600, 599, 598, 597……..
We start to countdown the seconds to bathtime from about ten to six. A quick glance of the watch at 5.30pm confirms we are in the home straight. You don’t check again for a while in fear of is saying just 5.32pm as the last few minutes go by at glacial pace!
210, 209, 208, 207 ……
Nearly there! A few last words of encouragement to L to try drinking from her bottle of milk rather than pouring it on the floor, or sofa, or the twins, or usually all of the above.
10, 9, 8, 7 …….
As with most things in our house L leads the way. All family decisions it seams have to be passed by “Our Leader” (how I will refer to L from now on I think. No self respecting dictator would settle for anything less!) However, by this point she is usually stood banging the door to be released up the stairs. And we are off.
This is a group activity. Our Leader dictates that all family members must be in attendance and should K or I be sat on the sofa taking in some deep breaths before following up the stairs we are left in no doubt that this behaviour is unacceptable and looks of disappointment, dreaded shouts of “eeaarrgghhhhhh” or just jabs to the ribs are dished out in punishment!
While K is in the bathroom and I get I & E ready in the nursery Our Leader patrols the landing between the two checking all is being done properly and in accordance with regulations. The odd point, “ooh” or “eeaarrgghhhhhh” provides us with valuable feed back on our performance. Delay is not an option!
After the tears and the shouting all is quite for a few moments as all three girls are lowered into the bath. Should one of the twins be a little tardy Our Leader will point at the door then point at the seat in the bath and issue an “eeaarrgghhhhhh” order! Get a move on.
Bath time is great and always entertaining. I & E take it in turns to be in the hot seat next to L while the other hides at the opposite end of the bath. Our Leader is very diligent about washing their hair (pouring water on their heads) washing their faces (pouring water on their heads) and wiping their nose (yep you guessed it …pouring water on their heads).
While all this is going on one of us is granted permission to go back down stairs to get I & E’s bottle ready, get the various sleeping bags sorted and pyjamas and baby grows out ready.
The twin in the hot seat out first followed by her twin sister then Our Leader. To the sound of babies crying, shouts of “eeaarrgghhhhhh” and “oohh” everyone gets dressed and ready for bed. This all happens in a bit of a blur!
Once dressed Our Leader then marches into the nursery to sit us both down in our usual places, hand out the bottles to us one by one, passes us their bibs then settles down to read a book usually next to K while we feed I & E. L is 16 months!
After pouring her milk into the wash basket and spreading nappies around the room to give us something to do later (she is very thoughtful like that) she is done and off to bed. Usually this involves pushing one of us out of our seats to be given the honour of accompanying her. We feel most blessed.
An hour or so later we are back down stairs huddled round the monitors waiting to hear if Our Leader has any last minute requirements or that the girls are settled.
On a good day this all takes just over an hour. On a bad day (usually involving an unwanted present from one of the girls in the bath) or a long list of demands from Our Leader issued from her cot through the monitor it feels like it takes days!
By 8 all is quiet…. until the next feed at 11 that is!