Two very lively boys under 5 are not twice the work of one. They are something like 19 times the work.
It goes one of two ways.
Either they feed off each other until they resemble a ball of energy (a bit like the end of Ghostbusters) which just builds and builds as they cannon round the house roaring with laughter breaking things as they go OR while I am dealing with one of them, the other one takes advantage and wreaks havoc so you are never actually 'on top' of the situation.
Take today for example.
They create the 'ball of energy' and go nuts with a huge bucket full of toy cars. What starts out as a race ends up as some kind of monster-truck-death-defying-frenzy with cars flying through the air and the noise of splintering wood.
My cries of 'stop throwing! if you throw ONE more car it GOES IN THE BIN! STOP THROWING' escalate to glass shattering volume and finally, I manage to stop them throwing (and deafen the neighbours in the process).
Then I have to start 'the talk' with the eldest one.
Me: 'You DON'T throw cars, do you understand?' NO THROWING. HOW MANY TIMES MUST I TELL YOU!'.
Him: 'But but mummeeeeee, we weren't throwing them, they were just crashing'.
Me: 'They were crashing in the air. Someone could get hurt and they might get broken. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?'.
Me: 'Ok, now you need to help me pick them up'.
Him: 'BUT MUMMY!'.
Me: 'But mummy WHAT!?'.
Him: 'Look what the baby's got!'.
I turn round and see that the baby (who is in fact a toddler) has somehow got the food processor out of the kitchen cupboard, dragged it across the kitchen and is merrily fiddling with the electric sockets trying to plug it in and switch it on. As far as 'fiddling with things you shouldn't' goes - this is pretty impressive. And dangerous.
Dear god. I have no idea what he thought he was going to do? Mince up the Lego and make pretend meat balls? Mince up his brother so he could play with the railway without getting bashed? Mince up himself so he could get a ride in one of his beloved 'nee naws'?
So I have to retrieve the food processor, deal with the fall out (i.e. a huge amount of ear bleeding screaming) and then go back to the eldest and deal with the subject of the thrown cars.
Me: 'Right, we need to pick them up'.
Him: 'But mummeeeee I can't - I'm worn out'.
Me: 'Don't give me that!'.
Him: 'My arms don't work properly'.
Me: 'Pick them up or you will never watch freight trains on YouTube again' (he has a very odd taste in entertainment this child).
Him: 'I will pick up ONE CAR'.
Me: 'You will not! You will pick them all up with me or I will put them in the bin'.
Him: 'I will pick up 5'.
Me: 'DO YOU KNOW HOW TIRED I AM? Do you want me to have another nervous breakdown and go back and live in the Nut Unit? Because it's quieter in there. And saner. And nobody throws cars around or wees on the floor (Ok, I didn't say this last bit, but I damn well thought it').
A long debate later he picks up the cars.
I go to the loo.
The baby has merrily picked up the bucket of cars and tipped the whole lot back out again.
And so it goes on.
And this is what mothers and fathers or who ever else looks after small irrational beings do.
Day after day after day.
If you are reading this and nodding with a sense of familiarity then you deserve a bloody medal. Or at least a stiff gin.