Actually I didn’t. I slept right through it. Apparently Wednesday night’s earthquake in Surrey was the fourth since the 14th February and the worst so far weighing in at 3.0 on the Richter Scale. We’ll probably get the blame if anyone sees our dear little Alexandra running up and down the garden.
We’ve taken full advantage of this little burst of warm weather and had the kiddies playing out in the back garden whenever we can. It was lovely to be able to get the bedding all washed and out on the line on Monday and I was only thinking to myself how proud my mum would have been if she had been able to see the dazzling white sheets neatly pegged out and rippling in the breeze. She would also have laughed her blinking socks off at my disbelief when her grandchildren appeared from within aforementioned,previously spotless whites,brandishing muddy sticks that they had dug up elsewhere in the garden.Perhaps I’d better look into a loyalty card at the local laundrette.
Daddy Simon volunteers to finish off breakfast duties on Wednesday morning in order that I can get a quick shower and start preparing for the day ahead. Wednesday is Twins Club day in this part of the world – this will only be our second week so I’m still trying to make a good impression. I’ve mentally put together Alexandra and Calder’s outfits for the day and am trying to think what I still have that is currently clean,ironed and fits when I hear the workmen next door start their hammering. Now that’s commitment to the job – straight to work at 0725. Oh hang on – we’re in a semi-detached now – it’s coming from downstairs – so it’s probably Calder the Handyman. He’s been stalking me around the house as I’ve been hanging pictures and childproofing everything lower than 1.5 metres and has taken to utilising all manner of toys and household items as tools. There have been a number of seemingly harmless items that have ended up in Confiscation Station because he’s insisted on banging them on the glass door or sticking them into keyholes, bits of flaky plaster and /or eye sockets. Think I might have a bit longer in the shower and let Daddy Simon deal with it. It does eventually quieten down so I get myself dried off,dressed and head on down.
Alexandra is pretty insistent on being dressed first. She’s already had a nappy change so it’s fairly happy and carefree up until footwear. We’d had their feet remeasured and dropped a considerable sum of money at the local Clark’s Shop on Saturday and I had pretty much insisted on getting them both welly boots at a less expensive retail outfit in order that the new pairs of Clark’s didn’t meet the same fate as the previous pair of Clark’s. What could possibly be a better way to demonstrate our fantastic parenting skills than to rock up to the new Twins Club in our shiny new Clark’s shoes. There was one minor detail that both Alexandra and Daddy missed on Saturday – the new shoes have buckle fastenings – this is a win for Daddies because Velcro straps are far too easy for little fingers to work and buckles might mean that we may even get to our destination with an even number of shoes.Alexandra looks perplexed as I buckle up shoe number two and round up child number two to get him dressed. I just about get Calder into a clean nappy when the initial cry goes up. She can’t work the buckles and she ain’t happy about it.She reappears at my non-buckle shoes and bellows “BOOTS!” We’d had a falling out about the welly boots yesterday as she was quite insistent that she should get to march straight into the house from the garden via a further muddy puddle ( where do they find them???) and stand on the sofa. I was equally insistent that she shouldn’t. I won. I’m bigger and I’m stronger and I have hearing aids that I can switch off. There is much further shouting and pointing at feet and “BOOTS!!!”are mentioned more than once. I know that the shoes fit. I check each shoe – including my own- for random bits of Lego and discarded food before I put them on -she’s just off on one. I’ve got Calder into his vest and a smart little polo shirt and the volume continues to ramp up. Zoe Ball seems to have something sufficiently important to say that requires a bit more volume and Calder busys himself with his new (Velcro fastening) shoes.It’s unrelenting. My compromise is the multi-coloured,glittery Tesco pumps.Alexandra is happy once again. She’s looking very smug but I make a mental note to remind her of her preference for supermarket footwear when she’s angling for a pair of designer heels in about sixteen years time and let her have this one as a win.
I’m actually still a bit ahead of myself so I’ll make a start on the dinner prep. I had ducked out of making a roast dinner on Sunday citing that I had been busy putting the last room in the house to rights and felt that I deserved a takeaway. The lump of lamb that had since been grazing on some out of date veg at the back of the fridge is rapidly approaching its use by date so it can see out its final few hours in the slow cooker today. Why is Zoe Ball still shouting? It takes longer to locate the slow cooker than expected and then I remember that I need to brown the meat beforehand.Just for a change I decide to read the cooking instructions – I wish I hadn’t.The lamb needs to rest at room temperature for thirty minutes before cooking. Why? If anyone need to rest for thirty minutes it’s me. Bumcrack! Ok – well there’s things I could get on whilst wee lambsie is putting his feet up. Quick tidy up in kitchen.Make sure nappy bag is fully stocked and ready to go to Twins Club. Quietly replace some toys whilst Mr Tumble holds the kiddies attention. Twenty five minutes is all he’s getting – quick all over tan in the pan and then into the crock pot with some onions and an assortment of herbs.I round up my own little lambs and herd them out to the car. I check the clock in the car. I know it to be accurate because it’s one of the few that the children can’t beggar about with. Yay! Still on schedule.Pants! I can’t remember switching on the slow cooker.Quick run back in to check – of course I had.
The Twins at Play group is only about a ten minute drive.I could probably walk there in about an hour and would imagine I’d be able to get a bus but I’m quite enjoying driving again now that we’re out of London.I notice that there’s a red light flickering on the instrument panel of the car – nobody panic – it’s only a ‘door open’ warning. Sure enough the interior courtesy lights are all illuminated. I pull over and get out,checking door on Alexandra’s side,boot and then notice that the back door on the passenger side hasn’t been closed properly. This is a bit odd – I load and unload both kiddies from the drivers side because the drive is as narrow so can only think that it must have been like that since the last trip out. Seems to have done the trick so we’re off again. We get parked up round the corner from the hall and kiddies are already reined up so it’s a fairly smooth exit and walk up the hill.If I point out doggies,Minis and planes it distracts them sufficiently that they walk in a fairly straight line in the same direction making it look like I’ve got a good grip on this whole parenting malarkey. Once we’re indoors we get our jackets off and I go to sign in. Once again we’re cheerfully greeted and Alexandra and Calder are encouraged to go on in and play. One of the lovely hands on helpers tells me that because the weather has been so good we can play out in the garden today. Calder has shot out the door in search of a bit of mud to christen his new shoes in and Alexandra gives me a “betcha wish you’d gone with the wellies” look before she too went charging out into the garden.
I did always enjoy watching our kids at play at the Blackheath Twins Club and perhaps it was because I knew that we wouldn’t be going there for long before we would have to relocate that I didn’t fully engage but there is something a little more welcoming and friendly about this one. It’s held in a slightly smaller hall and seems to be much busier. I’ve spoken to many more of the other Mums and Dads here (and what’s more remembered more names) in the two weeks that we’ve been coming than I had in the few months that we had been going to Blackheath. There seems to be a much more straightforward and honest approach to parenting our twins here and there are many more around Alexandra and Calder’s ages so I think that we’ll all enjoy our Wednesday mornings here. Kiddies are suitably settled running up and down the garden so I ask one of the other lovely Mums if she would mind keeping an eye on “that one and …oh where is he … oh yeah – that one over there – in particular that one – he’s a bit of a flight risk” and go get myself a coffee. None of your instant muck here – proper filter stuff AND a choice of grown up biscuits. I pop a chocolate digestive in my mouth in a oner – are they shrinking as well – and go to return to my charges. Another Mum approaches me and starts to engage me in conversation at the same moment that I discover there is a surprisingly unexpected layer of caramel between the chocolate and the digestive elements of the biscuit…
Please don’t ask me a question.Please don’t ask me a – oh there we go…
“How old are your twins?”
Try to smile.Hope that I’ve got that bit of stray caramel off my front teeth and respond “mmmgmpmphhh mmfitpphts”
She smiles,nods and heads off for a coffee and probably selects a much safer choice of biscuit.
I head outside to check on Whinge and Breakit but all is well. Both have something on wheels to push about so they’re happy. Probably need to get them in for snack time a bit sooner in future as it gets a bit cosy around the tables – so cosy in fact that Calder feels no need to have a plate of his own when he can easily help himself to the plateful that the wee boy to his left has. He’s learned the hard way NOT to help himself to the plate of the big girl sitting on his right. Family may be family – but food is food and it’s MINE!!!!
We get a bit more playtime before it’s time to help pack up and say our goodbyes. We have a good chat about our morning on the walk back to the car. Out of habit I load them both in from pavement side of the car and discover the source of the door issue. Unless he’s strapped in immediately Calder will lean forward and pull on the door handle – he’s not got the strength to fully open it but the intention is there. I’ve usually just put them both in their seats out of harms way and then gone back to strap them in and never noticed that Houdini was working on his next trick. Kiddie locks on back doors of car engaged – problem solved- much to our little boy’s disappointment.
They fall asleep on the short journey back home and are still in a deep slumber even after I’ve taken three/possibly four attempts to back the car into the drive. I make myself a cup of instant coffee and a have a non caramel chocolate digestive take them out to the front doorstep to enjoy the sunshine and the ever so rare silence.“Yes.I have out my sister’s pyjama top on thanks”“There’s not much up there – I’ve just checked.”