… then G’s legs fell off…

…and she simply couldn’t walk another step. She pleaded with me to pick her up. I refused, explaining gently that she was a big girl now and it wasn’t far now. She pleaded again. Another refusal. She started wailing. I, gently but firmly, explained that I couldn’t carry her and the shopping and hold R’s hand. G let go of my hand and threw herself on the pavement, sobbing with fury. I put the shopping down, let go of R’s hand and sat down cross-legged on the pavement. R looked at me in astonishment. G choked back a sob. We had reached an impasse and none of us were prepared to give in.

This is what life with nearly three year olds (and a nearly thirty-one year old with the mental age of a three year old) is really like.

R and G are impeccably behaved in public. We are often complimented on how lovely, well-mannered and charming they are and what a good job dh and I are clearly doing with them.  Dh and I catch each other’s eye and share the briefest of looks. We know that the truth is very different.

The girls have a public persona and a private one. In public they are superstars at the top of their game. Behind closed doors they are quite often – there’s no other word for it – vile. They treat dh and I like absolute dirt. R is hell-bent on pushing every single boundary and then some. If she doesn’t get what she wants she shouts and screams. Even G has started saying “Just let it go, Ruth” when her sister really loses it. G lives in her own little world and I swear that every time I ask her to do something my words are drowned out by the sound of the Magic Roundabout theme tune playing on a continual loop in her head.

They remind me of diva-ish singing superstars who appear to be gracious and wonderful to their adoring public and throw mobile phones at their long-suffering lackeys in private.  Sometimes, when we’ve put them to bed after an exhausting day, dh and I will just slump on the sofa and look at each other. There are no words we can possibly exchange but we are both thinking ‘Why us’? We lived a quiet, happy life BT (Before Twins) and three years down the line I still feel slightly like a shipwreck survivor clinging on to a piece of the wreckage of our former existence for dear life.

We’ve tried explaining to people that the girls are actually really hard work but no-one believes us. They are completely and utterly fooled by the public personas that R and G have – their innocent looks, their wide eyes and big friendly smiles – and dh and I just seem grumpy and churlish when we try to complain.

Back to the pavement. After about a minute I realised that a. People were staring at us and b. My bottom was getting cold. I got back up, picked up the shopping bags, persuaded R that it would be very clever and grown-up of her to hold my hand and told G that she was doing an amazing job of standing up considering her legs had fallen off mere minutes before. She held my hand not entirely willingly and after what seemed like three hours (but was actually only about ten minutes), we made it home. The girls dashed off to play (a miraculous recovery!) and I slumped against the wall, grateful that I had survived another battle. Calm reigned again in the HoT…

…until bath time…


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