In just typing those words it occurs to me how ridiculous this plan was. I mean, whoever thought that taking 16 month old toddling twins to a café full of breakable ceramics would be a good idea? And you know what the really daft thing was? The plan was to paint their hands and feet and print them on plates.
It’s as if I’ve learned nothing from the past year of my life. Taking twins anywhere, to do anything other than sit in a high chair or be pushed around in a buggy is fraught with danger. Even the seemingly fool-proof buggy and high chair outings can be disasters. Just ask the staff in Carluccio’s who’ve witnessed my children eating spaghetti ragu and then spent the best part of an hour following our departure, trying to return their restaurant to a standard that may just scrape through a Health and Safety visitation.
The plan was concocted by our baby group as a ‘novel’ change to our weekly meets for coffee and muffins at each other’s houses. I should have known that things weren’t going to go smoothly when it transpired there weren’t enough high chairs to go around. I ended up with one twin in the buggy, and one in a high chair. Neither of them was impressed.
We swiftly turned our attention to painting in the hope that we could get it done before both girls were asked to leave on account of their shouting and general bad behaviour. Raisins were hurled, water cups were tossed aside and poor Miffy could be scarred for life.
I painted twin 1’s hand with a delightful shade of purple and reached for the plate. She in turn shoved her entire hand in her mouth and greedily licked off all the paint. Anyone would think I didn’t feed her.
We re-applied the paint. She enjoyed her second ‘snack’.
I enlisted the help of another mummy who was tasked with grabbing the hand as soon as the paint was applied and shoving it down on the white plate. There was a fair amount of resistance. I think the finished plate will show at least 7 fingers, probably none of which are twin 1’s – they’re probably mine.
It was at about this stage that I revised my idea of two hands and two feet prints on each plate. One hand would suffice.
Onto twin 2. She seemed more accommodating while having her hand painted. She looked at the paint with some interest but resisted the urge to eat it. However, her game was the even more challenging ‘let’s make a fist and see if mummy can unwrap my fingers’. As fast as I released one finger, she clenched the others. Cue much giggling.
As we left the plates to be glazed, I glanced at our creations with a distinct sense of under-achievement. There will be a pink fingerless wonder from twin 2, and a freakish purple 7-fingered hand from twin 1. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind but then again, they’d make great entries for next year’s Turner Prize.