Just the other day, they were our babies. And of course these little girls of ours will always be our babies, but it’s hard to comprehend that they are no longer babies – that to the unbiased eye they are quite definitely toddlers, little girls. I remember this feeling from when they were born; I remember how my sons seemed to grow by a year in the space of a day, how big their hands and feet were, how loud their voices became when we had a newborn in our arms that stirred every time its sibling laughed. And now my daughters are transformed in quite the same way.
There is a certain stigma about being the ‘middle child’, an idea that the child whom is neither the oldest nor the baby is somehow lesser to the parents; an idea that they are a little neglected. And I never want that for Emmy the Igwig or Polly Poobum, whom are vivacious and loquacious, who laugh like raptors and dominate the room with their presence and treat every day like its their personal birthday party and always want cake for breakfast. At bedtime, when they are quiet and still in their cots and staring up at me expectantly, after the Lalalus and the hundred bazillion requests to sit on the windowsill and look for cats (“It’s bedtime, sweethearts, don’t you see how dark it is outside? There are no cats now; the cats have gone to bed.”), after all of that, I find myself making them silent promises that they will never be middle children, that we will never dim their light.
One of my priorities for my not-in-work time in 2019 will be to spend more time with my children as individuals rather than as a flock of children, whether in pairs or just one-on-one. They absolutely crave that attention and all of them blossom like little flowers when we make a point of giving them that time. Last weekend we put this plan into action; I left Vita at home with a bottle of expressed milk, and Kirsty played card games with the boys whilst the baby slept, and the girls and I ventured out for a walk around town. Catimini had kindly sent the girls these beautiful coats and dresses, and I wanted to take some pictures of them in their new outfits.
All of my children are absolutely obsessed with their wardrobes. My sons especially are always eager to compliment me on whatever I am wearing (“Oh! I yike your flowers, Mummy!”) and to show off their own outfits, but my daughters are also beginning to develop their own sense of style. This comes with challenges are well as rewards – unlike the others, Olympia expects to dress herself in the morning and trying to persuade the girl into anything that she doesn’t want to wear feels a little like trying to bathe a cat – but fortunately both girls are absolutely obsessed with coats and shoes and so they were simply delighted to be shown their new pieces and asked if they would like to get dressed for the day and come out for a wander with mummy.
Fur coats are absolutely my weakness, and I am utterly enamored with Embla’s turquoise fur coat. Featuring a unicorn patch, it’s perfectly whimsical and quite unlike any of the other coats that I have seen on the high street this season. For Olympia, I chose the coordinating waterproof anorak, which is lined on the inside with microfleece to keep your small one toasty warm. Underneath, Olympia wore this Jersey dress with a 3D bird, which was chosen for her by the brand, and Embla wore this charming fox dress. The bonnets were knitted by a very clever friend. I’m still working on defining the girls’ style as little girls rather than babies, particularly as it is becoming rather the collaborative effort these days, but I was so pleased with how they looked in these outfits. And I wasn’t alone in finding them adorable; strangers kept stopping in the street to say hello to them and to tell me how cute they were. In fact, an elderly lady on the bus leaned over to take a couple of photographs of them and when I glanced back over a few minutes later, she seemed to be taking a video! It was hilarious, particularly as when she stopped, Olympia demanded “More picture please!”.
It was so glorious to have an hour or so to ourselves, to window-shop on the High Street and to chase across the common. And when their brothers came to meet them off the bus, they ran into each other’s arms and chattered so excitedly over each other about what each pair of twins had been doing. We shall definitely be taking more little trips out in future, though I’m not sure that they will be this well-dressed every time!