Seriously. WHAT is all the fuss about? I am either extremely lucky, half insane or half dead, but this motherhood biz is a piece of cake.
Granted, my dear babies are not mobile yet. Life may get interesting when I cannot find a child as it has rolled under the TV cabinet. (Mental note, move Sky box in the next two months). But life with these two darlings is, right now, quite lovely and stress-free.
Let me tell you about my last 5 months. I am hardly in the door when our neighbours start appearing. Let me paint you a picture. Our neighbours are all elderly and like a bit of gossip. So when our car turned into our street they were literally standing at our door. This was perhaps a little overwhelming. We have had some unusual encounters.
Encounter #1. One morning, a woman came barging at full speed into our lounge room (our front door was open as my husband was outside sorting out the car).
‘WHERE ARE THEY? WHERE ARE THEY?’ she exclaimed, a frenzy of blondey-grey hair and old-woman perfume filling my nostrils.
My husband popped his head in the door, eyes like dinner plates, um, this is Pat. She lives at no. 57.
Oh right. Yes, hello um Pat.
OOOOOOOOH aren’t they gorgeous, ooooooh they’re just gorgeous!!! kissing me on both cheeks. I had never seen this woman before in my life, and here she was, in my lounge room, kissing me and scaring my children.
I decided I would venture out on my own with the girls on PUBLIC TRANSPORT and meet my husband at his work. They are three weeks old. My husband and I sit at a table and start feeding the girls, conscious of the ticking lunch hour.
‘Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Twins!!!!’ exclaims an extraordinarily badly dressed Chinese woman at the table next to us.
‘Yes’ we smile.
She pulls her chair over and sits at our table. (Why?!)
‘What are they drinking?’ she says in very broken English.
‘Milk’, I say, looking at her tracksuit pants and ridiculously long hair that needs a good foot cut off the bottom. My husband is still glaring at me thinking WHY is she sitting at our table?
Breastmilk? se asks.
Chinese madwoman starts shaking her head in disagreement.
‘Oh no this is very bad, you must breastfeed’.
Now, dear readers. If there is one thing you do not do to a new mother, it is TELL them what to do. I could literally feel the horns breaking through my scalp.
Um no, I am not breastfeeding (for I do not live in a barn and I wish to have a life I felt like saying but decided to remain polite).
‘How old are they?’ she asked.
‘Oh, in China you do not take your children out in first month.’
Well, lovely Chinese woman, you will notice we are not in China.
She then went on about her visa situation and how she could not stay in the UK. This is where I thought ‘WHAT is wrong with this woman? Not only has she just joined us at our table uninvited, she has also told me I should be breastfeeding and confined to my home while wearing extremely bad attire, clothing I would not even wear while painting the inside of our garden shed, and NOW she is complaining about Home Office. Home Office deserved a gold medal in this case, I thought.
The girls are a couple of months old and we are out one Saturday night at our local Prezzo enjoying a 3-course meal, the girls asleep in their capsules and us celebrating their beauty with a bottle of Sangiovese house red.
A woman comes over and says ‘your girls are just beautiful. Here is a fiver to put in their moneybox.’
Another couple overheard the woman and presented us with another fiver.
By this stage I was getting concerned… Why were all these people giving us money? Do I look unkempt? Or maybe they just feel bloody sorry for my husband living with three women. In one outing we once made £17. Better order another bottle of Sangiovese then.
Oh my God. She has twins. Oh my God. WHY is she looking so calm?, I heard a group of mothers at a local cafe whisper.
What was I meant to look like? I had visions of my hair standing on end like those cartoons when they blast TNT. They are just little people in this pram, ladies, not polar bears from the bleedin’ Arctic. How hard can it be?
And that’s just it. It’s not hard. It’s fun. It’s a joy. ‘Oooooh I bet it’s hard,’ say the group of people standing around me at the supermarket (the attention twins get is staggering – and no, I do not give a shit about your cousin’s wife’s boss who had twins and now they’re 47 and play the guitar).
‘Um no, it’s ok.’ I say.
‘Ooooh I bet you don’t get much sleep.’
‘Um no, they sleep from about 7.30pm til 5-6am then go back to sleep til about 7.’
Do you know what it is, people? People overcomplicate things. Like when you get married. Oooooh you MUST buy this, and you MUST buy that and you MUST do this or else your husband-to-be will leave you and you will die. Rubbish. It is the same with having a baby. Or two. Ooooooooh you must have this coffee warmer that attaches to your pram (just drink the bloody coffee like everyone else). Or this onesie for just £28 that will fit them for approximately 5 weeks. Or this vibrating, singing chair that is so bright you feel like vomiting whenever you set eyes on it. The key to happy children is:
Change their nappies.
Smile at them. Even when you don’t really feel like it.
Talk to them. And it doesn’t have to be that coochie coochie coo nonsense.
Take them for a walk in the pram – it’s good for you and them.
Understand they need a routine but it changes.
That is it. Just because your baby is crying does not mean it needs a ridiculously ugly, expensive contraption to soothe it. Try interacting with your child. Oh wow look at that, it has stopped crying.
This is not to say I am some strange earth mother that gives my child leaves and twigs to play with. But I refuse to be one of those mothers whose lounge rooms look like a circus and every time the child voices a complaint panics and sticks them in front of yet another ugly gadget.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the first 8 weeks of twindom is gruelling. The most sleep you get at any one time is 3 hours. They poo and wee and vomm a lot. The washing machine is going constantly. Your husband leaves the house looking like a vampire. You eat peanut butter toast at 9.30pm for dinner again. But it does get easier. If you live in a two storey house a change table downstairs and upstairs is a godsend. So is a washing bin. You meet with friends and they say ‘oh they will start sleeping longer soon’ and you look at them one-eyed in disbelief. And then it happens. You wake up, panicking at 5am because you have slept over 5 hours and rush into their room…. And there they are STILL asleep and you cry because you know that a proper sleep is just around the corner.
And that’s it. The most important thing is to remember the WHOLE thing. That is, you wanted a baby more than anything else in the world. You created life. That is huge, and it is fabulous, so enjoy it. And have some more peanut butter toast and a Sangiovese.