‘Get that minced beef off your sister’s leg, or so help me I will crash this car trying to do it myself!! PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP PICK IT UP!!!!’
I’ve often wondered if I should record all of the phrases I hear myself saying as a parent. Funny things to look back on when the children have grown up, phrases I’ve never heard ANYONE use with their children. Groups of words I have never put together, even in my head, before they come out of my mouth. ‘We do not use cucumbers as weapons in this house!’ ‘Get off the baby Jesus, I will not suffer another ornamental decapitation in this festive season, young lady!’ ‘I don’t care if Daddy IS blowing in his drink, it does not mean you have to join in!’ But then it occurs to me; if I did write down every single one… I doubt I’d have time to get anything else done.
What led to this mayhem? How did she get herself into that kind of mess? As I type that, I wonder myself. I’m peeping over my laptop and stealing glances at the 3 angelic children in front of me quietly absorbed in Peppa Pig. My son, absentmindedly with an arm thrown over one of his sisters who in turn is twiddling her hair around her finger. Little one is plonked on the end, making a game of climbing over her siblings and pretending she is on a slide. Butter, wouldn’t, melt.
I had a 30 minute swimming lesson to oversee, and then 40 minutes to get in the car, across the bridge and into town, (that’s 25 minutes, tops). Loads of time. Meet my husband at his office, hand over the little people and then go and meet my friends. It sounded so simple, all to allow me to go on my way for a rare night out to belatedly celebrate my birthday.
Leaving the house at 4pm, dolled up when you’re in charge of 3 small children was complicated enough; the questions, the hand wiping, more questions, arguments about who would get to stay up the latest with Daddy in charge and then ‘I’m hungry! I’m a little bit thirsty, and I like those sweets you’ve just bought for your children at school…’
Arriving at the swimming baths dressed up to the nines did invite the odd strange look. Me, the mother whose youngest child never wears shoes, who looks like she’s not seen a hairbrush since the middle of last week, who slopes about in jeans and a t shirt with flip flops (good job really, as her youngest – without fail – always gets her with the shower when she’s trying to shampoo the others) is wearing a dress and… make up.
Once the big girl was happily bobbing in the pool for her lesson, it was time to wrestle number 3 to the café to watch her sister swim (and cajole her into eating something that doesn’t have a bright red label on at least 2 of the nutritional information boxes), I got the chance to explain the rules of Tennis to my son watching Wimbledon, whilst trying to have a sensible conversation with a friend whose daughter swims at the same time; which went something along the lines of ‘So what are your plans this weekend? Beans, Mmm, yummy, good girl. Oh right, nice! I think we went there a while ago when – no! Don’t flick them at your brother, or flick them back young man! Yes she started it, but that’s not the point. Make sure you try the mojitos. “40 – love “means 40 – 0, he’s almost won the game, it’s not that the umpire is being over familiar.’ Although, perhaps all of my conversations go like this.
All too soon we were back in the changing rooms (think Amazon Rainforest, less tree frogs, greater humidity and less hygienic) For the sake of deviation (too much anyway) I will surmise the rest of the time in the changing rooms as follows:
Lost child 3
Heard child 3
Borrowed 2 pence piece from friend to rescue child 3 from locked changing room.
Congratulated child 2 on her ‘big jump’ pretending I had not been breaking into the cubicle to rescue her sister at the time.
Put child 2 in shower.
Soak side of dress when child 3 stands in empty shower and turns on the one I’m standing in.
Consider re-borrowing the 2 pence piece to re-lock child 3 in the cubicle I’ve just freed her from.
Dress child 2.
Remove child 3 from the wet floor onto which she has thrown herself because she does not want to go home.
Myself and child 1 left the changing rooms ‘heads down’ in embarrassment trailing 2 unwilling girls.
The moral of the first part of this story? Don’t get poshed up before the swimming lesson, and don’t underestimate the fine motor skills and cunning of an almost 2 year old.
To be continued…