I think Ben Fogle is my secret twin. If you’re allowed to think your twin Labrador-cute, that is. We do seem to live the same life, albeit I am not on Countryfile quite so frequently.
1. He’s married to a lady called Marina. I wanted to call the girls Marina and Liberty (yes, I was doubly hormonal) but was vetoed on account of it being too sea-y (Jon’s boat is called Liberty but I think that would have been rather lovely).
2. He kept cropping up at Joe’s school’s Remembrance Days. I imagine he was someone’s Best Uncle Ever.
3. He was at Martinhal the week before us. Oh Fate you capricious mistress. We could have rolled about in the sandpit. With our children.
Quod est demonstratum.
Anyhows, now that I have almost finished the holiday washing, and the grandparents have had to sit dutifully through an hour’s worth of videos and photographs, I thought an evolutionary update might be in order.
We are putting things in things! Sod the Moon Landings, this is epic. Nine times out of ten Romilly can feed her giraffe with a shape and then, bubbling over with pride (so much so she continually jiggles) watch the shapes roll down the tracks. Excellently, she is quite content to do this for a good 15 minutes. Charlotte still needs a bit more help.
BUT Charlotte is chat-a-lotte. We now have ‘moo’ and ‘roar’, usually but not always when looking at the correct animal. ‘Peppa’, which covers just about every TV programme. And ‘fact’, whenever the Gladstone Brookes payment protection claim ad comes on. Oh and FINALLY ‘Mmmmummaaa’. About bloomin’ time!
Charlotte is very VERY affectionate. Said affection being displayed by shoving her sister out of the way, literally flinging herself at me, licking my face, and laughing hysterically whenever I go ‘ow’ because she has bitten me/pulled my hair. Bless.
They’re both going through a very Mummy-centric phase, which is flattering and debilitating in equal measure. No one else will do at the moment. And it provokes huge outbursts of jealousy. They can both be absolutely fine but if I pick up one the other will go into meltdown. Another twin awkwardness. Because they are simply too big to cuddle at the same time now. Plus Charlotte’s violence doesn’t just extend to me now; Romilly’s not over endowed with hair, and her sister isn’t helping.
But sometimes it’s clear they’re trying to be nice to each other. There’s a lot of hand holding and putting fingers in each other’s mouths. And that gentleness is extending to Fred the cat now. They can finally stroke him without yanking his tail off, and so we had the blissful sweetness of Romilly and Fred both snoozing, snuggled up next to each other, on my lap.
Charlotte is developing a talent for dramatics. If her lego tower collapses, or we don’t immediately understand that ‘mwah’ means ‘I want to suck the remote control’ she’ll fling herself down on the floor and pound her fists.
In her defence, she’s not been a well bunny. No sooner had we got back from holiday than they both got a chest and eye infection (try applying eye drops to twins four times a day, larks). And that neatly segued into Charlotte cutting three molars, which has been agony for her. She’s been terrified of chewing because of the pain, so we had the heartstopping terror a few days ago of watching her in slow motion grab an entire mini cupcake and shove it into her mouth and try to swallow it whole, boa constrictor style. She was strapped into her chair and there wasn’t enough time to get her out and upended, so there was a lot of back slapping and me with my fingers down her throat…she survived. I’m not sure my heart has.
It’s been interesting to observe how they behave when their twin’s poorly. It could be a nightmare – if you have one genuinely ill child and the other one decides to act out for attention. But Charlotte was angelic when Romilly was ill and vice versa. It’s like they know. However Romilly started screaming when Charlotte was choking. Just in case I wasn’t aware.
Choking aside, is it so wrong to admit that I secretly quite like it when they’re a bit poorly? They’re just so wonderfully drapey and snuggly while Mummy kisses it better and quite content to cuddle up on the sofa with you, sucking their thumbs and watching ‘I Can Cook’. Until the crying starts. I think I’m gradually growing thicker skin, but the sound of screams in stereo, and not being able to comfort them both, still feels like someone’s scratching my heart. And I am ever so slightly concerned with Romilly’s Calpol fetish. I do think she sometimes pretends to be teething just so she can get the magic strawberry syringe.
Both have become very bookish in their old age. Or rather ‘bobbish’, because books are ‘bobs’. The most times I’ve been ordered to read one in a row is 16. I now know ‘A Busy Baby’ off by heart. Their favourites are the ‘That’s not my baby/teddy/puppy/dinosaur etc’ series (my the publishers found a rich vein with that idea). My favourite is ‘OMG that’s not my husband! He’s putting things away in the place they’re meant to go!’
They can both – sort of – point to things in books when you ask. A few times it’s what you wanted them to point at…
Romilly can now bottom shuffle almost as speedily as her sister can crawl. Except on a slope. I am a Bad Bad Mother because I sometimes set her off downhill in the garden in order to watch her turn round and try and hop uphill which results in her jiggling up and down on the spot in frustration and me in hysterics. I do think it’s fascinating from a twin point of view that they’ve chosen such different modes of transport, despite observing the other.
Anyway. The local primary school fete beckons. We went to one last week where Charlotte snaffled most of Daddy’s ice cream and lost her shoe in the ensuing sugar rush, so who knows what japes will unfold this afternoon.
Oh, and wish me luck this coming week. Am returning to the Big Smoke for the BritMums blogging conference/awards do where there is not only a literary Dragon’s Den where you have 10 mins to pitch your book to an agent, but also the opportunity to meet the female Ben Fogle aka Kirstie Allsopp. The last time I ran into her still makes me cringe. I was hurrying along a Kensington street and saw someone I knew out of the corner of my eye, but didn’t have time to stop, so waved a cheery hello (which was returned, the big weirdo) and carried on, only realising two seconds later that I had just confused seeing someone wang on about knocking through rooms on the telly regularly with actually knowing them…