Twin life

Six and surprises

Hattie and Joe turned six today. SIX! They’re so wonderful, and to be honest I’m stoked – and somewhat amazed – that I’ve been a mother for six years, and can still speak in coherent sentences and crack an occasional joke.

Today’s blog post isn’t a gushing tribute to my adorable kids – it goes without saying that they’re sensational, just look at them:

No, this post is about how, even after six years of raising these two, I still have no idea what I’m doing! Here’s the story of our day.

Tristan and I took a day of annual leave to celebrate with them. We promised a morning of surprises, the first of which was a trip to the local Bike Barn to buy big kids’ bikes – their present from Nanna and Grandad in England. They were very surprised indeed!

We told them that there were two more surprises in store. Hattie became quite quiet. We drove a short distance and arrived at a furniture shop, at which point we excitedly announced that we were finally buying them the bunk beds they’d asked for over the past year.

The reaction from Joe was satisfyingly electric – a huge grin – but Hattie burst into tears. She was so upset at the prospect of saying goodbye to her current bed: her first big kid bed. It took the combined efforts of all three of us to calm her down.

She deigned to try out a bunk, and she did like it, so we ordered a set in white. And we thought that was that.

Afterwards we went for morning tea, and then she admitted that she doesn’t actually like surprises. How haven’t I realised this about her before? She is SO MUCH like me in many ways, and I prefer to anticipate my pleasures. So we told them about the final surprise of the day: a trip to buy their presents from my parents – their choice of a skateboard or a scooter. They chose one of each.

The rest of the day passed well, particularly as Hattie’s cast finally came off. Hooray!

We had a lovely birthday play date and afternoon tea with Harry, one of their best friends from school, and the rest of the day passed uneventfully. The bunks were delivered. And then it was bedtime, and Hattie was in floods of tears again. I thought she was just exhausted, but no: it was the thought of giving up her bed. Joe and I reassured her that we don’t need to assemble the bunks until she’s ready to change (luckily for her Joe is a very understanding and kind brother, happy to wait). I also suggested that we could keep their current beds instead of selling them, and when they eventually move into different rooms (in the dim and distant future, when we can afford to renovate our house), she can have their twin beds in her room, and Joe can have the bunks. Eventually she calmed down.

Now tell me: in my shoes, could you have anticipated that a child who has asked for something for a long time would be so upset at the prospect of change wrought by getting that thing? I’ve always known that Hattie is relatively risk-averse, but who knew that would extend to not really wanting a new thing she’d actively sought? It just goes to show that every day as a parent is like your first day of a new job: you think you know what you’re doing, but you’re a complete novice because your kids are like crazed new employers with wildly unpredictable needs and demands. What fun, eh!

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