Monday, 29 July 2013

Holiday hell... to holiday heaven

As the English school holidays get underway, and mums and dads south of the border frantically dream up six weeks' worth of fun things to do, stock up on crayons and Play-doh, and generally batten down the hatches, I've had a bit of a revelation. I was utterly dreading this holiday. The twins were so happy in their routine, but for a month-and-a-half, all they were going to have was me. Surely, we'd all go insane.
But with just two weeks left before the Scottish schools return, something strange has happened. I've realised I'm actually going to miss them...
Maybe putting them on the other side of the bars is the answer...

A London friend of mine started panicking the other day when she imagined a world without organised activities.
'We used to spend all day every day together,' she pointed out. 'But now, the thought having to dream up something to do every day is terrifying.'
I probably said those exact words at the end of June.
The first few times I took the twins to nursery were agony. They'd always had me. We'd always been a team. But as the months passed, and I saw the girls' confidence grow, I realised how good going has been for them. Both girls came out of their shells, and started to really look forward to their three afternoons a week. We filled another day with a morning of gymnastics and an afternoon of dance. In short, we were busy. But that was all being taken away. Everything just stopped for the holidays. It was just going to be me and three bright, boisterous bundles of energy. I was starting to panic.
And it wasn't just routine that was being taken from us. My husband has started working in London four days a week and, typically, his first day was also going to be the first one of the holidays. Not only would we have to cope without nursery, we'd have to cope without Daddy. I was really starting to panic.
But, you know what? I've loved these holidays. Yes, I couldn't have done it without being lucky enough to have fantastic grandparents on hand, and yes, I'm even more tired than usual, and yes, I've sprouted more than a few new grey hairs, but it's been, dare I say it, fun. As one routine was ripped out from under our feet, we've simply slipped in another. My dad visits twice a week, and we've been exploring anything and everything Perth has to offer. The museum and library are firm favourites, while the fabulous weather has meant much fun have picnics in the park. And when Daddy comes back each weekend, we've packed in as much fun as possible, with fabulous trips out to Scone Palace and The Beatrix Potter Exhibition in Birnam among the many highlights.
Jeremy Fisher, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Peter Rabbit
But the real revelation has been when my mum steps in. Twice a week, she's been taking two of my girls for a morning, while I take one, just one little person, out with me. Now, as any parent of multiples knows, this is an almost unheard-of luxury. Just one girl, all to myself. It's been wonderful. The twins have both blossomed on their own. G especially is more willing to try new things when she knows she has my full attention, but little T too obviously loves the one-on-one time. While G has, so far, insisted on our time being at the swimming pool, last week, T opted for the library. We snuggled up on a sofa and read book after book, before heading to the cafe for lunch. She grinned the whole time. And so did I. Even my time with M was been fantastic. Although she is more used to having me to herself when her sisters are at nursery, she's usually napping, or we go to the supermarket, or just play at home. When I took her alone to the swimming pool, I can tell at first she couldn't quite believe it. We were actually doing something. She loved it. And though I was exhausted from chasing her around and grabbing her before she leapt off things (M was born without any form of fear gene), I realised how much I'd missed this with all my girls.

Three little people
When the nursery goes back and the classes restart in two weeks' time, yes, I will sigh with relief. yes, I'll enjoy having some time to myself, even if it is just to do housework, and yes, I'll be relieved that the girls are once more being entertained and . But mostly, I'll miss my girls. They are already looking forward to heading back to preschool, so much so that from next month, they'll be going to nursery four days instead of three. But it seems our Mummy one-on-one time is once again going to be a distant dream. Until the October holidays that is. I'm already lining up Granny for babysitting duties. I've loved really getting to know my girls, and I don't plan on stopping now. I'm a mum-of-three, but I'm also G's mummy and T's mummy and M's mummy. I might have to spend a lot of time telling two to be patient while I deal with the other one, and I have to accept that they are going to get annoyed by the lack of attention. But I plan on grabbing these little glimpses of one-on-one parenting whenever I can. If you possibly can, try it. You never know who you'll meet!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Flying solo

G (right) only had me to herself for one minute before her little sister came along!

The first few months and years with your firstborn are wonderful, aren't they? Just you and your precious little one night and day. Getting to know each other. Feeding, cuddling, playing... Just the two of you. Well, unless your firstborn is only your only child for one minute.
Twin mums don't get one-on-one time. Ever. In the three-and-a-half years since my girls were born, I can count on one hand (well, hold up for one of them to count on one hand) the number of times I've had either of them to myself. Even then it's been to go to the doctor or the supermarket.
But this week, with the nursery on summer holiday and Granny on hand for babysitting duties, I packed up the towels and costumes and took my eldest swimming all by herself. G loved it. Usually a bit nervous, taking her time to analyse every situation, she threw herself in (not literally, obviously). Despite the fact that, with the schools off, the pool was busier than we're used to, she was in her element.
When we've gone before as a family, she's taken things slowly, hardly daring to brave the little slide, and getting no closer to swimming than walking round the baby pool. But happily gripping my hand, clearly delighted to have me all to herself, she marched straight into the water, giggling and insisting on being swum round to the outside pool to practise jumping in. Encouraged by her enthusiasm, I laid down a challenge.
'Do you want to try swimming?' I suggested. 'You're such a big clever girl now.'
A flash of uncertainty crossed her adorable little face. But it lasted no more than a second or two.
'OK,' she smiled. 'But don't let go!'
I mauoeuvred my way round in front of her, and held her under her arms. She clung on to me for a second... then spread her arms wide and soared! Kicking her legs delightedly behind her, her face lit up.
'It's like flying!' she giggled. 'I love floating!'
We circumnavigated the pool more times than I can count, floating round the wild water time and time again. It was wonderful. When G finally tired herself out, we giggled our way to the changing rooms (so much easier to get dressed with just one rather than three in there, by the way) then up to the cafe for lunch. My shy little mouse went up the the counter by herself, chatting sweetly to the lady behind the till as she handed over her money. She was flourishing.

Someone's having fun!
When we got back to Granny's, she couldn't wait to regale T and M with her adventures. And I couldn't wait to regale Granny.
I'm honestly not sure who loved our morning more. I've always been very careful to not treat my twins as a set, never dressing them alike, playing up their different looks and personalities. But in truth I'm probably more guilty of seeing them as a pair than anyone else. They've always done everything together. I often have M to myself when the girls are at nursery, or the twins and I go somewhere while the little one is with a grandparent. Why haven't I done this before? Each one of my girls is so different and so special. It was fantastic to get to really know G as just G. Not as a twin, or a sister, or a combatant in the latest fight I'm refereeing. Just G. And a wonderful little G at that.
And tomorrow, I get my T time. Will she let loose like G? Or just want to sit quietly, proving how different she is from her sister? I know I will never be able to stop comparing them to each other, or to M for that matter. The ways they are alike and differences between them, their strengths and their weaknesses are what make them all so much fun. But they're not a set. They're three fantastic little people who I can't wait to get to know.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

School's out for summer

I loved school holidays. Six weeks of freedom. Long days playing and running, imagining and dreaming. In our three neighbouring terraced houses, there were six of us all about the same age. Each garden was small, but combined, they were our world. A children's paradise of hideaways and secret stashes. Across the road, where the bigger houses were set back, there was an expanse of coloured paving slabs, dotted with rose-filled flowerbeds. Those slabs could entertain six pre-teens for hours. And there was more. Two streets back was a grass-covered cliff full of trees and plants and all the secret dens a child could want. I loved the summer holidays.
But now, I'm on the other side. Now, stretching before me are six-and-a-half whole weeks with no nursery, no dance class, no toddler gymnastics... just me and three bored preschoolers. What the hell am I going to do with them?

Summer with my girls... What could go wrong??

The memory of how hard it was to leave the twins at nursery for the very first time is still raw in my mind, but those days are long gone. Now, they love preschool, running in each day and giving only the briefest of kisses before they dive into the nearest game. They like the routine it's brought to our lives too. On Tuesdays, Granny takes M for the afternoon, while I borrow her car to take the girls to the school, which is a bit too far (and too uphill) for them to walk every day just yet. On Wednesdays, we all get on bus number 7, while on Thursdays, Grandad visits and we enjoy a fun morning at the library or playpark before lunch out and another bus trip. They like knowing what to expect. I like knowing it too. Now, every day is stretching out before us, empty and unplanned. Even the toddler gymnastics and dance class that give our Mondays structure stop for the holidays. All we have to do is whatever I can think of in my own head. My own exhausted, uncreative old head. For a month-and-a-half. We're all doomed.
I know some mums will have stocked up on craft supplies, booked holiday clubs and days out, you know, made plans. It's all I can usually do to get organised enough to get out the door each day. I spent most of my time merely trying to stay on top of the mess. I'm not arty or creative. I read a lot to the girls and can make a mean Brio train track, but will that be enough for six weeks?
I so glad I have family nearby. My dad comes twice a week, and my mum is keeping her Tuesdays free as usual, which is a huge help. We're already planning on her taking M plus one twin at a time so I can finally give G and T the one-on-one time I've been promising them. But all that still leaves four whole days a week to fill. On Saturdays and Sundays, though, we will have Daddy on hand. Two exhausted heads have to be better than one for dreaming up child-friendly plans, surely. OK, so now we're down to just Wednesdays and Fridays to fill. Well, if the weather holds, the garden should take care of some of that. We have a sandpit and a ball-pool and a selection of pop-up tunnels and tents which are great fun (as long as I don't have to pop them down again. Honestly, who the hell can do that without resorting to merely ramming them into a cupboard and slamming the door shut?). Then there are always other children. I've already got invites out and now we just have to set some dates. Visitors here, and trips to friends' houses should provide a wealth of fun. And most importantly, tire the little angels out.
You know, maybe I can get through this. I just have to take one day at a time. I might not be the world's most imaginative mum, but I know my girls.We might get a bored sometimes, we might lose our tempers, and heaven knows, there will be fights. But we'll get through it. We're a family. Spending all our time together is kind of the point. We just have to embrace it. A few months ago, the thought of not being with my girls all day every day was like a dagger to the gut. For nearly three years, they were always with me. Giving that up was agony, so surely getting those days back is a dream come true? We'll have a blast. We'll have fun. So much fun. After all, it's only six weeks. Six whole weeks. Just me and them all day, every day for six whole weeks... Oh dear...

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Better together?

It was the end-of-term nursery assembly. We been looking forward to it for weeks. With the twins showing great leaps in confidence, finally seeming to really enjoy going to preschool, we couldn't wait to see the effects on stage. At the Easter show, both had shyly performed a few actions, but didn't seem to want to sing anywhere near as loudly as they do at home. Now, though, our hopes were high.

G and T seemed to have left their shy days behind them

G and T have both come on in leaps and bounds. T especially always bursts in each day, showing off whatever she's wearing to teachers and children alike, and throwing herself into the nearest game. G is still the shyer of the two, but she always seems pleased to be going, and has begun to talk to the teachers in a voice they can actually hear. They have both spontaneously drawn pictures at home that they insist on taking to their teachers, and are always telling tales about their little friends. In the dance class I take them too, they are in their element. By all accounts, they have the whole class in giggles as they gleefully pretend to be elephants or fairies. At home, they sing from dusk until dawn. They know the words to any nursery rhyme you could care to mention, and aren't afraid to ad lib if they do find themselves at a loss. In short, I was sure they were going to stand on that school stage and shine.
And, well, one of them did. T grinned from start to finish. She joined in all the actions, smiling a huge smile at the teacher hidden away behind the curtain if she did need a memory prompt. She looked so proud as she waved to Mummy and Daddy, Grandad, Grandma and her wee sister, and laughed and smiled with the little girl seated next to her. M, in the audience, copied along as best she could, singing and wiggling and generally having to be restrained from jumping on the stage. My girls are clearly born performers. Well, two of them are.
G did nothing. Seated on the other side of the stage from her sister, she sat cross-legged, with her arms folded in front of her and didn't utter a word. She'd been handed a pair of socks to hold up during the Spotty Sock Song, but they sat, untouched, on her laps, despite the best encouraging efforts of her teacher. When she had to move at one point when a few of the older kids stood up to sing, she was physically shuffled along by the teacher. Nothing could bring a reaction. She was still. Mute. It broke my heart.

But what's going on behind those big brown eyes?

Maybe she wasn't as confident as I'd thought. Maybe she was still scared. She looked so small. I wished they'd seated her with her sister, sure that she would have felt so much more comfortable. Sure enough, as they filed out, at the end, I don't know whether G reached for comfort or if T sensed her sister needed her, but they were hand in hand. I melted. They had each other again. They could always have each other. With still a year left to make the decision, I resolved there and then that I would request they be placed in the same class in primary school. My husband and I talked about it that night.
'I think it made the school decision easier,' I said after we'd discussed the show.
'Yes,' he nodded. 'I think it is right to separate them.'
Maybe we need that year to decide after all.
We both saw each other's arguments. I feel they have a huge advantage and I don't see why we should deny them it. I know most kids goes to school alone, but they haven't had a constant companion their whole life. They've faced everything together. We would be ripping the girls apart. But they are by no means joined at the hip in nursery, often playing separately and barely noticing if the other is taken out of the room. I don't think they need to be split up, so why do it?
My husband meanwhile pointed out that G perhaps needed a push out of T's shadow. She's perfectly happy playing alone, but tends to follow T's lead when joining with others. Most of their friends I think are ones T has made for both of them. If they go to school together, they'll probably sit together and the pattern will continue. Perhaps they'd both benefit from having to find their own way.
We ended up even arguing the other's side. My ever-practical husband wondered whether separate classes would mean separate activities, and our lives would become a logistical nightmare. I meanwhile, conceded that it would be good for the girls not to be seen as a set. Although I think this is far less of a problem for non-identical twins like mine, there is a tendency to see multiples as a unit, to think that they share the same skills, have the same personality. Nothing could be further from the truth with G and T, but perhaps our placing them in the same class would emphasise this stereotype.
We were getting nowhere. All I knew was that the thought of separating them was like a dagger to my gut. And that my finding it difficult shouldn't be a determining factor.
For now, I'm going to have a word with G's key worker, and check that my original thoughts were correct. That G has grown in confidence, and that the show was a blip. I hope that she shows her true personality to everyone there. She is brights, bubbly, emotional, feisty and oh so clever. I worry that by being shy, she is not being stimulated. She has always has a flair for language, and having been doing spelling and phonetics at home, both G and T are starting to be able to read. If she says nothing, will she be getting bored? Do the teachers have any idea what she's capable of? Or does she sit quietly, saying nothing?
I take comfort in my own early school reports, which always highlighted my good test scores and obvious intelligence (my skills may have waned in the past three decades, but I was quite the clever 5-year-old you know!) but time and again, said I was painfully shy. My parents couldn't understand it, often double-checking the name on the report. I was anything but quiet at home. I was cheeky and loud and always had to be the centre of attention. I eventually came out of my shell in the outside world, and I'm sure G will too. I just can't decide how best to help her do it.
To separate or not the separate. We've got a year to decide...

Photos copyright SS Kelman (

Sunday, 16 June 2013

S2S2D Blog Hop!

Today, I'm honoured to be hosting the Shoulder To Shoulder To Day (#S2S2D) Blog Hop for Emma Day at Crazy With Twins. Mine is only a teeny blog, but I'm delighted that it has led me to a group of people willing to stand together with someone who needs a wee boost. When Emma was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, then found out she needed to be isolated, unable to touch, let along cuddle her husband and three kids, Vic at VerilyVictoriaVocalises, and FireflyPhil decided that we needed to do something. we needed to make Emma smile!
We were all delighted by the news that Emma managed to kick her treatment's arse just as firmly as she is going to kick cancer's arse. But the decision was taken to carry on with the Blog Hop. And the brief remains the same. Emma's still going through a very worrying and exhausting time. So let's make her smile!
I'd love for you all to link up a wee post below (this is my first ever Linky, so sorry if there are any teething problems!). Anything goes, as long as it's cheery!
So, to kick things off, I thought I'd share what makes me smile. My girls.
Emma and I have a few things in common, not least that we are both mums to twins plus one. We both know how hard it can be to have three young kids on your hands. And we both know that no one will ever ever make you laugh as much as they do.
My girls are comedians, and have been from day one, so below are a selection of my favourite shots of my absolute favourite people.
Get well soon Emma! x

These little angels were the answer to my prayers
They soon grew cheeky...
... and always had a smile!

G was a classic beauty
While T was full of cheeky charm

They had some odd habits...
... could always strike a pose...
... and were known to run riot!

They always had each other

Then suddenly, they had a new playmate!
But Mummy's little bundle of joy...
Soon turned just a cheeky as her sisters!

And she always had entertainers on hand!
In short, these girls are my lovable, hilarious life!

Silent Sunday

Monday, 10 June 2013

Parenting under the influence

This week I got drunk. I went out with actual adults and drank actual alcohol. I never do that any more. Turns out there's a very good reason for that. Oh God, the hangover... I wanted to curl up in a ball and sob. Only I can't. I'm a mum-of-three. Mercifully, it was Sunday, so my husband was there to take up the slack. Having attempted to get up and help them get dressed, but been unable to actually hold myself upright without vomiting, I pleaded for mercy and retreated back to bed. I needed a day off.

 I love this little lot... but a day off would be nice

A day off. I haven't had one of those for three-and-a-half years. Before kids, if you are ill or exhausted or have the hangover from hell, you can pull the duvet back over your head and plan nothing more for the day than a heroic trip to the loo or, if you're feeling really ambitious, the kettle. But as I curled back round the sick basin, the guilt pounded in my already-pounding head. Mine is not the kind of job that comes with sick days and holidays and tea breaks. It's an 24-hour, seven-days-a-week kind of deal. 
I've got up and cared for my girls through vomiting bugs from which I was also suffering, I've survived on barely any sleep, but still made it to the playpark, and through four months of morning sickness, I provided two toddlers with three meals a day, every mouthful of which made me want to throw up.
But finally, after three-and-a-half years, I was beaten. I don't know whether it was my age (possibly), the fact I hardly ever drink now (probably) or the beer that seemed a really good idea after an evening of wine, wine and more wine (most definitely), but I felt awful. Skin-tearingly, soul-devastatingly awful. I could barely move without vomiting, and just wanted to sleep forever. It hadn't helped that little M had decided not only to have a disturbed night, but also to reject her father and demand only her wreck of a mummy sit up with her half the night. Unable to sleep off my excesses, they hit me fall-force the following day. 
But I never take time off. I've had a few days out, and get some regular time to myself every Tuesday with the twins and nursery and M with my mum. But I still get them dressed, I still get them breakfast and find their shoes and make sure everyone has their bag. I still get back in time to cook their tea and bath them and kiss them goodnight. I've had only one night away from my girls in their life, and that was unintended when a flight back from a funeral got cancelled. I'm a full-time mum. Literally.
But I couldn't do it. I had to go back to sleep. So I swallowed the guilt (then threw it back up again. Probably) and shut away my world. Until lunchtime. Even dying didn't get me a whole day off. By 2pm, I was up and dressed, and taking the girls round to see their granny, who went all maternal herself, and nursed me with tea and toast. I guess you never take time off from being a mum. I know as the girls get older, they'll start making their own breakfast, taking their own baths, going out with their own friends, and I'll get more time off. I'll be less vital. I may even take more time for myself. I'll be about to go out with friends, relax and have a glass of wine... Not that I'm ever drinking again... Where's that basin...

Photos copyright SS Kelman (     

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Cast away

I've always loved Radio 4. Loved it. Runs in the family. I was practically weaned on it. I was listening to Desert Island Discs the other day (I say listening, it was more 'struggling to hear over the incessant questions and fights and accidents...) and automatically started trying to choose the eight songs I'd take with me if I were cast astray. Turns out it's not as easy as it seems. I'd caveat these choices with the note that there were a lot of discs that only just missed the cut, and if you asked me to write this list again next year, or even next week, it'd probably be different, but nonetheless, here they are, my Desert Island Discs...

1) The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel. Like Radio 4, I was weaned on Simon and Garfunkel. My mum was a massive fan, and I probably first heard this song in the womb. It will forever remind me of the long drive up to see my grandparents in Nairn, singing harmonies (admittedly not that harmoniously) with mum and my sisters.

2) Can't Take My Eyes Off You by Andy Williams. This was the first dance at my wedding, largely because my then-fiancé, loved singing his own lyrics along to the chorus... 'I love you, Aaaaaaa-mmmmy, da da da daa daa da da da, Aaaaaaa-my, blah blah blah'. Will always and forever make me smile, even if I can't ever remember the real words.

3) Don't Stop Me Now by Queen. This became the theme song of the first magazine I ever worked on in London. We were a new launch, all thrown in together, working (and playing) hard to make it a success. It was, by the way, and we had a lot of fun doing it!

4) Graceland by Paul Simon. Quite simply, the best song from the best album ever written.

5) Mr Brightside by The Killers. Impossible not the dance to, and I plan on dancing a lot on my little island with no one there to tell me to stop.

6) Cello Suite No. 1 by JS Bach. The greatest piece of music ever composed. On my island, I'd be so far from home, but this music has the power to lift me up to the skies. Soul-movingly beautiful.

7) Horny by Mousse T. OK, so perhaps a leap from Bach, but this song recalls Kavos in 98. Me, my best mate, sun, sand, ouzo, oh so much ouzo... and the best girls' holiday ever. And, you know, I'm going to be cast away without my husband. A woman has needs...

8) Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by my daughters (and Mozart). Bit of a cheat here, but if someone is banishing me across the sea, I can at least demand that they record my babies all singing together. They all love to sing and dance, and no other recording could ever capture that for me. To me, their crazy, shouty version is the best!

Book. So, Radio 4 give you the Bible, and the Complete Works of Shakespeare, which would keep me pretty busy, but this is a tough one. Although I don't get nearly enough time to do it these days, I love to read. But is it wise to take a trusted classic I'd read again and again, like Pride and Prejudice or East of Eden, or risk something new that I will keep me busy on the long, lonely days? I've agonised over this one, but in the end, I've decided that if I don't find time to read on my island, I never will, so I'd take a book I just never seem to get round to getting into, but know I'll love. Les Misèrables by Victor Hugo.

Luxury item. I always imagined that this would be a bed. I love sleeping. A firm mattress, clean, fresh sheets, snuggling down after a hard day's fishing or swimming or generally pottering around my island... Bliss. But motherhood has changed me. Although my girls are in my head forever and always, I'd like a photograph album full of them, my husband, my family and my friends. If I can't have them in person, I'll need the memories.

And finally, if a storm swept my new home, and I could only rescue on precious disc, which would I grab from the waves. This is almost impossible. A world where I never hear Paul Simon's voice again seems wrong, and the lose my girls singing would be heart-breaking. But in the end, I know I wouldn't need a record to hear them. They are always in my head. I just can't imagine living without hearing Bach again. I'd save the cello suite and use it to transport me to another world, high above my little island.

So, there you go, my Desert Island Discs. I'd love to hear yours!!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sick day

I usually love firsts. First smiles, first words, first steps... I've savoured every first three times over. But this one wasn't quite as much fun. Today the twins had their first sick day from nursery.

My poorly little mouse 

Poor little G seems to have taken the brunt of our latest tummy bug. M is grumpy and producing some, erm, interesting nappies, while other than one manic dash for the toilet and a lack of appetite, T has been pretty much her normal self. But G was been sleepy and emotional all week. She missed her beloved dance class on Monday as she fell asleep on the way home from gymnastics. The twins haven't had a daytime nap in about a year. On Tuesday, though, she seemed her normal self and headed off the nursery as normal. I figured we'd had a lucky escape.
Until 6 o'clock this morning. I woke up suddenly. Once I'd sucked the dribble off face and become conscious enough to form thoughts, I realised I could hear my eldest sobbing. G is a brilliant sleeper, and only ever cries out if she's poorly. I rushed (well, stumbled in a sleep-deprived haze, trying to force my arm into an inside-out dressing gown sleeve) into the girls' room. G was sitting up in bed.
'What's the matter, honey?' I cooed, stroking her hair. Her eyes were barely open.
'I'm not tired any more!' she sobbed, falling asleep in my arms.
Unsure of what else to do, I tiptoed back out of the room. But it only lasted 30 minutes.
When her cries woke me again, they unfortunately woke M too. 
'I'm not tired any more!' G wailed as I tried to sneak the two of them out of the room without waking the third one.
Exhausted but realistic, I headed into our bedroom to collect my slippers before heading downstairs. While I got a grumpy but resolutely awake M out of her sleeping bag, G crawled up next to her daddy and promptly fell asleep. She stayed there until 9am. Even when she came downstairs, it was only to drink and then throw up some milk, then fall back asleep on the sofa. When, T suddenly sprinted upstairs shrieking that she needed a poo, I knew nursery was out of the question.
I called in, then explained to the twins that they wouldn't be able to go back until next week, to make sure the other girls and boys didn't get poorly too. Instantly, they both sat up straighter.
'But I'm not poorly any more!' insisted G, her eyes still not quite managing to stay fully open.
'I won't be sick,' T added.
As bad as I felt having to insist they stayed at home, I admit I was pleased. We've finally turned that corner. Since returning from the Easter holidays, the twins have been really enthusiastic about preschool. They talk about their friends, and practically run to the door. G is still very shy with the teachers, but she managed to stand up and do a show and tell about her beloved Mickey Mouse, and is really coming out of her shell. T's shell is long gone. She bursts into that building full of smiles and showing off her dress of her hair, grabbing G's hand whenever her sister hesitates. 
I confess I still get a bit fluttery and can't quite relax and enjoy my time without them, but knowing they're not pining for me really helps. 

I can't help it. I just like being with these monkeys!

But today, they had to make do with Mummy. They coped well. G perked up a bit, and we managed to enjoy some time in the garden. They all passed out as soon as their heads hit the pillows, so I hope they're all sleeping off any remaining ill effects. I feel utterly shattered. Sleep-deprived, yes, but I hadn't realised how much a creature of habit I'd become. Wednesday afternoons usually mean dropping the twins at nursery, then hoping M goes for a nap in the buggy so I can do some shopping or grab a coffee. Having to entertain them instead felt very odd. 
I think maybe this will be my turning point. Nursery isn't just fun for the girls, it's good for me too. Having those few hours apart helps me be a better mum when we're all together. I'm more determined than ever to start really using that time for myself. Not shop for food or tidy or simply clock watch until I get my babies back. They've started to enjoy time away from me, and I should follow their lead. When they next head for nursery, I will sit down, relax and enjoy it... promise...