Looking back over this blog which takes me from my first skirmishes with twin motherhood I can hardly believe how fast I seem to have reached a point of relative sanity. I remember those dark days when juggling to squirming newborns was driving me to the brink on a moment by moment basis.
Sleep deprivation, twinned with raw terror and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I contemplated what I had let myself in for made the first few months of my twins' lives far from a pleasant experience. It didn't get much better as I navigated my way through the early months or even, years, of my growing family.
There were the summer holidays with four small children in tow which felt more like a labour camp than a relaxing break as our routine was interrupted with disastrous consequences. I recall sweating in the Provencal heat as I tried to simultaneously heat up baby food for the screaming twins, change a nappy, put sun cream on my older boys while manhandling them into their swimming trunks.
By the time all that was done it was all I could do to uncork a bottle of the local plonk and collapse, spent on the sofa in front of a Dr Who DVD. Not really the idyllic break from the harsh realities of motherhood I had imagined.
But things did gradually improve. As the twins got older, the middle boy started school, the oldest became marginally more responsible, I stopped contemplated walking out on the whole damn shooting match on a daily basis. The black gloom of early motherhood lifted, I even began to enjoy my boys and to occasionally think that having a big family wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Last week was my twins' third birthday. Although at the time I thought we would never make it through the first few years, now it seems as if it was a blink of an eye ago that they were sharing a moses basket in the living room as I looked on dazed exhaustion. I showed one of the twins a picture of him sleeping with his brother in their cot and he refused to believe it was really him. I find it almost as hard to reconcile that coiled up baby with the handsome little boy he is today.
We have jumped so many of the hurdles sent to trip up the parents of small children. We have successfully completed weaning, walking, talking, eating proper food at the table with a knife and fork (though admittedly table manners still need some work) and potty training (daytime only, but we are a well on our way).
Next up is nursery and school, though I am shoving those to the back of my mind, for after spending so long longing for the day that I would wave the twins off and get my life back, at least for the length of the school day, now I am dreading letting my little ones go.
I love the fact that while I am working I can pop down for a quick cuddle, or to catch a glimpse of a dimpled smile, or swap a few words with my babies. I am so sad that those toddler days are fast disappearing and before we know it we will be screaming at all four of them to get their clothes on ready for school.
I am never good when it comes to change, I want to catch each precious moment and hold onto it forever as I am only too aware that these are the best days of my life. I just wish I wasn't always too busy to enjoy them as much as I know I should.
I remember back in those dark early days my husband's late grandma said that she wished she could swap places with me. I had spent my day rushing around after four children, changing nappies, washing bottles, doing school pick up and drop offs and every time the thought of flopping down on the sofa for a cup of tea arose someone would start screaming for mummy. She had spent the day napping in front of the TV. I was definitely up for that swap.
But I do know what she meant. Having little children gives you such a purpose and joy in life. Watching them grow up and master the skills they will need to eventually transport them into adulthood is a precious and immensely rewarding way to spend your time. Now is the time to store up memories to get you through the teenage years when they don't want to know you and the adult years when their own lives mean that family is put on the back burner for most of the time.
Looking back will always make me feel painfully nostalgic, but looking forward to a future free of buggies, nappies, potties, bottles, highchairs and other associated baby paraphenalia is enough to reassure me that while all my bites at the mummy cherry have been unutterably sweet, four is definitely enough for this tired old mum.