lets be honest. they’re crap in comparison to women …. so simple, they actually are like dogs (which I love). All they want is someone to stroke their tummy, feed them, and give them lots of cuddles. they are incredibly black and white about things (unless you’ve got a real fucked up one), or unless you’re married to a metrosexual, in which case, they can be just as annoying as some self affected gals.
As those of you with children know (especially children under the age of 14 months), trying to go away on holiday like you used to (before you had kids), is near impossible. In fact, it is impossible. Gone are the carefree days of packing a few bikinis, a sarong and a couple of books…. fuck…. just to read a book without interruption would be bliss (and that’s because of The Captain, not the kids). The Captain used to marvel at how light I used to travel while all his things were pressed and packed in order to ensure minimum creasing with all the white linen clothes (to compliment his tan) he had ready for our nights out. Now, preparing for a holiday, I feel like a mad crazed woman trying to plan some sort of military coup, while my husband stares on in sheer disbelief as I pack food, nappies, baby wipes, medicine (they’re teething at the moment…oh how much fun is that?), teething granules, etc for 5000 days. When you review the amount of shit you actually have to take on holiday, you’d rather just stay at home. Its waaaay easier.
Was packing for this holiday any easier? Errr, NO! We have just got back from a few days in Koh Samui, Thailand (2.5 hour flight but with a screaming child, or two in my case ….it may as well have been 15 hours of torture). Itchy and Scratchy were in tow, along with our Domestic Helper (or ‘Domestic Goddess” as I like to now call her). Before leaving Hong Kong, we had to review, over and over again, which Hotel were we staying in? Which flight would have the least impact on the kid’s routine and therefore hopefully minimize crying on the plane? Could we take a buggy around with ease or would we need our baby slings? Do we use the crappy travel buggy or the posh one (Phil & Ted’s) I had to buy on arriving in HK because my Out N About wont fit on any of the bloody pavements?! The temptation to stay home with the twins and ask The Captain and the Domestic Goddess to go on their own was HUGE! The Captain did not agree with my thought process barking, “How fucking hard can it be woman!? Everyone goes on holiday with their kids!!!” and talked me into what was meant to be 5 glorious days of sunshine in Koh Samui.
Now, what I’m about to say will piss some well established travelers off big time, but, I’m going to say it anyway (that’s the beauty of being anonymous after all). I HATE THAILAND. Yes, it’s true….. and although it deeply upsets my Husband, I’ve said it now.
I’ve never been a fan. I have always had crappy weather, shit food and a dodgy tummy. The class A’s are not very good either, and we even arrived the day before the Full Moon party kicked off. Did I see one dodgy magic mushroom omelet? NO!! Did anyone offer me drugs of any kind?! NO!! Was I disappointed once again?! Err…. yes. You can’t even purchase a Valium anymore without the Pharmacy wanting some sort of prescription. Damn it all.
Sooo…. going away to a place I’m not a fan of pissed me off, especially when my husband is one of those annoying breeds of people who not only LOVES Thailand, but would probably live there if he could. He also traveled the world 5 times over by the time we met, so people who travel annoy me generally and the more they say “When I was traveling….bla bla bla…..” it fucks me off no end and I feel the urge to either stab them with my fork (if I’m eating), or stand up and urinate all over their rainbowed, “we sang Kumbaya my Lord under the stars, while wearing our tie dye shirts because Daddy forgot to send us more cash, after hours of yoga” story (if I wasn’t eating). I hate hearing the stories. I dont want to see photos of you jumping out of planes in New Zealand either. It all annoys the shit out of me.
I have to stress, this is not because I am an imbecile with no desire to see the world. It’s the complete opposite actually. Its utter JEALOUSY. While everyone and their dog was off doing Gap years, or had a chance to go traveling in their late teens or early twenties, I could not. I couldn’t even visit France (had I wanted to) and that was only across the pond for us Brits. I WANTED TO TRAVEL!! Boy, did I fucking want to travel, like a dog needs to sniff its arse, but I couldn’t afford to.
No money equals no holidays, as Mum & Dad (the tight gits) were not going to just give me money to piss off for a few months or a whole year “to see the world and find myself in India”. Unless you count a week in Falaraki after finishing up at University, which to be honest, doesn’t count. Plus for those of you who have actually been there (& lets face it, probably caught crabs off some very hunky tall Northern bloke with tattoos), you cannot argue for one moment that it is not anything other than a complete shit hole. And yet it was the only holiday I could afford to go on to celebrate getting a Desmond (2.2 in my degree). Plus Mum & Dad chucked £100 my way towards my £200 holiday. I was chuffed to bits at the time!
Since then, I have to admit, I have become a huge traveler but as I’m older, and lets face it, can’t be arsed with the usual shit I’d put up with in my twenties, I like my surroundings to be 5 Star all the way. I call it “Flash Packing for the 30 plus generation”. I couldn’t go away to anywhere decent until I got a job, paid my mortgage and started saving a bit here and there. It’s very simple really. I mean, how the fuck do these kids who have just finished University, or College, afford to go traveling without in some small way, being a spooner?? It’s just impossible. I could never do it myself and had to prioritize. Move out of my parents home, or go traveling? I knew right away which one I had to chose, plus I couldn’t smoke my bong at home without a few tut tuts from my parents (no they were not joining in on my daily appreciation of Skunk…. which is a shame really as we would have got on soo much better).
So…. off we all went to Koh Samui and what happened (aside from my son having a mini lose-it throughout the entire flight there, which involved holding him in a friendly headlock for the journey)?? The Captain surprised me with a few extra days holiday there. Oh Joy. Not only that, but we had no sun which was no great surprise to me (ok, an hour here or there) which is fab for the twins but shit for my now gaunt, pale and spotty complexion. Also, I got sick. Proper puke and shit sick (I’m not even being that graphic here). I was staying at a 5 star resort so really, I should have gone and shown the lovely smiley “Sa Wa Di Kah” girls in Reception how sick I was but I couldn’t pin point if it was the afternoon cocktails that had done it, or the ice cubes my drinks were saturated in. Hmmm…..
Anyhow, the kids had a great time although getting around is near impossible with two very different little people. Plus, while they both loved to swim before, my daughter has now taken to screaming every time she sees the big orange rubber ring appear (her floatation device for swimming in, not a condom), while her twin brother now jumps into the pool with delight and humps anything near him. Now other Mums of twins will, I’m sure, nod knowingly to how different their kids are, but seriously?!? This isn’t just different; I’m starting to wonder if they really did share the same womb at the same time? Aside from one being blonde and the other dark, these two kids are complete opposites. They actually try to bite each other and my daughter doesn’t even register her twin brother is there. Very odd. If they didn’t look like mini clones of The Captain, and myself I would put money on the fact that their tubes had been switched in the IVF clinic.
So, I’m back from my brief stint, I mean, holiday, in Thailand. Back to trying to fall in love with Hong Kong. Back to being home sick for my friends, and yes, family too…at times anyway (until they all arrive at once to visit…. they are in fact like London Buses. None for ages and then we have loads show up at the same time… how splendid).
I’ll keep you posted on my state of mind, once I see how next week unravels …
Ok…so today, after 5 months in Hong Kong, I gave a complete stranger a lift home (with her 11 month old baby girl) after enduring the madness that was the Bumps to Babes sale in Ap Lei Chau (I got some great bargains btw and i fucking HATE shopping…. unless it’s for food, wine or the kids). i did get lost en route home though and then got worried that my new friend would think I was some mad woman pretending to be a Mum of twins about to kidnap her and her child (despite having 2x baby car seats in the back of my 7x Seater Monster…AKA “B The Beast”.)
Very NOT me but hey, I’m in a new place and trying to make friends my way. I have never ever EVER been overly friendly to anyone (unlike The Captain) but, she looked kind and like someone who needed a hand. I know how that feels when youre holding a child (usually two in my case), a buggy, shopping and trying to hail a cab. as it turns out, she was very sweet and i made a new friend. well done me. I went home and cracked open some wine to celebrate, after dropping her off down the road from my apartment.
do i still feel homesick? yes. in fact, it made me miss home more than ever as i am now pushing myself to make friends whereas before, i was spoilt. i knew all my friends (ok most of them) since school. they had no choice but to love me (like family, you know!?)
anyhow, there we go. a big step for someone like me, who likes a quiet peaceful life. we’re going to meet up for a play-date soon …
You have to do it so suck it up and get involved. Yes its shit but God is clearly a bloke. Deal with it. If you’re a Mum (in my case of Twins), you have to meet others like yourself or you will go fucking insane. See the link to Mothers of Multiples Organization (MoMs) in HK (their link is attached to my Blogroll on the right hand side of this article). This is a very lovely group of women with a shit loada kids between us and who are all actually very kind and friendly. I would recommend joining up if you are new to HK and have a bun (or two, three, four etc) in the oven, or just need some new friends in a new place. I used to be with the Twins Club in NW London and they were brilliant for 2nd hand items (clothes, car seats, spare buggy for holidays). They were also very very helpful when I was moving to HK in loaning me furniture while mine was being shipped over …. I mean, no one, other than those Mums with two or more babies, can loan you two of everything in one go!
I discovered on arriving in HK, that it can be a very lonely place if you don’t get involved. I’m notorious for being a lazy git and having to suddenly get out and meet new people when I’ve ony had a few hours sleep the night before (usually running to/fro from my bed to the nursery with a headlight attached to my skull like a Chilean Miner), is fucking hard-core.
Men go to work but at least they can switch off in the evening after playing with the kids for a few minutes (ok, usually more…. I’m now just being a bitch to The Captain and he’s actually very good with Itchy and Scratchy). And before any of you Dads jump onto the band wagon, yes, we know you change nappies now and make up feeds, I’m just stating an obvious fact, us Mums do need to get out more and breathe a little. When you have Twins (or more!), your whole world is consumed by the children until they are at least able to hold their bottles. I’m desperate to get them feeding themselves before they are 18 months old, if only so I can sit down and enjoy my cocktails instead of knocking them back in a hip flask (a fab secret santa gift at work circa 2 years ago) which is now my most valuable possession (aside from the kids of course) …. well, that and the Octopus card (like the Oyster in the UK but WAAAAAY more efficient and you can use it at the 7 Eleven to buy Silver Rizlas …. genius).
Playgroups (the Devils work if you ask me), nurseries, Pilates & Yoga, coffee mornings, random drinks with girls you’ve just befriended, have all been tried and tested by me. My faves so far are 1) Pilates 2) Drinking 3) errrr….Pilates?! 4) Drinks out with the girls.
It’s very simple. Just get out and mingle! You will meet some like-minded people in the wierdest of places. Ive met Mums in the Doctors surgery (Im very private & HATE being approached…especially by a woman holding 2 screaming kids that resemble my own), the Supermarket (Taste in Stanley) is now like a pick-up hangout for new ex-pat Mums desperate for conversation. If someone comes up to you while you are scanning the Baby Yogurt and says “Excuse me, do you know if they sell Aptamil here?” You’ve pulled luv! She’s basically saying “Im new here and have a baby and see that your trolley is bulging at the seams with 100000’s of Pampers and Baby wipes and can we be best friends, even if your hair is a little unkempt and you’re wearing different coloured Uggs?” I usually oblige and offer my hip flask……. If they have more than 2 children, I’ll throw in a mixer and my mobile phone number out of sympathy.
Oohhh…. and do some bloody exercise if you want to shift/tone that post baby body. My belly still resembles an 80-year-old womans after its been stretched beyond recognition (and I’m so fucking vain I actually sleep in my Spanx hoping something will ping back into shape overnight….although, be warned, it can cause tummy aches after long periods of wear). Bloody lovely.
Well, its exercise or Sex, your choice. I know which one The Captain prefers…..
Yep, God is definitely a man. And he is laughing his arse off right now.
**NB. This is a new site and amendments are being made to each page daily. Apologies in advance for any spelling/grammatical mistakes noted.
It would be wise to use an agency, someone referred to you through a friend, search Asiaexpat.com or GeoExpat.com. As a Mum of Twins, get recommendations from your Twins club, or join Hong Kong Mothers of Multiples Organization (MoMs) http://moms-hongkong.com. This is a great group to join if you are new to Hong Kong (and need a shoulder to lean/cry/moan on). They will be an invaluable sounding board for you and a pool of information. Use them and join up if you haven’t already done so!!
Be diligent and read between the lines! Check references (I mean you’re stupid not to), ask lots of questions and dig deep into their backgrounds. You don’t want any of their debts/loans, families with illnesses, emergencies back home, out all night party girls, living in your home (unless you wanna party with them). When you have children involved, be sensible. Babies can’t defend themselves or tell you they were left alone for hours in their own shit while you were out doing a much-needed “Coffee morning”.
Some Helpers will lie and say the reason you can’t contact the family they last worked for is because they have (a) gone home (b) didn’t need them any longer as the kids had grown up (c) had a fall-out which was entirely the family’s fault and nothing to do with the helper. If the Helper was ANY good, a family would be more than happy to give a reference for an ex-employee. If a Helpers contract was terminated and you can’t get hold of their previous employer, I would take this as a very bad sign.
Our first Helper (chosen by “The Captain”) was shit. Out partying until 5am (passing out in her bed with full make up on to start her working day in a mini-skirt and “panada eyes” from not washing the previous nights make-up off. She didnt cook (which is fine as I love to) and she was a miserable cow. The entire atmosphere in our apartment was depressing as hell. Fine if it was just me, but not when I have two very small babies to look after and someone with a face like a slapped arse. She had loads of boyfriend troubles too, despite having three kids and a so-called husband back in the Philippines. We fired her after 4 months and wish we hadn’t been pussies and done it much sooner. End of.
Our second Helper (chosen by Me) seems to be lovely (thus far) and I’m actually considering adopting her (even if she is 15 years older than me).
PS. ALWAYS trust your instincts. If someone sounds too good to be true, or can cook “French Cuisine”, they’re probably full of shit. We learnt this the hard way.
** Kindly note that I’m still working on this post so apologies for the lack of any recipes. I’m not trying to make a statement by leaving it blank. Although in hindsight, if you can’t (or wont) cook, this will bore you shitless ….
You will need the following items before attempting to feed or wean your twins-
- Two stable high chairs (I have the Stokke ones which the kids will apparently grow into).
- Two harnesses of some kind to keep them strapped in otherwise your kids WILL try to jump out of their high chairs (mine do this all the time to scare the shit out of me).
- One spoon. Twins share germs. Fact. Unless one has conjunctivitis, let them share the same spoon, UNLESS, they are attempting to feed themselves in which case, i have got those spoons that stick to the table or kitchen counter (otherwise they will have you picking up their spoon every few seconds, just for a laugh).
- One bowl of shared food. I will begin posting recipes I have used & created, the moment I can type, cook, change nappies and give The Captain a blow job …. all at the same time (yes, I’m Super Woman…… trapped in a wimpering womans body).
- Get everything that you will need ready ahead of time (I have told our Helper to always be 10 minutes ahead of herself ie. Meals, baths, change of clothes… run run run!). Mealtime will go much quicker if you don’t have to get up from your chair over and over again. Place both babies in high chairs side-by-side with bibs on (plastic ones that have food catchers are very useful and easy to clean). Take turns giving each baby a bite of food, going back and forth between the children. I have found with my twins that they often get impatient waiting for their sibling to be fed. It helps to just keep going one bite after another back and forth, without taking any breaks. My Daughter will pull away when she has had enough, whereas my Son, has no idea when he’s full…. well its that or we are dealing with a very soon-to-be obese child.
- I find it helpful to have a damp warm hand towel or Muslin ready to wipe the kids faces and hands. I have also started putting a plastic tablecloth on the floor before meal times as I want the kids to learn to feed themselves. This is FUCKING messy though, so be prepared! When they do manage to eat something themselves, I think I have literally wet myself and then run off to get the Flip Video so The Captain doesn’t miss a moment.
- Remember to laugh and sing throughout. Everything in our house (yes, seriously…. or maybe Mummy’s had one too many?!), is a song. Even the Captain finds himself singing “We‘re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship, Zooming through the sky… Little Einsteins …”