Bedtime, that beautiful part of the day when mother and child quietly say goodbye to the daytime, read some soothing bedtime stories and then the child softly drifts off to sleep as mother plants sweet kisses on their eyelids.
Sorry I drifted off to my alternate reality for a moment the one where cream cakes have zero calories and he who helped create them has a look of George Clooney about him. Bedtime is my house is akin to the new Governments proposed reform on child benefit; met with scorn and quite a lot of shouting and muffled expletives from mummy. Bath time is an acronym for tidal wave and soft kisses on their eyelashes is often is often replaced by a clout on both ears.
(Please don’t get distressed no actual children have really been “clouted” in the making of this blog!)
Let me take you back to last night, it’s a beautiful autumnal evening, the sky is starting to darken so the children at least believe me when I say it is night-time as opposed to in the summer when I regularly curse at the sun who glares brightly at me mockingly every night at seven pm. Cbeebies bedtime hour is beginning and Iggle Piggle is setting out his sail. Baby beautiful lies already bathed in her cot, Mr Snuggles in hand, thumb in mouth, omitting the scent of innocence and purity. A faint reminder of how the older two used to be before they became four year old wild childs.
I sit in the bathroom, perched on the toilet seat allowing myself one moment of calm before cautiously poking my head round the door and calling,
Downstairs I hear a loud thud as twin boy crashes to the floor in dismay as he realises that he has to say goodnight to his best friends Scooby and Shaggy once again. I hear a pop as twin girl forcibly removes her thumb from her mouth, batteries recharged from a ten minute suck. “Is it hair washing?” she calls, “yes” I answer and instantly hear the second thud as she joins twin boy on the floor in a slump of depression. Eventually following a tiny bit of shouting, threatening and finally bribing I hear the footsteps of the condemned on the stairs.
Don’t get me wrong they love the bath, almost as much as they love emptying it onto my floor, it is the fact that the bath is a precursor to bedtime that I am met with such resistance.
Suddenly they are in front of me, looking like they have emerged from an Amazonian tribal war rather than a day at school. Twin girl has hair sticking out at all angles, a smear of brown above her upper lip suggests she ignored me when I told her she must not approach mummy’s chocolates in the fridge. The sogginess of twin boy’s jumper coupled with his new moustache makes me think he got bored with waiting for his milk whilst his baby sister got hers straight from the tap.
“Right then, clothes off” I say wearily.
“Hang on mummy, look what I found on the stairs” Twin boy proudly uncurls his fist to display a perfectly formed, perfectly dead little wasp. “We need to bury it.”.
They have caught me out like this before, prolonging bedtime by elaborate funerals for ants, flies, and anything else that likes to choose my home as its final resting ground. But not this time as I am struck with an ingenious plan.
“Pop him in the toilet, that’s the way wasp’s go to heaven.”
Twin boy eyes me with suspicion but decides to give me the benefit of the doubt this time and gently lowers Mr Waspy to his watery grave.
I leap up to attend to twin girl who is trying to replicate Houdini’s escape from the box trick but is using her jumper as the box. Once I have freed her I mentally strike off escapologist from the list of potential careers she may have when she grows up.
(By the way the list by the way grows worryingly shorter by the day, we had to cross off vicar after hearing her blaspheme in church – see here. Nurse went recently as she has no sympathy for anyone else as demonstrated by the peals of laughter that fall from her pretty little mouth when she witnesses anyone else fall over, and yesterday vet went when she asked if we could take muffin the fish out of his tank to see if he could walk)
As I head back to twin boy I can hear odd muffled sounds coming from his direction. I peer round the bathroom door and am greeted by a bare bottom, the head that belongs to the bottom is firmly down the loo and twin boy is calling;
“God, God, are you there? It’s me, Owen!’
Note to self: when the fish dies don’t use the flush route to heaven.
Bath time is its usual splashing, chaotic fun, twin boy and girl promise not to get water on the floor and as usual the lure of sliding down the back of the bath and colliding into each other overcomes them. As I lay out school clothes for the following day I hear the mixed sounds of giggles combined with water plopping on the tiled floor.
Hair washing is abandoned, apparently nits don’t like dirty hair and I will turn suicidal if I have to spend one more friday night having a threesome with the nit comb and his buddy Full Marks.
Eventually PJs are on, some ridiculous story involving a necrophiliac prince kissing a dead chick in a coffin in the woods is told and the lights are dimmed. Twin boy climbs the ladder to his bed asking theological questions about wasps, loos and heavens that I simply don’t have the knowledge to answer or the energy to find out. Twin girl murmurs a ‘I love you’ to me as she fights the good fight with her eyelids against sleep. I put the book on the shelf, turn out the light, trip over a toy and leave the room. A quick check on Baby beautiful confirms she is still dreaming of milk and boobies and for a finishing touch to my night she smiles gently in slumber as I stroke her face.
Peace descends upon the house as the twins settle down for a full twelve hour battery charge. The washing goes away, I put the dinner on. The house is tidied, the dog is fed, the fish is chatted to and the hoovering done. More washing enters the machine from the bottomless laundry basket and I do a quick wipe round the wasp’s grave. Eventually I sink into the sofa with a glass of wine in hand and then right on cue he who helped create them walks through the door;
“Easy life you have!”
Hmmmmmm, well that’s another blog.