Look away now if your children aren't great sleepers as today my boys - aged 6, 4 and 10 months - gave their parents the best Christmas present they could ever have dreamed up. They let us sleep until we were woken by a phone call at 10am. To anyone who is not a parent to small children this might seem like a very small gift, but to those of us more accustomed to being roused from our slumbers by a tiny body launching itself onto our head in the early hours of the morning, those extra hours of sleep were the most priceless treasure.
After what seems like aeons of mass catering and all the attendant tidying up, we are both exhausted, with that pleasant grey tinge to our pallor that hospitality mixed with children seems to bring on. But today it seems to have faded to a far paler, more elegant shade and the bags under my eyes have shrunk back to mere suitcases, as opposed to a trunk large enough to pack to emigrate to the other side of the world.
Still these are not the only gifts that have been bestowed on us this festive season, the babies have been full of the spirit of giving and have divvied up the following tricks to delight us:
Twin 1 has added sitting up from the crawling position to his battery of activities, though his crawl action is still stuck in commando mode. He has also developed a new skill as a human vacuum and has been found sucking up wax, pieces of wood, tinsel and dropped Christmas pudding over the past week. The upshot of this is that I have to manically sweep up after everyone in an attempt to keep him alive until his first birthday. However, he does help me with this, following me around like a lame puppy picking up all the dirt I have missed on the front of his clothes.
Twin 2 is still firmly resisting the urge to move, as he spreads his arms octopus-like, around him to sweep up whatever object he desires. If it lies outside his reach he simply resorts to screaming until one of his slaves provides it for him. This seems to be a highly effective method.
To reward us for his labours he will bestow upon us either his brand new, regal wave, which sees him twirling his baby hand at the wrist just like a real monarch, or he will look at us with his piercing sapphire blue eyes, and slowly blink them closed. To behold this is a pearl beyond price and no matter how many times I try to persuade him to to blink to order he's having none of it, he does it in his own time when he feels one of his subjects deserves the honour.
The older two have been most gracious in actually playing with most of the toys they have been given, rather than just dumping them in a pile and returning to their favourite past times which include beating each other up, having screaming rows, whinging for the TV and running around the house yelling like banshees. Though there has been plenty of time for all the latter activities in between unpacking the contents of a cargo ship from China and making copious trips to the dump to rid ourselves of a small village of impenetrable packaging.
Overall, a good time has been had by all though I have been feeling a little melancholic about the fact that this is the last Christmas I will spend in the company of babies, as by next year the twins will surely be up and running (though I shan't count on it with twin 2), and wreaking an all new, toddler version of havoc to compliment their big brothers' antics.
Having said that when I thought son number two would be my last, every milestone he reached filled me with sadness and nostalgia, whereas with the twins this is watered down to a mere twinge, and much soothed by the idea that this is also a journey that will see me change my last nappy, shove mush into my last ravening maw, fight my last battle with a pushchair and eventually leave the house without lugging half of its contents with me. So although it was fun holding twin one back from ingesting pine needles and small baubles, or dangling twin two from my hip as I attempted to stuff turkey and ice a cake, I am well over my desire to add more babies to the mix.