Twins of the Month: Aaron and James

913de3d0-18da-4ebc-ad7c-68001ef665f1This month we meet Liz Kilkenny’s twins, Aaron and James.

Twins’ names? Aaron and James

Age? 19 months

Birthday? July

Identical or fraternal? Fraternal

Favourite activity? Running about, swings and knocking down Megablocks. Their absolute favourite is trying to take things off each other even when the other has exactly the same thing.

A bit about Mum and Dad…. Mum Liz was a Financial Adviser for a bank until taking redundancy at the end of her maternity leave. Liz is currently a stay at home mummy running around after two energetic boys. Dad Ash is a Software Development Agile Coach for BP.

Buggy? Out and About Nipper which we are very happy with, we started off with an older model Nipper from a friend and really liked it so bought a new one and like its lightness and manoeuvrability.

Car? A Ford Fiesta which we have outgrown, now that we have moved on to the next stage of car seats so have less leg room. We are currently weighing up the options on the next car to go for.

Help or not? No help, I am not working so do it myself and our families are quite far away. My mum did come over from Ireland for two weeks to help out once Ash’s paternity leave ended, which really helped. I also had a Homestart volunteer for an afternoon a week for the first year, who was fantastic and is sorely missed.

Quick tip for other twin mums… Take help where it’s offered and encourage visiting friends and family members to help out. Either by bringing meals over or helping with a bit of childcare/ housework.

What advice would you give your pre-twins/triplet (pregnant) self? Go on maternity leave sooner – I worked and commuted until 36 weeks and had the boys at 37 weeks. I wanted to have as much time home with them before my mat leave ended. With hindsight a bit more rest time before they came along would have been better for me, as I was getting tired and getting little sleep near the end.

Go on holiday and go out to as many social events as you feel up to as things are going to change. I did this and I look back at these times fondly now as couple-time is in shorter supply, although getting easier now they are older, but still needs organisation. After they are born, don’t be daunted by flights: we did it at 4 months and 11 months and it was worth it to go away.

What advice would you give about sleep training? Don’t push for a routine until it feels right and trust your instincts. We had impressed on us by many other parents the need to establish a routine as a matter of importance. We attempted this when they were a few weeks old and put ourselves through hell, they just weren’t ready for a set night time sleep-time. This resulted in screaming and very late evening meals for Ash and I, as we battled to get them to bed. My mum encouraged us to chill out and not be so prescriptive with bedtime while they were so small. We ended up with happy babies who stayed up for a few hours longer but who settled to sleep quickly. We tried again with a set bedtime a couple of months later and they were ready then and have been good sleepers on the whole. I have tended to stick roughly to a Gina Ford routine, I bought many books but was too tired to take a lot of the advice in despite highlighter pens and revision-style attempts at concentration. I found the short 2 page Gina timetable easy to follow but was not a slave to it.

What advice would you give about breast/bottle feeding? Do what you can and what feels right for you. I did a combination of breast and bottle for the first couple of months before switching to bottle. I found the TAMBA breast-feeding one day course really helpful compared to NCT, and the message I took from it was to do what you feel able to and not to put too much pressure on yourself. I found hiring a hospital grade pump, initially on a short term basis, worked well as it gave me a chance to decide what worked for me.

Do you have any advice on weaning? Just keep trying out different foods and they will eat when they are ready to. I bought a baby food processor but found a normal size one better for batch cooking. I got some reusable food pouches from Wilkinson that I used for homemade purees that were handy. You may not have time to be a domestic goddess and a bit of Hipp/Ella’s etc can make life a whole lot easier. I like the Annabel Karmel recipes but was surprised at the salt and sugar in her ready-made line.

Do you have any advice on potty training? No, we’re not at that stage yet.

Best bargain? A little singing rocking horse picked up from a charity shop for £2.50.

Best thing about having twins/triplets? They are there for each other, it is so lovely to see them giggling together (not so much when they’re meant to be sleeping!) and they are less clingy as they have a companion for entertainment.

Funniest thing the twins have done? When they were newborns they used to make noises like Beavis and Butthead laughing. Peeing on daddy is always good fun too!

I love Twickenham Twins club because… other twin mums understand. It’s good to get advice and get an insight into how parents of older twins cope. It is good to see how resourceful and resilient we can be and to laugh at the tribulations.