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Katy England Katy England
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Fun & games

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Playing with the kids is much less one-sided than it used to be. Games before usually consisted of me making faces, grabbing their hands or arms and forcing them into a round of paddy-cake or bouncing someone on a knee until giggles or spit-up happened. Now there is clapping. There is knocking things down. There are full-contact sports.

Two out of three are experimenting with cruising, and the third isn't far behind. My son enjoys the one-handed approach. Climb up to standing by using a piece of furniture, then casually look behind him to see how impressed I am with his incredible feats of skill and strength.

Of course, he also loves to pull himself up onto items that are less than stable - including, but not limited to, the wheeled toddler cruisers, the gliding rocker and his sisters.

The kids have always enjoyed each other's company ever since they could recognize faces. But the joy is followed by an intense desire to eat the other's face or fingers or pull hair out by the roots. I still remember the early days, when we let the kids cuddle in the same crib or bassinette. On one of those days there was an ungodly scream. I ran over to see one of my girls grinning whilst the other bawled, the former clutching tufts of dark hair that were no longer attached to her sister's scalp.

They don't sleep together anymore.

But so far, the most fun comes from destruction. They move faster when you build them something they can knock down. The taller, the better. They'll move even faster if they can see that one of their siblings is trying to get there as well.

But the game I play the most is baby juggling. It isn't as dangerous as it sounds, but it also isn't as easy as it could be. Baby juggling consists of Mom keeping three babies entertained at the same time. Or at least not all crying.

Lately, this means putting two in walkers/cruisers and one on the floor, which was fine until they realized they could run over their crawling sibling. And yet, keeping one kids in the relative safety of the Baby Cage or a crib amounts to torture.

Baby: What? What is this? The crib. I was just in the crib.

Me: You haven't been in the crib since yesterday. Look, here's purple cat. You love purple cat.

Baby: No! I long to be free! Purple cat is boring and hideous! (At this point purple cat is hurled out of the crib).

Me: Well, you have to stay there until I make your bottles.

Baby: FREEDOM! FREEDOM or DEATH!!

The most important thing about any toy is the off switch. Most toys have them, but sadly, not all. No, it seems like my children's love for a toy is inversely proportional to how much I hate its personality. I want to slap some of these voice actors. Not a slap that inflicts pain. No, the kind of slap that says 'You disgust me.'

The off switch needs two things: It needs to be obvious to adults and invisible to children. They need to think it's magic when you make something work, and the adult needs to think it's bliss when you can finally shut it up. If all else fails, remove the batteries.

Oh, and just a note remember how I whined about the Fishie Thing not working (Fishie Thing is the Baby Einstein Aquarium Mobile thing)? Well, it's been fixed. My daughter took it upon herself to slam it repeatedly into the side of the crib until the fish started moving again. I know, I should have tried that. Of course, she still repeatedly slams it into the side of the crib at every available opportunity, so we'll see how long it keeps working. Though, if it does stop working again, at least I'll know why.

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