​and beyond


Escapades of a Family in Mexico  



Five In The Bed

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Rodney. My co-driver on this journey we embarked on together nine years ago. He’ll be 40 this year. I know he would prefer that I had just simply stated him as being 39… because he is 39. He’s from a small village close to Bath, England. We met in the small Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. We are still there today. That’s not to say that we have never left, but a few song lyrics from ‘Hotel California’ do come to mind on occasion. He and I are a long, complex and ever- evolving love story. We make a wonderful team together. In loving. In travelling. In business. In parenting. And now in our efforts to combine and balance all of those elements to make a life filled with love, compromise, fun, joy, compassion, silliness, friends, adventures, good food and laughter. We each have our own ideas about which route to take and what the soundtrack should be along the road. But we use the same map and usually get to the agreed destination, though perhaps an hour or three behind schedule.

Me? I believe I have revealed a lot about myself, just in the way that I have written to you about those whom I love the most.

As I started with, we don’t all sleep together, but sometimes you might find all five of us in the bed, bundled together for a book, for a tickle, if one is a little teary and needs cheering, or just for a family cuddle. Then, there’ll be five in the bed, until you hear someone say, “Roll over!”

(Or until Rollo gets up and walks away.)


Rollo and Kirpa started school when Siahni was six months old. She DID NOT like the quiet that was left behind. She did not nap well. She was fidgety. She was suspicious of the absence of the din they created. I keep telling myself, "If Siahni is not distressed by the sensory chaos, I should not get so stressed about it either. Life would be easier if I didn't feel the nagging need to try and drecrease the volume of our household.

Siahni is bright and sparky. Sometimes I sit in awe, watching her light up and blink like a robot-doll. Whilst I was quite prepared to find myself the mother of three boys, I was pleased to have the house a little more balanced hormonally. An added bonus being that she throws her socks directed into the laundry bin, as opposed to flinging them across the room.​

​Siahni. Our baby girl, now 23 months. Born three weeks after our boys turned 3. I am so gald that there isn't less of an age gap between the three. Needless to say how different it is being a mum the second time around. The confidence with experience. Having one baby to mother, after the swirl of being handed twin-boys (who both had intimidating cases of acid-reflux). And I do hate to consider it, since I really am not one for gender stereotypes, Siahni, whether it's because she is a girl or not, is a lot​ more easy going.

This little girl has always loved noise. It's a good thing too. My guess is it's because she heard all the ruckus whilst in utero. She loves the blitz of the food processor, the commotion of construction sites, the proud trumpets and drums of the local school's marching band. She gets excited by loudness. Her hand shoots straight up and she dances. Something fun is happening. Siahni loves the hullabaloo of her brothers. Something fun is happening.​

Rollo and Kirpa are so completely different from each other. I guess this is not only to underline their different personalities, because they are twins, but because they are different people and would naturally have different interests. Sometimes people forget this. They get glued together, get called “the twins”, “the boys”, KirpaRollo, RolloKirpa. We are tired parents and their names get merged together when bandied about. They haven’t complained.

We spent a lot of time choosing their names, as most parents do. When they were two, they called each other ‘Mick’ and ‘Charlie’ (they know Daddy loves the Rolling Stones), but for so long now they have called each other ‘Baby Cat’ and ‘Baby Hedgehog’ as they ‘Miaow’ and ‘Snuffle’ their way through the days.

Problem solving appears to come instinctively to Rollo. Before he turned four, Rollo had taught himself to tell the time. He asked the time a lot, spotted the pattern in it and worked out the rest himself. He likes routine and needs to know what time events of the day are going to take place. He also wanted to be able to know when it was 1 o’clock, so that he could start walking out of class at hometime. Want to know when you can leave school? Learn to tell the time, problem solved. He also had to learn how to accept hugs. He would wriggle about and looked very uncomfortable. Pretend to be a hedgehog and rebrand 'hugs' as 'snuffle cuddles'... ​et voila, problem solved. He now enjoys a good cuddle, er, snuffle cuddles.

If Rollo has had enough of something he’ll walk away. That’s as much of a beach walk he wants… he’ll turn around and start heading back. If he doesn’t want to play in the park in front of our house anymore (almost always because too many of the neighbourhood kids start to gather), he’ll walk indoors. However. He will not walk away from Kirpa if he begins to feel agitated by him. In fact, he will move closer. They will soon be on top of each other, emotionally, and physically. This is something I am just beginning to accept. I have to for my own sanity. They are going to brawl and I cannot be there to separate them each and every time.​

When I think of the brother Kirpa is to Siahni, ‘Stellar’, is the word that comes to mind. Yes, that is with a capital ‘S’. So kind, sharing, compassionate, interesting, affectionate, fun, silly. On top of all that, the enthusiasm with which he responds to her flourishing verbal skills and physical achievements is heart-stopping. Siahni’s confidence will forever soar with Kirpa as her cheerleader.

Rollo is quiet and quite eccentric. He goes through phases of lining up shoes. He doesn’t like to have logos, lettering or any other image on his clothing. Though exceptions have been made if the letter 'H' appears. 'H' is for 'Hedgehog, you know. His insistance on having the first pancake out of the pan makes me grin as I hear the sizzle of the mix hitting the hot fat. The first time we made pancakes together he ate the first one, it was flipped out onto his plate, and now, he believes, this is the way it should be. To Rollo, if a precedent is set, it should be followed.

Kirpa is a natural engineer. As soon as he finds an odd or an end, his mind sparks up, and the brightness in his eyes reveals that the lightbulb of ideas is ablaze. Be it debris from the wintering of a tree, lengths of string and ribbon, or a collection of empty peanut butter jars,  every item has the potential to be transformed into an excitingly great invention. Then… in a novel of a sentence that leaves you gasping for breath, Kirpa proceeds to detail all aspects of his brainchild.

Kirpa and Rollo. Almost five-year-old fraternal twin boys. “Cuates,” we often explain, since we live in, and they were born in, Mexico. They love each other. They argue every day. They love to love different things. Kirpa loves cats. Rollo loves hedgehogs (he has dressed up as a hedgehog for two Halloweens running). Kirpa won’t eat eggs. Rollo asks for “double eggs”. Kirpa is a bit bossy and is extremely determined. The bossiness or manner in which Kirpa gets his way is beginning to bother Rollo. It should. Rollo has just started to protest when he thinks things are unjust. Kirpa was born first, which is why he appears to be listed first all the time. Kirpa is a huge chatterbox. We often joke, “you’ll hear us before you see us”. It might actually be the case that you'll hear Kirpa before you see us.

Five In The Bed                                                                    

No. We don’t all sleep together. However, if we had a bed big enough, I think the kids would love to.

The kids. 

We have three.