Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Young and the Restless

We've had one of those "stir-crazy" days - I am sure you know what I am talking about:  the kids have been a bit off (not sick exactly, but with runny noses and looking a bit peaky) and so we made the decision not to let them outside in order to stave off any sickness that might be developing.  Three small kids ill is no joke - we try to avoid it where ever possible!

The old folks got it right when they said idle hands are the devil's playground.  Also, that necessity is the mother of invention.  The result of being trapped inside for a whole day is three small whirlwinds of boredom wandering around aimlessly with destruction on their minds.  So far, they have got hold of a full bag of potato crisps and discovered that if you smack it really hard, it bursts with a satisfying confetti-like shower of small chips all over the carpet and couches.  They have made a convalescence bay for a patient who they "pulled out of a fire" with all of the lounge cushions and a few blankets, pillows off the beds and a few toys (which for some unknown reason are placed over the eyes of the patient in order to cure them).  They have been into the garage and discovered a huge piece of polystyrene from an old box (it is no longer a huge piece - when I opened the garage door and the wind swept in, there were so many tiny pieces of polystyrene floating in the air that for a bizarre moment I thought it was snowing).  They put all three trikes and a dump truck on the trampoline and rode them around and around in circles until they fell off dizzy.  They got hold of a couple of credit cards out of my purse and bent each of them neatly in the middle.  In an attempt to find something interesting to do, they emptied out three huge containers of toys all over the playroom floor and then moved off to play with the toys that had been out all the time.  Someone found a highlighter pen (neon pink) somewhere and found that if you draw on the balustrades or the stair walls, it does not come off, even with meths or acetone.  They have been in more time-out today than time in.

You can learn a lot from your children:  the most important thing you learn is how much patience you have.  Needless to say, as I surveyed the havoc and destruction in my house today, I was not pleased.  Normally, at the end of a Sunday, my house looks marginally tidier than normal because we have tried so hard during the weekend to catch up with housework and washing.  Now it resembles nothing so much as those dreadful houses they show on Oprah where the people hoard stuff for years until it covers every available bit of floor.

My nerves were frazzled and I just wanted to get dinner on and get everyone in bed where I know where they are and what they are doing.  As I was trying to create some semblance of order in the kitchen, I heard a small voice behind me "Here, Mama, I have brought all the cups and bowls from the lounge".  Balancing them all carefully, Fireman Paddy had collected up some of the havoc strewn around and brought it to me in the kitchen.  
"You know," he said conversationally, "I love you so much.  One day I am going to marry you, Mama."

And in that instant, the whole day snapped into perspective.  Instead of bemoaning the mess, I am thankful for the ones who made it.  The piles of dirty clothing, toys strewn around, cushions on the floor are all evidence that I am surrounded by the ones I love the most.  

So I left everything and went and played on the trampoline with the kids until bedtime.  After all, I reasoned, if the mess they have made doesn't multiply, smell too much, catch fire or block the access to the food cupboard or fridge, it can safely stay as it is until tomorrow...

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