So here’s a top tip for multiples parents: make sure you label your photos after taking them. Because – I never wrote this – sometimes you can’t tell which one is which and have to guess in the first few months. Bad BAD mother. In the flesh it was easier – Romilly was smaller and had frilly ears; Charlotte had a strawberry birthmark on the side of her head. But that doesn’t work when they’re in hats and/or perspective is playing tricks. In the words of Father Ted, this baby is near, this baby is far away…
I am currently enduring the agony which is going through 5,500 photos saved on assorted computers and memory sticks and external hard drives, sorting them by month and, theoretically, by twin, in order to then edit them and put together their ‘My First Year’ baby books, and also to get some nice pics up around the house rather than floating, as photos tend to do nowadays, in The Cloud.
Top tip number two is to ensure you have enough shots of them on their own, so that when they look back at their infancy they can see them as them, not as half a set of twins. I guess it’s because their twinness just makes for so many moments of goosebump cuteness that I seem to have papped them together 95% of the time. Plus they’re just always next to each other! So I’m having to add cropping to the cataloguing.
And it’s just too darn hot for chores. But the weather does seem to have prompted a behavioural growth spurt in my little sunflowers.
We are talking! In the sense that it’s clearly not just random babbling anymore but applying sounds to things. Often correctly! Their joint vocabulary now includes Mumma, Dadda, Cat, Tcho (Joe), Ta/Th’kyoo and Bee (applied to anything which flies).
Romilly then has Bye Bye, PityPee (pretty peach), BizzeeBee and Cool (we think she thinks this is the word for sunglasses, as I realised I’d said it every time I let her wear mine). Oh and not forgetting CAR. Every single time, EVERY single time, one goes past the house she shouts ‘car’, obviously worried we might have missed it. Jon put F1 on the TV and I thought she might have a cardiac arrest.
Charlotte’s twin love of telly and PDA is betrayed by her special words which include Peppa, BANG (from the Cilit Bang ad), FACT (from a payment protection compensation ad), Hiya and Cuddle.
She is going through a VERY affectionate phase. I get slimed at regular intervals. As does the cat (God his life is going to be hellish for the next couple of years) and her sister. To whom she gave an actual lovebite yesterday. She goes ‘ahhhh’ whenever she kisses, or when she cuddles one of her toys. She also has to kiss every picture of a baby or an animal in her books, and is attempting to do it to the TV, but can’t quite reach yet.
She soon will though. Why is it that all conversations with multiple parents goes a bit like:
Them: How old are they now?
Me: [insert current age]
Them, rolling eyes and shaking head sagely: Oh, it’s about to get a WHOLE lot worse…
But it IS about to get a whole lot worse, because they are beginning to pull themselves up. A whole other stratum of the lounge is having to be de-dangered. We’ve put the cots on the lowest setting. It feels like the bit where the sea pulls back before the tsunami hits. They’re already at a high kneel and it only takes one of them to realise what happens when they put their weight on their foot before the toddling commences. Dear God.
And then there’s the twin-on-twin violence. As well as the aforementioned lovebite (there are actual teeth marks on her forehead!) Charlotte puts her whole palm in Romilly’s face and pushes her over, casually. Romilly has discovered a bit of pluck of late and can deliver a mean kick in response. I THINK they understand no…certainly if I’ve told her off Charlotte will come crawling up and kiss my foot (good she’s grasped the hierarchy!) but we’re a good 18 months off being able to use a naughty step…
There’s also the distinctly unhelpful ‘helping’. They both try to join in when I’m changing their sister’s nappy, with predictable results.
And the speed they can build up crawling and bottom shuffling!! The problem is they always go in different directions. So if someone has left the safety gate open (the outrage which greeted Jon fitting that!), or we’re in the garden, or a sabre tooth tiger is approaching from one direction and a mammoth from the other, I am always having to make split second decisions about who’s been cuter today and deserves to live..
Their culinary repertoire is both expanding and cementing: Charlotte has a distinctly sweet tooth, and Romilly prefers all things savoury and gourmet. So that’ll be me taking her off to L’Enclume while Daddy and Charlotte are down the sticky toffee pudding shop…We’ve tried venison this month, Charlotte can eat an adult bowl of Coco Shreddies, strawberries are a big hit, trout and lots of herbs like dill and basil. Oh, and I can state categorically that asparagus DOES make nappies smell funny!
We’re also becoming great mimics. We brush teeth in the bath, but only if we brush the rubber ducks’ beaks first. We can mime washing our hands, will do the actions for ‘Row, row, row the boat’ or ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, we love dancing (Charlotte does feet, Romilly wiggles her top half) and – oh promising sign – Romilly ‘cleans’ whenever she drops anything. Usually by rubbing it into the carpet and making it worse.
Romilly’s eczema is much better, though we’re still religiously slathering on dermal cream, and are using a hideously expensive but very effective suncream – Sunsense. But she continues to display signs of general sensitivity. She’ll get little blotches whenever we’re in the garden, and a recent visit to the eye clinic confirmed that she is very photosensitive. A watching brief on all that as there’s not a lot we can do at the moment, but she seems perfectly happy in herself, so.
Right, it is only 8 days till we head down to Chichester Harbour for a week’s break at Jon’s parents’ holiday cottage, which means I have to start packing NOW and coming up with complicated diagrams about how we can possibly tessellate the entire contents of Mothercare into a car boot. Such fun!