Summer in our house is mainly about the kids' birthdays, with the build-up usually starting just after the Christmas presents have been opened. Just like the government's demands, their wish lists become more unattainable every year.
I start my New Year resolutions in September. Late (or early), I hear you say. Not really; it has been a busy few weeks, with overexposure to children, Baby's potty training and my appraisal to reflect upon. After all, we encourage trainees to reflect, and I should really practise what I preach.
So I resolve to do better next year. There will be no mad dash to collate my appraisal documents at the last hour, when the internet goes down. No, honestly, the man from BT will vouch for my lame excuse. My theory that the twins had a hand in it was quickly dispelled at seeing their genuine distress when disconnected.
As the BT man crouches under the study desk, the twins and I read together. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was one their birthday presents.
They are rather intrigued by Tom and his powers of persuasion, especially by the way he manages to convince other children to whitewash the fence for him while he rests.
They exchange perceptive comments: 'Aunt Polly is a bit like Mummy, isn't she?'
'Not quite,' I say. 'I pay you when you do any chores around the house, but last time, you quit after two days in the post.'
'Yes, but the job you gave us was really bad - you asked us to keep Baby away from your computer, especially as your appraisal was coming up. And for £5 a week at that. We thought appraisals were very important.'
The BT man emerges, wheezing slightly from being in such close proximity to house dust mites.
My eldest is rather worried by this: 'Do you think he needs to use my inhaler, Mummy?'
'Goo, goo, naughty boy,' coos Baby.
'No, that's not naughty boy, that's the man from BT,' explains Twin 2, helpfully.
'You nuts,' says Baby.
- Dr Aziz is a GP partner in north-east Bristol