is not, to my mind, a matter of talking nonsense to them. Babies require serious respect. They know and understand far more than we give them credit for. Three babies make for very serious conversation indeed, especially when the twins are six weeks older than their friend. Yesterday's visit was fraught with diplomatic difficulties. There were three VIPs all demanding an equal share of the available attention. Fortunately an audience of eight adults made matters a little easier.
The twins are the result of IVF treatment and therefore not identical. It is easy, even at this age to tell them apart. This is just as well. They do know their own names. At seven and a half months they are hitching themselves around. Be careful where you place your feet. Yes, shoe-laces (mine) are interesting but it is better not to chew them. Sit on the floor so we can talk to you? Certainly.
We get down to really serious conversation then. We talk about pink (the colour of their leggings) and the flowers on their tops. A toy is presented. We talk about faces, hair, ears, and the green tongue on the strange purple animal.
The six month old friend reaches out for the strange animal. The twins look at each other and both hold on. It is ours. Yes, it is yours but could she hold it for just a moment? They look at one another again -and pass it over. The threatened tears disappear as quickly as they arrived. Do you want something else to talk about?
Their mother holds up two more soft toys. They both look at the one in her left hand so she passes it over to me and I hand it on. We go back to serious conversation about colour, size and other matters. Milk time arrives. I suggest to the six month old that she returns the toy she has been exploring. She exchanges it happily enough for the offer of her mother's breast. The twins pass their toys over to me and look hopefully at their mother. Lunchtime milk is a bottle because she cannot produce enough milk to breast feed them all the time. They lie on the floor and their mother supervises the bottles but they keep eyeing me off. They seem to be saying something.
Yes, of course we will get back to conversation after lunch...if you two can stay awake!