Now, where did I get you to? Ah, that was it, Jack had just had a little stint in hospital again…
The twins turned 7 months and Jessica started crawling. Well, that was a game changer – I couldn’t leave her alone anymore, she was off! I ended up blocking her in our front room with tables just so I knew she wasn’t going to go crawling round the kitchen (we’ve got a bit of an ‘open plan’ layout, which was great before children now it was proving a bit awkward!). Jack didn’t want to be left out so he decided he could sit up unaided – what a pair of little superstars! We also did something new too, we went on holiday with our friends, to Vegas baby! I was excited about going but also filled with dread at leaving our little ones. I knew they would be fine and wouldn’t even know we had gone, but I felt like I was letting them down. Saying that after a lot of deliberation and consultation with family and friends we went! We had booked this trip a year in advance thinking we would be fine leaving the babies, we didn’t even consider that we would have been in and out of hospital with Jack or that we would feel so bad about leaving them. I cried as we got in the car to go to the airport and when we picked up the Madden’s I had a little cry on Chloe’s shoulder and then again when we got on the plane! Alcohol helped to stop me crying and when we arrived in Vegas (which is one of my most favourite places to go to) I decided that I couldn’t sit around being sad, I needed to enjoy my time away being with my friends (Chloe & Dan, Helen & Neil, Zoe & Adam and Debs & Adam and most importantly my husband). Every day we would FaceTime home, just after they had dinner and were getting ready for bed (my Mum and Dad stayed at our house for 3 nights then Richard’s Mum came for the rest of the time), that made us feel better, seeing them happy and laughing at us – it was morning time for us in Vegas, so it set us up for the day nicely. I’m sure lots of people judged us for leaving them and you may well be judging me now – but I have to say that the twins were fine, it was great for the grandparents to be able to look after them by themselves and it did Richard and I the world of good to have some ‘us’ time. We could be a couple again. We did however, vow that we would never leave them for so long again – it was way too hard on both of us. They on the other hand didn’t bat an eyelid! No problems sleeping, eating or with Jack being poorly. They just got on with it!
When we got back I had a letter confirming an appointment with the hospital, this time for Jessica! This was to check her bellybutton and see if she needed an operation. We had to go to Chichester hospital (a new hospital for us to visit – yippee!), this was because the twins were born in Brighton they came under that NHS Trust still and the specialist was based at Chichester. It was a novelty for me to leave Jack with my Mum whilst Jessica and I went off for an adventure together. As always seems to be the case the appointment was when Jessica would be due her lunch, so we took a little packed lunch for us both and ate it whilst we waited to be seen. The consultant was so lovely and really gentle with her. He took a sharp intake of breath when he saw how big her bellybutton was and after a little examination explained that she had a supra umbilical hernia – this is a hernia which sits just above the bellybutton. He went on to say that she would need it removed as it would cause her issues as she grew, but they wouldn’t operate on her till she was 12 months old (as it wasn’t an emergency). Oh joy! My little lady was going to get knocked out and cut open – couldn’t wait for it!
The next milestone for the little ones was their 9 month check-up aka ‘the test’. I may have mentioned before that the twins have a friend, Charlie, who is 3 weeks older than them so we were prepared with what this check-up would involve and Sarah (Charlie’s Mum had said that one milestone was if they could clap at this age). Well, I was desperate for this to happen. So I immediately started to sing, every moment I could, “wind the bobbin up” – I had the whole family singing it to them, jeeezz if they didn’t get this clapping lark then I was sacking them both as my children. The day of ‘the test’ arrived and neither of them had mastered bloody clapping! I thought of how I could distract the health visitor to focus that they were good at other things – Jessica can crawl and was ‘sofa surfing’ and Jack could sit up alone, surely thats better than clapping?! The health visitor started with Jessica first and she was very pleased with her progress, what she ate and drank and what she was doing. Then we came onto Jack, now, don’t know about you but I was expecting a slightly different gauge to be used for him as he has Down Syndrome but she said she needed to use the same form?! Now this form has three tiers on it, not doing very well, doing ok and average (they don’t use those words, but that is how I interpreted them), Jessica was ‘average’ and blow me down Jack was ‘doing ok’ – these little miracles of ours amaze me every day with how well they are doing. The health visitor was getting ready to leave and the best thing ever happened… Jessica clapped! I tried to contain my sheer joy and I am ashamed to admit, that I told a lie – I said that she’d been clapping for weeks now… You will all be judging me again now, I know it, but I couldn’t help it, it just slipped out and I couldn’t take it back. I do hope she’s not reading this blog, she may well come round to reassess them!?!