In our rowboat with our cups of tea
My favourite time with the kids is in the morning - I like them best then because I have missed their beautiful responses - I have looked in on them but they are usually gently snoring. In the mornings they are fresh and sleep tousled - so beautiful. I like them least in the 'witching hour' just before dinner when they are tired and grumpy (as am I) and I am trying to get their dinner ready as well as put out their pajamas and generally tidy up before bath, story and bed time.
When I was pregnant I refused to buy maternity clothes with a bow on them - it made me feel like I was being gift wrapped. Now I know just what goodies that bow was adorning - now two very lively and adored toddlers!
On the weekends we lie in bed and wait for them to stir - it might be Hannah calling out or starting her bed toy - 'e - elephant - roar!' says the American voice on the fisher price toy. Or it might be Kit bumping his head or mumbling sleepily 'mummy? daddy?' Generally from there they look for each other and after listening to them play and call out for a bit one of us goes in and gets them. All four of us and the dog play with the pillows and blankets on our bed before Hannah's demands for MILK PLEASE! can no longer be ignored.
Breakfast involves sharing the paper with everyone, milk, toast and cereal. Then it is time to play - the twins find what takes their fancy - it might be reading a book, playing with blocks or standing at the felt board. Sometimes they parallel play, sometimes they play together or annoy one of us to join in their game. Eventually everyone is dressed and ready to head out the door. A trip to the shops is likely for some groceries or a play in the park. If we don't make it to the park in the morning then odds are you will find us there in the afternoon. Hannah loves the swings the most. There is a little bridge they like to climb over and a see saw they play on. Kit loves the slide - he would like to tear down it head first if we'd let him. Hannah likes going down the slide on her tummy - it is a smoother ride!
Taking off together
Lunch is usually something pretty simple followed by fruit (Kit would be a fruitarian if he could be) then bed for a hour or so. Depending on the status of our park visit once they wake up we may go out into the street to let them tear around on their bikes - they love that! By 4 - 4.30 we are all a bit tired and it is time to come inside and start winding down. Some drawing or play doh is usually their preferred activity although sometimes they like to play with their teaset and offer countless cups of 'hot tea' to everyone and any soft toys in sight.
Dinner is a messy affair followed by yogurt. Like all other meals it gives Hannah an opportunity to do something silly which makes Kit laugh and copy her - like putting a bowl full of food on her head or throwing some bread at him or making a mess and then 'cleaning' it up with her sleeve or a tissue if she can reach the box! Then she goes on the potty to poo like an angel - Kit won't go near it! Bubbles in the bath are always a hit. Sometimes they play with each other - catch the fish or chasings - these games are usually started by Hannah. Pouring water is fun and putting the bucket over your arm and pretending to 'go to the shops' is also popular. Sometimes they just play with their wash cloths - laying them out and pouring water all over them. Hannah loves to wash hair and will often try and wet Kit's hair so she can do this.
Then we call for Dad and he takes Hannah and dries her and puts her pajamas on. Once she is set up on the lounge with her milk he comes and gets Kit - Kit is a nightmare to put into his pajamas (Hannah wriggles around a lot but Kit takes off around the house so Phil's skates are on when he is getting Kit ready!). Each brat chooses a book or two from the shelf. We read them together at least once. Kisses are exchanged by everyone. Then each brat is carried down the hall to bed - milks are put down, one turns off the light while the other chooses the music for sleeping. Kit lies down and asks for his blanket. Hannah hates being covered but likes a few pats to help her get ready to nod off.
Mum and Dad race to the lounge room to open that bottle of wine and think about getting our own dinner ready.
Milk before bed
The point being - when we were looking at the progress of Queen Serene's book Gifts - we agreed that what we would highlight for people faced with a T21 diagnosis is just how normal life is - something that you can't always see immediately after the initial diagnosis.
PS I started to read 'Defiant Births' which has had some media coverage - it looks at prenatal testing. Unless you want to read a whole lot of prolife stories it is a disappointing book - pushing the prolife agenda with no acknowledgement of just how difficult the reality of 'choice' is - I was particularly disappointed as the book was clearly trying to masquerade as something more balanced and academic than it actually was. Not recommended!