New Mum Hacks

Found out today that a school friend had a baby when I didn’t know she was pregnant – funny how Facebook friendships are like that. I thought I’d list my new mum hacks for her, these are for mums of twins as well as “singletons” any new baby is a big deal we don’t discriminate.

Nappies: save the cotton wool balls and water for after the first few days – meconium is impossible to clean with a cotton ball and even if you’ve had a baby before, newborns are delicate things and you feel like a total noob when they flail their little legs about, so use a wipe and get the nappy changed asap. Oh, and of course, (and this is something that many folk work out too late so forgive me if you do know already) the reason little bodysuits have envelope necks is so that if there’s an explosion you can pull it down around their legs and off.

If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Look after you first and foremost. Make time to have a quick shower – you will feel better. Food is important for you and the baby hence my next three:

squishy faceFind food you can eat with a fork – pasta, casserole, etc so you can cuddle baby with one hand andactually eat with another. Ready meals eaten with a newborn don’t count. If you are organised enough before the baby then do by all means fill the freezer with nutritious home cooked stuff but if not, Cook give you a discount if you’re a new mum and they do lovely oven chuckers to keep you fuelled while you gaze adoringly at your baby.

Cereal bars and banana by the bed with water if you are breastfeeding in the middle of the night to curb hunger pangs.

Activia Prune yoghurt and granola for granola and also for snacking calorie wise PLUS  Fybogel to get everything moving again post birth (tmi)

Keep your mind vaguely busy if you can:

Amazingly, eight years ago when I had DS1 I didn’t have a smart phone and just listened to audio books to while away the time in the middle of the night. For DS2 and the twins I have availed myself of my iPhone/iPad to email people in the middle of the night, watch terrible telly on iPlayer.

Try and enjoy it if you can – you can never spend too long gazing at a newborn.




Try and see the full picture

“Watch, Mummy! Watch!” The child at the soft play centre appeals to his audience as he goes down the slide. But mum is engrossed elsewhere – scrolling  her smartphone repeatedly.  Or maybe you’re at a friend’s for coffee. She gives her children a biscuit, plops them on the sofa and reaches for the remote control. And a small part of you is secretly shocked that she seems to have resorted to “CBeebies The Babysitter” so early in the day.

You may have side-stepped the child in the supermarket who’s having a meltdown because their parent won’t buy them the sweets they want. Or raised an eyebrow at the mother who’s opened a snack multipack and handed a packet to their toddler to keep her quiet for the trip round the store. Approaching a friends’ house for lunch, you can hear mum shouting loudly at her small child from the driveway.

But you haven’t seen the full picture. The mum on the phone has come to the soft play for wifi access and is refreshing her email for important news from work.  The child plonked in front of cartoons has actually been up since 5am and been for a walk, gone to a story session at the library and is getting towards nap-time. But mum knows from previous experience that she needs to negotiate the timings of that nap to ensure her child doesn’t spend the remainder of the day sad and tired.

The first child at the supermarket had already had a treat for the day at the previous shop and mum knows that the sugar will make a hard day even worse. The second child at the supermarket had a smaller lunch than expected as they were at a friend’s house and the food wasn’t to her taste. The mother yelling at her child who can be heard across the neighbourhood is trying to get her attention to prevent her from hurting another child.

We’ve all had days when we aren’t the perfect parent but had you taken the snapshot at a different point in the day, you’d certainly have seen things from another perspective. The mother patiently listening to the boy at the soft play tell yet another Minecraft story. The cartoon-watching child intently handing over book after book to be read. The hungry one eating a vaguely balanced breakfast.  As it happens, I am the parent in all of these scenarios. I’m the first to admit I’m not perfect but I’m probably not everything you see at first glance either. That’s the same for everyone, and as we move into the longest term where tired children may be at their most challenging, I’m planning to keep this uppermost in my mind.

9 ways to combat loneliness with small children

So I had just written about this for my lovely friends at the Herts & Essex Observer and then saw Mumsnet’s blog of the day from 2boys1mum talking about it and it inspired me to take this a bit further.

Loneliness is never really spoken about in the heady world of the new mum but it was something I as a self-confessed extrovert and chatterbox was NOT expecting. Here’s how I managed to stop feeling alone.

How to make mates when out and about?

1 Choose a class/activity and commit to it for a while – people will remember you. Offering to help out also “wins friends” – take a few cups back to the kitchen and plonk them in the sink. Book clubs and exercise classes are also good but there’s less likely

2 Don’t leave early if you can help it, hang back and see if anyone might like to head off for coffee then or make a date to do so later in the week.

3 Smile and make eye contact. Put the smartphone down. Start by saying Hello. Use children as a go-between “Hello little one! What’s your name?”is a good icebreaker.  Asking questions “which other playgroups do you go to?”  also helps you find other places to meet other mummies – win, win! This works at the swings/playground too.

4 If you can’t remember someone’s name – go with your preferred term of endearment. Makes you seem friendly, even if you’re not feeling it.

5 Remember everyone else is faking it too.

Ditch the empty feeling when back at home?

6 Facebook, Mumsnet and Twitter are a great way to pass a long day. But do be sure to take everything you see on social media with a good pinch of salt. Fear Of Missing Out is a terrible affliction and it’s easy to get sucked into feelings of loneliness and envy with glorious retro filters on Instagram (I’m as guilty of fannying about with the photos as the next person) and tags of people having a wonderful time on Facebook. See also, point 5, above.

7 Turn off the telly and put the radio on – I love a bit of Radio 4 or Radio 4 Extra, though now flit between Absolute80s and CapitalXtra. Whatever the station, it definitely stops the house feeling empty and certainly the spoken channels make me feel less baby brained.

8 Say yes more. Someone asks you to come to something, DON’T use the baby as an excuse. Take the baby with you OR get a sitter if you can.

9 Call your mum.  Or phone a friend.  It may be hard to meet up in person for long but a phone call can lift the spirits in many ways.


What’s in a name?

So I have been thinking about whether I should keep the name of this blog as 2winterest. I chose it before the girls were born, and I was spending a fair amount of time on Pinterest and I liked the pun, and the Prince style 2 amused me too.

Now that the girls are nearly 8 months old, I am trying to blog more often. I briefly thought about whether it was the right name.

When I was at university people would have vague epithets to describe people. “You know Freddie? He’s tall, in a band, plays rugby?” Mine was, “Olivia; loud, does classics.” Not quite white armed Penelope in the Homeric tradition but hey ho.

These days, I am OliviaWithTheTwins. The girls have changed so much in my life and the way I think about things, that I think it’s only right that they are an integral part of my identity.

9 months later…

Well we survived Project Organisation. I did indeed manage to get everything alphabetised and aligned. In fact, I was concentrating so much on labelling anything that didn’t move in the house and preparing emergency documents and welcome packs for our fabulous mothers help that I didn’t have time to blog about any of it!

We also nailed Project Birth (for gory details, click here )  our two baby daughters arrived safely and quite quickly in the world at 38 weeks spot on in December. They are utterly wonderful.


Since then, well, we have been getting to grips with, well, all of it. Hopefully I’ll be able to fill you in on the various tricks and strategies I’ve been implementing to deal with the rather massive change from two children to four, dealing with twins and not drowning in the laundry mountain as I blog more regularly.

But what’s finally got me me to start blogging again, is that I have won a place in  Team Spatone. Training starts TOMORROW! I am nervous, clueless and excited.





Back to school! Hurrah!

new term

So here we are the eve of a new term as the weather promises to heat up again.

I’m getting an early night – as I’m sure the 8.45 drop-off will be a bit of a shocker after lazy days of the holidays.
The uniform’s ready, everything labelled and my Facebook timeline is full of cheery smiles of the children of friends all of whom are starting new forms with gently tanned faces from long summer days.

Now for my trivia point of the day.  Academic years begin in September because students were given time off over summer months to help with the harvest – now the September 1st looms over anyone due to have a baby around then as class-year cut-off dates are agonised over.
But September is also a good time in my experience to start a new regime – Mumsnetters across the country are on Christmas little black dress countdown diets and I have friend training in earnest for a half marathon.
I will be helping DS1 with his handwriting after school as he didnt do  any as much over the summer as my good intentions had planned.
On a more personal note, I will be starting Operation Nesting Phase 1 – which is to sort out some long overdue household admin and clutter clearing. I will have TWELVE glorious hours of child-free time a week as DS2 starts preschool in earnest on Thursday – the potty training is a work in progress but he’s doing very well.
Watch this space as my life hopefully becomes organised, aligned, alphabetised and run with clockwork precision.

What not to name your baby

So the annual list of most popular baby names has been released and those of us with impending arrivals sit up and take notice. George will doubtless rank very highly next year though it’s not a name on our shortlist. But as we don’t know what we’re having,  we have three different name combinations to contemplate and research.


The Mumsnet consensus on twin names is that they have to sit together well like siblings , so Tyler and India wouldn’t go together as rentagob Katie Hopkins would doubtless agree. That said, the names shouldn’t be matchy-matchy (so my adoration of alliteration is a naming no-no here).

In terms of popularity, I’m not too bothered by this –   the boys are in the top hundred and DH and I are both in the top ten now but weren’t when we were born.  DS2 will spend his life spelling both his names – our surname is not too unusual but isn’t spelt as it sounds.

But we are still pretty much nowhere on names. For one thing we used up all our boys’s names on DS1 and 2  (seven between them <blush>) but also it has really seemed too early. While we do have a long list of girls’s names leftover from last time there are none that we both entirely agree on so we’re keeping mum for now.

Along with the released stats comes the other news that we’re currently experiencing a baby boom with the highest birth rate since 1972. Naturally,  the pundits are trying to work out the reason for this. Did the Jubilympic summer of 2012 really mean that lots of folk were getting jiggy with it? The royal baby is apparently another factor – because one couple in London got pregnant, the rest of the nation decide to do so too?! Hmm. I remain unconvinced on that one.

I think it’s much more likely to be the credit crunch – less going out means more early nights. People aren’t all that imaginative when it comes to pastimes really. Our NCT group was made up of lots of teachers – and all the other November babies in our group were the result of a snow day…