DESPITE the fact that I was still stuffing bouncy balls, crayons and white chocolate mice into party bags at 1am, I’m fairly upbeat when our son and daughter run into our room shortly before seven carrying the balloons we left in there while they were asleep.
This is because it’s their birthday. More to the point, it’s because somehow (inexplicably in fact), we have made it to three.
“I know,” says the Missus as she sits up in bed. “It’s a miracle, isn’t it?”
It takes them seconds to rip open their presents – and a lot longer for me to then put them together. My son’s wooden garage/car park takes 15 painful minutes with a Phillips screwdriver, and even then one of the screws refuses to go in.
“Don’t worry,” I tell him, putting it in my pocket. “That one’s a spare.”
They are less impressed with our presents than the ones from their Auntie G.
Our son asked for a racing car and our daughter a doll (which the Missus suspects they have copied straight from a Peppa Pig episode) and their Auntie has duly delivered in spades.
Not only does my son get a Lightning McQueen car that shouts random American sayings when you push a button, he also scores a copy of the Disney Cars DVD to go with it, plus a Cars racing driver’s outfit, which he informs us he intends to wear to the park.
Our daughter, meanwhile, unwraps a Baby Annabell. No, I’d never heard of one either, but it seems there’s an entire industry devoted to her including Baby Annabell nappies, high chairs and even a baby carrier, so you can walk round with her strapped to your chest.
I know this because I flick through the accompanying catalogue. This showcases the entire range, including spin-off twins Sally and Sam – life-sized toddlers who are pictured sharing a swing.
I decide my first Sally-and-Sam-related nightmare in which the pair of them chase me with kitchen knives can’t be too far off.
The party at the nearby indoor play centre proves a qualified success. My daughter starts bawling within five minutes of arriving because she can’t see me (ironic given that she spends most of her time telling me to go away) but soon cheers up when I proffer a fairy cake in her direction.
My dad, meanwhile, spends most of the time complaining about the toilets. By the time we get home, the twins are fast asleep in the back of the car.
“I just need five minutes,” says the Missus.
“I know,” I say. “I think I’ve got tinnitus from all those shrieking children.”
Our boot is crammed full of still unwrapped presents. We stash these in a cupboard before they wake up with a view to keeping some back. That night, we have a bit too much wine.
The next morning, shortly before six, our daughter runs into our room demanding to know where all her presents are.