Why do children and babies feel the need to climb pretty much continuously? In a typical afternoon from the gates of the school pick up until I finally get 4 children into bed, I feel like I am monitoring various stages of an assault course.
In the cold of the playground whilst waiting for the eldest children, invariably Baby E practices her new trick of proudly removing her arms from her snowsuit and the straps and sits forward waving excitedly at the other children. She then tries to lever a leg over the bar of the stroller and I often catch her before she launches herself towards the concrete.
Once the oldest children appear, boy in the middle leaps out from the classroom, throws his bag on the back of the stroller, dives into my bag for an immediate snack, jumps over the wheels to shout at his sisters and then bounces towards the car.
The second I unlock the car the eldest two fight to open the boot, clamber up and over the seats and then usually proceed to jump over to the middle row to fight that one of them wants to sit in between the babies. To prevent fighting from within the troops I make them both sit in their seats in the back whilst strapping the girls into their seats usually holding them down with a hand in their tummys as given half the chance they would like to have a go at exploring the inside of my car.
Back at home and I like to contain everyone to play in the kitchen/playroom, but if the door opens you can be sure that at least one baby but probably two will quietly crawl out towards the stairs and by the time I have wondered where they are, they are usually at the top of the stairs, waving at me through the open stair gate.
Dinner time and the wonder of the modern highchair. Four styles of highchair later and I still haven't found one that means my girls will remain seated for the duration. I find myself bored by my constant repetition of "Sit on your bottom", "Sit down" and all that happens is that they bob up and down for a bit, smile and generally remain standing. This makes eating chicken and rice even messier and the spread of debris wider across the floor. Normally at least one baby climbs out of her highchair and onto the table to get a closer look at the fruitbowl. This signifies the end of the meal.
While I clear up I try and get all four children to play together. In our playroom we have one of those wonderful Ikea childrens chairs which spins around and has a cover on it that can be pulled down for privacy. After threatening to throw this chair out after four years of two children playing in it, I find myself once again wishing I had removed it from existence. Baby E has taken a liking to sitting in this chair. Baby A therefore gets jealous and climbs on top of her. With boy in the middle cheering them on encouraging this wild behaviour, and madly spinning the chair around, I have to do my best to prevent both girls hurtling out at top speed.
As bath time approaches all the children race upstairs. If I change the babies in their bedroom there is a lot of running between the two cots and often boy in the middle climbs up and into a cot in a general plea to be a baby again. Meanwhile in the bedroom next door, eldest daughter usually has to be reminded to stop trampolining on her bed and Baby E chooses this time of day to pull out the contents from various drawers and climbs in them.
From the safe (ish) confines of the bath it isn't long before both babies practice their ballet by lifting their legs up and onto the sides of the bath in an attempt to get out.
At bedtime boy in the middle climbs up his ladder to bed, the babies climb (with assistance) into their cots and eldest daughter pirouettes her way into bed. I breathe a sigh of relief, listen to the quiet bedtime sounds and then I abseil back downstairs into the abyss of mess and destruction that they have made throughout the day.