Boobs, Boobs, Boobs

I have had quite a few requests for a blog on my experiences breast feeding and since I like to please, here it is. One thing we need to cover off before I get into the nitty gritty of breast feeding, is I have implants. Not a secret, it's been written about in magazines before, talked about on TV in a really embarrassing reality tv show I did when I was in my early 20's, but I haven't talked about it recently. Since the Nuggets have arrived I have a new group of followers/readers and you probably weren't aware. For the people who knew I had them, that's usually their first questions when we talk about breast feeding. How did you breast feed when you have implants? It's one of the biggest misconceptions about implants out there, that it means you won't be able to breast feed. My doctor assured me then, as I always knew I would want to breast feed, that unless I wasn't naturally able to breast feed myself, then the placement of my implants would not affect that. It's funny how so many people instantly think it's a write off, even my OB was worried I wouldn't be able to feed.

Anyway I digress...when I first was pregnant I knew I would want to feed and was aiming for a year. When we found out we were having twins I still wanted to feed but knew it would be a tougher journey.

Fast forward 34 weeks and the nuggets made their early entry into the world. After my emergency  c-section I was told to squeeze my boobs to collect the colostrum.I barely remember it, but Jay said he would hover over my boob with a syringe sucking it up and after every squeeze I would fall fast asleep. Apparently it was rather hilarious! The amount of colostrum I collected really impressed the nurses and was a good sign that I would be a milk making machine, which it turns out I was luckily.

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I was still vomiting for about 2.5 weeks after birth and was paranoid my lack of nutrients would affect my supply, but I'm really lucky that it didn't effect it too badly. My milk came in big time and I had beach balls as boobs, they were so full, pert and looked pretty epic if I do say so myself. Poor Jay was allowed no where near them though!

Since the boys were born so small, the first few days they would practice feeding on my breast whilst still being feed by and NG tube. The NG tube delivered my pumped milk directly to their stomach via a tube that went up their nose and into their tummy.

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The nurses were great in Nicu, except one who made me feel like shit for being a little late to feed one of the boys, he was really hungry and it was then difficult to latch him. I was so ill myself I found it really unfair that she was making me feel so bad and guilty about being late (reason being I was being sick in the toilet). Last thing a twin mama wants to feel is pressure and anxiety about doing everything wrong! The rest were great and really helpful with showing me how to latch them and support their tiny little bodies next to me and my giant knockers. One of the things I had to do was pop a finger on my breast and pull it slightly away from their noses, they were so small my full boobs would squish against their face and since they were so small it would cover their nostrils, so the pulling away would give them a clear airway making it easier to feed.

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Once you graduate Nicu you are sent to PIN, a ward where the babies are still supervised 24/7 by nurses but where you are meant to do all of their "cares", basically look after them like you would at home. Most babies are in there to learn how to feed properly, stabilise, put on weight and just be generally better and in a good place to be able to thrive once sent home with their parents.

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I really realised once we were in PIN that I was struggling to bond with my babies and I thought nailing breastfeeding and feeling like I was doing "something" right would help. I really stuck in to figuring the whole breastfeeding out, as I figured that maybe that was the key to bonding, as so many mothers said it does.  Their mouths were so small they didn't always latch correctly, I  was having to pump to keep extra feeds available to be feed via NG tube.  I did get some cracked nipples which wasn't fun at all. I noticed it first when I saw there was blood in my pumped milk and quickly realised it was coming from the space where my areola and my nipple meet. We have a lactation consultant who works in the NICU and PIN ward, I personally found her very helpful. She was straight in there giving me these new Manuka honey breast pads to help heel them and they were a godsend. I couldn't recommend them enough. The healing properties of the Manuka in the pads worked a treat, and within a couple of days they healed and I never got any more cracks or grazes after this. The lactation consultant told me that I was lucky as darker coloured nipples are tougher and I seriously had some dark chocolate afghans going on. Considering how little pain I got in terms of the boys sucking on them, the old wives tales may be true! Thanks to my great grandmas Indian blood for giving me some tough nipps!

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Check the silly pumping video my friend Sophie took when she visited me in hospital, she couldn't believe the set up and how it really was like milking a cow. 

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My milk supply was great, once those first cracks disappeared my nipples were holding up, but my god those let down pains were tough! I felt like I had needles running down my milk ducts for the first 5 or so minutes of feeding. Everyone told me feeding hurt because it hurt your nipples, no one told me my boobs would feel like they were being shredded on the inside! I'm not sure if you just get used to that pain or it goes away after you have been feeding for a few weeks, but that eventually wore off. I would just grin and bear it for the first 5 minutes until it would subside for the rest of the feed!

Sadly the whole bonding experience whilst feeding for the first few weeks didn't happen for me. I was forever trying to keep them awake on the boob, timing how long it was taking them to record on the sheets in PIN and generally falling asleep myself late at night waiting for them to finish their sometimes hour long feeds (that's two hours sitting up in a cold hospital feeding them one by one!), it was exhausting. Thats another thing no one says, they say breast feeding is handwork, but I thought that meant it was hard figuring it all out, not that it was physically exhausting to begin with. The thirst, all the extra water and food you need, the forever having something attached to your nipple, the pain of being hooked up to IV's myself and bending the joints they were placed in to feed, dealing with the boys wires and tubes and the cramp you would get from holding a baby in one place for an hour. Gah! It's funny as I originally thought I had a pretty easy experience breast feeding, as once I got it down it was pretty straight forward, but I really forgot about all of this stuff that happened at the beginning. That is  until I started typing and it came pouring out of me.

After realising I couldn't handle sitting up for two hours at a time feeding the boys one after each other, I knew I had to get the tandem feeding down. Late one night the lactation consultant had more free time to help me learn how to do it and set me up. God it was hard getting their tiny bodes in the right position and up close enough to my giant orbs, there was so may rolled pillows, muslin cloths etc going on but we did it.

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I had to hold their heads up and in the right angle towards my nipples because their heads weren't big enough to lay flat and let their mouth reach me. So sitting and feeding like this for an hour (they were slow feeders to start with due to their size) wasn't exactly comfortable either. The pillow had to wrap around my sides so their legs could lay that way, as they got longer and longer it was tough as I would need to sit so far forward in the pillow for them to be able to lie down. I was forever having to shove pillows down the back of the pillow for back support and to stop it pushing forward if I sat back. I have since found a great looking twin feeding/general feeding pillow online from the states that looks like it solves that problem. Wish I had seen it when i was feeding!

Tandem feeding wasn't easy to start with, so if you have twins and are reading this don't expect it to be something you will master quickly, especially setting it up by yourself. (If you do I bow down to you). The boys were small so it would take Jay passing them to me and me holding them in place to get them to feed correctly, in fact to tandem feed it took Jay being their to help me a good few months before I felt confident enough to do it on my own, not the latching part, but actually getting them up onto the pillow and settled. Jay was amazing and would wake at every night feed to help pass the boys to me and get them on, and then take them one by one when they were done to help me burp them. I should mention here that the boys feed 2 hourly 24/7 for about 16 weeks. Those little buggers didn't get into a great 3 hourly schedule like most NICU babies and demanded to be feed every two hours without fail. There was no stretching them out as they would get so historical that they would end up being too upset to latch and feed properly. It was bloody awful! So props to Jay for being their by my side 100% for all of the night feeds, I seriously have an amazing man.

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It took a visit from Dorothy Waide for me to put on my big girl panties and decide to give tandem feeding when I was alone a good crack. The boys were about 2 moths at this stage and she said I didn't need to treat them as carefully as I had when they were in Nicu. She recommend I set myself up on the couch with each of them on either side of me, pop one on and then pick the other one up with one hand and scoop them up onto the pillow. To burp them mid feed she said I should roll them off the pillow, I know, sounds WTF?! But it worked. I would kind of gently roll them off the pillow gently as possibly onto the couch and lay them on their tummy. Then you could pat their back till they did a big burp and pick them up by the back of their clothes (I know this sounds horrifying but it worked!) and lift them back onto the pillow to re latch. Imagine it being like a cat picking their baby up by the scruff of their neck. So that's how I managed tandem feeding alone while they still needed me to keep an arm under their head, so their mouth could reach my nipples. As they got older I would sit them in a boppy pillow either side of me and latch them one by one. They were bigger and heavier at this stage so I could reach for one and put them on, they no longer needed my hand for support so I could use both hands to get the second. Then eventually I could hold them both in a side by side football hold where they lay on top of each other.

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I'm lucky that after those first few weeks with the pain, exhaustion of the 2 hour feeds it started to click into place for me. I'm not so lucky that the whole breast feeding experience didn't help me bond with my kids, that was a slow burn, but oh boy do I love them with everything now. I have said before that I almost, dare I say it, found it easy to breastfeed once we were established. I think the main reason behind this was that the boys latched well, I didn't continue to get pain, I made a FUCK load of milk, I could pump off 500-600ml in 20mins with no problems and they were good and quick feeders once they got bigger. BUT, and it's a big BUT, they had collic and reflux, which meant they puked everything up constantly! So while I made a tonne of milk it was hard to keep up with the demands for feeds as they were starving all the time after projectile vomiting everywhere.

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I felt like they were constantly on my boob. If you know me you know I love my own 'bubble' I like my own space and me time and it was slowly driving me mental having not one but two things attached to my boob, then people like my mum hanging over my boobs watching them feed. What is it with that? I know people think it's cute and she was worrying they weren't feeding right but I'm like, back up mum, give me some space and keep your beady eyes off my boobs! (love you mum!).

I also wasn't keen on the feeding when we were in public. Don't freak, I'm not one of those people who think its gross to show your boobs whilst feeding in public, I feed them plenty of times out and about and I never covered them up. I don't care and if someone does they wouldn't walk away without a massive telling off from me. It was just the whole process took so long with two, I would have to do them one at a time. As much as I don't care about feeding in public, you can see above that tandem feeding is pretty much rolling fully topless and not discreet with my huge nipples and boobs. If we were out, which was rare, I wanted to eat my meal or whatever we were out for and not spend it sitting and feeding the whole time. So we would bottle feed either pumped milk if I had enough backed up or formula. That's something I'm not ashamed to admit, I am pro 'fed is best' and my children did mix fed during the 6 months that I breastfeed. So never feel bad if you do the same or purely formula feed. The mums who exclusively breastfeed, you are awesome and I am not trying to take away that achievement for you, but those that fed their child whatever way should be just as proud. It's not a competition after all!

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Now a lot of lactation consultants or people in general stress about nipple confusion with bottle teats in the early stages. I kinda ignored that advice and feed them a bottle once a day from about 3 weeks old. I always feed them this bottle at night, the last feed before bed as that was when my milk was at its least fatty and I was tired and exhausted. I liked having the help to feed them or having Jay and another friend who was over doing it so I could have time out. Which is much needed and deserved, so don't feel guilty if this is something you want to do also. The nipple confusion thing never happened and it meant the boys were used to a bottle, so if they were away from me then someone else could feed them. I had so many friends say they gave their bottle to their baby once, they took it so thought all was fine, by the time they needed to give one to them again they weren't having it. I'm no expert but I think a bottle a day or every few days definitely helps with that issue, in my humble opinion.

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I wanted to reach a year BF the boys but we got to 6 months when we went to LA to visit family and the weaning started, mum took them for a night so we could go stay at a hotel and have a lone time and they stopped being interested in the boob. To be honest I was done too. I was still having mental health issues and finding the transition to twin mum rather difficult and I just wanted a bit of "me" back. I was proud of what I had done, but I was tired of feeding only to watch it all be puked back up 2 minutes to 2 hours later so I started weaning.

I guess the point of all this is we all walk a different journey, and like Rebecca said at Takes A Village, breastfeeding is natural, as in we are made to do it, but it doesn't come naturally. Just as like I experienced with the help of a lactation consultant, it's a learned behaviour. We and our babies need to learn how to do it and it can be fucking hard. So don't be too hard on yourself ladies.

Weaning next up on the blog and why the boys still have their beloved bot bots.

Go the Fuck to Sleep Part Two

What the actual fuck is going on right now with the Nuggets sleep? Well I do kinda know, they are playing with the idea that they don't want to nap during the day, but they/we aren't ready! They refused one the other day and 1.5 hours later were fast asleep on the couch!  The reason why I only kinda know, is they haven't slept through the night in months! This was when they were still happily napping during the day. So I feel like there is somehow two separate issues going on right now? IMG_8295

It all started about 5 months ago, we used to pop the boys into bed and they would grizzle for a little bit and then off to la la land they would go. Look they weren't GREAT sleepers, hello 5-6am wake up times. But they consistently went to sleep easily and slept through, or if they did wake they would grizzle for a minute and then self settle easy peasy. Then it happened, one night they got out of bed, lay on their backs and start kicking the fucking door! As I have said any times before, man they can be tiny assholes! Now before you think it, why don't I persist and tell those tiny a holes not to kick the door. May I add it sounds like the door is about to break in, it is so fucking loud. You wouldn't believe it! Anyway we have done the persistence of moving them back to bed, telling off, being nice about it, ignoring it, giving them the grumpy voice. We did it all, they did not stop kicking that door in  as soon as we left the room! Every night after anywhere between 5-15 minutes they would finally give in and off they would go to bed. That's till they woke up again and it started all over again. It literally has been a nightmare. What could get worse you wonder? Moving house!

We went away to Bali for my birthday and moved the day we got back. The boys couldn't get out of their old room, as the door handles were too high but they are nice and low in the new house. I expected the first few days to be tough, new surrounding etc, but we are in week three and its been pretty horrific. They have spent so many nights in our bed, and being in our bed doesn't make them sleep better. They toss, turn and wake up constantly. Our presence does nothing to make them sleep better. Way to make us feel even more useless.

When we try to settle them in their room they have a sixth sense about when we leave, they can be out to it after an hour of settling and sneak out. two minutes later they are hysterical, screaming, the KICKING! They wake up just screaming these days and its heart breaking but also incredibly frustrating. I'm not a very nice person after midnight, I like my sleep and my patience level goes waaaay down. I have to grit my teeth and take deep breaths to calm down as they can be so trying. Basically I have gone from feeling like we had done pretty well at the sleep thing to being down in the mud being trampled over overnight by the nuggets. So I ask again, what the hell is going on? Is this a 2-year-old molar thing (they don't seem to be in pain and don't say anything hurts), is it a recession, is it night terrors, separation anxiety? Please tell me this has happened to other people and is there anyone who can help or specialises in toddlers sleep?

 

Go The Fuck To Sleep

Have you heard about that "storybook" Go The Fuck To Sleep? That's how I have felt all weekend about my children. Pretty much muttered it under my breath yelled it at almost all sleep times for the past 4 days. The boys are usually OK sleepers. Ok in the fact they can self settle (but don't always choose to do it) and generally sleep through the night (just not recently). But they aren't long nappers, never have been, and are early risers. The latter of which I am sadly not. Jays been away in Sydney for four days so I have been flying solo, and sure enough the boys can smell the fear and decide to act up. They have a really nasty habit (just plan naughty behaviour) of getting out of their beds in protest of going to bed, laying on their backs and KICKING their feet against the door and screaming really loudly...and I ignore them. You may think I'm mean ignoring their cry and obvious upset, but I swear they aren't, they just want to protest in the loudest, most aurally confronting way possible! The last few nights they have ramped this up a notch and really gone for it. It seriously sounds like the door is about to fall of its hinges. Yes I can hear you now, go in and tell them off, persist and they will stop, lay in there till they fall asleep....tried all that! My kids bizarrely don't do well with me in their room, they fuss even more and have scary spider sense. I can lay there for an hour and would bet anything they were asleep. I move in the slightest to leave and one will sit straight up and say Mama?! WTF, how did you hear me/why aren't you bloody asleep after an hour? GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP! I know they fall into a deep slumber in way less time when I'm not in their room, so why not when I'm there? Anyway, I disgress. This banging is so so loud and is really intense if you aren't used to it/havent hard the little buggers go for it. On Friday I was talking to my friend Rebecca on the phone after I put the boys to bed and they banged, banged and banged for 25 minutes before they gave up! She couldn't believe it. I think it just spurned us both on to talk about how our children had been horrors the last few days. I love my kids, but gosh they can run rings around you!

So settling to sleep has been a nightmare, nap times have been super short (and we all know nap time is the best time of the day when you are tired and flying solo!) and they have been waking REALLY early like pre 5am early, and wanting come into "mummys bed". It's like they know I am more of a pushover when Jays away, and in my head letying them in is a good idea! They will sleep better and we will all get nore sleep right? wrong! I  then spend a night awake being kicked, pushed and susshing babies to sleep as its suddenly more fun to stay awake and climb over me. Fail. Anyway the point of this blog is to vent, venting is good, so that honour falls on you. Thank you! Sadly there is not some magic answer at the end of this blog to stop my kids kicking in the door and sleep in till 7am. If you think you have one please feel free to share below!

Jays home in 1 hour, and he is on the drive show on Hauraki this week, so no breakfast slot 4am starts for him. Which means...you guessed it. This mama is getting a sleep in! Boom!

Night!

Shopping For My Nuggets

Online "shop-a-holic"- a phrase often used by my husband in regards to my spending habits. I hate to admit it (I never do to him, I’m not crazy!) but I have to tell you, my lovely readers, the truth, I’m very much guilty. Now not to lay the blame on anyone…but my dad is a pilot who regularly flies to LA, meaning he has been my online shopping mule for stores that don’t deliver to NZ, but can be sent direct to his hotel reception. So basically, the ease of having access to those items I didn’t otherwise have, has spurred on my addiction. Dad, it’s all your fault!

The amount of clothing, nappies, homewares and bits and bobs he has brought home for me over the years has been epic. Since the arrival of the Nuggets it has been even handier. We have had hundreds of nappies, wipes, my beloved Baby Brezza formula machine and oh so many cute outfits! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE New Zealand labels and supporting NZ owned businesses. Take one look at mine or the boys’ Instagram and you will see we/they are often dressed in clothing from NZ brands and a lot of them are small businesses run by stay-at home mamas. So don’t come at me for not supporting what we have here in NZ!

I often get asked where I get the boys clothing from and when it’s from brands overseas that don’t ship here, I am often met with disappointment. Which is exactly what I am facing come November; you see once you turn 65, pilots are no long allowed to fly into UK and USA airspace as a Captain! Which means, shock horror, my dad will be changing his plane so he no longer flies to the UK and US. I have been dreading this for years! #firstworldproblems

Lucky for me I have a backup plan…I had heard about YouShop from NZ Post but hadn’t checked it out or taken much notice of it since I had my own personal international courier. A recent gap in dads roster meant there was a good 2-months break between his trips to LA and I had some items waiting in my Zara cart that I wanted to push go on. Since I needed to figure out how I could still keep shopping from my favourite online stores who shun us Kiwis by not delivering here, this was the perfect time to trial YouShop.

I thought it would all be a bit complicated, but it wasn’t. YouShop sign up was super easy! You input all your details and it gives you your own “US address”. Easy as that! You use this address for your shipping address when you input your details during checkout. I bought a leather jacket for myself and two parkas for the boys. I had been looking for some cool army green parkas for a while but hadn’t had any luck here. So when I spied these I had to have them! They have a little badge on the arm and the interior has removable lining. So they are nice and warm for winter but as it gets warmer I can remove the lining so it is just a shell. Perfect!

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I knew this package was going to be a bit bulky with three jackets, so I was a bit wary of what the YouShop shipping costs were going to be. I tracked my Zara package and it showed it delivered fine to my “US address”, I then got an email a day later saying it had arrived at the warehouse and had been re packed to make posting more economical along with a link to pay for shipping; all up mine was $30, which included the repackaging fee. I think $30 was a fair price, especially since Zara shipping was free inside the US. Previously when I have shopped from international stores that ship to NZ the price is often around the $40-$50 mark, so $30 was a much better deal. I did note you can work out your shipping fee before you purchase something too, so if you have any heavier or larger items I recommend doing that before you buy it so you know what you are up for. After I had paid I got alerts from all the following stages; item has left warehouse, left US, landed in NZ, cleared customs and finally, item has been delivered! Shipping took 7 days from when I first got the alert it had arrived at the warehouse. So, while it’s not the fastest it isn’t too long to wait for your goodies.

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The boys are always super excited when parcels arrive; they know to go get a knife from the drawer to open them. A sign far too many parcels arrive at this house…that and the fact our couriers know us very well by now! The package had tape on it saying it had been repacked; they had kept all necessary things from the original packaging such as receipts and even a few flyers Zara had sent. The clothing was still in its plastic packaging and had been wrapped again with tissue paper. It was nice to see they had taken good care of the items, as I would have been disappointed if it had been just chucked in a box before being sent off again.

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My verdict, this is definitely going to be my go to once my private courier stops visiting LA. I will have to be more particular in what I am buying, as now I have to pay shipping costs too, but it’s definitely still worth it for those items you just can’t get here! It’s nice to have access to items that are a little bit different to what you can buy here.

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Now where do I shop? There are heaps of stores, but the one I visit the most for the boys and myself, is Zara. They have great on trend pieces, that are good quality and not too harsh on the wallet. Especially when our Kiwi dollar is strong against the greenback! I buy all of the boys footed PJs from Carters, they are made from such nice cotton, have non slip soles and footed PJs up to a size 7! If you have kids like mine that like to wriggle out from under their blankets, having footed PJs is always reassuring knowing they won’t be getting cold. But have you tried finding footed PJs in over a size 2? Mission! Bonds do a size 3 but I have never found any bigger than that! So thanks, Carters! A few other places to check out: GAP (this is where we got our cute yellow rain jackets the boys have been sporting on Instagram), Old Navy have great clothes at GREAT prices! I buy a lot from here in the opposite season in the boys next size up (American stores are always in opposite season to us), Ralph Lauren have epic sales which make the clothes surprisingly affordable - sounds weird but the best socks I have bought for the boys are their ankle socks from here, they stay on, was well and have non slip bottoms their t-shirts are also greta staples,  Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, Forever21, J Crew, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Foot Locker. A few of these companies do ship to NZ; Carters, Gap and Old Navy for example, but YouShop's shipping is actually cheaper than their international shipping. So I would go with them to save yourself a few extra bucks.

Try out YouShop before July 31st and use my discount code ANNA10 to receive 10% off your shippings costs.

Happy shopping everyone!

Dinkus 3

SPONSORED BY NZ POST

Twins...Lucky you!

"Double trouble" "You must be busy" "You have your hands full" are just some of the things strangers like to say when you are out and about with twins. It REALLY irks a lot of twin mums as they rightly feel they are blessed to have them. The thing is lots of mums of multiples see these comments as a really negative and insensitive thing to say to someone.  I'm ok with it, mostly because I usually think the person is well-meaning or making a bit of a joke, so I don't let it bother me. But over the past two years it is something I have heard almost daily while out and about. For the first time since they were born someone said something that made my heart sing.  I was at St Lukes with the boys doing a bit of shopping and realised I needed to grab a few things from the supermarket. I usually try to avoid the supermarket with the boy as they get bored sitting in the trolley and have a thing about wanting to throw everything I choose into the back of the trolley. But needs must so I headed to Countdown.  I was in the checkout line and the boys definitely weren't being angels. Hunter was tired and grumpy and Oscar was whining (I hate whinging) and was trying to touch everything within arms reach at the checkout. Seriously whats with all the lollies and brightly wrapped packages at trolley seat hight!? I just wanted to get them in the car and home before they went into meltdown mode.

It was my turn for checkout and the lady behind the counter looked at me, clocked my boys who were currently fighting ver who got to hold my wallet and gave me the biggest smile ever and said  "Oh wow, twins?" In my head I though oh here comes the "double trouble" but she just continued "aren't you so lucky". I was floored, I think I am lucky to have my precious boys but not in their two years has a stranger ever told me that or said something really positive about twins. I was blown away, it instantly made me smile and made my day.  It was such a nice reminder of how a small gesture or a few kind words can have such a great effect on someone and totally change their day or mood. I can't believe it took two whole years to experience a moment like this! She then continued to talk to the boys and told me multiple times "You're doing a great job mama". It seriously brings tears to my eyes now typing this. It was such a lovely thing to hear at the end of a long day. Because, and I think ALL parents can relate to this, you can't help but let that doubt occasionally creep in that maybe you aren't doing a great job, you could play more with them, read more, forget about the housework and focus on them! It's nice to be reminded that you are doing a great job, because sometimes us mums don't give ourselves enough credit. I wish I got her name so I could write to Countdown and tell them what an awesome employee they have, but it totally skipped my mind to get it. I will be on the lookout for her next time we visit!

So please, next time you see a mum of twins resist that urge to make the "double trouble" joke, not all of us are offended by it, but you could literally make someones day if you tell them how lucky they are! Because we are, twins are very special and we were lucky to be chosen to be their mamas #blessed ;)

All About That Park Life

When I was pregnant someone told me that I would need to "run my two boys like dogs" as they have so much energy. I thought it was a funny way to describe tiring your children out but now, two years on, I TOTALLY get it! If I could have my two on a leash and ride a bike while they ran next to me I would! The boys have so much energy so we spend a lot of time at parks, trying to do just what that person told me, run them out like dogs. However one problem, I try to choose parks in the middle of fields or far from roads as my two kids like to run in different directions.

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The Tough Reality of my Birth - Part Two

Last post we left off with me falling asleep while squeezing colostrum out of my boob, while Jay hovered over me sucking it up drop by drop into a syringe. Still one of my funniest memories of being in hospital, not that there were that many fun or funny moments to be honest. After that first night which went by as a huge haze, shout out to the morphine! I started to feeling a little better physically. I think the getting up to walk down to NICU actually helped with my healing from the C-Section. I didn't fell like I had to bend over like some other friends described post section. The only annoying thing was that I was still being sick and had to stay hooked up to a IV and have four different types of anti naus though an IV line to stay on top of the vomiting. The doctors all still said it would be me reacting to the pain medication but I wasn't buying it.

Apart from the vomiting I was getting stuck in to this mothering business. I didn't want anyone to realise that I wasn't feeling the love for my kids and think that I was a "bad mum" (crazy to think this I know) so I was going to be that mum who did the best job possible of looking after her kids in NICU.

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On the second day in the afternoon Hunter was finally starting to hold his temperature a little better and wasn't needing any more help with his breathing. Which meant I got to hold him for the first time since he was born over 24 hours ago! Exciting stuff for both Jay and I! I must admit that even though I didn't feel major love for these little guys yet I was amazed at them, that they were a little bit of Jay and I, I couldn't believe that I really grew them in my tummy all the while being so sick. All the doctors said their 2.2kg weights were amazing weights for their gestation and for how sick I had been and how much weight I personally had lost. They obviously were being super selfish and taking everything slightly nutritious in their diet from me, not that I'm complaining! Best it went to them, they needed it more than me. I really tried to put all those emotions of not feeling attached and being scared about not loving them to the back of my head and pretended everything was fine to everyone. Which meant that sometimes now looking back on it, I'm confused. I look at pictures and I'm smiling and look serene in some of them. I think I was going through motions of everything I was meant to do? Maybe I was feeling it, but just didn't realise it yet due to the hormones coursing through my body? I will never know.

First cuddles with Hunter was great, we got to do skin to skin. He was so small and fragile it was a bit scary, but I've been around a lot of newborns so wasn't that hesitant when it came to handling these tiny little babies. It's strange but when you are feeling doubtful about the connection you have with your babies, any praise on my "mothering" made me feel like I was doing this whole thing right. So it was really nice to hear the NICU nurses comment on how confident I was with handling them for a first time mother. They said mums of NICU babies are often very timid when moving them about due to their size and all the wires and monitoring equipment.

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A lot of NICU is still a blur due to painkillers but I do have one memory of coming down to feed them in the evening that ended with me in tears. They were so small but I was determined to breast feed them so even though they would be topped up by their NG tube (A tube that went up their nose and down into their stomach) or sometimes feed that way whilst breast-feeding at the same time too. I was a few minutes late to the set feeding time, god knows why, probably vomiting in the bathroom. Oscar was really fussing while I was latching him. The nurse was probably tired but she made me feel like absolute shit. She gave me a stern telling off about not being late to feeding as the babies would be too hungry that they wouldn't latch probably. I felt so guilty and was in tears about it, I don't think they realise the pressure you are already under being a new mum, to multiples, who are in NICU and you are still vomiting. Telling me off really didn't help the scenario! If he was that starving they should have called me down earlier rather than waiting till they were so upset. Other than that my experience with the nurses there was amazing, they were very supportive, and I knew the boys were in great hands. I will be forever grateful too them.

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We spent 4 days in NICU which was a blur of feeds, changing nappies, being sick and waiting for the boys to put some weight on and be able to hold their own body temperatures so they could move to an open cot and "graduate" NICU to PIN (Parent Infant Nursery).

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PIN is a nursery where you babies stay with around the clock nurses but you are to do all of their "cares" unlike NICU where the babies are mostly primarily looked after by the nurses and doctors. PIN is about teaching you how to care for your baby and any specific needs they have, like if they need to have oxygen etc. It's also about them putting on weight and learning to feed properly and to make sure there are no set backs in their progress. The boys entered PIN and I was really excited, I was really adamant from the get go that I wanted these boys home as soon as possible! So I got stuck into the parenting and wanted to prove to the nurses and doctors that we had this on lock down so they would let us take our babies home. I thought home would be the best place for me to grow all those lovely feelings I was desperate to feel. I knew that I loved them and wanted the best for them, but I still lacked that emotional connection where all I needed to do was look at them to fill my heart with joy. I wanted that! I felt it was unfair after all we had gone through and how much these babies were wanted that I didn't feel like that.

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PIN ended up being much tougher for me than NICU. The casual vomiting I had been doing while in NICU got so much worse. I would be changing a nappy and have to rush to the sink to be sick, I would wake up in the night and be sick all over myself as I couldn't get to a bucket/bathroom in time, it was awful. My poor room mates must have been grossed out! I was so upset that this awful sickness that had plagued my entire pregnancy was now still rearing its ugly head 5 days post birth! I struggled to keep it under control and the doctors were absolutely perplexed. They said they had never seen someone still continue to be this ill after birth. It was misery, I was already having a tough time bonding and now I was feeling just as ill as when I was pregnant. I had been so looking forward to the relief of this after birth as that is what everyone promised me. No such luck.

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Apart from constantly vomiting in basins and any sort of receptacle in the nursery, I was nailing mum life in PIN. Maybe nailing it a  bit too much. As I have mentioned, I'm a battler and when I put my mind to something I push myself even if I am feeling useless and that's what I did. I managed to find breast-feeding reasonably, dare I say it, easy. I'm lucky it came naturally to me. But I think I had a false confidence because even though the boys were putting on weight, I don't think they were having great feeds. I probably overlooked that and would always tick the "great feed" box you would fill out on the charts which we kept that noted everything we did with the babies, the nurses and doctors would refer to them to gauge the babies progress. I knew getting them out meant they had to be fed without the NG tube so either by breast or bottle, putting on weight, feeding well and generally thriving. The boys did all that, but I really think they were putting on weight as they were demanding feeds so so so often! The doctors didn't worry about that, they said it's normal for small babies with small tummies. Most kids come out of NICU and PIN on really good three hourly schedules because it's so structured. But I can tell you now the boys did not.

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We were tracking to get out pretty soon and I was very vocal about it saying we were ready/wanted to be out and the doctors/nurses believed me. Why wouldn't they? I was still an inpatient as I was still loosing weight myself and being so ill. Most mums are checked out of hospital between day 5-7 after a C-Section as they medically don't need to be looked after anymore. I can't imagine how hard it must be for those mums to be essentially told to go home without their babies. They would have to come into hospital "like a job" during the day and then leave them at night to be looked after by nurses. Because I was still in hospital I did all the boys night feeds rather than the nurses doing them via NG tube. That meant the boys learnt to feed quicker than other babies because I essentially gave them 12 hours of extra practice over the babies whose parents couldn't be there, to feed them over night. As great as it was not having to leave them at night it meant that they didn't get on that 3 hour schedule like the other babies.

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Over night the nurse does a rotation going clockwise around the babies, feeding them in order which roughly equated to 1 feed every 3 hours. There would only be one nurse on over night, so if one baby was fussing they couldn't get to them (unless something was seriously wrong obviously), but as soon as my two would fuss they would call straight away and I would be down there to feed them, as that's what I thought you were meant to do. They very quickly were on a two hourly feeding schedule 24/7 which was exhausting. Especially as while I was still feeding them one by one the whole thing would take 1.5 hours, so sometime I was only getting 30 minutes sleep before I was up again.  Thank god the lactation consultant taught me to tandem feed towards the end of our stay. The doctors all told me this much feeding was normal, as it is, but fuck it was hard. Gruelling. The lack of sleep, lack of personal space (two babies connected to my boob constantly!) really didn't help with me feeling great about my relationship with the boys. The boys also started to show signs of their reflux and were really hard to get wind from and settle. I remember being so zonked one night that I feed the boys and burped them as well as I could, put them in their cot in PIN, with them propped up so they slept at an angle (to help with the wind). I left Jay to settle them while I went to bed. The next time I woke up 2 hours had passed and he was coming to get me to feed them again. He had been trying to settle them for two hours and they had screamed and screamed. They topped them up with my pumped milk in the NG tube as they thought they were still hungry, but no, they were just crying for any myriad of reasons a baby does. There were quite a few times like that in hospital and they were big hints of what were to come over the next 6 months.

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We got to day 9 in hospital and the doctors thought the boys were doing well enough to go home, so we got to spend the night together for the first time as parents in a room with our babies. The Parents  Room is where all babies that are in NICU/PIN eventually stay in. Because by the time they are ready to be discharged the parents have usually been at home having full nights sleep etc etc and haven't had to look after their children on their own for 24 hours straight. They place you in this room which is next to PIN but has a tv in it, double bed, shower etc and you are essentially to play house for 48 hours. The nurses are there if you need them but you have to prove to them you can handle it and your baby can handle it. Your baby is weighed each morning and if they lose weight then they "fail" you and you have to stay until they start putting weight back on. They are trying to stop any babies being sent home too early and then not thriving, they don't want to see you come back to hospital. It's a good method and I'm sure really helpful for parents who are a bit scared of actually having their baby with them 24/7 without all the monitoring equipment.  Some children are in NICU/PIN for months and months so you can imagine how daunting that is when that ends. You would be so excited to finally have them with you but I bet it is scary not having the nurses to fall back on if need be.

Since I was still an inpatient the nurses kinda trusted me with this already as I had been doing 24/7 care the whole time. So they let me stay in the parents room for 24 hours instead of 48. If the boys woke up heavier than the day before we were free. I was still being sick but the doctors couldn't put it down to anything. The anti-naus was slowly helping so they said if we graduated PIN then I could go home too. I was determined to graduate PIN and pass The Parents Room stay with flying colours. I wanted out, I was sick of hospital and I wanted to be home with my kids where I knew  all the bonding would happen. There would be no more wires connected to the boys getting in my way, no more drips attached to my arm and we wouldn't be in a sterile environment anymore. Heaven!

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We passed and were sent home together on day 10, I was so happy to be out of there! I missed sleeping next to my husband and wanted to be in our home as a family. Plus it's much nicer being sick in your own toilet than a hospital one!

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Overall all my birth and the hospital stay after it was a bit of a nightmare. I was so overwhelmed with not feeling what I thought I was meant to feel. I think that I was grieving giving up that "normal" birth experience. I also think I was grieving not being able to give my all to one child, I had to spread myself and everything I had between them. When I first was pregnant before we knew they were twins I had daydreamed of lying on the couch with one baby on my chest, snuggling them and carrying them around with me all day. But with two it wasn't really going to be possible to do that.  The realities of twin life had started to hit in PIN and I was scared. They were reasonably unsettled babies and it scared me having to deal with two screaming babies.

I loved my children because they were min, they were half Jay and half me but I wasn't in love with them yet. That fact really scared me and was the start of a bout of post natal depression and anxiety. I think if I knew this was normal and I had spoken to people about it at the time, then I would have gotten help sooner and not started to fall down a black hole of feeling alone. That's the common theme I hear when I hear stories like mine, they wished they had spoken up. You can't get help or feel better without speaking up and asking for it. It took 2 months for me to finally crack and tell people how I was feeling and it was the best thing I did and helped me on my journey to being a happy confident mum who was full of LOVE for her children. That's what I will write about next, that first tough year with twins and dealing with, sorting through all the emotions I was dealing with. If you're reading this and you are in that place, please ask for help, talk to someone and know that it does happen. That bond grows, you will get there! It doesn't happen overnight but it does happen. Millimeter by millimeter you baby will fill up your heart till it's filled with the most amazing love for your baby.

What to read next?

Read setting into twin life here. 

Read Jays view of settling into twin life here

Dads View - Getting Anna up the duff

They say ‘There is always two sides to every story’, probably three, the third being the truth. This is my side. Us fellas are the simplest of creatures when boiled down to the simplest things. We are all the same. In order for us to survive and be happy ‘Feed us and fuck have sex with us’ in return we will do our best to provide you with everything, a roof over your head, a comfortable life, food in your belly and next to that food a baby. That is a pretty standard egocentric view of how things roll. In our relationship I did all those things……except the baby thing. For what ever reason, my swimmers (sperm) are terrible. Not ‘a little irregular’ or ‘a touch inactive’ I'm talking TERRIBLE! Like I said in the beginning, we are simple creatures with one role in ensuring the human race continues and when you are incapable of doing this it’s hard not to feel like you aren’t contributing to humanity,  you're a useless male, luggage.

Luckily for me Anna didn’t share those views, she is a lot more pragmatic with her life approach. She set about putting herself through the only option available to ensure we could have children, pushing needles through which various concoctions of hormones would send her body into overdrive and allow her eggs to be harvested like ripe grapes plucked from a vine. All of which made her sad, happy, sick and crazy…..real crazy. And all for me, us. For this I will forever be enamoured and in her debt. Which is why that is one of the millions of examples of why I coul sail past the ‘I don’t know if I like you anymore' crazy moments fertility drugs brought on because it wasn't her, it's not her fault, we are here because of me.

Needless to say after all that she put herself through when the first embryo was placed back inside her, we cried with excitement. Only to cry again shortly after we found out the embryo didn’t take and we were back to square one. It’s a roller coaster, one that once aboard you are unable to see the end, duration, path it takes or how scary it is. We saw this as the final roll of the dice, with everything bet on it. I know that this isn’t the case, people will say that there are countless options, surrogates, adoptions, ‘a friend of mine tried this’, ‘just relax and it will happen’, ‘when the time is right it will happen’ the list goes on, and I say this with love, SHUT THE FUCK UP. People are amazing and innately offer positivity and solutions, all road maps to similar trips that have been taken but completely different journeys, similar, but not ours.

After we mentally built ourselves back up enough to attempt the transplant for the second time we had talked ourselves into setting low expectations for success, you can’t be disappointed if you don’t have high hopes. How is that for a defeatist mentality?! Deep down both of us had everything thing we could possibly cross, crossed, hoping that this would work. And it did. I can remember the home and garden magazine I thumbed through in the reception, I remeber the doctors suite in the corner of the building looking out over Ellerslie racecourse, I remember Anna’s face and how she seemed to hold her breath while the scan was taking place, I rember the flicking light on the screen indicating a viable heart beat and I remember how time stood still when the doctor said ‘Oh……we need to have a conversation about their being two of them….you are having twins.’ I also remember jumping up and down, clapping my hands and making a weird squealing noise whilst Anna grabbed the wall to stop her from falling, even though she was horizontal on a bed. I always for what ever reason had wanted twins and as always the universe was delivering.

We had done it!!! We were finally going to be parents, job done. That’s what I thought anyway.

Through out the pregnancy Anna was incredibly sick, even with the blood volume in her body doubling and two humans growing inside of her, she was losing weight. She battled hard in the beginning, going to work and trying to work. It is amazing how much the human body can endure, Anna would try her best to eat and drink but no matter what we tried, nothing would stay inside. I was worried that not only she wasn’t getting what her body needed to sustain itself but that the boys were also going without. Trips to hospital to plunge knitting sized needles into evasive veins so that IV lines could top up the fluid levels that Anna couldn’t maintain on her own were a regular, the intercostal muscles between her ribs stretched and contorted to make space for the every growing little humans she was nurturing, but causing her immense pain at the same tme. Massages, heat packs, cold packs, osteo, chiro, acupuncture, you name it, we tried it, nothing worked. Every morning I would wake up wishing I could, but knowing I couldn’t do a single thing to help, no chance of pain minimization, to stop her being sick.. just a hope that it won’t be as bad as the day before. It took every ounce of Anna’s strength to get through each day, no food, no water, the only thing that kept her full was the love growing inside of her. Love was the only thing that kept all three of them going.

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I have to admit that I wasn’t the most supportive partner, I thought for whatever reason all the fun things I did, we did, were coming to a close and I did what every egocentric vapid individual does. I partied, a lot. I convinced myself that going out and drinking as much as I could, would capture some of the partying I would soon be missing. I don’t think I achieved that. What I did do was leave Anna by herself when she needed me most, as we were heading into the biggest moment in our lives, Anna was alone and I was drunk.

I'm not sure at what point things changed, if something was said, if I did something that pushed her past the point of putting up with it, but it did. Things changed. You quickly realize that if you are going to become great parents, you first need to be a great team, a great couple. We had open honest discussions about what we needed, expected and wanted to be the best we could be for each other.

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As we got closer to the due date, anticipation built. A couple of ‘episodes’ had us pretty nervous, at around the 30 week mark we rushed into hospital thinking that the boys were about to arrive, less than ideal. When it comes to twins, everything in the pregnancy is stacked against you, things can go wrong and often do, we were glad we had an amazing OB by our side at times like this. Steroid injections were administered to build the boys lungs up in the event they did turn up early and we were told to be ready. I was travelling away for work to the 7’s in Wellington the next day, my boss ‘Bosto’ at ZM was super cool and gave me the option of staying home but Anna insisted I go.

It was going to take a village to raise these boys and luckily for us we had what felt like a whole country behind us, family, friends, collegues, strangers, everyone was offering assistance. It was incredibly heartening to know we had that kind of support, we didn’t take it for granted and we made sure we took people up on their offers. I don’t know how we would’ve done it without them.

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It was early march and I had managed to surf quite a lot over summer, sneaking in waves whenever I could, everything was looking good for the following day at Piha so the plan was to be at the beach at 6am before the seabreeze ruffled the water. That night however I enjoyed a few cold yeasts with the lads to watch the rugby and hit the snooze button when my alarm went off at 5am opting for a sleep in. At 6:30 Anna woke me up thinking she had wet the bed, this was a sign of things to come, the boys were up and wanting to meet us six weeks early...

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Pregnant With The Nuggets

I have been putting off writing this blog. To be completely honest my pregnancy wasn't much fun at all, in fact I kind of hated it. I was really sick so writing this feels like re living it and it's something I try to forget. But here goes, as I know you would like to read about it. So I will put your needs before mine. Don't say I'm not good to you. Here goes it....

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Yesterday I lost a Nugget!

SOOOOO yesterday I lost Hunter at the park. I'm a terrible parent right?! We went to our favourite park on the shore, Onepoto Domain, if you follow me on Snap Chat then you will see it often, it's a bike park and playground all rolled into one and is epic...except for when you lose one of your sons and a stranger finds him standing on the ROAD!

We met up with one of my fellow twin mum friends, Heather, and her two amazing twin girls who the Nuggets adore!

We go to this park all the time so I feel very comfortable there, the road that leads into it is only accessed by those going to the domain, so it's not super busy. The park is set back from the road and the car parks back onto it, so kids have to go past a row of cars to get onto the road. This is something all mums, but in particular mums of multiples think of, how far is the road if my twins split and run in different directions? We often look for gated playgrounds to take this risk out. As I said though, I felt pretty comfortable here and surely I could catch a Nugget sneaking to the road before he got there right?! Wrong!

I have written about this park before here. We were playing at that same slide but this time I was standing at the top. Usually I sit at the bottom so they come out, see me and then run up again. The whole playground goes back behind that slide, so If I'm at the bottom I can see most of the playground and I know they can only run back into bush area behind it. My friend and I were keeping an eye on our four toddlers who were wanting to play with different things on the playground, of course they do! Hunter was playing on the slide to my right and Oscar was walking across a wobbly bridge to my left when he fell off. He was crying so I picked him up and brought him back to the slide, I probably spoke a few words to my friend before thinking Hunter hadn't run back up to the top of the slide. Now I am not a helicopter parent, but even if I wanted to be you couldn't be with twins in a park unless you duct tape the little buggers together! I started to worry so went around the side of the playground as we often play around there, but he wasn't there. For some reason I didn't think he would have walked down the path to the road so I actually wasn't THAT worried. I seriously thought he would've snuck back up past me into playground so I checked again. He wasn't there and again I wasn't THAT worried as there is the bike track that he could have been on, so that's where I was checking next. This is why I felt terrible afterwards, why didn't I think about the road? WHY wasn't I THAT worried? I mean my 2-year-old child has been missing for a minute to two, we are in a busy park during school holidays, someone could have taken him or he could be on the road (duh Anna why didn't you think of that!).

As I was walking out to the bike path I see a nice young women walking towards the playground with Hunter in her arms. When I think about it now I am so relived, but at the time I was like "oh there you are!" She informed me she found him standing on the speed bump in the middle of the road! I mean seriously, what the hell! I felt like I needed to explain I have twins and I wasn't just a slack mum not keeping an eye on her one toddler at the park, as I felt a little bit judged that he had gotten out there.

Now I think, why didn't I think to go there first? Why wasn't I panicking and running around to check the places faster than walking? I need to get my head checked! I know this won't be the first time this has happened to a parent, but it's the lack of panicking thing that got my thinking and freaked me out a bit, maybe I am too relaxed as a parent?!

We can't win as mothers can we, there are always two sides to every emotion, thought, plan, routine, parenting style....it's endless. I was feeling bad for not panicking when I am usually quite proud of being a relaxed parent and going with the flow. I'm a mum of twin boys who are rough and tumble, I let them explore the world at a pace they feel confident with and yes sometimes they get hurt! I also don't have eyes in the back of my head, so I can't physically watch out for them 24/7 and I don't think I need too. Kids learn from mistakes.  Not having eyes in the back of my head has led to Oscar receiving a massive cut to his head when he pulled a chair onto his face (his scar is how some people tell them apart) and Hunter breaking his nose riding his trike off the steps of our deck! Bad stuff happens, you have to take it all in your stride..otherwise I think I would be a wreck with the endless 'what if' possibilities. I know this isn't one of those if they fall down let them get back up scenarios, he could have been hit by a car, it is horrifying to think about. But should a hopefully once off, really make me call into question my whole parenting style?

Have any of you had any moments that lead to a crisis of confidence in your parenting?

 

 

 

Keeping Those Tootsies Cosy

So let's face it, winter is on its way. I'm such a summer girl and I'm sad that those long dreamy summer days are gone...but I do get excited over the prospect of filling up the boys wardrobe with winter goodies! That's one the best things about growing children, new wardrobes I get to fill each season (kidding, kind of). A burden on the wallet, but oh so much fun to do. Can you tell I'm a bit of a shop-a-hollic? So the first thing that was on the agenda was keeping The Nuggets toes warm with some Ugg boots. I have pulled together some of my favourite options available below, both high and low price range so there is something for everyone!

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Lessons and gratefulness

Today was a great day, I was reminded that I should be so grateful to be a twin mama and have my handsome, smart, fun and clever little boys, Oscar and Hunter in my life! Today was a great day but there have been plenty of really really tough ones. We had an extremely tough time settling into twin life (that's a whole other blog post though, and it's coming, I promise). 

The Nuggets turned two in March and with two comes the terrible twos. While my children definitely are delightful, they have been trying the last few months. They aren't naughty but they are just learning so much and they are trying to put it into practice. Just like the other morning when I was getting changed and they decided they wanted to "scramble" some eggs! I mean it was very clever, they got the bowl out from the cupboard I usually scramble eggs in, pulled a chair up to the bench, put the eggs in the bowl (and the floor!) and then got a fork to whisk it together. Hunter kept muttering "whisk, whisk" when I caught them. It's very cute and all but not something I wanted to deal with first thing in the morning!

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Another example; which I feel a bit mean about being frustrated over, is Hunters lack of skills on the balance bike. I have twins, very strong and ahead of the game kids. They do stuff other kids their age won't dream of...and they usually can do everything equally as good as each other. So when Hunter hadn't mastered the bike like Oscar had it threw me.

We went to the pink bike lane in Auckland CBD the other weekend and it was an absolute nightmare! Oscar NAILED his bike, he rode it the whole way with no problems and was really good. But Hunter was useless (I know this is a horrible reason to be frustrated) but he cried, moaned and just wasn't having a bar of it. We should have brought his three-wheeler, but we had done balance bike rides before and even though he wasn't as good as Oscar he could still plod along. This time however he just wasn't into it, which is cool, but after having to bend over and push him along (when we stopped he would tantrum) it became a pain in the ass and back, literally! Cue getting frustrated as this was just something we had never had to deal with...I feel like an awful mum writing this. Why should I be frustrated by my child just because he can't do something as well as his brother? Come on Anna, pull your head in! If you follow me on Snapchat then you would have seen the battles we were having.

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Fast forward to today and I knew I wanted to get the boys out and about this afternoon while we still have some pretty good weather. Being honest again, parks kind of suck at the moment. They get bored but at the same time they don't want to go home and fight me all the way to and into the car! Which is just sometimes too much to handle so I don't even try in the first place. Who wants to be kicked and screamed at while you wrestle your kids away from a park and into a carseat?

Today was going to be different, I wanted to get out and about and enjoy my afternoon with my children who are growing up all too  fast for my liking. I thought we should head to a bike park Jay and I had taken them too about 8 months prior on the shore. I know...bike park? You think I'm asking for a second run of the pink walk! But this park had the bike lanes and two playgrounds so I thought it would take much longer for them to get bored.

This time we packed both of the boys Cruzzee balance bikes and one of the three wheelers for Hunter as he wanted that one. I took the second balance bike as I know my boys,  they fight over toys and want to have the same things. Best way to avoid that is have double of the important things.

We cruised around this awesome bike park, at Onepoto Domain on the shore for about 30 minutes and I was right, Hunter suddenly had the confidence to hit the balance bike again...AND he was great! He went over the bumps and cruised down big hills. I was so proud of him, it was such a good outing and I loved seeing Hunter develop and grow.

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There was two cool playgrounds at the park, one for little kids and one for bigger children. In the big one there was a giant tube slide, the boys seriously played on this thing for 20 minutes while I did random exercises at the bottom (I could'nt get to the gym on Monday so felt I needed to get my heart rate going for a little while).

The boys LOVED this slide, Oscar always went down first follow by Hunter. Oscar was so excited when Hunter came down, EVRYTIME, he jumped up and down with such excitement that Hunter was about to pop out. It was that moment that really made me remember that I was so so so lucky to be a twin mama. Yes they can be trying but moments like these just make my heart melt. They have their best friend from birth and even though they fight, are co-conspirators, they find so much joy in experiencing new things together. It literally made my heart fill up with so much joy. I admit, I have been a little overwhelmed and busy recently and haven't found enough joy in the small things. I'm so grateful for today, to have two boys who love each other dearly, are healthy and amazing little men. Little men that make me want to be a better me,  to have a supportive partner, a partner that also makes me a better person. I'm very lucky and sometimes I need to set aside all the "garbage" and remember that, just like today. Man I am lucky!

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Keeping those bloody colds at bay!

The nuggets are exactly like me, every turn of season they get colds! Then throughout winter they flip flop between being fine and having a green snotty nose, not exactly ideal! Not even the Nuggets can look cute on Instagram with green snot ooozing from thier handsome little faces. Jokes aside, I want two healthy and happy little men all winter as opposed to two sick clingy nuggets, it's the pits!  I find that if the boys have a sniffle I can usually bring it to a standstill if I attack early enough with some serious doses of Vitamin C. Of course I don't always win this war but its better to win some battles than none at all right?!

Today I was walking down the aisle at my local Countdown and all the kids vitamins caught my attention. It was time for a top up so I checked out all the options. I have a massive habit (not a bad habit to have at all) of reading ingredient lists on the back of items. You obviously want to choose the best option and I find all the pretty packaging can be so distracting, as well as price points. What is it with parents and buying items like this that makes us instantly think "the most expensive item must be the better"? Sure sometimes they are but not all price points and products are created equal! There really is a HUGE difference to what makes up each option. I snap chatted (user name: annareeve1986) a few options and had so many screen shots that I thought this must be a topic you mums are interested in.

Before I start I'll let you know that the RDI (recommended daily intake) of Vit C for children aged 1-8 is 35mg, if you are like me numbers mean nothing to you so here it is in layman's terms. An Orange has about 70mg, a cup of Kale has 80mg and there is 65mg in a Kiwifruit (thanks Julia for giving me this info). Of course its best to get all our vitamins and minerals from food but in winter we need to up the intake so we can stop those bloody runny noses in their tracks!  So here goes, a bit more info on what I found and what I decided to buy for the nuggets.

The Nuggs love the gummy type vitamins versus the chewable tablet. This is also is a win win for me as these gummy vitamins are known to them as treats/lollies/sweets, so easy to fool 2 year olds! They have no idea what they actually are and they have been great bribing tools as of late! I mean seriously what more could you want for in a vitamin, other than a miracle cure of course?

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There were only two gummy options, Bioglan and Blackmores. Bioglan was around the $18 mark and came with 60 gummies, but you need to take two a day. My photos are a little shitty but there is 30mg of Vit C and 2.5mg of Zinc. This one is what I was naturally drawn to, all those pretty colours and eye level placement works a charm! IMG_4819

Second option was Blackmores, this was hiding all the way down on the bottom shelf and I almost missed it. 36 gummies for $14.99 and you only need ONE of these a day - bloody bargain! The photo on this one is a little better so you can see all the ingredients below. These has much more Vit C, Zinc plus Vit A & D, which are all really good for our immune system. Winner! These bad boys came home with me and the Nuggets gobbled them up for an after dinner "treat"! I could be telling you all what you already know, but with things like this check the back. It's amazing the difference there are amongst these suckers.

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Other things to think about - some of these gummies do have lots sugar in them, so if you are a completely sugar-free household then this isn't going to be for you. We are reasonably sugar free here, the Nuggs go crazy on the stuff and I just can't handle two crazy toddlers! But I obviously don't mind a little bit here and there and this is something that I definitely let it slide on. It's a shame that unlike food products they don't have to list the amounts of sugar on the packaging on these things. On the Bioglan packet it states that it contains sugar but not how much. On the other hand Blackmores states it doesn't have any added artificial sweeteners.  I feel "No added artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners" is a buzz sentence you see on a lot of products these day...would be interesting to know if that meant they had no actual sugar in them too? But I think sugar doesn't fall under the artifical sweetener umbrella?!

The above is just what's available in your supermarkets, but if you go to the chemist or health store there is a whole other realm of Vit C supplements. it literally blows my mind how big that industry is! Ideally I would love the boys to take Vit C in powder or liquid form in a drink or smoothie, but half the time the little buggers wont finish their drink/pour it on the floor/feed it to the cat...so I'm not actually sure how much they are getting. I'm a bit of a freak and I like the fact that I know if they eat one of the gummies that they have taken X amount and are keeping those snotty noses away!

What supplements if any do you give to your kids? Is it something you put value in doing? I could write a whole other blog post on other things I use for the Nuggets, but I think I will save that for another time if that's something you lovely lot would like to know more about?

UPDATE:

Blackmores saw my post and replied about the sugar content on my Instagram 

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