How very disturbing to find myself seeing double all day. Even more so when nary a drop of vino had passed my parched lips.
Yesterday was The Twinkles' first birthday
and their mother, the Middle of the Darling Daughters, had opted to send party invitations to members of the local Twins Club who have offered her so much support, friendship and good advice (based on personal experience of the trials and the triumphs) over
the last year. A truly lovely idea - except that everywhere you looked, there were two small people looking more or less the same. If not, in one case, three.
The M of the DDs toasted her chums in white wine.
"They say the first year is the hardest!" she declared, triumphantly. Her sister, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, seated next to me on the sofa, muttered, darkly: "They lied!"
Even before we arrived
at the party, I had had Double Trouble. In the balloon shop (aka the local newsagents) I managed to find the last two two balloons with Happy Birthday and a number 1 on them. Okay, I would have preferred two slightly different balloons - Tala and Lilia being,
in the words of their Proud Mama, "the same, but different" - but beggars can't be choosers, so they say. Helen the Helpful took them out into the back office to inflate them with halogen. She returned, crest-fallen: one of the balloons had burst under the
strain of inhalation. What to do? Mr B was sitting in the car outside waiting for me, he would not be happy at the delay. Especially as I had refused to leave the radio on in case the car battery wore down. A burst balloon, an Unhappy Mr B. Which was the worse?
Me? I couldn't possibly say.
I raced to the florist - did they have a first birthday balloon? In short, no. So I bought a balloon featuring a unicorn, a rainbow and a princess with golden hair. What's not
When we finally arrived at the Party House, we found that the Middle of the Darling Daughters had had her own dose of Balloon Misery. One of the two massive pink figure 1 balloons she had bought for
the Twinkles had floated too near the ceiling lights and expired. Possibly painfully. We were not having the Best of Balloon-Related Luck, my daughter and I.
But, hey, what a party! Finger food, including
jam sandwiches, some of them fashioned by my Own Fair Hand; a birthday cake shaped like a butterfly; a ball pond for little ones to dive into; plus a chaotically splendid game of Pass the Parcel. "A Sharing Game" my daughter had written on the front of the
beautifully wrapped parcel. Let's face it, twins and triplets know all about sharing. I reflected ruefully on the fact that when my Foursome were young'uns I always used old newspapers as wrappings for my parcels when making preparations for the Pass the Parcel
game. Not for the first time, I wonder whether my offspring had a Deprived Childhood.
One small mite wandered about purposefully, gathering up all the purple, pink and white balloons dangling from the ceiling
and trailed them behind her, like a diminutive balloon seller. Debbie, one of the Mums, reminded me that my daughter had effectively stolen her twins' birthday by being admitted to hospital for an emergency Caesarean on the very day she was due to give birth.
I don't think she bears a grudge. Certainly her delightful twins seemed quite unmoved by the blatant theft of their intended birth date.
When it came to the singing of the traditional "Happy Birthday", I insisted
that we sing it through twice, once for each twin. That was important, don't you agree? I watched, misty-eyed, the candles flaming, the birthday girls - Little Miss Blue Eyes and Our Brown-Eyed Girl - gazing mystified in their parents' arms as everyone snapped
away recording the happy scene and Big Brother Faris advanced purposefully to blow out the candles. Yes, of course, two candles - one for each twin.
"Happy to be One" reads the inscription on the cake.
Like our Twinkles, just perfect!