Twin #1 (Trouble) is poorly. Poorly in a sleepy/cuddly/doesn’t-even-have-the-energy-to-cause-trouble sort of a way. I still have two boys who are fit and well so there is no reason for the house to feel quiet or for me to be questioning why I have a free hand. And yet the house does feel quiet and I am questioning why I have a free hand.
It turns out that eldest son and twin #2 (Not-quite-so-much-trouble) are actually relatively little trouble when not accompanied by their brother. Separating the twins is not something that we are used to doing, although the childcare manuals try and persuade you that it’s absolutely necessary if they are to grow up happy and independent. They enjoy doing the same things so we stick together, apart from at times like this when one is unwell.
Not-quite-so-much-trouble and I leave the house to go to nursery and he looks behind him, wondering why Trouble hasn’t wrestled him to the floor in a bid to get to the front door first. He seems a little lost but happy enough. Trouble is distraught at being left behind and, having no-one to wrestle or snatch toys from, decides he might as well go to sleep. I feel strangely incomplete as I walk down the road with one child. Why am I not breaking into a sprint, dropping bags as I go, trying to catch a child who has run off in the opposite direction? Why is there no small boy messing around with my lights and windscreen wipers and putting the radio on at top volume while I get the first boy into the car? A strange thing is happening – I am missing that tearing-my-hear-out feeling which I usually so enjoy first thing in the morning.
In the afternoon we go to collect the eldest boy from school. Trouble decides he wants to stay in the pushchair – this is unheard of. I almost suggest that he goes to sit down in his favourite puddle just to bring a bit of normality back to proceedings. Bedtime comes, and Not-quite-so-much-trouble is wondering why there is no-one somersaulting into his bed and landing on top of him with a thud just as he drifts off to sleep. He could get used to having his bed all to himself I’m sure, but I don’t think he wants to.
Not-quite-so-much-trouble has been known to take advantage of his brother being unwell: the time when I found him practising his gymnastics by using his brother (laid on the sofa) as a beam immediately springs to mind. But generally, although he seems happy enough pottering around by himself, he misses his partner-in-crime and so do I. I miss that feeling of dread and anticipation I have at the end of the day when, after 5 minutes of tidying up in the kitchen, I go to the living room to discover what destruction they have caused. I miss telling him to get his head out of the food bin where he likes to rummage for leftovers. I miss the sound of endless crates of toys being emptied and then immediately abandoned because he has a 2 second attention span. And I rely hugely on this boy for my daily exercise – the odd 50m sprint at a second’s notice is very necessary if I’m going to be able to keep up with my very treat-heavy diet.
So please feel better soon, Trouble. I want to go back to that more familiar routine of rocking in a corner with my marshmallows wondering how I can get through another 3 hours until bedtime.