Sunday, October 18, 2009


It seems astonishing but exactly one year ago, I was lying in bed a nervous wreck screening phone calls (everybody calls the night before a Caesar) with a bag packed for hospital. The twin I thought was Beatrice (but was actually Edgar) was angry and kicked me in the ribs all night -- his father actually felt him from the other side of the mattress. The twin I thought was Cecelia (but was actually George) lay their quietly flicking my bladder and so I spent that evening, as I had spent so many evenings, in bed or on the loo or somewhere in between.

Time has done funny things over the last 12 months. The year has been an odd one -- a lost year, really. The days and nights have gone achingly slowly, but it only seems 6 weeks ago that I was wedging pillows between my legs and under my tummy trying to find sleep. To think I thought that that was as difficult as things could get.

It may be sentimental, and God knows this entry is, but I am wearing the same pyjamas I wore in the hospital -- white with a Russian doll motive -- fitting garb for a woman filled with babies.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful boys, Edgar and George. We made it.


I went to join the toy library the other day. With the boys tiring of new toys in something between 2 and 20 minutes and the kitchen cupboard empty but for a handful of choking hazards, it seemed like a fine way to entertain my sons without caving in and letting them play with the sewing scissors. After we got banned from Sunglass Hut (management doesn't like customers to come in and lick products without purchasing), it seemed critical.

Our local toy library, however, is a rort. While the annual fee of $100 for twins is manageable, a parent is expected to volunteer for four sessions each year. FOUR sessions? Hasn't indentured labour been a bit on the nose in this country since we rightfully repatriated the Pacific Islanders in 1906? Of course, I was merrily told that I could bring the boys along. Ho Ho. And what alot of work we'd all get done then. Even if they let me take them along to the first session, however, I doubt we'd be invited back for a second. We're rarely invited anywhere twice.

So the shrewed economist in me undertook an analysis, and to join the toy library, I'd be looking at $350 including childcare but excluding medical fees (my boys can't spy other people's toys without picking up croup). But for parents in a similar predicament, the solution may be school fêtes. How good are school fêtes? I thought people only went to them for decent jam and the Dunkin Dunny, but it transpires that school fêtes are the perfect way to keep one's toybox well stocked without overpaying on ebay (I'm competitive) before being hit with hefty postage (it's expensive to freight a slide from Toowoomba) or facing a drive to Bacchus Marsh.

At the Nelson Street Kindergarten fête, we spent $28 and came home with so many garish toys, the boys have been entertained for hours. This weekend we returned from the St Kilda Primary fête with an abacus, 15 board books (all in excellent condition), flash cards (because what if my children really are genii and I've spent so long convincing myself they're developmentally delayed they BECOME developmentally delayed) and a whole heap of plastic things that play Mendelssohn over flashing lights and animal noises. Ooh baby, it's toy Nirvana. Who cares about that pre-natal pledge to purchase nothing but wood or felt? Surely, second-hand plastic doesn't count.

Parents, ditch your toy library and hit the school fête circuit. We'll be there, licking the sunglasses, buying up big and still getting a laugh out of the Dunkin Dunny. On the house.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Lost Art of Sleep

My twins bought their father a book entitled The Lost Art of Sleep for Fathers Day. It is written by Michael McGirr -- who is, as chance would have it, also a father of twins.
In an interview earlier this year, McGirr said that many friends were critical of the fact that his entire family slept in the same bed -- McGirr, his wife, their toddler and their twins. This was, however, perfectly acceptable, so he reasoned, as there was not alot of sleep going on. It was at that point I knew Michael McGirr was a man we had to have in our family library.
McGirr relays the moment during the ultrasound when the obstetrician pointed out two heartbeats on the monitor and informed him that they were expecting twins.

There were lots of hearts beating in that little room, which was just as well because mine had stopped for a moment.

I may only be 21 pages in (I'm so dang tired I only read 4 sentences a night) but I commend Michael McGirr's The Lost Art of Sleep -- to you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You know you're a mother of twins...

when you're so upset by the spontaneous arrival of guests just before bedtime, that you forget to greet them.