And More

I have decided to combine Aaliyah and Caleb’s ‘Personality Profiling’ in one blog. Mainly due to the fact that they are still quite little and secondly they share the same timeline, though have ventured through it at slightly different speeds. So I will start with Aaliyah as she is the ‘first born’ of the two. Though most surrogacies end with a Caesarian Section. Something else we can thank the Romans for. You could google the history! I guess it would not be right for the surrogate to endure a natural child birth. Firstly, in most cases of compensated surrogacy, the embryo is not genetically theirs and secondly, way too painful. Come on ladies, it hurts like hell and is only mentally endured as the end result is your beautiful daughter or son. Moving on with Aaliyah. Born with her brother Caleb, on the roof of the world (Nepal). I only met their surrogate twice. We wish her well. The twins left the hospital after ten days. Mainly due to the fact I was busy finding an appropriate apartment and I had paid the hospital very well for the facilities, where as a local affording this hospital would have been charged a fraction of the bill we had to pay, so I just told Doctor Sanjay that they would be staying until we had a home to move into. He agreed, well he had little choice. Well my first memory of Aaliyah was her at just a few moments old, being thrust into my arms, followed a minute or two later by Caleb. I had been doing ‘The Dad Thing’ and was pacing up and down the corridor outside of the operating theatre. Once both babies were in my arms, a nurse waved in front of my face ‘your camera, your camera’ she insisted. ‘Left trouser pocket’ I told here. She pulled it out and ushered me to show her how it worked. Anyhow, we got the pictures done and the nurses shuffled off to the NICU ward. ‘Goodbye little ones’ I waved them off. Well that’s a name that seems to have stuck isn’t it! Aaliyah was bigger than little Caleb, so as first born, let’s do her first. A quiet baby, so unlike Thor. In fact she (and her brother) were both model babies. Lots of sleep and four hourly feeds to begin with. She was probably a bit louder than Caleb when she yelped for a feed or over the discomfort of a soiled nappy. Amritsar and Tara’s nanny Bharti travelled up to Kathmandu with friend Rekha. I needed people I trusted to stay with the newly born twins. Remember, there was a family at home and on this occasion, the choice was to spend two weeks with Aaliyah and Caleb and two weeks with the family at home. I’m now going to jump to Aaliyah’s emerging personality. Babies are predictable, you’re lucky if you get a smile or a giggle. Aaliyah did giggle lots, so we knew she would be just fine. Though as a toddler, and being very close in age to Thor, it seemed like it was him she was trying to catch up with, leaving poor Caleb behind somewhat. She crawled before Caleb, stood before him, even did her first faltering steps way before. She is a very determined little girl. If not, a bit pushy at times. At one point it looked as if she was the twin sister of Thor. They shared a lot of characteristics at one point. Still being just three there’s not a lot to say academically, but I think that determination will lead her wisely – watch this space for updates. I earlier mentioned our summer vacation in Provence in southern France. We had a private pool at the villa, so this was the year we had five little swimmers. She was fearless. She was the first to off her armbands and doggy paddle with only the buoyancy of her life jacket. She was really happy and full of life. She has a lot of potential with her character as it is, but there is a belligerent side, the one we have to keep in check with the thought of ‘Mrs Snodgrass’s naughty school’. Now Caleb as a toddler, got there eventually. He crawled, or rather dragged himself at first. He developed later than the others. Aaliyah did it all six months before our Calo (one of his nicknames). But eventually the dragging himself turned into a fully propelled crawl with his bum in the air. He was a bit rubbish with balance, so standing and walking came late also. Back then he was a quiet little boy and he didn’t communicate well, quite the opposite of Aaliyah. But big sister Tara stepped in at a very early point and did all she could to protect and encourage him. I remember the video I took of his first three steps (we decided that the first steps had to be three continuous). The smile on his face, the sense of accomplishment. So he is a boy who is a little laid back, but with encouragement, he gets there in the end. He has only just started to form sentences. Which is great as he will start proper school next September. There’s lots of time to practice before then. He is more screamy now too. It’s like he was silenced for a long period and now he is finding his voice and sounding more legible, he really wants us to know his wants and even his frustrations. There was one thing that Caleb got first though and that was the hair. Masses of curly, silver blond hair. He’s had it cut, but it’s still pretty long. Aaliyah’s hair has taken ages to grow, but there is some length there now and it’s beginning to resemble Caleb’s curls. So now it is fitting that Aaliyah is reunited with her twin brother Caleb as they look more like the twins they actually are nowadays. Thor doesn’t mind at all, as there’s only room for one little bolt of thunder in our house.

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A Gay Dad reflecting on life in the Shires of England with my not so famous five and two rapscallion Dalmatian hounds

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