Almost a month ago, the boys Teacher emailed me a copy of the nativity songs so that we could practice at home, mostly because we would be missing the majority of rehearsals due to our split week across two settings and also our holidays.
Austin sang his little heart out and did all of the actions the very first time we played it.
I cried my eyes out – did I dare to believe that this Christmas might actually feel like Christmas? Are we going to manage a first? Are we going to be able to participate in something?
We continued to practice, in the car, at home…it was lovely seeing Rory’s face engage with Jaime when she sang it with him, doing the actions.
Only now, 4 days later, am I able to actually articulate my feelings or at least try to with regards to how this ended. It was a very difficult day, which involved lots of tears, and i’m not afraid to say, that they were mostly mine.
Due to nursery being a polling station, nursery asked if children could be taken in at 2PM to do the dress rehearsal the day before the real thing with an audience of pupils from school. And so that is what we did, but considering the fact that they had only practised once before (Austin slept for the second rehearsal and Rory didn’t participate at all) and that they were going straight to big school and not nursery (never done before) and arriving at nursery at 2PM where as they have arrived at 9am every single time, and they weren’t in uniform and their day had been soft play and McDonalds lunch, every thing was off-balance and they were out of sync.
I had anxieties about the ‘costume’ from the off, and so I ordered them leggings (like PJ bottoms) and a baggy jumper in the right colours in an attempt to make them comfortable at least. We went into a small resource room to get changed and it was quite overwhelming even for grown-ups, everyone trying to get the little people changed and people coming in and out. Rory got dressed fine, but Austin refused and got sad. Rory had started to entertain himself with the whiteboard pens, putting them in and out of the box and Austin wanted to join in to detract from the fact that he needed to get dressed and this ended in a stand-off about who was playing with the pens.
In the end, I explained to Austin that he didn’t need to wear the outfit if he didn’t want to and that was fine. He said that he ‘wanted to be a mouse’ and so i explained that he was a hen, and that is the way the cookie crumbles.
Both boys grew tired of the wait and so we exited the room and made our way towards to hall prematurely, which then meant we had a longer wait in the hall. As we entered the hall, both boys climbed onto the stage to explore (they weren’t supposed to) and as I went to get them down they sat nicely on the bench side by side and so I took a quick snap…
Austin told me again that he wanted to be a mouse and Jaime explained that the mice sat there, where the boys had chosen to sit.
Unfortunately they were a hen and a goose and had to sit on the mat by the door which meant that they were out of sight with their ‘treasure box’ to try and keep them sat, and by the door ready for a swift exit if needs be.
As I stood at the back of the hall ready to leave them, Austin was crying ‘I want my Mummy’ and so I went to comfort him and ended up sat on the mat in front of the kings and the camels, in front of the audience, thankfully I knew the songs and probably blended right in. Austin very loudly kept shouting ‘Mum, Look’ and pointing at the different characters and people and Rory was bored already wanting to exit. It was overwhelming for both of them. Austin standing in his black Nike joggers and his black and white BROTHER t-shirt, looked well out of place in the middle of the nativity scene. I took the decision to take them out and so that’s what we did, we stood up and we left. We snook into the resource room, changed Rory out of his costume, although he opted to keep the white leggings on underneath his joggers, and we got in the car. And it was at this point that the tears came, and they came and they came.
I knew when my boys were born at 26 weeks gestation fighting for their life that even if they did make it, they would be different.
I always knew they would have to fight harder for everything.
I always knew life would be challenging, and my god have I always risen to the challenge.
I know that, the boys have surpassed any expectation of them, they have been discharged from the majority of consultants and paediatricians and the ones we do see all say that ‘they wish all of their 26 week twins presented like A&R’ and actually, when considering all of this, they are doing brilliantly.
I know that my input has been a massive factor in their success so far.
However – that doesn’t make it any easier as a parent who just wants to do all of those things that I imagined I would do. I just wanted to sit with Ash and be proud parents watching our precious boys in their first nativity. I couldn’t see this perspective on Thursday, and probably not even on Friday, but actually, their time will come and all that really matters is their happiness.
I went to nursery on Friday and I told the staff that I would be picking Austin and Rory up early and that they wouldn’t be taking part in the nativity. And that was that.
To them, the dress rehearsal was the real thing. They wouldn’t know the difference. They wouldn’t know they were missing out. I asked Austin and he said he didn’t want to do it. Rory clearly wasn’t happy being there and for obvious reasons he cannot sing and so you can forgive him for thinking that he doesn’t want to sit on the mat and listen to everyone else singing for 40 minutes, even though he could have participated with musical instruments if he wanted.
It made much more sense to me to respect their feelings, remove them from struggling in a public way, and instead have adventure with Mummy & Daddy, who would have been there to pick them up early too because he finished work for the nativity.
We went home and like a spanner in the works Rory fell asleep. We feared he was unwell.
We felt guilty but we continued with our plans to put the Christmas decorations up with Austin and actually it was really nice having that 1:1 time with him, even if he did think the baubles were tennis balls.
He did believe that there were elves behind the elf door which was a magical moment, being able to share in some form of Christmas magic that we have never had before.
We had the elf doors bought last year but knew they were too young and they weren’t really bothered last year and so we saved them, and i’m glad we did. We sent one to Nannie Di’s house so that the elves can visit her house too. Austin couldn’t wait to tell her.
And so…I picked myself up Friday and I deep cleaned the house, did toy rotation in the playroom and got the christmas decorations out.
Sometimes i get lost in the day to day ‘I wish….’ and the ‘why me…’ ‘why us…’ ‘I can’t do this anymore…’ ‘I didn’t choose this….’ but actually, when we look at the bigger picture, we are doing just fine!
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We made Candy Cane birdfeeders with Cheerios and pipe cleaners.
We played in the garden and hung a wreath for the squirrels and the birds.
Austin went swimming with Grandad and so we had two hours of Rory ‘love bombing’
The Christmas decorations are up!
Above: Grandad and Austin listening for the elves at the elf door.
Austin dressed as a mouse (not a hen) fulfilling his dream. He was so pleased ‘me a mouse’ 🥰