Saturday, 21 July 2012

A flood of fun

There is a fine line to walk between disciplining your child and squashing their creativity and innate helpfulness.  We had to discover which side of that fence we wanted to walk on this week.

The Sweetpea does Kung Fu for fitness.  He always says it is really hard exercise, and raises his eyes to heaven as though to implore help for just how difficult it is, but secretly, he loves the chance of going out at night, being with "men", kicking stuff and saying things like "board-breaking" and "shall I do a chi-na (whatever that is) on you?" It's every man's man's idea of a good night out.

But, unfortunately, it is most often during this man-time that things go horribly wrong at home.  I normally do all the usual things, in the right order, but sometimes all the best intentions lead to terrible consequences.  Wednesday was no exception.  After feeding the kids, I took them down onto the trampoline for a while to burn off some energy, where we played our usual fast-paced game of "the spider on the trampoline".  This involves me sitting in the one corner of the trampoline, pretending to be a spider, as the kids run past shrieking and I then try to catch them.  If, by mistake, I actually do catch one, I spend a long time "eating my prey" by biting their little bottoms and tickling them all over until they are rescued by their siblings.  It can get quite long and involved and raucous.  

On the night in question, Paddy excused himself to go upstairs to the loo.  After he had not re-appeared for about fifteen minutes, I got suspicious and headed upstairs to find out what was going on.  I was confronted by a strange noise.  It sounded a bit like a cross between a waterfall and an extremely heavy downpour in the Amazon, the likes of which David Attenborough is always commenting on.  I could not place it.

Then I noticed that it appeared to be raining in the lounge, in fact, so much so that large puddles had formed under each of the light fittings, through which was pouring (literally) liters of water.  The carpet in the lounge was under about two centimeters of water.  But it got worse.  As I walked towards the stairs to my bedroom, I was surprised to see that a waterfall was indeed flowing gracefully down my stairwell.  Rushing up the stairs, I found my bedroom flooded, as well as the bathroom, and the bath overflowing.

In the midst of rushing around frantically, I fear not doing much good at all, I managed to find out that Little Miss Snoopy, aware of the fact that we usually go to have a bath immediately after supper, had kindly decided to run one for me.  She had snuck off quietly, put in the plug and started the taps, all by herself, no doubt believing herself to be a very clever girl.

And Paddy, you might ask?  Where was he all this time?  Turns out that, on his journey through the sodden and dripping lounge, he had got a bit wet.  Not wanting to repeat the experience, he had rather decided to play quietly in the toy room, until I came upstairs and sorted the problem out.  Fifteen minutes of flowing water later, I did, but by then, the damage was done.

Which brings me to my dilemma.  Little Miss Snoopy was trying to help.  The fact that she inadvertently caused the second Flood was a point which totally escaped her. So how hard should I be on her?  And more, how hard should I be on the boy who saw the problem, and neglected to tell anyone about it, because he "didn't want to get wet"?  

I hope I erred on the side of caution, but I must admit, the Sweetpea took it better that I did.

"Well, you have been wanting to wash these carpets for a long time now," he said.

It's true.  They do look very clean.

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