All of this was quite wearisome. So I was quite heartened to discover an old blogpost from 2010, when the children said funny things, and were tiny enough to stay in their beds once there, and yet old enough to sleep through the night.
This afternoon, in an entirely unprovoked fit of idle violence, The Tiniest Trefusis took one of my chunky perspex cuffs and chucked it straight at Trefusis Minor's head. It caught him hard on the corner of his eye - unlike Trefusis Minor, the Tiniest Trefusis has quite a true aim - with an audible crack. Tears, shrieking, howls, wails ensued - you know the drill.
Anyway, since we have a firm 'No Fighting, No Biting' policy here at Trefusis Towers, Tiniest Trefusis went straight to the naughty step to consider her position, which I'm sorry to report was typically unrepentant.
After taking a couple of minutes to recover from the shock of a thwack on the head from a flying bangle, Trefusis Minor went to visit her on the naughty step. He crouched down to her level and took hold of her hands in his, saying, in his best lentil-botherer voice, 'I'm just trying to understand why you felt you needed to hurt me'.
He did his best to make eye-contact, fixing her with a look of one who is more sinned against than sinning, but the Tiniest Trefusis was having none of it, 'Go 'WAY,' she shouted, and turned her head to the wall.
'But why did you do it,' persisted TM. 'Were you trying to get some attention?'
The Tiniest Trefusis mulishly refused to be understood. Time-up on the time-out, she wriggled off the stair and sidled off, without either explanation or apology.
I'm quite interested in his response - his sister brains him, and rather than smack her back, he simply wants to get to grips with her motivation.
Trefusis Minor has always been a bit odd like that: He's not one for a textbook response to any given situation. I remember taking him to the Lyric Hammersmith to see some kind of children's theatre production consisting of a gigantic Calder-esque mobile from which various actors were suspended, calling 'Hang on' to each other at dramatic intervals. It was very striking, entirely narrative-free and popular with the entire audience of under-fives. All except Trefusis Minor who, whenever one of the actors appeared to be a little casual in the way they hung from the mobile, would leap to his feet, shouting 'Get down! It's too dangerous' at the stage, like some demented juvenile health and safety officer.
The Tiniest Trefusis was formerly known as Hunca Munca. But she's a little less destructive now she's coming up to three, so it seems unfair to stick her with the soubriquet. She's very funny and told my mother over Christmas that she liked the vicar at church because he wore curtains and a party hat.