Now before I start, don’t go reading this in the hope of finding clues on how to survive a year with three children under three. Because quite frankly, I’m not your woman.
I’m just a normal mum who wasn’t ever planning on having three children, let alone three (boys) all under the age of three.
But as my twins turn one, and my toddler turns three two days later, I’m giving myself and the Other Half a huge self-congratulatory pat on the back. WE MADE IT THROUGH THE FIRST YEAR!
I have to admit, there were times back in the early days that I did wonder if I’d ever make it through ‘til morning with ‘Terry Pterodactyl’ (otherwise known as Twin Two) squawking like some kind of prehistoric predator ALL night, let alone a year.
But here we are, feeling a little bit smug, and already choosing the ‘this little person is one today – I can’t believe how much he lights up my life’ type vomit-inducing Facebook picture.
Because let’s face it, anyone with more than one child under the age of three, knows that yes there might be some “life enlightening” but there is also a WHOLE SHIT LOAD of “I want to lock myself in a darkened room for a week” type moments too.
So here are a few of my own experiences from the past 12 months – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
We have two babies and a toddler. How did that happen? HOLY SHIT!! It’s amazing. Of course I have to say this, or you’d all think I was a crap mum. I guess it is pretty special, and we hope that with such a close age gap, they’ll all grow up as bestest buddies. Unfortunately, the fact Toddler bashes the Twins over the head every time they go near a dinosaur possibly isn’t giving their friendship the most solid of foundations.
Two of everything – all the great things about babies, like that newborn smell, the cuddles, those first smiles and giggles and watching how they seemingly change on a daily basis – we get it all twice. Quite cool. Although I just cannot bring myself to say ‘it’s not double trouble, it’s double the love’. If you hear me say it, please punch me in the face.
The Toddler. First six months of big brotherhood, he totally rocked it. Basically by ignoring the twins and not letting them impact on his pretty nice life in any way, shape or form. He loved it because it also meant he got to watch the iPad way more than before whilst Mummy and Daddy figured out how to deal with all this twins shit (metaphorically and literally).
Twins are time consuming. This might sound like an obvious thing to say, but twins draw attention. I wasn’t quite expecting this, but you literally can’t go anywhere with twins and a toddler without someone chatting to you. It’s nice. Generally old ladies in supermarkets, or volunteers at National Trust places, and because I’m (usually) polite I tend to engage in conversation with them. This can often mean a trip to Sainsbury’s takes twice as long as it should. But I’m a chatty person, maybe a result of 15 years as a journalist, so I’ll (more often than not) happily stand around and chew the fat with the old bids and coo over my boys.
Your marriage. If anyone tells you having kids doesn’t affect your relationship they are talking bullshit. And surprise, surprise three young boys can really test it. My Other Half works a way a lot, leaving the house before anybody wakes and returning at 11pm, if not the next day, so I fly solo for at least half the week which is exhausting. But having kids can also make your relationship stronger. When he tells me I’m totally nailing it, buys 8 tubs of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream because they’re on offer, and takes a day off to send me to the spa to escape the kids you realise you’ve got a keeper.
We have two babies and a toddler. How did that happen? HOLY SHIT!! I ask myself this question on an almost-daily basis. When they’re all crying at the same time, when they’re all shouting at the same time, and when they’re all wide awake at 3am at the same time. I also swear under my breath A LOT. Way too much in fact but I can’t help it.
Two of everything – all those annoying things about babies, like the fact they shit themselves constantly and at most inopportune moments, how they like to scream until 4am but are awake again at 6am, how their take on weaning is basically to smear face/neck/hair in food, then throw the rest on the floor, and how they just cry for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Yep? We get it all twice. Did I mention how much fun it is?
The Toddler. Second six months and the novelty of being a big brother has worn off (not that it was ever there in the first place, I don’t think). Once the Twins were moving, and in particular towards his toys, Toddler adopted the “come another inch and I’ll whack you” approach, resulting in many a visit to the naughty step, and many a dinosaur (coincidentally the big, noisy ones first) being confiscated for being used as a weapon.
Twins are time consuming. Oh my f*cking God. Everything takes SOOOOO long. Again, I’m stating the bloody obvious, but it drives me insane. Just as you’ve wrestled one into a nappy and clothes, and you’re sweating like you’ve just done an hour’s gym workout, you have to start all over again. Then you have to do it AGAIN with a toddler who not so much wriggles, but downright refuses. In and out to the car. Then in and out to the car again. Then in and out to the car AGAIN. Up and down the stairs. Up and down the stairs again. Then if Toddler is in one of those moods, I’m up and down the f*cking stairs AGAIN. You get my drift. I won’t harp on.
Your marriage. Obviously our marriage is totally fine or I wouldn’t be writing about it on here – he buys 8 tubs of ice cream in one go, I’m not about to ditch him, right? But as mentioned before, relationships are seriously tested by having babies. In our case it’s a sleep deprivation thing, especially at the start. I’m not a good tired person. Or a good hungry person. Or a good “stop those f*cking kids crying” person if I’m honest. I have been known to utter those words “I need to get away from all of you”, and bugger off to Lidl. This just about sums up my life when a solo trip to Lidl is a treat. So then everything becomes a competition – which one of you is MORE tired. Which one of you had to get up the most times in the night. Which one of you has had the worst day – 15 shitty nappies and a puke in the car seat, versus an 18 hour day from Plymouth to Birmingham and back with an important high-level presentation thrown in for good measure. (I still maintain 15 poos wins). You can have an hour’s bike ride only if I can have an hour on my laptop. Our old life living in a posh waterside apartment eating out three times a week seems a distant memory. Sigh.
So there you have it, it’s been hard work, and no doubt about to get a lot harder when they can all answer back and run away in different directions. I couldn’t have survived without my parents and friends helping me constantly. Over the past 12 months I’ve learnt there is a whole world of difference between how you parent your firstborn compared to subsequent children (but that’s for another blogpost). I’ve come to the conclusion that twins on their own? Absolute piece of piss. Twins and a toddler? Not so much. If I’m brutally honest a fair percentage of it I’ve not enjoyed (there I said it), but luckily they’re cute so I’ll forgive them. And I’ve realised…
I WILL BE TIRED FOREVER.