Nothing better than introducing the children, young – as you can – (babies if possible, crying toddlers a bonus) to a roaring, burning, inferno, preferably with an effigy of some desperate, loose-limbed, male charlatan tossed on the top, steeped in petrol and engulfed in flames, to keep the children entertained, now that the death and murderous blood-fuelled gapes of Halloween have long been spent.
But this is Blighty: where flaming effigies and screaming children are nigh on expected this fifth night of November, notably with a side of sparklers, a large glass of red for the growns and a couple of bangers smothered in ketch-up for good measure, it’s our stock in trade – we didn’t court the yanks and their bewildering halloween japes to trade this in- did we?
Enjoy doling your child/ren/husband & friends up in a classic English odds and ends wooly assortment of winter wear and, big wellies, natch, for all to stand in a cold field somewhere, hopefully local (ie within walking distance from your bed), shivery and entranced in the trippy, 3D kaleidoscope of flaming light forms pouring fourth from the sky – a kind of first hand introduction to life enhancing drugs for the children.
Pea.s: Make Toffee Apples – you will become adored henceforth…
Pea. Pea. s these bad boys are organic and hand-picked – yes, I adhere to great food snobbery – bring it on…This is the stonking, fail-safe recipe I use….
The last two weeks in Bath have been so exciting and inspiring with the Bath Kid’s Literature Festival in full swing, we have enjoyed Andy Stanton, Lauren Child, Michael Rosen, Jon Scieszka, Emer Stamp to name just a few…
We have been reading like crazy ever since, pouring over our new, signed editions, and sharing the jokes and stories. I have been reading aloud to all three of my children, nine-year old twins and their six year old sister Boo, it has been beautiful, you are never to old to be read to, or for that matter, to read aloud.
We just finished The Oddfellows Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin and it is simply perfect, a curious and gentle read, I cannot recommend it enough, for boys, girls and adults alike.
You know when you have one of those arguments with your old man, you know the ones which last several days and sees you straddling the edge of the marital bed in a bid to get as far away as possible from your betrothed. When, the same argument gets regurgitated round and round and you wonder how long this will endure before one of you will a) file for divorce or b) say sorry.
Alcohol can work in mysterious ways; effectively fueling the angst and danger of stubborn cupboard love. Or, just days later, oiling the wheels of coherent apologies and civilised behavior.
And in the sweet cold light of morning to maintain this new state of grace with your love make him some pancakes and coffee…freshly flipped, steaming with hot butter, maple syrup and remorse.
Cycling our way to hospital, “Caballero”, the van drivers yell to my boy: a gentleman they considered him. As he humbly struggled to peddle me around, while I sat fat, blooming, getting a backie.
At that five month scan, our first – (eventually we had managed to decipher the bureaucratic Spanish health system) – the obstetrician asked whether we had planned our pregnancy.
“Errrr, no Señor”, we sheepishly admitted. He then proceed to interpret the scan image.
“…Your first child is here…” I looked across at my new love – he paled and fell back against the wall, desperatly looking for somewhere to sit down.
“There, there is the spine, the head and the vagina…”
“The second baby. Here, see the head, the spine, here, and the penis…Did you know you had twins?”
Shock, fear, joy and sheer disbelief flooded through me, fortunately I was lying down. Unlike Toots, who was clinging onto the cardboard walls.
“You are very lucky”, the obstetrician proclaimed as he left us in our newfound chaos.
We stumbled out of the hospital and gazed across at the steadfast, azure whims of the Mediterranean sea.
We clung to each other in wondrous amazement. We were indeed blessed – we were magical. We could not believe this thing we suddenly held between us. Just an hour ago we had one baby and now, incredibly, we had two – we were: a family of four.
It was mind-blowing. More so, as we had met only eight months previously and had nothing between us except for a couple of rucksacks, a laptop, some books, our passports and a great and beautiful love for each other.
Nothing so far in our relationship had been conventional and now fate had dealt us another unexpected card. We truly believed our love was so magical that we had created boy/girl twins from it.
Little did we know at that time how common multiples are becoming as our generation parent much older and as IVF becomes more prevalent.
Eight years from that precious eureka moment Fealte & Rosebud have played a starring role in our lives.
And from those humble bycling beginnings we have continued on our quest for simplicity, knowing that the single most important thing we can ever give to our children is our love.
No need is there of great mounds of ugly plastic destroying our peaceful home.
No need is there of television or high-tech pushchairs, great monstrous high-chairs, massage classes or adidas trainers.
Pencils, paper, lego, books and latterly bikes are the most important tools in their lives.
Barefoot we plant seeds, water vegetables and make-up songs.
Research from TAMBA (The Twin and Multiple Birth Association) suggests that parents of multiples are more likely to separate – citing financial pressure as the main culprit.
But surely twins, or singletons, or three, or four children need as little or as much as you care to give them. Granted the costs of two high-chairs, two cots and two pairs of shoes at once may be great, but that is, surely, what IKEA was invented for.
No parent needs to lavish its offspring with the amount of material junk they do these days. No child can wear more than one pair of shoes at once. No child needs a mountain of DVD’s or plastic gadgets. No child needs to be taken to hand-signing or baby-yoga classes in a huge motor.
The amount of debt and expense taken on for the sake of an innocent child is incredible and cannot fail to rock the foundations of its parents as they struggle to keep on top of this mega debt.
And all for the sake of whose happiness?
Forgive me this confabulation of fromage – but it is, indeed, National Poetry Month..in, err, The States, but I assume I can still join in?…Seeing as we are all part of the global cheese eating community, what?
IN CAHOOTS WITH LE TOOTS
This boy whose ripe semen
made my whole body teemen-
This man of just thirty-five-
when we kissed, made me feel so alive.
With love and lust, with crazed, wild-headed amor.
And although we were always so, so poor.
We were rich with simplicity,
Just two babies, him and me.
No mortgage, no home, no sense of 2.4
A bycycle, some lycra.
But we always wanted more…
A dusty jeep in the Spanish mountains,
a French farmhouse…and space for counting
our children, as four became five.
A wilderness, a desert, a city, a community
That certain something, a je ne sais quoi, that will make us blissful with glee…
Of course, we already have it,
Me and my cheese puff.
We already have quite, quite enough,
And more, but that won’t stop us looking
We will never stop cooking-
Up; plans and adventures, dreams and desires,
Of stories to tell our grandchildren round campfires.
With Valentines left behind in Februarys greying thighs, we must continue to flounce our love. Ruffle his, or her, feathers, nurture your honey with a whole bucket of squishy, treacle-drenched, smooching.
According to research, kissing promotes an array of health benefits, including relieving stress, burning calories, boosting immunity and even removing plaque…yikes – that must include some serious tongue waggling.
“Both of us were transfixed by this one moment – this moment when the earth just, literally, stopped…as our lips finally touched and we could not move apart, never let go, on that simple street corner, the sun rising behind us, this time defining connection of lust and love and absolute wholeness.”
Maybe not all kisses are like that but the simple ones: hello, goodbye, are you ok?, it’s going to be ok. These are almost more important in defining your union. Endorphins are released each time you touch and kiss, and you are present in that simple physical moment, whether it is with a babies perfect peachy bottom or your grannies crinkled cheek.
You may seek to impress like Maddona and Britney, or make a statement like the Chilean students who, last year, made kissing their statement in protests against the government over education, or get swept up in emotion like Gary Neville from Manchester United who snogged team mate Paul Scholes. But whatever, however, whoever – you must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss…..mmmmmmmwwwwaaaaaahhhhhhh.