Toy Story

Ellie has a bad habit of tipping the contents of toy boxes on the floor then walking away without having played with the toys much, if at all. It’s a particular problem here as we have so little space. If we let stuff pile up we’ll start tripping over it. Then, as the teddies & toy trains pile higher & higher, we’ll end up not being able to move & will find ourselves walled up inside. Again.

We’ve been trying to get her to tidy up afterwards, to put the toys back in the box. She’s nearly 3 so she should be able to do that now, right?

We haven’t had much success.

“Ellie, will you pick the <play> food up please?”


She’s a good girl – as she’ll tell you herself – but, like any 2-year-old, she has her moments

“Ellie, please pick the food up”

“No. I don’t want to!”

“Ellie, you tipped it on the floor; you should put it back”

Appealing to logic to a 2-year-old. Yeah, that’s going to work…

“No. You do it!”

Then she goes upstairs to get ready for bed with Jake & the Mummy, while I clear up after dinner. And tidy up Ellie’s toys.

But no more! We’ve decided to get stroppy!

So next time we added:

“Ellie, if you don’t clear up your food we’re going to take it away”


“Ellie, Daddy will take it away” (Daddy shoots the Mummy a look that says: “Thanks!” Sarcastically) “& you won’t be able to play with it any more. Isn’t that right, Daddy?”

I understand cabinet collective responsibility & the need for parental unity & all that, although I can’t help feeling a bit like Nick Clegg.

“Yes, that’s right. I will take your food away”



“Ellie, do you understand that we will take those toys away & you won’t be able to play with them any more?”

“Yes. That’s OK”.

She called our bluff! She’s only 2, for crying out loud!

Note To Self: Never play poker with Ellie. Unless she’s on my team…

Then they all trotted off upstairs as usual & I wore some more holes in my jeans clearing up toys. As usual.  Although I did take the food away. For a few days

You see what we’re up against here?


I think I’m in serious danger of being outsmarted by a 2-year-old

Yesterday the twins had a late, long nap so we let them stay up a bit later than usual.

We were having a great time with a music DVD that I’d picked up for a song at the local garden centre –  possibly the best £2.99 I’ve ever spent – but it was time to go to bed.

The Mummy & Ellie had gone upstairs & I was right behind them. Jake however – as usual – didn’t want to stop what he was enjoying doing & was refusing to go with us.

So he called up to me: “Daddy! Come downstairs!”.

“No, Jake: it’s time to go to bed”.

“No, Daddy! You’re a boy, I’m a boy. I’ve got a willy, you’ve got a willy: come downstairs with me!”.

Sexual politics? And he’s not even 3!

I think I’m in trouble here…

They’re Still 2

The twins are 2. -ish.  I may have mentioned this.

Actually 27 months, as of today – but it stills counts. They’re still 2.

As they’ve grown up they’ve both developed a strong sense of self. They’re striving for a bit of independence.  They’ve decided that some things are “Mine”.

No, scratch that: most things are “Mine!”. Even if we’re organised enough to have 2 of everything – which we often aren’t – there are still slight disagreements about who should have what toy / snack / turn on the trampoline / etc.

And their command of the English language sufficient to negotiate their way through their lives’ many conflicting interests hasn’t quite yet managed to catch up with their knowledge of the concepts of possession, ownership & individual rights.

So instead of: “Excuse me but you appear to be in the way of where I am intent on going so would you mind moving out of the way please?” – we get a shove.

Instead of “I’ll play with the <insert toy name here> for a few minutes then you can have it after me for about the same number of minutes, OK?” we have “Mine!”, “No, mine!”, “No, mine!”  / “My turn!”, “My turn!”, My turn!”, repeat…

Then there can be a shove, or a whack. Sometimes hair-pulling, & when they’re feeling particularly stroppy pinching, sometimes even biting.

It’s not always like this I hasten to add. Often they play & share beautifully together. Mainly when they’re around other people.

But we’ve still felt the need to introduce… drum-roll please… The Naughty Step!

I’m not sure though that’s it’s been as effective as we’d hoped.

They’ve been fighting over who gets to sit on The Naughty Step. Not really what we had in mind…

When one does something the other doesn’t like it’s “Naughty ‘tep!” “Naughty ‘tep!”.

Ellie made her toy bunny wabbit sit on The Naughty Step. After she’d grabbed his paw & hit Jake with it.

Still at least she’d grasped the concept, I suppose.

Yep, they’re still 2!

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!

Flying Solo, Part 2

Well we moved to our tiny little house in Wales so that the Mummy could spend less of her time commuting & more of it with the twins.

Life has its little ironies doesn’t it? Every now & then she has to go to north Wales, & today was one of those days. The roads between north & south Wales are really slow: winding, mostly single lane, over mountains & through valleys. It’s actually quicker to get to the north on the motorways from our old home in the Midlands!

She had left home before the twins were awake. They were with ‘Karen’ & her little group between 8.30 & 3, but it was still up to me to get them up, washed, dressed, make their breakfast, prepare their lunches, pack their bags & meet any ad-hoc needs that arise. It all went without incident, although it was obviously a mistake trying to feed myself as well. Next time I either get up earlier or don’t eat!

When I picked them up at 3 I was welcomed by running hugs & shouts of “Daddy!” by 2 happy little children. I love that. There had been a couple of minor upsets – Ellie seemed a bit wary of a new older boy there – but overall they’d had a great time.

For once the sun was out today! We spent a lot of the rest of the afternoon rolling around in the grass in our tiny garden. We had fun, inside & out, but they are still really demanding. They’re physically very capable, they’re smarter & are becoming very interested in asserting their independence & a lot less interested in being told what to do & having their lives run for them. I believe it’s called ‘The Terrible Twos’.

I mean no disrespect at all to parents of single children, or even of 2 or more of different ages – diligent parenting of any flavour deserves maximum respect in my opinion –  but I’m convinced that looking after twins has a difficulty level several magnitudes higher. And triplets? I can’t imagine that!

“You want some water? OK, I’ll get you some water”- “Oh Jake – did you hurt your knee? I’m coming!” – “It’s OK Ellie: it’s just a worm, it won’t hurt you” – “You finished your grapes? Yes, I can cut up some more” – “Yes, you want some water” – “You want some water too? OK” – “You’re stuck? Just a minute, I’m coming” – “Jake don’t take that, Ellie is playing with it” – “Ellie, don’t hit Jake!” – “Yes, I’m getting your water” – “And grapes” – “Ellie’s on the trampoline now, Jake, you can have a turn soon” – “Don’t eat that please – it’s really dirty!” – “Mummy will be home after dinner”. And so on.

And this is when they’re playful & happy…

By dinnertime I was already pretty tired. That however went amazingly well: for the first time I can remember they both pretty much cleared their plates! And I’ve no idea why! After a very silly fight over the trampoline it seemed obvious they were getting tired, so I resorted to the tried & tested: “Who wants cake?”. Fight over, instant attentiveness.

Luckily I did actually have some!

Ellie had been complaining of tiredness even before dinner so we headed upstairs quickly. Then it got chaotic. They were fighting over nearly everything: my battery checker, the baby monitor, my (out of juice) phone, anything. Running around, chasing, shouting “Mine!” “No, mine!”, snatching, tantrums. I was forced into “If you’re going to fight over it nobody’s having it!” confiscation mode. I think they were both not only overtired but also missing their Mummy.

There was also a poo incident, of which I’ll spare you the details. The cushion cover is beige; I’m pretty sure it’s washable…

Well I somehow managed to get them in their sleepsuits, in bed & with their milk without any major injuries or damage. As usual I read them a bedtime story. Now they’re fighting over ownership of the animals in the bleeding book!! “My bear” “No my bear!”, “My bee!” “No my bee!”. There are actually 2 bees, 1 each. The logic of this suggestion just doesn’t seem to register.

I have to admit at this point I got cross! “Please stop fighting! Both of you!”. I didn’t shout, but my voice was raised. And thankfully they seemed to calm down. Although most likely out of pity for poor struggling Daddy.

And we never got to finish the story. Will Rabbit find a new home? We may never know!

Then I accidentally managed to send them off to sleep with a laugh & smile! I asked if ‘pretty please’ could I go to sleep now? “Pretty please? With cheese?? And peas?”. Adding words 1 at a time that rhyme & were (sort-of) food-related. “And beans?”, “And grease?”. I was tired, OK? “And sneeze?”.  And was getting a little silly. Ellie especially found this hilarious & was soon asleep with a smile on her face, looking at me with an expression that seemed to me to be one of pure love. Jake, putting up his usual fight, followed soon after.

They’re very trying at times, these twins of ours, but it’s moments like that that make it all worth it & that remind me why being their Dad is still the best job in the world ever.

Poor Mummy though! She arrived home after they were fast asleep on my shoulders & so didn’t actually get to see them at all today. She tucked into the dinner I’d left in the oven while I stayed with the sleeping beauties so she could spend some much-needed QT with her friend Dexter.

So: Phew! This is a big week workwise, so I may have to do this again very soon! At least we know we can do it anyway.

There are flights to the North aren’t there? Or maybe we could hire a chopper? Anyone know how much that costs? Sigh…

This post is not only for The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop but also for this month’s Multiple Mayhem Carnival. Have a look at them both: there are always great posts there!  Just ‘click the pics’.


Before and After

When it was just the two of us:

Now we are four & they are two:

Get the picture?

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!

The Two Terrible Twos

OK: they’re 2. Plus 2 weeks.  And I think they know it.

Really, I haven’t explained the semi-mythical, mystical, iconic cultural significance of being 2: the Terrible Twos. But they seem to know about it.

It’s possibly that I’m just noticing more, but I could swear that they’re getting (more) rebellious. They seem to be deliberately doing things that they’re told /asked not to do just to see what happens. And enjoying it far too much. Dropping food or drinks on the floor, being rough with each other or us, grabbing each others’ toys, for instance. And with that look on their faces. Yes, I think most parents will know the one: mostly gleeful defiance.

And they’re smarter. They enjoy doing ‘circuit training’: running at high speed & with great excitement around something, a cot for instance. It used to be that if I wanted to catch one for dressing etc. I’d just have to ‘wait ’til they came around again’. Recently though while I was employing this hitherto successful tactic Jake stopped, saw that I was wanting to grab him for a very wet Jake-bath interface situation, & seemed to decide that running around some more was a far more productive use of his time.

He looked at me, turned around & ran in the opposite direction! I moved over to intercept. He did it again! And again! I think I only got him in the end because he took pity on me. He’s surprisingly quick.

Live & learn though. I now turn it into a game, by joining in the chase, pretending to be a monster, holding my hands in front of me & saying “Rarr” a lot. Not the ideal activity for the end of the day when you’re already tired, but hey-ho, it works. They find it so funny that they seem to want to be caught. At which point they get tickled or I pretend to lunge & miss, falling on the bed. Much hilarity ensues. Next time around I grab one & plop them, protesting wildly, into the bath. Rinse & repeat. And they most times have a great time in there anyway.

Except: pouring water on the floor, on each other’s heads – those are 2 more of their little rebellions, come to think of it.

Yep – they’re 2!

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!

Flying Solo, in the Dark

Getting the twins off to sleep on Saturday night was…a bit different.

We’d given the Mummy a night pass; she was out having dinner with a friend, or some such frippery. Between the two of us we’d got as far as getting us all into bed together, as they still co-sleep.

Usually the Mummy is in the middle sandwiched between children, with me on the side reading stories. After they’ve finished their milk & seem settled enough I’ll get up & sing a song* while slowly turning down the light. I then sneak out while quietly saying goodnight to each of them & she stays with them until they’re soundly asleep before getting back up herself.

Tonight however roles were reversed. I was on my own, in centre stage where the Mummy usually is. She’d read the stories, turned off the light & made the Daddy’s exit. I was flying solo! In the dark…

Jake at least did seem a bit unsettled. He grizzled for quite a while, probably 10-15 minutes, them went into a stint of ‘Tree Fu Tom‘ magic spell-casting.

This basically involves raising the arms in the air, pushing them quickly out in front of you & shouting “Eh, Eh, Go!”.  Again. And again. And again. He’d been doing this a lot between bath & being dressed for bed, but in front of the mirror so he could admire his smooth moves.

Now children learning by repetition is fine, but not when Daddy is trying to get them to sleep. And he wants to get up & watch the rugby. That he hadn’t been able to during the day when it was shown live. And that he had already accidentally seen the result of earlier despite trying hard not to due to a fleeting glance at twitter. Grrrr….

By this time Ellie was fast asleep. The ‘Tree Fu Tom’ sleep spell I was throwing in Jake’s direction had rebounded onto her, obviously. Ellie falling asleep is usually a cue for Jake to point it out to us, often loudly: “Lellie: aleep!”. Also to Ellie: she clearly is unaware of the fact that she is asleep & obviously needs to know. This is always followed by “Shhh, Ellie is sleeping”s, & carries on until he seems satisfied that everyone has been thoroughly briefed on his sister’s current status.

So he chatted & moved around a bit more, probably for another 10-15 minutes, but thankfully soon calmed down, settled under his “banky” (trans.: “blanket”), snuggled on my shoulder & –  again after a while – fell asleep. I snoozed too then & when I thought he was unconscious enough very carefully extricated myself & crept out.

I actually managed to watch all of the rugby I was hoping to, & I was still busying myself with that vital work when the Mummy came back. Suitably impressed, I might add. With me, that is, not the rugby. Although that was great too…

So one up for the Dads, I say! Getting two toddlers to sleep by yourself? Yes: it can be done!

* the CBeebies goodnight song, if you must know. “The time has come to say goodnight, to say sleep tight ’til the morning light….”

For The Crumby Mummy’s ‘Terrible Twosday’ blog hop. Click the pic for more!

The Things They Say & Do: Walking Bears & Wagging Fingers

Ellie has taken to’ bear-walking’. It’s something that babies do as they’re learning to walk: on all fours with the arms & legs raised, knees & elbows off the floor, bum in the air. Like a bear, funnily enough.

I think she may be having the toddler equivalent of a mid-life crisis. She’s just turned 2: she’s getting old! So she tries to go back to the ‘good old days’, when life was simpler. When she didn’t have to worry about which shoes to wear, or have to decide between ‘Peppa Pig‘, ‘Tree Fu Tom’, ‘In the Night Garden‘ or ‘Bubble Guppies‘.

So she was bear-walking around the lounge today, shouting “Bear-walking!”. And of course, Jake was meant to join in. So it became “C’mon! C’mon, Jake! Bear-walking!”. Quite a sight…

Jake this evening had grabbed the Mummy’s watch & had put it around his wrist. He then, looking straight at me, wagged his finger repeatedly in my face shouting “Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba!”. Me: “Are you being Mummy?”; him: “Yes!”,  with a big smile.

I found this somewhat funnier than the Mummy did when I told her later…

So that’s my mad household, why not have a look at others’ in Chris’ ‘Things They Say & Do’ blog hop at her ‘Thinly Spread’ blog.

Dear So & So

Dear Man at the Ironmongers Next to the Nursery Who Thinks it’s Funny to Detain & Distress Young Children & Their Parents

You’re horrible.

Please stop making the world crappier than it should & could be

“May all your nails be rusty”

More-than-you-deserve regards,

Still annoyed me


Dear Jallie

When I ask, or even tell, you not to throw more food on the floor that you means you stop. It doesn’t mean you do it again deliberately. Especially with that look on your faces.

The same applies to pouring water out of the bath onto the floor, pouring drinks onto the floor / into the toy train /  onto Peppa Pig, or running away when I’m trying to dress you.

You’re 2. I get it, OK?

Love, Daddy


Dear Oh Thou Great Billjobs,  God of Technology & All Things Gadgety

You know I’m a gadget-freak & I that I love Tech. And it clearly amuses You to ensure that most of the Tech I own only half works. While it is gratifying to know that You have a sense of humour, it would be greatly more gratifying to have things in my life that I so depend on to actually do what they are supposed to.

I remain Your humble yet frustrated servant



Click the pic for more Dear So & Sos:

Dear So and So...