Visiting Relatives with Twins

What are your plans for Christmas? Are you staying at home or heading off to stay with relatives? When friends say they are heading off somewhere for the weekend we often say things like “that’s great, it’ll be fun to have a change of scenery and catch up with some other adults!” But, in reality, it isn’t always all that relaxing to go away for the weekend with young twins. The change of scenery presents a whole new set of challenges and as for catching up with adults, well, it’s not always easy to chat when you have your arms full with two toddlers. This is even more complicated if you are staying somewhere that has not been toddler-proofed.

Now, when it comes to toddler-proofing there are three broad areas to cover. Safety first obviously, cover all of the sockets, fasten all curtain-chords and strings and lift everything out both of sight and reach on the basis that if they can see it they will try to reach it. Secondly, bolt everything down because toddlers are like bulldozers. They barge through rooms leaving trails of knocked over things (aka destruction) in their paths. So it follows that anything remotely delicate, flimsy, breakable, or even nice should be moved out of the way. Thirdly, they love glittery shiny things. Objects are there to be picked up, licked, tried on, prodded, bent and generally tested for durability and overall robustness, and probably dropped when the inspection is over.

So, what happens when you bring two of these wrecking balls to stay with friends or relatives who have not done any baby-proofing at all?! Which is precisely what happened to us when we went to stay with family a few years ago. They had a gorgeous new baby who was still small and stayed put (remember that?!) so they hadn’t had to baby-proof yet. Delicate coffee tables with spindly legs and elegant Laura Ashley lamps perched on top. Piles of cd’s on the floor along with books and photo frames. All calling to the twins to be picked up and admired with toddler sticky fingers, dropped and smashed into smithereens.

I positioned myself strategically between a bookcase and a coffee table and spent the conversation trying to talk normally while heading toddlers off at the pass – diverting them as they aimed for either books or lamps and distracting them with the many toys we had brought with us, or my stash of emergency rice cakes and raisins. It takes concentration and a bit of determination to keep chatting normally while wrestling a wriggling octopus. We’ve all been there. Chatting about life while wrestling wriggling toddlers who are intent on emptying DVD boxes is the Olympics of multi-tasking. Having a conversation on the phone while toddlers and kids are messing in the background is the same. “Yes, Tuesday would be fine, put that down! Will they take the old microwave away with them? Get off him! They will? Great, my card number is no we’ll be having dinner in a minute, 45678……

We didn’t sleep a wink either. Ben had a habit of shouting in his sleep and I was so terrified that he would disturb the baby that I was on high-alert all night, ready to spring out of bed and catch him before the moans could grow into a yell. So, in the end it probably wasn’t much of a break, neither was it all that relaxing, and the change of scenery was a little stressful if I’m honest. On the plus side it was really great to catch up with the adults which made it all worthwhile.

So, are you heading off with your twins to stay with relatives? You’ll have a great time and it’s always great to have a change of scenery! Just pack lots of toys; pack lots of food; and don’t expect to get much rest!


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