I am sitting in the chicken place at the zoo. The Little Lady is trying to get in and out her high chair which she was determined to sit in, but is actually too big for, teasing me with the fact she needs a wee. Every time we go to the toilet she grins and says she doesn’t need to go. Back to the table we head. The problem is she knows I will never risk an accident. She has control.
Chilled out Boy is on and off his seat and had overstuffed his mouth with chicken so much that he had just regurgitated it onto the top of the table.
BB is in tears because the Little Lady had just had a spoonful of his baked beans.
I hover above the noise and look around the room. I look longingly at the table opposite me, where the children appear quiet and well-mannered and behaved.
Why can’t my children be like that I think?
My Mum tells me I am being over sensitive. I was tired from a very hectic (and fun) weekend away, upset that they were cross with me for leaving them, and annoyed that they seemed to have forgotten every rule of good behaviour.
However, I had been away for a whole weekend, which is the longest time we have been apart to date. The Little Lady had sulked at me for the first two hours of my arrival home and had only just started talking to me, choosing now to begin the forgiveness process of me deserting her.
Multiple Daddy left at 7am that morning to go on an exam marking course so another parent had deserted and left as far as they were concerned.
I was paying the price. The price of three different carers over the course of the weekend. The price of sweets and gingerbread men and other tasty treats. The price of not being there to tuck them in for bed and rub it better when it hurts.
I couldn’t really blame them – the mixed feelings of excitement I was home, and resentment that I had left was going to tip the balance. The uncertainty of me doing it again was making them suspicious and untrusting. I felt guilty.
However I do think it is important to have this time away, for me and for them. To build that trust that I will always return. To make me miss them so much, my heart is pounding on the train with anticipation,a feeling I remember strongly when I used to be away at university and knew I was heading home to see hubby. To have some adult, female time. To be able wee all on my own!
Then I remembered something another twin mum had told me. Something I had never considered before. She said that in a Multiple family or a large family, you have so many more relationships to contend with.
She siad when you start out married life you have one relationship to deal with – you and your partners.
When you introduce a baby, suddenly you have three relationships to deal with, you and your partner’s, yours and the babies and your babies and your partners. The addition of these two new relationships is what can put pressure and strain on some partnerships.
However when you then add twins suddenly to the mix you leap to ten relationships to contend with. Those of yours and your partners, you and your partners relationship with each child and then the relationships between siblings, one of which being the complicated relationship of twins.
It is no wonder that sometimes things can seem chaotic. Like you are constantly refereeing and attempting to restore harmony. The amount of change your family has been through is huge.
It made me think of a few questions when I hover in trance like state looking at other families appearing to look so together.Firstly do they have as many relationships to manage as I do? What is the adult to child ratio? Is this their thirty minutes of harmony for the day and I am fortunate enough to witness it?
I doubt any of them are thinking what poorly behaved kids. I bet most of them are looking across with sympathetic eyes, guilty thinking ‘thank god that’s not my kids right now. You should have seen them ten minutes ago though!’
Or maybe mine were not as bad as I thought and I was being sensitive.
Whatever the case, I am going to cut myself some slack. Ten relationships are quite a challenge don’t you think? Plus like with all difficult phases with parenting it constantly shifts and changes and brings in new challenges.