:
TAMBA (The Twin and Multiple Birth Association) is a charity that provides support and education both for parents of multiples and those professionals involved in their care. They offer money-off schemes included in your membership to help with those added expenses of having more than one baby (for example, Clarks shoes offers 10% off year round with two 20% off weekends a year). There are parent seminars and groups designed for different stages of your multiple’s journeys. As well as their website and the ‘Multiple Matters’ magazine sent out to members, they are on Facebook and Twitter keeping you up to date with research and media opportunities. You will also be able to find information on your local twins club through TAMBA: something definitely worth looking in to.
Designed for Twins is a website that directs you to all those products that have been designed with twins in mind (double buggies, cots etc) and provides parent reviews so you can get honest feedback on what might be useful and what could be improved upon.
Twins UK also shows you those specialist products for feeding, changing, taking out and dressing up your twins. They also sell gifts, mementoes and things for special occasions. It is always worth having a look at what is out there and what will make your life easier.
The Twins Gift Company is a good site if someone you know if having or has had twins as it had lovely jewellery, toys and gifts for multiples and their parents.
Not forgetting social media channels- Facebook is full of twin groups (Parenting Multiples, UK Twin Mummies Page, Twins Online to name a few) and they will post questions and concerns to their followers so you have a wealth of experience and knowledge at your finger tips. On Twitter there are lots and lots of twin mums and dads tweeting away and networking, again it is nice to find people going through the same challenges as you, as well as looking at those who have been through it and come out the other side with older multiples and helping to support those with younger multiples who could look to your knowledge and experience to get them through tricky times.

The rates of multiples in the world may be increasing, but I still see having my two gorgeous twinnies as such a blessing. Yes, it can be hard, but the rewards far away the difficulties and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Know that they are only little for such a short amount of time and that those things which are stressing you out today (be that sleeping, feeding, or anything else) will only be a distant memory in a month or so. And until then, the multiple community feels for you and will be here!


How do we cope? Because they’re amazing!