Over the last two years my world has revolved around only a few things, mainly taking care of Leila and Rahul. So to start a blog now seems a bit strange. What could I possibly have to say? It might seem outrageous, but I don’t know which regimes are being toppled over, I haven’t seen photos of the effects of the recent earthquake in Japan, I don’t know what yoga workshops are on in the region, don’t know if Federer is still kicking ass, or who presented at the Bookworm literary festival, or anything for that matter. That’s why when I told Maher I was starting this blog his reaction was to ask what I wanted to say?!
Only five years ago I had no idea what a blog was until a couple of friends in Chengdu complained that they couldn’t access blogspot. A number of blogging sites can not be accessed here in China. When I was in Hong Kong for the birth, bed rest and fast wireless meant lots of time on the internet, so the interest started. But it was only when L and R were five months old and we returned to Chengdu that I started to get into it. It was also the time that my mum returned to Zambia. I came upon some blogs that mums of twins (MoT) wrote about their lives. For the first time in a long time I felt like I could relate to some people. They wrote how exhausted they were, how they only bathed their babies a couple of times a week, rarely dressed them in anything other than pyjamas….I didn’t feel bad anymore that L and R didn’t go out everyday. They weren’t the only ones. To have them both ready to go out meant nappies changed, both well fed, not too tired, and a big diaper bag full of provisions, some exhaustion as well! I remember a father blogging about how his two-year old twin girls were finally sleeping through the night, most of the time anyways. So my two waking up a few times each every night meant I was still in the norm. We were not likely to get much sleep for a while though. One mum wrote about her birth story, which was very similar to mine. It included flights, hospital stays for both mum and babies, lots of pumping, stress, fear, relief. Then there was one couple that blogged about their micro premature twins birth, Neonatal ICU stay including all the medical details, the obsession with weight gain, the monitors, breathing, digestion, good days, bad days, etc. They were born much earlier than L and R, and both made it! It wasn’t the most fun blog I read, but I could relate to a lot of it and realised that I had to deal with this part of R and L’s life one day…soon. There were many funny posts as well like this one MoT who wrote something called One baby envy! Others complaining about the silly questions they got when they took their twins out. If I get started on the questions and comments I get in Chengdu I won’t stop. I’ll save that for another day. Other mums of multiples (MoM) were bitching about how J Lo could look perfect so soon after she had her twins. They were on the cover of PEOPLE magazine sometime in 2008.
I related to these parents and it helped with the isolation I sometimes felt being in China without my family and with no experience with babies whatsoever. Neither of my brothers or brothers in law have children. Friends? One has a son in Zambia who I have not yet met. Holding another friend’s tiny baby in Lebanon a couple of times was the extent of my experience. I had a few parenting books. But they only briefly covered twins if at all. But we were together, The four of us. That was our main source of strength. I had help from people in Chengdu of course. L and R ‘s ayis are superwomen who take care of everything for us. A friend as close as I imagine a sister can be was strong and present when I needed her most, now nursing her own baby. Another lent me lifesaving books at every stage along the way And many others…. So I can’t really complain!
In addition to relating to other mums and dads, I found a lot of useful information and many tips on these blogs: storage of large quantities of diapers, wet wipes, food etc is a must. There was a list with the best double stroller options. There were short videos of calm mums simultaneously feeding their babies. I never figured out the tandem burping. R and L were not often on the same schedule anyway.
So even though I live in this tiny world of eating, playing, bathing, now crazy exploring and still sleepless nights, I feel like I am above water, some of time at least. My blog is an attempt at sharing some stories. Maybe a new mum or MoT will come across it and feel she can relate, find some useful information, or just have a laugh. I would be glad to contribute to that somehow. These are stories for R and L to read one day if they want to. And if nothing else friends and family can keep up with our lives in China or wherever.
The other day I read a blog about the therapeutic effects of blogging. That did it for me, a few minutes later I signed up! Not really, but it made me realise that every time I put down my thoughts they rarely came out negative or depressive, but rather I managed to find the “funny” in things…now that I am not sinking all the time of course! It reminded me of a phrase from a song my dad often used to say to his not so smiley teenage daughter: “When you smile the whole world smiles with you….When you cry, you cry alone.”