We’ve all heard the advice about never working with children and animals, but did anyone realise filming a video with four sets of twins might prove tricky too? You can imagine our surprise when we had that exact Eureka! moment last week. The Toy Box Tots mums were joined by our Tots – two sets of two-year-old twins – for a video shoot for our website. It had been postponed a couple of times, but finally there we were, ready for Lights! Camera! Action!
Just to make the day even more fun we were joined by Rebecca of @twinsandmoretwins who has two sets of twins, making us a cast of three mums and eight children. What could possibly go wrong with that kind of winning ratio? Well, funny you should ask, because just moving from one shot to the next proved a feat that even Shackleton would have balked at. In the end we made an executive business decision to give up asking our tots to do anything and we just embraced the mayhem.
There was a moment when one of us caught the photographer’s eye and we all laughed at what was unfolding in front of our eyes, who knows what the footage will look like? But at least it will be authentic! No child models here at Toy Box Tots ladies and gentlemen, we give you real-life two-year-olds in all their glory.
The main problem we encountered was encouraging our Tots to take direction. When we asked them to focus on playing with a toy they ran off, or had a tantrum, or both. It might be achievable to persuade one child to sit still and look angelic for three seconds while they are being filmed – but when there are eight it’s pretty impossible. When you have twins it literally is double trouble as they always have an audience watching them show off.
But why are they so terrible at this age? It can’t be any coincidence that our most popular boxes are for this age group. We find ourselves refereeing one fight after the next, especially during the never-ending Easter holidays. This morning, one of our Tots had a meltdown because her sister dared to look out of ‘her’ car window. During a recent visit to the aquarium, one set of twins lost it in unison because mummy couldn’t make the frogs jump on demand. And don’t even mention the sunroof in the car; it must be covered at all times. If just one ray of natural light escapes through and catches our toddler’s attention then be prepared for epic consequences. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Children at this age seem to experience everything in surround sound, 4K, IMAX proportions – it brings out extreme emotions, sending them from floods of tears to the top of the world in seconds. They also become very attached to things, especially their things. Sharing is usually a battle, and one of our Tots became so devoted to his baseball hat that it didn’t leave his head – not at nursery, in the bath, or in bed – for about eight months.
Life can be tough for these toddlers, so what can we do? Our current favourite ninja skill is the art of distraction. You hate your sister because she got more pink marshmallows than you? Come over here and read this book with me. You’re angry with your brother because he got the PJ Masks plate at dinnertime again? How about once you’re finished eating we play superheroes in space together? The key to success is negotiation, patience and diversion (and possibly a large glass of wine once they are in bed).
Our boxes for this age group offer tons of ideas and activities to keep even the most terrible of two years olds busy. They always include little figures to inspire fantasy play, and come with an activity sheet brimming with ideas about how to use them. Each box is based around a book, so tired toddlers can cuddle up and listen to a story to help them unwind after a busy day.
Tots are processing a lot during this age and it’s important for them to have quiet time as well as the high-octane run around outside until you collapse. Setting up a puzzle or figures for them to play with after dinner offers them an opportunity to use their fine motor skills and process what they have learnt that day.
So we are signing off now to hastily intercept yet another brawl between our ‘precious darlings’ (said through gritted teeth). We keep telling ourselves the Terrible Twos ‘is just a phase’ and, anyway, their birthdays are just around the corner so the worst is behind us, right?
Now what was that I heard about Threenagers the other day….