When I first found out I was having twins I thought it was some kind of sick joke. I am not one of nature's mothers and I was already finding it hard enough to juggle two little sons, without adding a double dose of newborn baby to the mix. I won't lie the first few months as the parent of twins is like tackling an assault course with the hangover from hell and was spent lurching uncomfortably from exhaustion to depression, to sheer terror at how we were going to cope.
If you had asked me back in the early days I wouldn't have wished twins on my worst enemy. Just trying to balance the needs of my two babies was so hard, without even mentioning their two big brothers who, I am ashamed to admit, were brought up almost exclusively by the television when the twins were first born.
But as fitness instructors persist in reminding us there is no gain without pain, and just as it is in an aerobics class so it is with twins. We have emerged from the inner circles of hell into a heavenly glade filled with two toddlers who can amuse each other. Result.
When my first two sons were toddlers I recall spending hours dreaming up ways to entertain them, from squidging Playdoh to finger painting, baking cupcakes and enduring endless kids classes, there was never a dull moment - for them at least.
If I stopped this frenetic activity they would instantly start to twine, bored, around my legs demanding attention. I could not sit with a cup of tea without them climbing into my lap, attempt to read a magazine without them 'helping' to turn the pages, or visit a friend without them whining for me whenever my focus drifted from them to the juicy gossip she was imparting. In short they drove me mad.
The twins on the other hand aren't really that interested in mummy. They may raise a hand and shout out a breezy hello as I pass, but they are far more interested in the in house playmate I so thoughtfully provided for them.
Just the other day I sat, Pimms in hand, as they happily played with our toy kitchen passing each other chicken nuggets through the serving hatch. I know this because they kept singing out to one another 'More more chicken nuggets'. I am hoping this is not a glimpse into their future career where the only skill they will need is the ability to recite the phrase 'D'you want fries with that?' in a tone that coveys an complete lack of interest in the response. Actually I suspect is more a reflection of the, ahem, varied diet provided for them on our recent Floridian jaunt.
Nothing I can do is half as interesting as what their twin is up to, and far from searching around desperately for something to catch their imagination, I am more scrabbling around to grab their attention. The lure of some boring adult is so much less attractive than the destructive antics dreamed up by a fellow two-year-old.
This has the upshot that I can drink tea, read magazines and even have lie ins unmolested by toddlers. In the morning we hear our twins chattering and squawking together in their cots. When we finally roll out of bed to breakfast them we discover the devastation they have wrought, but this seems like a tiny price to pay to be allowed to remain under the duvet until after 9am.
So now when a passerby exclaims that I have my hands full with my twins, I smile smugly and think to myself not nearly as full as that poor mummy with just one child snapping at her ankles.