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To Assume, Or Not To Assume; It’s Never A Question

30 Jun

Back in the day when I was fighting my way through the crazy corporate jungle which was full of bigger -than-their -BMW’s-business egos (compensating for their insecurities and other “shortcomings), I had many an idiot of a boss.  One in particular.

But, ironically, this is the idiot that left one piece of advice that has always stayed with me:

“Never assume.”

This man doesn’t deserve any more of a mention but the other day those words struck a chord.

Waiting in line for my much-needed coffee, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and while pointing to the twinlets said, “Oh, please do tell me some of your nanny friends so I can refer either you or them to my daughter.  She’s looking for someone at the moment…and you seem to be doing a fabulous job with those twins…”

“Haha, I should think so.  After all, I am their mother…” I replied, trying to contain my urge to whack the tactless lady in the head.

Arriving at playgroup, I told the other mums about my run-in.  One mum knew exactly where I was coming from.  She is Hungarian; Her husband is of Filipino background; Their little boy is his dad’s mini-me.

Another mum made an interesting point.

“She just should’ve just asked straight up if they were yours.  At least she could’ve saved herself the embarrassment.”

And although I almost despise being asked that question too (It’s up there with “Are they IVF ?”), I think my mum friend is right.

I started thinking about assumptions and tried to recall a time where they have every played a positive role.

Being an Indonesian born Australian, I’ve been dumped with a few in my life.

There was the time a QANTAS flight attendant was frustrated with all the Indonesian passengers who couldn’t speak (shock !  horror !) English on a flight from Jakarta to Sydney.  Getting peeved at having to repeatedly explain that the dinner choices were either fish or chicken, by the time he came around to me, he spoke so slowly and yet in an impatient and rude manner.

I turned on my thickest of Aussie accents and twang:  “Um, dunno.  Maybe the chicken, but what’s in the fish ?”

I’ll never forget his look of shame and his lame attempt to explain his bad behaviour.

Then there was the awful time when my dad had a seizure in the middle of a road trip and we had to race him to the nearest hospital.  While waiting for his CT scan results in the emergency room, a nurse started speaking candidly to his colleague about my dad’s condition, thinking he and his family who were in the room didn’t speak English.

There will always be morons in this world.  There’s no denying that.

But I think assumptions can be prevented.  (And likewise, I definitely need some hard-up lessons of my own).

Perhaps, we could argue that they aren’t as severe as unsolicited judgements or criticisms.  One could even see them as harmless.

Yet, my life experiences tell me differently.  I think assumptions can be the root and the stem of the yuckiness and negativity of close-mindedness and prejudice.

Feel free to correct me, if I’m wrong.

Anywhoooo…ending on a lighter note.

Here is the latest photo of me and the twinlets:

Please, please, pretty please tell me that  you can see a teeny tiny resemblence of me in them.

The flat nose ?  The squidgy lips ? Anything ?

Lies and far-stretched truths will be happily accepted 🙂

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday – Happy 17 months !

29 Jun

To celebrate the twinlets turning 17 months yesterday, here are a few of my favourite photos from the early days to the present.

Happy 17 months, my little munchkins !
It’s been a fabulous ride.  Can’t wait to see what the next 17 and beyond bring.

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys.  Make sure you join me.

6 days old: Keeping each other company in the NICU

One of our favourites...

5 months

12 months

Last Sunday

The Unspoken Dissent of Twins

28 Jun

During their 6 month check up, our paediatrician made an interesting comment:

“I know it’s hard with twins at the moment.  But just wait and see.  They’ll be each other’s company and entertainment.  You won’t have to worry about finding things to do.  You’ll have it much easier than parents of single babies.”

I clung to those words like superglue.  Waiting earnestly for the days of self-sufficiency.

And we’re here.  And to a large degree, he was right.

Largely, people are correct to assume that twins means a natural closeness.  An inseperable bond.  A happy harmony.

But no one mentions the flip-side; the clash of opposing personalities.

Just because they’re twins, they will still go through sibling rivalry.

Even in the womb, Little K was dominating by nature.  After all, he was the one that took up two-thirds of the nutrients from the placenta.  He was also the one that did most of the kicking and swirling around.

On the other hand, Little N was placid.  He was happily snug in the downward position two weeks before the scheduled C-section delivery.  Sometimes in the middle of the night, with Hubby spooning me and both of us with our hands on my belly, we would wait and wait for Little N to finally make some movement.

Yet – once arriving in the outside world – their different personalities seem to have complimented each other.

Until recently.

Somehow, just within this last month, we have managed to go from here:

To here:

We knew it was coming.

It began discreetly.  Little K would snatch a toy right out of his brother’s hand.  Little N – the accommodating one – would just move on.  Happily play with another toy.

But now as their personalities further develop, their own ideas of what they want are also setting in.

And because Little K is bigger than his older brother, he will get away with more.  In return, Little N – being a sensitive soul – will run away in a corner and cry.

We see that there’s an imbalance.  We’re trying to reason with Little K to give back the toy.  But when both are still too young to communicate and understand the “sharing game”; where there isn’t an older sibling who will “know better” and surrender that toy; it all results in a lot of chaos.

What’s baffling about it all is that Little K is actually not aggressive with other children.

If he sees another kid playing with his favourite toy at playgroup, Little K won’t act on it.  But if it’s his twin brother ?  Watch out.

Fortunately, Little N is starting to stand his ground.  And despite the Little K tantrums it causes, we’re encouraging Little N to stick to his guns.

Again, the effects can be horrendous.

But we have to do it.

Until we can actually sit down with them and explain the concept of “taking turns” or “sharing”, it’s going to be a rough ride.

Things I Know

24 Jun

What ?  Are you kidding me ?  It’s that time of the week…already ???  Oh well, okay.  If you say so…

Happy Friday, my lovelies !

w

Breastfeeding Twins: Just Like Riding A Bike…Kinda…Not Really…

7 Jun

A fellow mummy blogger wrote a post last week that compelled me to write this one.  Sare from “Getting From Here To There” talked about her decision to breastfeed for as long as possible.  She felt that it should be the norm not the exception.

Speaking as a mum of twins, it’s not uncommon to breast feed for a maximum of 8 weeks.

It initially takes a lot of patience, persistence and help.

It’s a trickier business to continue.

The various positions for breast feeding twins...I stuck to postion one...

Midwives:

It was a mixed blessing that our 5 week premature twins had to stay in the NICU for two weeks.  It broke my heart to leave them behind when I was discharged.  But, that time gave me the opportunity to enter – as I like to call it – The Special School of Twin Breastfeeding.

Yes, I had icy cold hands constantly touching my once precious puppies.  But I will forever grateful to the NICU midwives.

At 35 weeks gestation, babies know how to suck.  They know how to swallow.  Both as separate functions.

So, babies who are born at this age need to learn how to co-ordinate the two.

To breastfeed successfully, took a concerted effort from mum, babies and outside help.  Nothing about it was a breeze.

One by one: First attempt by Little K...and no...that wasn't Hubby's hand...

Australian Breatfeeding Association:

We had their Helpline on speed dial – 1800 686 2 686 (1800 mum 2 mum)

When the boys were two months old, I found myself bowling over with shooting pains in my right breast.  I suspected nipple thrush.  I feared mastitis.

We called the ABA in the middle of the night for help.  For guidance.  For some moral support.

Suffering from nipple thrush for almost two months, not only were there regular trips to the GP, we also made dozens of calls to the ABA.

Sometimes I heard what they had to say (“You’re doing a great job…Hang in there !”).

Sometimes I wanted to throw the phone across the room (“I know it hurts, but you have to continue breast feeding !”).

Overall, they were there.  Listening.  Offering help.

Going Solo…

When Hubby went back to work, I was left with the daunting task of figuring out how to feed the boys on my own.

It took a couple of attempts.

At first, I had to feed them seperately.  Not only did it become time consuming, I constantly had a baby latched to a breast.  I wasn’t far off being a milking cow.

Then, the boys got a little bigger, with better head and neck control.

The feeding routine then went like this:

  • Scoop up Twin One from cot and carry with left arm.
  • Scoop up Twin Two from cot and carry with right arm.
  • Carry both bundles of joy to the lounge room and sit down at one end of the couch.
  • While holding Twin One, place Twin Two on a cushion on the right.

(Now for the tricky part)

  • With the twin breast feeding pillow at arm’s reach, strap the pillow on with my free hand, while making sure Twin Two didn’t roll off his cushion.
  • Place Twin One on the breast feeding pillow, then place Twin Two.

At last...two at a time...

Now tell me that sounds like riding a bike…

My boys were naturally weaned – three weeks shy of their first birthday.  Ironically, out of the entire experience, that probably felt the most natural.

Breast feeding in general is no easy feat.

Adding another baby to the boob can change the whole equation.

Date Night…

5 Jun

As some of you may have gathered from my Things I Know post on Friday, I was darn excited about going to the movies with Hubby for date night.

As it turned out, there was nothing showing in the cinemas that could entice either one of us (‘Hangover Part 2’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 4’ ???)

Besides, we kept the arrangement for our beloved Nulla Nanna to come over as she had happily volunteered for baby-sitting duties.  We just couldn’t waste an evening by staying home.  Despite the miserable weather.

Dressed in my new slinky jeans, Hubby and I decided to tread some old territory.  The past haunts of our pre-twinlet yesteryears.

We went to our old pub where we spent many a drunken Saturday night with other child-free couples – drinking, talking and socializing.  Nothing out of the extraordinary for Sydney savoir faire.

But six years on, things definitely felt different.

The same table was there to take our usual order.  Inviting us to still enjoy our familiar, favoured beverages.

Yet, the pub noise was a little too rowdy and raucous for what we were now used to.  I was appalled with the rambunctious crowd next to us.  Their arrogant behaviour was full of profanities.

What was really happening ?  I was just showing my age.

My inevitable lean towards becoming a, dare I say, conservative mother.

Four years ago at this very pub, my future husband and I would occasionally have a private, yet polite dinner together.  We would tip toe around the topic of commitment, marriage and children.  He wasn’t ready.  I was eager and keen.

Now we were comparing twinlet photos on our phones, discussing their latest learnings and most recent cute moments.

Tonight, we talked about our future: where were we going to move to, in a city that was already so unaffordable for young families to maintain an urban lifestyle; what were the best options for day-care for our boys; what were my career plans beyond motherhood.

Breaking into the surface of planning for a young family with all its potential choices and paths.

Keeping all options open, yet staying as pragmatic as possible.

What a giant leap four years can do.

And besides now being a mother and holding responsibility for two precious souls, I still could enjoy the thrill of having a drink.

The warm, tingly feeling of a crisp white wine and the comforts of conversation that come with.

Walking back to the car in the rain, hand in hand with my beloved, I could see how all that was familiar has stepped into a time capsule of the past.

Life now is good.  It’s not complete.  But it’s certainly happy and content.

The movies can wait until another time.

Musings of Mama Grace © 2011

Same, same…but different…

3 Jun

Way back when I was still getting my head around breastfeeding and other maternal duties, I remember turning to Kaz Cooke’s book “Kid Wrangling” for a bit of entertainment and a mental break.

Talking about a baby’s emotional and mental development at 9 months to 1 year, I read:

“Your baby will show more of their ‘personality’ and quirks will be recognisable – even if you don’t realise this until later, when your child is older and you look back.”

So, that one line has stuck with me.

Born identical and two minutes apart, the boys practically started their lives wrapped in each other.  Sharing a cot until they were five months.

But since turning one, the subtle differences between them are more obvious.

It has been full of surprises witnessing how they continue to mould their close-knit bond.  Then, at the same time, see how their distinct personalities are evolving.

And because I’m curious to see if their special quirks will eventually be part of their overall future individual characters, I thought I’d take note of my observations.

I want to look back and see how accurate – or inaccurate – this post will actually be.

Little N:

A sensitive soul, Little N is easily alarmed by any strange noises or new people.  He’s shy with new guests and instead will snuggle to the closest, most familiar person he can find.

Yet, having said that, he likes a social challenge.  Whenever we’re at a doctor’s appointment, Little N likes to join in the conversation with his jibber jabber chit chat.

Little N is our obliging twin.  Often, his brother will snatch a toy that he’s already playing with.  More often than not, Little N will let him have it and totter off to find another one.

When he walks around a room, Little N will place his hands behind his back, as though he’s deep in investigation.  He reminds me of an old London police bobby.

The little conversations he has with us or his brother consist of short, sharp syllables.  He will have his arms open and emphasise his little sounds by waving his arms like a motivational speaker.

Little N is my mini Anthony Robbins who seems to speak with conviction – although of course, none of us have any idea what he’s talking about.

Little N is auditory.  As soon as he hears the opening drum beats to Frankie Valli’s “Sherry”, he starts dancing.  The Jackson 5’s “Blame It On The Boogie” is another big favourite.  Anything by the Wiggles gets him shaking a tail feather too.

Little K:

Despite being the second twin, he will do whatever he can to get what he wants.

Whether it be a toy, a mobile phone or a forbidden area, Little K’s eyes will fix themselves on the object of desire and there is nothing stopping him.  He will climb over you.  He will sit on your head.

If he doesn’t succeed…we are potentially facing a meltdown.

Little K is very lucky that his brother is so accommodating.

Little K likes to play rough and tumble.  He likes a crazy tummy tickle from his dad.  Being tickled so hard he starts to cry.  He always comes back for more.

While his brother likes a social challenge, Little K – forever the explorer and the climber – prefers a physical activity.

In his conversations, Little K has a sing-song voice.  His chatter always ends with a raised intonation, as though he’s asking a question.  Perhaps, he will be the inquisitive one.

Little K is by far the vocal twin.  As a baby, he always cried louder.  As a toddler, his screams are deafening.

Little K is also visual.  He’s always quick to spot and point out a plane or a bird.  He loves his books.

Little K also like to snuggle up to those he knows and loves.  When we sit cross-legged, he will make himself comfortable into that nook, lie right back, his body sinking into yours.

So, let’s see how this will all unfold.

Two boys in each other’s physical likeness with two distinct characters shaping and forming.

Weaving in and out of their special kinship.

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