Thursday, 1 December 2011
A walk on the wild side
I am flying solo at the moment. The Sweetpea has gone to South Africa for two weeks to be with his parents and attend his brother's wedding. Just as an aside, the Sweetpea says it is actually thirteen days. I think that Monday to two weeks later Monday counts as a full two weeks. I also firmly believe that the one who gets to stay at home and mind the zoo (while the other swans off on a lovely holiday to sunny South Africa to be waited on hand and foot by his parents) should be the one who says how much time it is. So it is two weeks. But I digress.
I have actually enjoyed the time so far (not that I would ever want to be without the Sweetpea, but necessity is the mother of invention). The kids and I have got into a good understanding of each other and seem to be getting along fine, all things considered. There is only one problem: when it all turns to custard (as it invariably does at some point or other) there is no escape hatch. No eject seat, no "press this button if you want to get off the bus", and no emergency parachute. It is all about you and them. And you have to be the one to suck it up and deal with it because, after all, you are the adult in the relationship.
A prime example happened today: at playgroup, Fireman Paddy found himself a fantastic spider dress-up costume. It was black as the Ace of Spades, had eight legs all attached to his arms so that if he moved they all went up and down, and best of all had two large sparkly eyes on top of his head. He spent ages running around growling at all of the other kiddies and frightening the little girls. What could be better? But then Sam got in on the act. Why could he not also have a turn in the spider costume? No matter how much he followed the spider around whining and whingeing, the spider was giving no ground whatsoever. He was in that costume and that was final.
"Ok", I finally said to Sam, when I lost the plot a bit, "we will find you another outfit." On the dress-up rail, I dug up a really cool bat costume. "Oh look, Batman," I commented, unfortunately in earshot of the spider, who shot over like a bullet to see what his brother had found. As Sam put on the Bat wings, the spider dissolved into floods of tears, ripping off his legs one by one as he discarded the beloved spider outfit.
"I want to be Batman," he wailed, and his screams grew more piercing than Sam's ever were before. There was no comforting him, no explanation of how he had denied Sam a turn in the spider outfit and now it was Sam's turn to have the bat outfit, etc. Nothing worked. For about half an hour, the wails continued, sometimes lessening in degree as he got bored, then escalating as Sam swooped across the playground with his wings outstretched. I was going almost mad from trying to be reasonable and calm, while at the same time trying to be fair to the other one. As I said before - no emergency parachute in this situation. The only thing that resolved the situation was to take them both home (the kids, not the costumes, although that would have been simpler). And I also had to draw a pattern of the bat wings so that I could make another set and avoid future repeats of the performance.
Let's just hope I make it to the other side of this two weeks with my sanity intact (and my house - but let's not even go there!). So kudos to all the single parents out there, who do this for a living (and for life)!
And to the Sweetpea so far away - have fun! But come home soon!