Twins of the Month: Jasper and Felix Dormer

 

This month we meet twins Jasper and Felix Dormer

 

 

 

 

Twins Names: Jasper and Felix

Age: 19 months

Birthday: 14th April 2016

Identical or fraternal: Fraternal

Favourite activity: Apart from eating… jumping and climbing is a current favourite. They are just determined to get up onto any piece of furniture they know they aren’t allowed to and jumping up and down on the sofa is heaven to them. They must have heard me say ‘sit down’ so often that Felix often says it to me now before I even open my mouth!

A bit about mum: I’m a Production Executive for a television production company. I make terrible reality TV I’m afraid. I was living in New York when I got pregnant with the boys and then moved back to London to be nearer to family and friends with kids.

Car: Fiat 500X . It just fits the mountain buggy duet in but there isn’t much room for anything else. My car in the past always used to be beautifully clean. Now it seems to be a holding space for, wellies, spare clothes, nappies and bits of discarded food. One day I’ll have a beautifully clean car again!

Help or not? As I’m single I lived with my parents until the boys were about 8 months old. They were an enormous help. Not only did they help with the general care of the boys my Mum was fantastic at making sure I was fed. My Dad was also brilliant in the early days at taking the boys out for 10 minutes in the morning so I could jump in the shower in peace. I didn’t have any external help until my nanny started when the boys were 9 months old and I returned to work. The boys love her.

Quick tip for other twin/triplet mums: Try and get someone to help you with cooking food at least some days a week or getting your freezer filled with nutritious meals before your twins arrive. Those early days there is little time for anything over than caring for babies and I think without food being given to me I would have just forgotten (or run out of time) to eat.

Also don’t expect your twins to do everything at the same time. It sounds obvious but I got really concerned when Jasper was much later to crawl than Felix, 4 months later to walk and was always just a little behind him in everything else. I’m pretty sure that were they two children born a few years apart the difference in their progress would have barely registered but because you are watching them side by side it can be a cause for concern. It really doesn’t need to be. Invariably they get to where they need to be eventually. My two, it turns out, are just motivated by very different things.

What advice would you give to your pre-pregnant self? It won’t be as bad as you think it will! Also try and enjoy the pregnancy as much as you can. I was so so worried about pre-term birth that I spent the whole time counting down weeks until we were in the ‘safe zone’ and by that point I was so uncomfortable I couldn’t enjoy it at all.

What advice would you give about sleep training? Because I breastfed, my boys got into the habit of needing to be fed to go to sleep. This is pretty common but it got really really tough for me when it was the only way to get them to sleep. So when we got to about 4.5 months I sleep trained the boys. I used a very mild ferber method which meant that I would let them cry a bit but go in at different (not long) intervals to soothe them. It took a night for two to teach them to put themselves to sleep. Once they did that my life suddenly got easier.

My other tip for overnight sleeping is routine. Start getting them into a bedtime routine as early as you can. I started at about 7 or 8 weeks and even now at 19 months the boys know as soon as they go into the bath that it’s bedtime and it’s helped (most of the time) mean that they go to sleep quickly at bedtime. The boys started sleeping through at about 7 or 8 months and that continues mostly until now (except Felix who likes to wake in the night and come into my bed on occasion!)

What advice would you give about breast/bottle feeding? I was very lucky in that my boys both took to breastfeeding quickly but they were big boys at birth (6lb 9 and 6lb 12). I breastfed until they were 6 months but at about 2 months started to introduce a formula bottle at bedtime. I was just so exhausted by the evening I knew they weren’t getting much from me.

Also one of my boys was a stronger feeder in the early days than the other so I alternated which side I put them on every 24 hours. It meant that there was more food ready for the weaker feeder and meant he put on weight at the same rate as the stronger feeder.

Breast feeding is great but it is hard and I found it all consuming with twins. I genuinely think that had I not been living with my parents I never would have been able to manage. They allowed me the time to be able to just feed when I needed to . I didn’t need to worry about housework and cooking (or another child!). So do what works for you. Breast, bottle or combination all equates to the same thing, fed babies!

Do you have any advice on weaning? I enjoyed the weaning process, and found it fun. I didn’t go the baby led route (I just couldn’t bring that sort of mess into my parents kitchen) but started with purees which worked well. Felix took to it much quicker than Jasper so I’d say don’t assume both babies will be ready at the same time. Just keep trying a little and eventually they’ll both get it.

My boys are both fantastic eaters now and I try to make a bit of an occasion of mealtimes when I’m with them. I always make sure there are no other distractions so no toys on the table, no screens etc and I always sit and chat with them. My boys are really good eaters (at the moment) though so it’s never been a particularly stressful stage for me.

Do you have any advice on potty training? Not there yet. Though Felix is just starting to tell me when he has done a poo so maybe that isn’s quite as far away as I thought. Definitely not attempting that before 2 though!

Best bargain? I’m lucky that my boys are a shoe size apart and Jasper started walking about 4 months after Felix so I make sure I get a fairly decent pair of shoes for Felix and then Jasper can inherit them. They seem to be jumping through shoe sizes at an alarming rate.

Best thing about having twins? They will always have each other. I have such a great relationship with my brother and sister I love that the boys will always have that but even stronger because they will have shared everything together since day dot.

Funniest thing the twins have done? Recently the boys have started holding each other’s hands when we are out for walks but sometimes Jasper decides he doesn’t want to. The absolute tantrums that this draws out of Felix are pretty hilarious. He looks so sorry for himself at the rejection.

They are also constantly walking round at the moment saying ‘whale’! I showed them a little bit of Blue Planet 2. They are now obsessed with it!

I love Twickenham Twins Club because….. There are loads of great activities and events on. I just wish that I could take advantage of them more. Working 4 days a week and not having readily available childcare in the evenings makes attendance a little difficult at the moment.