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Saturday, 30 May 2015

#29 Our Day Out (And why it's impossible to nip out with twins...)

We had our first full day out today. I used the word ‘full’ even though we were only out for less than an hour. It just took all day to get ready.

First thing to negotiate was the pram. If you know what you’re doing it’s a piece of cake. If you haven’t got a clue it’s a massive Rubik’s Cube you’re scared to break.

I loved Transformers as a kid but I’m permanently scarred from snapping Megatron’s leg off one Christmas with a hapless transform attempt. I spent the next few weeks trying to convince my mates that he was only supposed to have one leg but they didn’t buy it. And my parents wouldn’t buy me a new one so I ended up breaking the leg off my Mr. T figure and surgically connecting it to poor old Megatron with some chewed up Hubba Bubba. The results were less than satisfying and I don’t think Mr. T was too impressed with my Dr. Frankenstein style solution either.

So I was being very careful when pushing and pulling the various bits, trying to make them click into place. There’s so many accessories to the pram it’s difficult to know which is which and at times I felt like I was on The Cube trying to complete a task. At one point I had the carry cot clipped on sideways which made it look more like an incredibly middle class wheelbarrow.

I don’t want to give undue advertising to anyone so I won’t mention the brand name of the pram but let’s just say it rhymes with ‘Mugaboo Wonky’. We bought it second hand because we’re not on the Forbes list - these things are £1600 brand new. That’s a full day’s worth of nappies if you have twins. My first car only cost £700 although I suppose that old Ford Fiesta didn’t have a removable side-bag.

We fed both the lads, changed and dressed them in their first ‘going out’ clothes. They looked really cute so I grabbed the camera just in time to see Ben puke all over himself. I picked him up to try to minimize the damage and he aimed his second wave perfectly down my t-shirt. I took Ben into the next room and through the doorway behind me heard Zac make a belch noise that sounded like a disgruntled frog watching his team lose. As burps go, this one sounded wetter than a Volvic staff trip to the swimming baths.

I dashed back in but Zac hadn’t actually puked. It had been that rarest and most beautiful of occurances – a clean burp. The excitement and misplaced pride took over my better judgement and I stooped down to kiss him on the cheek with a slightly patronizing well done, son. As my lips touched his cheeks he vomited with the force of an angry power shower. His timing was impeccable because he managed to coat me, Ben and himself in almost equal amounts of his second-hand milk. It looked like Mr Stay Puft the Marshmallow Man had exploded in our living room.

Then he started to cry. As he inhaled between bawls he got a rogue piece of regurgitated milk wedged in his nostril which made him cry more. This made Ben cry too for some reason, I presume in a loyal act of brotherly empathy. I considered joining them for a split second before realizing I’m 36 and this is all part of the rich experience of parenthood. Anyway, where would the highs be without the lows? I can’t even begin to enjoy a picnic unless I’ve been first stung in the eyes by a wasp.

We changed them into new ‘going out’ outfits and got them in the pram. I felt a rumbling in Zac but didn’t know which way it was heading. It turned out the rumble didn’t know either and decided to go both – it was a classic Puke / Trump Dirty Double © It wasn’t comparable to the first phase but like an earthquake’s aftershock there was still considerable damage, mainly to their clothes and my emotional wellbeing. We changed them once again, this time into scruffy sleepsuits as there was no ‘going out’ clothes left that we wanted to instantly ruin.

Pram assembled – check!
Babies in pram – check!

Time to leave the house, finally! But the pram was too big for our front door so we had to dismantle the whole thing and reassemble outside. The day was slipping away from us like a bar of cheap soap in a camp site shower block, but at least we were outside now.

Walking down our street pushing our lads for the first time felt liberating. A neighbour stopped us and said they didn’t realise we’d had a baby. “We’ve had two!” we both chimed in sugary sweet unison.

I was suddenly very aware of every possible threat to my sons and my role as protector. I was swatting away flies and nearly swung a punch at this poor bee that buzzed through our periphery. Then there were the dogs.

I’m petrified of dogs or at least I used to be – I heard some loud, aggressive barking behind us and instead of me freezing up and a bit of wee coming out like normally happens, I simply slowly turned round to confront this wild beast. I could barely believe what I was doing but I stood my ground directly in between my family and this rabid monster. (Think when George McFly finally fronts up to Biff in Back To The Future.) I stared it right in the eye and mouthed the words don’t you even dare come a step closer until it gave up and trotted off. I can’t stand Jack Russells.

Crossing the road hasn’t felt like a challenge since I was eight but with this pram in front of me I was now playing a real life game of Frogger. I naively thought that all the traffic would stop when they saw a double pram trying to get across the road but they almost seemed to speed up, the bastards.

All our time in the park was spent being stopped by strangers who wanted to coo over the boys. It was lovely the first twelve times but then it did start to drag a bit.

“Ooooh, how much did they weigh?” (Women love asking that question about babies but get very offended when I ask them what their own stats are.)

And then it was time to come home.

On the way back we found ourselves in a Mexican stand-off with another pram on a thin piece of pavement. I was about to move backwards (complete with reverse noise beeping) but they quickly moved out of the way. I felt like the big truck in Stephen King’s Duel. I reckon I could throw my weight around with this pram.

When we got back home it was getting dark. We felt like we’d circumnavigated the Gobi desert.

We’d been out of the house for 47 minutes.

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Monday, 25 May 2015

#28: The Curious Case of Benjamin's Belly Button

I’m not someone who claims to know everything. Far from it, my knowledge has more gaps than Shane MacGowan’s teeth. For instance, I never knew that 1367 was a prime number or that camel’s milk doesn’t curdle and these are basic, simple facts that we all know from birth.

But one thing I’m sure nobody realizes until they have a baby themselves is that their belly buttons don’t drop off immediately. I am the only one who didn’t know?

We don’t tend to focus on the truly gross bits of babies. All the attention is quite correctly on the incredible feelings of connection and bond to your newborn, or the overwhelming sense of protection you have towards your baby. And because of this, the fact that your little lad has a scabby piece of Vimto crust hanging off his stomach gets ignored.

I’m not a prude and I don’t tend to get squeamish but that thing is enough to turn your stomach. Especially when you’re changing his nappy and the belly button pops his head down just to see what’s going on, like a hyperactive puppy when the door bell rings.

“Hey guys! What’s happening down here? Somethings happening! Can I get involved? Please let me get involved!”

I’ve documented my problems with nappy changing in great detail and this didn’t help one bit.

In the hospital I remember staring at this putrid string of aubergine for the first time and I’m not going to lie, I thought it was his willie. While totally horrified at the colour and its general demeanor, part of me was jealous of the size. Then I realized it was pegged down and that would be weird. So I quickly checked the other babies on the Special Care ward and they all had them too, even the girls. Then I noticed it was hanging off his belly button area, which would have made things clearer for me from the beginning really.

Zac’s fell off while he was still in hospital. Ben’s hung on for three weeks like an unwanted party guest at your house. In the end we turned the music off and started yawning until it got the hint and phoned a taxi.

When it fell off it was the middle of the night and my sleep deprived stupor made me think it was wriggling away like some kind of fugitive louse. I was half tempted to go and grab a glass and envelope like you do with a spider. When sanity prevailed and I saw it was just a tiny piece of gristle I actually considered putting it in the memory box we’ve been putting together for the boys but then quickly realized that would be fairly gruesome. Especially if you opened the box years later and it wasn’t there. I can hear the creepy horror music just thinking about it.   

If I ever meet whoever designed the prototype for newborn babies I’d complement them on the standard design and most of the added features but I’d definitely suggest something a bit more user friendly in place of these disgusting belly button things. Maybe an MP3 player or something.

Well, that and the fact that sometimes babies forget to breathe for up to five seconds. FIVE SECONDS. Whoever came up with that needs a slap.

Back tomorrow.

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Day 27 - Bath Night Blues Part II

This blog is a sequel to Bath Night Blues. As sequels go it was disappointing. (If you haven’t read the first one this will still make sense, don’t worry. It's not The Matrix.)

Kids are supposed to enjoy baths, aren’t they? I can only assume that our two lads would rather stink like a yak’s armpits than get a good wash.

This one started off so promisingly  – no cries when I removed their sleepsuits and only a mild frown when nappies were taken off. Then we slowly lowered them into the perfectly-monitored bath water like you might carefully dunk a wafer biscuit into your cuppa, and still no tears. In fact, Ben pulled one of those grimace-come-smirk faces that babies seem to be keen on. We dunked them a little deeper until both lads had their legs fully submerged.

They looked at each other and then at us, then both grumbled a low end murmur that seemed to suggest they were enjoying this against their better instincts.

I got over confident at this point and dripped about a thimbleful of water onto Zac’s shoulders. He was quick to let me know this was a mistake.

The transition from total bliss to sheer terror was almost immediate as their facial expressions changed quicker than Clark Kent in a phone box.

There was a brief but beautiful moment when their synchronised screaming connected in a divine harmony. But it was a short lived moment of respite in an otherwise miserable ten minutes, like someone complementing your shoes in the middle of a savage street beating.

I thought we’d turned a corner but it turns out that corner led us right back to Bawling Baby Boulevard. 

They’re starting to dread bath night. So are we.

Back tomorrow.

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Day 26 - Pump Up The Jam

Last night my wife said, ‘A quick pump then off to bed.’  When we were trying to get pregnant it used to be the other way around.

She was of course referring to her loyal and trusty double breast pump which is now a part of the furniture in our house. To confirm this I sat on it yesterday, accidentally of course.

It’s such a viscous little contraption I’m surprised it didn’t embed itself into my sizeable behind and start pumping me, like some low budget 1950’s horror movie.


That would be terrifying. I also appreciate it’s an image that nobody needs in their head.

I got in from work the today and did my standard and unnecessarily camp ‘DADDY’S HOME!’ (complete with jazz hands) as I opened the door. There was no response so assuming my wife was enjoying a well deserved nap I quietly shuffled towards the lounge. As I got closer to the door I started to make out the angry, repetitive grinding noise of this double pumping industrial bastard while it drained my poor wife, physically and spiritually. I popped my head round the door and she looked at me with a face that said you’ll never know what a total pain in the backside this is. 

I considered explaining how I’d sat on the pump yesterday so had a rough idea but it wasn’t the time for jokes, especially incredibly unfunny ones.

Having seen how our lads handle the bottle teats I think my wife made the right decision early on to express and bottle feed rather than let them get the good stuff direct from the tap. They violently fling their heads around until they latch on and then keep ragging from side to side like a dog with a new squeaky toy. It’s obviously too early to predict but at this stage it’s hard to see them being gentle lovers when they come of age.

I always thought I’d like to taste this liquid gold when I got the chance but now the shop is open for business I’m not sure I fancy it. Maybe if I mixed it with a bit of Nesquik? Or in my coffee?

I’m sure there’s a funky hipster coffee shop somewhere in Shoreditch that could easily charge eight quid for a skinny breast milk latte.

Back tomorrow.

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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Day 25 - Baby Fat

I thought the phrase baby fat was to describe the baby, not the parent.

I weigh myself every Tuesday night, not because I’m obsessed but because I have a propensity for binge eating that will otherwise get out of control. I’m not a fat man either, at least not on the outside. Although somewhere inside me there’s definitely a roly-poly porker waiting to get his own Channel 5 documentary.

I use the Nintendo Wii Fit to track my progress which is the worst thing to do because it gives you stats. Nobody needs stats. Apparently I’ve been weighing myself for 1,867 days and I still haven’t reached my target weight. On the flip side, at least my self-esteem has plummeted after digesting that data.

But easily the worst thing about the Wii Fit is that your avatar on the screen changes size depending on your weight that week. Satisfying if you’ve lost weight but the increase in on-screen girth and accompanying negative sound effects last night were enough to drive me to shovel ice cream into my face in the kitchen. In my undies. If you’re standing up and crying with the freezer open while you eat it doesn’t count, right?

(Best thing was when my wife, who hadn't weighed herself since before the pregnancy, jumped on the Wii Fit the night before we went to get induced. The on screen avatar nearly exploded.)

I got a warning yesterday when I sat on the toilet and it creaked. That's just not right.

I do like exercise. But I like food more. Cheese, chocolate, pastry. I’m dribbling on the keyboard just thinking of it.

When you first get into a serious relationship with someone and your life feels complete you eat like it’s going out of fashion. You feel secure and superficial looks don’t matter anymore. I think since the boys were born this has got even further out of hand.

It started with our long hospital stay. I’d conveniently pass a MacDonalds every night between Alder Hey and the Women’s Hospital and what started as a treat quickly became an obsession and then addiction. After three nights on the trot under the Golden Arches I swore I wouldn’t go there again and I didn’t. The next night I went to KFC followed by Burger King the night after that.

It’s hard to look after yourself when you’re looking after two babies though. When you’ve spent most of the day scraping dried vomit from your neck or cleaning bottoms that produce more waste than Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, if someone offers you a custard cream you don’t think about the calories. You just grab the whole packet and shove them down your neck like a sword swallower who's showing off.

The Wii Fit told me I'd put on 6 lbs this last week. To put this into perspective, that's what Zac weighed when he was born. I've put on a full Zac this week. I don't want either of the lads to think there's any favouritism going on so I'm going to try to put on a full Ben this coming week.

Wish me luck.

Back tomorrow.

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Day 24 - The Health Visitor Always Rings Twice

The health visitor came today to check we hadn’t broken the kids already.

I get slightly nervous when people I don’t know come to the house. Not in a sit-in-the-corner-rocking kind of way but more in a shit-I-should’ve-hoovered-that-carpet-on-the-stairs kind of way.

I’m no Hyacinth Bucket but the house definitely wasn’t as clean as it normally is. To be fair, we’ve only been home 10 days and our routine is still more freestyle than an Eminem battle rap. But it was only as I heard her knock at the door I started noticing all the filth. Dust in the corner of the hall floor, a cobweb behind the mirror. And what’s that dubious brown stain on the living room rug? I was worried she’d think we were the real life Twits from the Roald Dahl book.

She came in and we talked about the lads and how they were feeding and then she asked to weigh Zac. As we stripped him off he whazzed all over the sofa, probably trying to shed a couple of ounces like a prize fighter making weight before the big card. Smart man.

I started to mop it up with the sleepsuit he’d been wearing because if nothing else, I’m good at improvising. Well, I call it improvising - my wife has a different word for it.

As I was wiping it up (or smearing it everywhere, to be more accurate) the health visitor innocently commented that kids tend to ruin your furniture. I then chose to share with her the comprehensive and tedious details of the insurance policy on the sofa that covered any accidental stains.

Her eyes glazed over like Joey Essex reading Nietzche when I came out with the line that woke her right up.

‘It’s handy to have though because we drink LOADS of red wine.’

Why was I saying this? For a start, we don’t drink much at all (especially now) and even if we did, why would you volunteer this information to a children’s health visitor? After lifting my foot out of my mouth I lifted Ben out of his Moses basket so he could get weighed.

I was struggling to get his sleepsuit off and the health visitor observed that it was an interesting design and one she’d not seen before. Then it dawned on me that his legs were in the arms and his arms were in the legs - I’d dressed him upside down.

‘Oh god,’ I thought. ‘She’ll probably think I was squiffy on red wine when I dressed him and that’s why I couldn’t even dress my own son properly.’

No wonder he was crying and wriggling with extra vigour this morning. He was trying to tell me something. You’re doing it wrong you stupid man. How can you get legs and arms mixed up you idiot. Imagine I was going to a fancy dress party as a centipede? I’d have 100 arms hanging off my back if you dressed me, moron.

Obviously the real reason for my incompetence was the fact I still haven’t got a clue what I’m doing, but she wasn’t to know that. In my head at least she was definitely noting me down as some dropout booze hound who doesn’t know what day it is.

‘Oh, you’ve dressed him upside down I think’ she politely informed me, a beaming smile on her face. ‘Loads of fellas do that.’

Thank god for that. And what a nice lady.

I looked at the stain again. Was it nutella? I’ll check it later.

Back tomorrow.

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Read from the beginning here.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Day 23 - Guess Who?

Now we’re home and the initial worries we had about the boys seem to have lifted, a new fear has gripped me tighter than a middle aged East German man's swimming trunks.

How will I be able to tell them apart?

It was easy when they were in separate locations. And it’s been fairly straightforward since we all got home as Zac still has a bald spot on the side of his head where his drip was attached. It makes him look like an extra in the new Mad Max remake.

There’s still a size difference which helps to tell who’s who but that won’t last as Ben is already starting to catch up. (I’ve a sneaking suspicion he’ll end up slightly bigger anyway as he guzzles milk like a rugby player on a stag do.)

So when the dust settles and they look exactly the same, how will I know who’s who?

I asked some (non-multiple) parents before the lads were born, and they all gave me that knowing, slightly smug smile and tried to reassure me with a curt, ‘You’ll just know.’

Then I spoke to a mother of twins and I half-jokingly said they must get them confused sometimes. She looked at me with the confused, world-weary expression of my 67 year old dad when he’s attempting to use iTunes and said, ‘Oh yeah, all the bloody time. Haven’t got a clue sometimes.’ Nice one.

I even googled it. The first tip that came back was genuinely ‘LEARN THEIR NAMES.’ Thanks, internet.

So we considered painting one of their nails but thought that might push them towards a Goth lifestyle. We pondered using those neck bracelets but remembered we’re not members of the Samburu Tribe of north-central Kenya. Then we thought about piercing one of their ears but didn’t think it was appropriate as the lads aren’t pirates. Well, one of them is, kind of. If that makes no sense (and why would it?) read this from Day 21.

We’ll always have Zac’s scar from his operation but until I can figure out a distinguishing facial feature I’m just going to keep them in alphabetical order. Or maybe birth order. Or size order?

Sod it, I’m getting the clippers out and going for this:

Back tomorrow.

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Read from the beginning here.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Day 22 - The Log Book

Yep, you guessed it – another blog about poo. My apologies.

I will try to bring the tone out of the gutter at some stage but until the boys start writing poetry or conducting opera (which they'll definitely do, by the way) I'm limited to writing about what they give me. And at the moment that's a whole load of bootycakes.

It was suggested for us to keep a diary of our boy’s bowel movements at an anti-natal class a while back. This was a specialist twin session at the Liverpool Women's Hospital which was really useful. Run by midwives who either had twins or were twins themselves, they also brought two twin mums in who'd given birth at the hospital a few years ago. 

They said the diary was to make sure you could monitor if one twin hadn't been for a while, as the tiredness that would inevitably fall upon us like a poorly erected tent would make it even harder to keep track, especially with two of the little fudge machines doing their worst.

So in preparation my wife bought me a beautiful leather bound book with 'The Avery Poo Diaries' engraved on. It made me laugh for about a fortnight.

Although actually, the word diary is misleading as it’s much more of a log book to be honest, in more ways than one.

These are our first few entries:

7.30am           Big seedy poo
11.30am         Small seedy poo
3.30pm           B.S.P. (Big Seedy Poo)
7.30pm           Mustard poo with wee
11.30pm         Big, big poo. Ridiculously big really.

3.30am           Mainly piss, specks of shit
7.30am           He pooed AT me. Pretty sure it was intentional. Jesus
11.30am         1 x small turd
3.30pm           Poo, wee, sick. A dirty hatrick.

It's hardly Bridget Jones is it?.  And I certainly wouldn't want to see the film adaptation, although I’m sure Hugh Grant would be up for it.

But the weirdest bit isn’t even when you start diligently filling in an actual 'Poo Diary.' No, the strangest feeling is when you do it for long enough that it actually starts to feel normal. 

Now, that is weird.

Back tomorrow.

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Read from the beginning here.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Day 21 - Hello, My Name Is...

We registered their names today. I've talked about this before but in serious and official situations I have to battle with every ounce of my being to prevent the mischievous goblin in my brain wading in with some inappropriate bollock-filled comment of complete inconsequence.

(When we got married we had to go to the records office and meet with the registrar and I spent the whole time in the waiting room resisting the urge to shout ‘ME NEED VISA’ at the top of my voice.)

We chose their names to complement each other. The following names were vetoed by my wife:

Bill and Ben
Cheech and Chong
Dick and Dom
Ant and Dec
Bert and Ernie
George and Andrew

If you managed to spot the last pairing was a vague reference to 80’s pop idols Wham then give yourself 10 ‘4am Feed’ smug points. If it flew over your head you’re clearly much younger than me.

We gave them middle names too. Partly because me and my wife don't have them but mainly so when they're naughty we've got their full name to scream across the supermarket. I find an extra couple of syllabulls of shouting help to get your point across clearly and also alert other shoppers to your parenting skills. 

We had to make sure we didn’t give them names that suited babies but not adults so we sifted through the baby name books that inexplicable still list ridiculous names like Adolf, Beavis, and Nigel.

When we had our first scan the guy told us about a pregnancy he’d scanned where the mother called her twins Dolce & Gabbana. DOLCE & GABANNA. Just let that sink in for a minute.

The poor kids. Even TK & Max would be an improvement on that.

So we had names in mind but I googled them pre-birth before we made a definite decision just to check we weren't naming them after something utterly horrific like a serial killer or a UKIP councillor. And then we decided. Zac and Ben.

I went into the registrar on my best behaviour and gave the guy the names and he said, 'Ah! Ben Avery, like the pirate?' My google search had already told me there was a pirate called Long Ben Avery (I think he sailed the seven seas rather than sold dodgy DVD's) but it was only then I realised that I’d have one son named after a pirate and one who wasn't. This will definitely cause problems down the line and if I'm still writing this blog then I'm sure I'll cover that in detail.

I did consider changing Zac’s name to mirror another famous Pirate but I didn’t think Ben & Francoise L’Ollonais scanned well together. Plus my wife would have made me walk the plank.

Back tomorrow.

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Read from the beginning here.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Day 20 - Nappy Flap Flop

Something happened today that I’ll never forget. And it was all my fault.

I can’t believe I did it. I honestly never thought I’d be so stupid as to let this happen. But it happened. Oh boy, did it happen.

It was avoidable, so completely escapable. I need to try to look forward, it’s in the past now. But that’s impossible - it’s embedded on my brain like a cheap tattoo. I promise you, I’ll never be the same again.

Most parents will remember the first time their child flashed them a smile, or babbled their first proper word.

I’m sure I’ll remember those things in time but right now I cannot forget the day when I didn’t pull the flaps out of the nappy properly.

How could I have been so stupid? I’ve changed loads of nappies at this point and despite still being more hapless than Captain Hook in a tiddlywinks tournament I’ve at least avoided any liquid-based catastrophes.

But not today. My God. What a mess.

I got a warning sign the other night when I managed to remember at the last minute that I hadn’t pulled the flaps out of Ben’s nappy after I’d put him down in his basket. I was on the verge of drifting off to sleep when the thought hit me like a Frisbee in the ear and I bolted upright in bed. My wife asked me what was wrong, probably suspecting I’d had an accident myself.

‘FLAPS!’ I  calmly declared as I went over to the Moses baskets. It was my Eureka moment.

But today I wasn’t so lucky. And I'll never un-see what I’ve saw.

I changed both nappies in record time for me – 8 minutes, 34 seconds. A small wave of unnecessary smugness washed over me for the next few hours until I noticed that Ben was starting to smell like a sweet shop bin. I picked him up and he started to cry. So I felt the back of his legs and they were wetter than Wet Wet Wet on a log flume.

That’s when I started to replay the previous nappy change in my head, piecing events together. I started to hope it was just the sheer force of his movement that had caused the leak – this would absolve me of blame. But I couldn’t remember the details of the last change and I feared I’d absent mindedly cut corners which would leave me completely culpable.

I opened his nappy like a nervous teenager getting their GCSE results. It turns out I’ll be re-sitting all of them.

My son had turned into a slurry truck with legs. Even his tiny face that’s still finding it’s way in the world managed to flash me a look that said, You did this, you stupid man. I promise you this - do it just one more time and I’ll have you in a nursing home before you’re 50.

The philosopher George Santayana said, ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ Scholars have endlessly debated over whether he was referring to political hierarchical maneuverings or merely commentating on the increasingly obsolete religious structures of the day.

I’m pretty sure he was talking about an open flap shit leak in his son’s nappy.

Back tomorrow.

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Read from the beginning here.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Day 19 - Top Trumps

As parents we're genetically predisposed to nurture and protect our offspring at all costs. That's why we find babies cute and cuddly when they do something that's otherwise intolerable. If your best mate started dribbling and screaming for his food you'd never go to a restaurant with them again.

Therefore I believe that the sound of baby's trumps was put here to make us smile. 
Because the sound of a good old fashioned fart in all it's many variations is intrinsically funny, certainly to us males at least. Some of my darkest moments have been instantly relieved by a well timed bottom burp.

And while they might be inappropriate in certain social settings (love making / funerals / love making at funerals) when you've had 20 minutes sleep and you're changing a nappy that resembles a North Sea oil spillage, you need something to put a little smile on your face.

And a little arse biscuit from your beloved offspring does just that. That can't be an accident, despite the fact that the contents of said nappy often is.

Imagine if the noise that a bum-yawn made wasn't funny? Imagine it was sinister like an air raid siren or Piers Morgan’s voice? There’s no way it would have the calming effect it does.

But when a baby trumps, we laugh and all is well with the world. Apart from if they've decided to go all 'Howard from the Halifax' and give you a bit extra. That's a different story.

Finally today I'd just like to thank everyone who's read, commented, RT'd, shared and signed up for emails of this blog. I've been overwhelmed by how many people have read it since I started a month ago and you've all been far too kind with the supportive comments for both my sons and the blog. Thank you.

Back tomorrow.

I post updates on my Twitter and Facebook pages if you want to keep reading but please don’t feel pressured into anything. You can also sign up to email updates at the top right of this page.

Read from the beginning here.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Day 18 - What Goes Down Must Come Up

I did my first solo feed with the boys last night. It was the worst debut performance since Danny Dyer played King Herod in his school nativity.

We started off feeding them at the same time but it was a logistical nightmare as we both had to be on hand. It's one thing feeding two babies simultaneously but winding them is impossible. Maybe if you've got decades of experience as a one man band you could figure out a system but I don't have that on my CV.

At the moment we've got them on a 45 min delay so we can feed them on our own. Sometimes they cry a tiny bit but they don’t seem to mind waiting. It'll toughen them up for standing at the deli counter in later life.

I can't speak for all babies but my two look so ashamed of themselves when you wind them. Their head slumps into my hand and all the fat from their head gathers above their eyes as they squint at you with a look that says, I'm sorry you have to see me this way. I didn't ask for this. Don't look at me, please.

So I started feeding Ben. He took a big long glug before I took the bottle out to check how much he'd had. Nothing. I gave him another go. Again, naff all. He's suckling away like a baby lamb (I could almost feel his tail wagging) but there was nothing going in.

I'd read about how when babies breastfeed they can think and feel like they're feeding but they’re actually getting nothing of substance, like a meal in Wetherspoons. I was concerned this was happening here.

So I moved him about and he trumped so hard I nearly dropped him. It was the shock – his little rump managed to vibrate like an old Nokia 8210 getting a text. In my book that counted as wind so I carried on with the feed. He finally started to take some of the milk but then regurgitated most of it all over me. As I was wiping it off him Zac then started crying and I panicked like a middle aged man in John Lewis on Christmas Eve.

Then I looked at the clock. 1am. I'd been doing this feed for TWO HOURS. If I wasn't careful they'd be due their next feed before I’d finished this one. My wife came downstairs and peered round the door assuming I'd fallen asleep. Instead I looked at her with the desperate look of an ISIS hostage. But even worse, I'd been taken hostage by my own babies. Sure, I hadn't been chained to a radiator and kept in a room for 6 months, allowing my beard to grow and skin to malnourish and wither. But it felt like it. Definitely, exactly like that. Exactly.

My wife took pity on me (or the boys more likely) and took over the feed with total professionalism. I felt like the shit teacher in school who's lost control, staring at their own feet as the proper teacher waltzes in and admonishes the class correctly.

I need to get better. Or I need to be like this guy.

Can any parents of multiples please enlighten me on how you possibly feed and wind them together?

Back tomorrow.

I post updates on my Twitter and Facebook pages if you want to keep reading but please don’t feel pressured into anything. You can also sign up to email updates at the top right of this page.

Read from the beginning here.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Day 17 - Bath Night Blues

One of the things I was really looking forward to during my wife’s pregnancy was bath night.

Not for me you understand – I’m strictly a shower man. I can’t think of anything worse than sitting in your own filth for half an hour while the water gets cold and the bubbles disappear to remind me that I’m more fat boy than slim these days.

And anyway, It’s impossible to look as svelte as you do in that ‘generous’ mirror in the work lift as when you’re stewing in the tub, struggling to reach your arm around your jelly belly to give your bum crack a good flannel rub.

But a kid’s bath time is like a trip to Alton Towers without the queues. They love it. Splashing about, playing with rubber ducks. I couldn’t wait to see their little faces.  

We put our two in the water and they screamed like Al Pacino at the end of The Godfather III. I’m sure next door thought we were waterboarding terror suspects.

The whimpering started when I took their sleep suits off. It went up a notch when I took them out of their nappies. No bother, I thought. As soon as that nice warm water hits their skin they’ll be purring like pussycats.

That was a misjudgement of the highest order. Bigger even than when my mate Paul snogged that woman with massive hands and a goatee on a stag do in 2002.  

As it happened, the tiny crying as I got them ready was just the quiet verse in their baby emo-rock classic they were improvising together. The Slipknot-influenced chorus kicked in as they touched the water.

And then the wriggling started. Zac went at it like the bath was Greenwich Village, NYC circa 1984 and he was a breakdancing champion. With Ben it was all about the legs – kicking viscously but with enough rhythm to send him spinning round in my wife’s hands like an out of control Benidorm pedalo. It’s lovely to see them developing their own personalities.

Their twitching forced their bodies out of the water and into the cold air which made them scream even more, which made them twist even harder. I made the executive decision to end the bath at that point, like a boxing referee calling a match, so we pulled them both out of the water. Just as the scene was starting to resemble the cover shot of ‘Pole Fishing Monthly’ the screaming went to a level I’d never experienced before, as if Axl Rose had been unfortunate enough to get his tackle stuck in some farming equipment.

Maybe they’re just shower men, like their father.

Back tomorrow.

I post updates on my Twitter and Facebook pages if you want to keep reading but please don’t feel pressured into anything. You can also sign up to email updates at the top right of this page.

Read from the beginning here.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Day 16 - Save The N.H.S.

Yesterday my country voted for the next Government. It was my first General Election as a parent which gave it added importance and also made me very nervous.

The key issue for me was the NHS. I’ve been lucky enough to never need an operation but as I’ve written about on this blog one of my newborn sons did on the first full day of his life.

The health care we received was phenomenal from start to finish. From our very first scan, to our regular scans at the Women’s Hospital, the staff were professional, compassionate and supportive. 

We went there fortnightly and met peadiatricians, doctors, midwives and specialists who put our minds at rest when things weren’t as we’d hoped and helped us plan the best way to ensure our lads would come out healthy at the other end.

The midwives who steered my wife through a 28 hour labour and then emergency c-section were real life guardian angels (the helpful type, not the biker gang) and we’ll forever be in debt to the team at Alder Hey that turned a life-threatening problem on my son into a one inch scar. The box of chocolates that we’ll drop off for them to offer our thanks seems like a piss-take in comparison.

But after all of this – the first class care, the wonderful staff and support – you know what the best thing about it all was?

It was free.

No insurance policy needed. No medical bills. No life-changing financial debt afterwards. I’m not a nationalist by any stretch but the NHS makes me proud to be British.

I feel sad today because the returning government doesn’t hold the NHS in the same way as I do. They will strip it away, slowly and covertly. There’ll be no strikes as there was for the mines, no riots as with the Poll Tax. We’ll barely notice it’s gone because it’ll just fade away silently.

Whatever your personal political leaning is, we’re all going to need the NHS at some point in our lives. If you’re lucky, it’ll only be right at the end. If you’re really lucky, it’ll still be around to help you.

Save the NHS.

Back tomorrow.

I post updates on my Twitter and Facebook pages if you want to keep reading but please don’t feel pressured into anything. You can also sign up to email updates at the top right of this page.

Read from the beginning here.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Day 15 - Wee Salute You

The hardest part of changing a nappy for me is when you think you've got it all under control, things are moving in the right direction and then WHOOOSH - he starts weeing like a racehorse that's been on the ale all day.

I don't mind wiping the bottoms anymore although ask me that again when they move onto solids. Other parents talk about that like it's Vietnam.

“You wouldn’t know, man. You weren’t there!”

I don't even mind manoeuvreing around their crying and horizontal twerking either. But the Sudden Ninja Piss (TM) really throws a spanner in the works. It just comes out of nowhere. (Technically it comes out of their penis, if it literally came out of nowhere I'd be peddling this on Britains Got Talent.)

It's awkward because it goes EVERYWHERE. like a state of the art hotel sprinkler system. I reckon if our house caught fire I'd just have to whip off the lads nappies and we'd be back in bed in 5 minutes.

I've tried covering it with a cotton wool bud but that just made their little sacks look like they were doing a budget Father Christmas impression. Nobody needs that. We then bought some gauze strips that work to a point but feels like you’re about to give them a wax.

The mother in law called to say she had a 'solution' to the Sudden Ninja Piss problem, which sounds quite sinister but was actually very helpful.

She presented us with a bag of these funky little contraptions called Wee Wee Teepees, so called because they're shaped like the Native American tent of the same name. I think the name Willie Wigwams is better but what do I know?

You simply pop them on their little willies while doing the change and it keeps their house in order. That’s the plan anyway.

I’d love to see a 40 minute infomercial for these things on QVC. Although if they used my lads to demonstrate they'd end up with a piece of TV history similar to that elephant defacating all over the Blue Peter floor.

"But just how do they work, Susan?"

"Well Zoe, you simply take the little boys nappy off like this and pop the Willie Wigwam over his todger and as you can see, it's done absolutely f**k all. Ah Jesus, I'm friggin soaked here. Can someone take this baby off me please? I'm going back to Bid TV...'

I heartily recommend these things for the novice nappy changer. They also have the added bonus of being a great embarrassment tool for when they bring their first girlfriend home to demonstrate just how ‘tiny’ they once were.

Back tomorrow.

I post updates on my Twitter and Facebook pages if you want to keep reading but please don’t feel pressured into anything. You can also sign up to email updates at the top right of this page.

Read from the beginning here.