Today has been a bad one with the boys, even though the sun was shining. I had been really looking forward to being able to spend a day outside with them and I had thought that it would be so much easier, more space, lots to do, I could not have been more wrong, they would have tried the patience of a saint, and I am definitely not one of those. Jamie and Louis are nearly 20 months old now and, so far, life with them has become easier in some respects, but more difficult in others. Easier, well they feed themselves, they can negotiate the stairs themselves, they will amuse themselves for short periods. There is possibly more but in my present frame of mind I am hard-pushed to think of any! More difficult, they are mobile. Yes, that makes life easier as I don’t have to carry them around but to go out anywhere, children’s play areas, the woods is so fraught with the ‘how can I keep an eye on, and retrieve two toddlers’ dilemma that I have to really psyche myself up for it. I have discovered one soft play area where I can go and it is so geared toward toddlers that it is a safe as I could wish. However, it’s the school holidays now and everywhere is heaving with little people, when you are trying to keep track of two adventurous little boys it is an absolute nightmare. When daughter first discovered that she was having twins other parents of twins warned her that she would have to buy two of every toy, she assimilated the advise, I scoffed at it, fool that I am. It’s true. If you want to avoid arguments, screaming, fighting, biting then you have to have 2. Cars, shape-sorters, books, not similar, no that won’t do, they have to be duplicates, otherwise carnage ensues. To be fair Louis is less likely to want what Jamie has, and even if he does he stops short of violence but Jamie, well he is a nightmare. In the garden I have 2 ride-on cars, not identical, Louis was unceremoniously pushed off. I have one child’s lawnmower, that caused a huge tug-of-war plus screaming. In the one wendy house there is a little tikes kitchen, I looked through the window just in time to see Jamie bite Louis’ stomach because he wanted to stand where his brother was. By the time Jamie had pulled his brother off the plastic climbing cube thingy I was ready to lock him in the shed. By now it was 4pm so, instead of that, we came indoors, I put ‘In the Night Garden’ on and gave them both a biscuit. Peace reigned.
At this stage with the other grandchildren we were starting to take short walks with them holding my hand. If I needed to go to Homebase, or Comet. no problem. In to the car, get there, park, get out of the car and off we would walk into and around the store. If I needed to buy several items no problem, I would use a trolley. Grandchild would walk with me, or if they started playing up they would be put in the available seat. Try ‘popping’ out with toddler twins, it’s an exercise just getting out of the house but then, once you get to the retail park what then? There are no twin trolleys but if you use a pushchair then you have no free hands to carry anything. I invested in a set of twin reins, fab thing. Harness goes around my waist and then the boys are clipped to me. I dare you, just try it. Borrow 2 toddlers, put them in the car, drive to a superstore and then try to get from your car into the store with the babes on reins. It seems like hours but is possibly only 20 minutes. By the time you have made it to the store you will be seriously doubting the wisdom of entering. The journey across the car park will have elicited the usual toddler behaviour of stopping to examine everything, car wheels, cigarette ends, drain covers and the usual tripping over etc. No, don’t scoff, imagine that at least trebled. Twins are not double trouble, they are far, far more than that. By the time you have stopped one from sticking his fingers up an exhaust pipe, ‘Don’t. Hot. Burns,’ the other one will have run around your legs and be picking up a half full, soggy packet of crisps. You grab it off him and he throws himself down onto all-fours, you can’t pick him up because his reins are wrapped around your legs and anyway, by the time you have untangled yourself and righted him the other one is sitting in the only puddle for 6 miles. I do have a remedy, hard on the arms and shoulders, but less stressful, I grab the harnesses and carry them so they dangle at the end of each arm like a shopping bag. This causes disapproving looks from other pedestrians but I am becoming impervious to other people’s opinions, especially those who comment helpfully with observations like ‘Rather you than me’. I am determined to get them functioning well on reins as it will, eventually, make our time together so much nicer. With Amy we would go out for wanders, through the woods, feeding the ducks, mini-expeditions and I really miss the recreational side of looking after a toddler, the fun things. Oh yes, the fun things like painting, play-doh, puzzles, just use your imagination and you may be able to guess why none of these activities rank highly on my ‘to do with the boys’ list. Uncontrollable mess probably sums up the first two, fights just about covers the last. Oh the joy of twins.