My twins have invented a new game this week. I'm not sure what it's called, or what the rules are, but it involves taking off your shoes and socks, replacing the socks on your hands, and then charging about the house as fast as possible, whilst squealling. In many ways this game is a follow-up to the equally popular "trying to fit in the pots and pans cupboard and close the door" game that enjoyed much popularity over the summer. In fact, it's entirely possible that my twins have been inspired by the herculean efforts of Jessica Ennis and are aspiring to be heptathletes in their own twin-version of the sport. Other events in the twin heptathlon appear to include: throwing teddies into each other's cots, diving off the side of the sofa head-first, jumping on Mum's caesarean scar, and pushing each other off a small block onto a cushion.
I'm definitely currently in the phase where having twins is starting to pay off. They really do entertain each other, and I never have to think "what am I going to do with them next?" Even in really small ways it's very useful that they always have each other. It means that when I'm running around the house in the morning getting ready for work I can leave them at the breakfast table to go and get dressed without the sad, forlorn image of a lonely child left on their own. Charging around the supermarket carpark trying to find a two-seater trolley (impossible, by the way. Shop online) is less guilt-inducing because they are happily having a chat in the car in their own language.
You might not believe it, but in many ways having twins is easier than two children close together. Yes, initially you have two newborns to deal with, but you don't have a newborn and a two-year-old trying to stuff jelly babies up its nose. The thing with having a second child is that you usually decide to have the second when it becomes obvious that the first needs a playmate, but of course the problem is that it's well over a year into child number two's life before they can be any use to you as such. Up until then you're basically keeping them apart, constantly telling off your older child for fiddling with, waking up, and generally annoying your new baby. And when they not doing any of those things they're leaving tiny bits of toys all over the place for the baby to swallow.
I'm trying (and failing) to remember when my twins started to entertain each other. At first, all you're trying to do is get them to interact and getting frustrated, because young babies will look pretty much anywhere other than at the thing you're pointing at them. I've definitely got a photo of the two of them in bumbos looking quizzically at each other as if one is interviewing the other on Newsnight. When they started pulling themselves up to standing they really enjoyed facing each other and pulling faces. I heard a really lovely story from a mum whose identical twins did a double-take when they noticed each other for the first time!
The challenges of having twins are well-documented (mainly by know-it-all twin mums like myself), but the benefits of having twins are numerous. Not least, having a constant playmate means that you don't have to invite other people's horrible children over just so that your child has someone to play with.