Sometimes I feel like I know what life is, but I’m still not certain I’m right.

This time forty years ago, my mother would have been nearing her due date, a tiny me inside her and waiting to come out. This time ten years ago, my belly was stretched and full, my children both waiting to come out.

I came out late, they came out early, but all three of us had the same due date.

My great grandparents also waited, on a sea rather in it, as they sailed to a new life in America. Almost exactly one hundred years later, I stepped on a plane and spent eight hours wondering what my new life in England would look like.

It feels like there are a lot of connections in life, a lot of circles. A lot of meaning.

Sometimes I feel like I need to find more meaning, or I long to create more meaning; sometimes it feels like it’s been a long time since there’s been a Big Moment, or a Big Adventure, or a Big (hopefully positive) Change.

But really, life is a series of small moments. A few are ‘big,’ but most are ‘small.’

Life is a friend threading some string through a hagstone for me, so I can hang it from my neck as we watch our children climb up sandy dunes and jump down again.

Life is laughing as another friend educates a five year old about the band on her t shirt, blasting music and us singing together while the five year old looks on with a curious combination of polite bemusement and joy.

Life is trying to stay awake as I drive across the city late at night, listening to the soundtrack of Hamilton and rapping along with the lyrics I’ve memorised.

It’s staying up talking till 4:30 am with my wife for the first time in years. It’s how tired my body feels the next day, but how energised my heart feels.

It’s walking up a river in flimsy sandals with friends, as the sky darkens faster than expected and we laugh about crazy river monsters and howling monkeys watching from the trees. It’s a text from my mother reminding me that it was my grandmother’s birthday this week, even as I think about how her death impacts me still.

Life is remembering and creating and trying and being unable to move. It’s pain and obsessing and loving and messy. It’s figuring out how to honour and express your own truth while still trying to be kind and thoughtful.

It’s a lot of big figurings out, but it’s also small noticings. The way I feel when my kid is finding things rough. The way her hands look as she holds a trophy that is so much more than just a bit of gold plating, the way his words tumble out faster and faster as he tells me the plot of the latest book he wants to write. It’s observing how hard I thought it would be to stay calm when we’re running late, but how surprised I feel when I just let it go.

Life is my fingers on this keyboard. The yellow string I’ve tied around my wrist to remind me. The choice to drink Dr Pepper Zero this late at night even when I know caffeine screws me up and I might have to wake up early to go to a circus (of flipping and soaring humans, not animals).

It’s the texts I’ve just gotten from a friend we saw today, saying her children are vomiting like small explosive volcanos. It’s me, trying to not stress about an upcoming transatlantic flight with my children who may consequently be vomiting 38,000 miles above Earth, whilst hoping my friend doesn’t have a hellish, puke covered evening of no sleep.

Life is being the immigrant granddaughter of immigrant ancestors. Criss-crossing the globe, or running the palms of my hands over my belly, as my mother did before me.

It’s all the experience. It’s all growth, even when it’s so boring and I’m so exhausted I almost fall asleep as soon as I sit still. I’m learning what it means to really be human, and slowly understanding that it’s as simple as noticing, breathing, participating, and being.

I’ll probably forget this tomorrow. I’ll be rushed and I’ll be hot, we’ll be stressed and I’ll wonder why I can’t just have a few hours alone in a dark room watching Netflix. Then maybe I’ll get a few hours tomorrow night, and I’ll beat myself up for ‘wasting’ it doing ‘nothing.’

That’s hard. But sometimes, it’s hard being a human. I’m still learning. I’m still here.

Babywearing twins (or siblings!): two in one wrap.

I’ve got a whole list of ‘prerequisites.’ By that I mean, posts I feel like I need to write before I can work up to the concept of all the differing and fabulous ways of babywearing more than one kid at a time. But it’s this big backlog and feeling of ‘I ought to’ that chokes me. So, much like babywearing can be, I’m skipping right to a tandem wearing post!

I believe this carry was invented by a mama named Wraparoundjoy, but I could be wrong. I was overexcited and made this babywearing video on what must have been only my third attempt at this carry. I got much better as time went on, but never made another video. So, apologies for that!

I believe this is called the ‘wiggleproof’ – whether that refers only to the back carry shown or the entire thing, I don’t know. What I do know is this is a solid, comfortable carry that is a lot easier than you might imagine. You will probably need a wrap about a size up from your normal size if your babies are big or are actually toddlers!

This is obviously the carry to use if you’ll be wearing for awhile – say, a walk, or shopping, or just needing to get somewhere. It’s not convenient for getting one kid down and popping them back in, so consider this the ‘pushchair’ of wrap carries.

If you are not familiar with back carries, it is best to practice a back cross carry before attempting this one! A baby on the back should be seated much like one on the front – plenty of fabric under the bum, legs spread, knees up in line with the bum.

With no further ado (but with absolute recognition that you can’t see how I am preparing babies on the floor for a back carry, and I think I WILL make an update video on that, either using a toy or a four year old as the ‘baby’!):

Do let me know if this brings up any questions for you, and I will try to answer either directly in the comments or in a new post. Happy Friday, and have fun experimenting with this awesome tandem carry!

Why babywearing?

So… what’s the big deal with babywearing, anyway?

Babywearing is a beautiful thing. Picture it: you or your partner have just birthed a gorgeous baby. Pop that baby in a sling, and it’s like you have your bump back! But cuter.

Babies want to be close to their mothers. Most mothers want to be close to their babies. Most also want to be able to pee, eat, and walk. Babywearing allows you to have all the snuggles you both (or all, in the case of multiples) desire, while still letting you move around. I’d say all other benefits aside, it is a total necessity for parents of twins or higher order multiples.

Once I discovered it, it revolutionized life.

When I was pregnant and on bedrest, I did a lot of reading about life with twins. And pretty much every single thing I read talked about the horribleness of two babies crying – you had to pick just one to take care of, you had to somehow cope with the other baby screaming its heart out. And you know, that’s just not true. Of course you can’t escape babyhood without crying – especially when you have two or more babies to consider – but crying is important; it’s one way a baby communicates. But it isn’t something you have to just grin and bear.

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One of mine needed a nappy change and the other didn’t want to be put down? Pop that baby on your back, scoop up the poop covered baby and away you go.

One want to sleep and the other is wide awake? Pop the sleepy baby in a wrap and play with the awake baby.

My babies were often instantly comforted by getting cosy in a wrap, and it saved them (and me!) a lot of tears in the early months. This was especially true when teething or illness was involved, not to mention a few hospital stays for one of the babies. Ever tried getting a toddler to sleep in the hospital with bright lights and screaming kids everywhere? Walk with halls with him in a wrap, problem blessedly solved. Not to mention how much easier it made life outside of the flat even on the best of days. You want to go in a public bathroom without wrestling with a giant double pushchair and then figuring out how to pee without a locked door between you and a baby? Wear them.

That was the answer to many of life’s queries – I wanted to go for a walk, but needed crutches and was unable to push a pushchair. BAM. We wanted to walk in a muddy area, a root filled area, a narrow path. BAM. Wanted to go into a busy cafe but there was no room for a pushchair, double buggies (even the awesome we had) weren’t convenient for stores, both kids were sobbing at the witching hour and there was no way to comfort both effectively. Have to go to the dentist but there’s just a narrow stairway with no lift. Bam, bam, bam. Bammity bam.

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Add this to the fact that sometimes both babies need a cuddle, and it can be tricky to hold two heavier-every-day babies who happen to win wiggling championships regularly.

You can see how parents of twins or triplets – or more! – can benefit from babywearing. But what about the babies?

Babywearing promotes bonding. When done correctly, it is comfortable and safe for both the adult and the baby (more posts to follow on this subject!). Many mums who breastfeed do it while babywearing, which allows them to stay on the move if they didn’t have a comfy place to sit or time to hang out. It allows your baby to be on a level with you – easier for you both to communicate with each other. It allows your baby a secure way to explore the world around – they are exposed to more conversation and have a better view. Best of all, when they would normally get overstimulated, all they have to do is snuggle into your chest (or back) and focus on you, providing a great way to help them self-regulate and maintain a calmer state.

And babies being calm often makes for a calmer parent, which makes for calmer babies…you get the drift. It’s a lovely cycle that allows you to enjoy each other more, gives you a bit more freedom, has huge practical benefits, and places a real value on the relationship between parent and child. What’s not to like?

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Coming soon….

So, I have lots of ideas of stuff I’d like to include in this blog. One is a series of posts on the ‘best of Bristol’….and wherever else we happen to hang out. There are so many amazing places we’ve discovered, some obvious and some more obscure. I also recently asked on my personal Facebook page for people to offer suggestions on their favourite quirky/mainstream/outdoor/indoor/old/new places, and I’ve got a few new ideas from there as well. I like the idea of my blog being able to help other families/individuals find new places to adore and explore!

Speaking of Facebook, the blog does have a Facebook page. Every blog update is posted there, plus one or two thoughts/pictures a day. I’d like to have another enriching way to while away my time, so please do click and like it! (And share. Ha.)

I’m also getting back into the world of Twitter. My username there is @alisonmariemay and I welcome meeting new people, as well as chatting to old friends.

The other thing I’m thinking of adding to this blog are some posts on babywearing, if anyone would find that useful? Once upon a time, I had a popular(ish) blog on babywearing twins, and I’ve got some popular(ish) videos on youtube showing how to do various carries for both singletons, twins, or two children of different ages. Is that something you guys would like? I’ve got loads of posts I can transfer over, maybe one every couple of weeks? I have a Facebook page for babywearing twins that I don’t add anything to anymore, but people are still joining. So I suspect there may be a few mums/dads of multiples interested in the subject!

I was borderline obsessive about babywearing back when my two were younger, so again, the idea of sharing such a great thing with other people would bring me joy.

Is there anything else you would like to see? Or questions you would like me to answer? Ideas for blog posts? Please don’t be shy.

When M and S were under a year old, I had a lot of time to be online. Everyone says the first year of twins is comparable to hell on earth, but I loved it. They slept a lot, usually on me, and I twittered and tweeted my time away! And when they were awake, well, it was mostly loads of fun and firsts.

I don’t know what happened. Ages 1, 2, and 3 seemed to hit me for a loop. Every day feels so busy and intense, and when Suzy gets home I tend to run away and hide upstairs….far far away from wanting to blog. Age 3, though, is when some of life started returning to normal. We actually celebrated Halloween and did projects/crafts/stuff around various holidays. Prior to pretty recently, as my dear wife says, we had time for very little. Nothing extra, only survival.

Age four is looking pretty awesome, I have to say.

I think blogging is coming back for me, which hopefully is a good sign that I’m getting some time and space (emotional, not just physical) back to myself to use in ways I find enriching.

Aaaaanyway.

I’ll be blogging soon, and don’t forget to leave suggestions/questions/comments below. They’ll be a help!