A birthday is special to anyone but turning three is a really big deal to a two year old. Especially when you’re sharing it with your sister..it’s even better! We’d told them it was going to be their birthday and what to expect – but just didn’t know whether they would remember when they woke up what a special day it was.
However, at around 06.45 on their birthday morning I could just about overhear a little conversation taking place at the safety gate. (We have a gate on the twins bedroom to ensure they don’t go flying down the stairs in the middle of the night, while also trying to still assert some form of control over them now that they are in their own beds!)
“Look Sylvie, balloons on the front door”
“Yes Martha, it’s our birthday today, the grown-ups will sing to us”
“Lets sing to each other now though”
“O.k – Happy birthday to you….”
I was too intrigued not to get up and ended up spying on them through a gap in our bedroom door – the song continued and then ended with them both hugging each other!
Super cute – and such a lovely thing to wake up to! Seeing their relationship start to really develop with each other is such an amazing thing to witness. It also brings arguing too which is tough to deal with. A lot of the time they are cross and shouty at each other which can really wear you down after a while.
The night before their birthday I’d gone into check on them once they were asleep. It’s a slightly strange thing to do to watch someone sleep I know, but I like to do it with my children! There is something very calming and satisfying about kissing your child on their forehead while they are asleep. They look so peaceful and content and they look and smell so clean too – unlike during the day!
I do the usual things like straighten their covers, tuck them in, pick up their cuddly friends and stroke their foreheads. Recently I’ve also been actually picking them up and putting them back into their beds if they’ve fallen out!
However, on this particular night I stayed in there for just a bit longer and just looked at them. I thought about how they were growing up so fast, what the last few years had been like and what was to come. I literally wanted to just stop the clock, freeze time and keep them there in their beds being two and 364 days…because i knew as soon as they woke up they’d be three.
In the last few weeks and months lots of things have changed in our house – the twins have stopped wearing nappies (kind of), they’ve had their sides taken off their cots and they have dropped their daytime naps. Little by little (as Oasis once said) the things that make them babies and toddlers are gone, lost forever to the memory bank. Before you know it your babies are toddlers, and then they are little girls.
Don’t get me wrong I LOVE who they are now and how amazingly they are developing. But just for a few moments, in their room that birthday eve, I just wanted to reflect on their baby and toddler years, who they had been, and who they were becoming. I actually thanked them too – for teaching me so much about being a mummy. Of course I’ve been through it before with big sister Florence but there is something very different about being a mum to twins. At times, harder than I could have ever imagined but twice the fun too.
There is nothing that you can do to prepare you for being a mum, nothing you can read or do. It’s a learn on the job role and boy I’ve had enough experience to write a book (but a blog will do) about what it’s like to be a mummy to twins and big sister.
Also as I was stood by their bedside I thought about how hard the last three years have been and when things might get easier. I’m torn between holding onto the early years forever and getting my life back a bit, my career and some ‘me time’again! Being a mum is hard for anyone. Very bloody hard. But having two babies together is something else. It has been all consuming and the tallest of challenges.
But time didn’t stand still. The moment passed, I tucked them in and kissed them goodnight. They slept well and woke up a year older.
Their birthday was celebrated with balloons, bubbles, cake and fizz. I’d made sure they had the obligatory giant number ‘3’ balloon along with banners, bunting and piles of prezzies. They had grandparents to visit, birthday lunches and cake pops designed with their favourite cuddly friends. They also visited The Builder Bear factory where you need a bank loan and bucketful of patience to survive it. Wagamama’s for tea topped off the day a treat.
Everything had gone so well. It was a day to remember for them and happy memories had been made. But perfect days just don’t happen in our house. Things usually don’t go to plan and there is always something unexpected that happens. That’s what keeps us on our toes anyway!
So Martha (who has developed a strange and rather worrying habit of holding in her poo’s) had the last say on her birthday. Just as I’m getting her dressed for bed I notice she’s crossing her legs and trying to look innocuous.
‘Martha do you need the toilet? I ask her curiously.
‘Yes’ came the reply.
So I scoop her up quickly and attempt to put her on the toilet. Only it’s just 5 seconds too late. Her bowels release. Yes – you’ve guessed it. She poo’s all over the floor, bathmat, toilet seat and all over my leg and foot….
…An unpleasant experience but a bit of a flashback to when being covered in baby puke and poo was more of a regular event and a very real reminder that in some ways they still have a lot to learn!