‘Muuuummeeeee please can so and so come home with us for a playdate today? Pleeeeeeese?’
‘Not today honey but we can definitely sort it out for another day’ <not psyched up for it, am feeling tres frazzled and I sincerely hope they forget about it>.
‘Oh but pleeeeeeese, you never ever let my friends come round. EVER.’ (totally untrue).
Now everyone knows that the first rule of parenting is to NEVER GIVE IN, or it will get totally out of hand and you’ll have large noisy playdates in your house every day after school until at least 11pm. Your head will be ringing and you’ll no longer remember who you are or how to speak.
So I say, ‘Ok but as long as you promise not to irritate your brother / sister. I don’t want to be listening to endless bickering.
‘Well if he/ she’s having someone then can I? Can I have so and so (who’s siblings burst in through the front door at pick up, race up and down around the house causing more mess and never leave)?’
So suddenly you find that somehow you have up to seven kids in the house and all their coats and shoes scattered within a foot of your front door, all the toys are all over the floor and everyone’s demanding food.
You’ve been home for 8 seconds exactly.
The girls decide to do some Bollywood dancing and go to great lengths to choreograph the performance of their lives.
The boys decide to play Nerf Wars.
On the dance floor.
‘Muuuuuuuuuuuuum, the boys are being annoying and shooting Nerf bullets at our bums. Please can you tell them to stop?’
I tell them they’ll just have to sort it out themselves and that I’m not spending the next two hours of my life making sure no-one’s being irritating…
Meanwhile I have the little one’s ‘funny habit’ to deal with – if he sees a drawer or door open, he HAS to close it. So, it’s not a case of quickly doing the laundry: while I’m shoving clothes into the washing machine, he’s repeatedly ramming the door into my head trying to close it, while I try and keep it ajar long enough to feed in all the microfibres of my husband’s jeans.
It’s the same with the dishwasher, the fridge, the freezer, the kitchen drawers and the cupboards. It makes everything take about ten years.
In fact, it’s slightly more complicated than that – not only do I have to try and keep the dishwasher drawer open while I’m loading / unloading it but I also have to field items being thrown into the dishwasher. It could be anything – a ball, a piece of paper, a pack of wipes, my keys…
So by the time I’ve done this 12 gazillion times a day, I want to shoot myself.
‘The girls are being annoying, they’re stealing all our bullets’.
‘We’re not! Don’t lie! You keep trying to trip us up!’
‘Mum can you come and watch us dance and can you video it for us?’
‘Mum what’s for tea?’
Tea?? Erm…what time is it? Aaargh!
‘Does everyone like pasta?’ (1/5 say yes but only twirls, or something I don’t have).
‘Does everyone like rice?’ (1/5 says not really, I had it for lunch).
‘Does everyone like potatoes?’ (1/5 says ‘only if it’s mash’. 2/5 say ‘I hate mash’).
‘What about veg? Peas? Broccoli? Carrots?
And so it goes on. There is no one single item in any food group that everyone’s happy with.
So I go back to the kitchen to fight with drawers being rammed on to various body parts while I try and make something they’ll mostly eat.
‘Where am I sitting?’ ‘
‘I don’t like water.’
‘I want to sit next to MY friend not HIS.’
‘Can we have ice-cream?’
Hearing the magic words ‘Ice-cream,’ the little one sits bolt upright, his eyes wide with delight and then with only one thing on his mind, refuses to eat his dinner.
Finally calm is restored. We’re all eating, telling jokes and HAVING A LOVELY TIME, when I realise the 6 year old is missing and everyone is giggling…
‘Where is he?’ I ask.
Then I hear scraping under the table.
‘What on earth are you DOING?’ I ask, peering underneath.
‘I fell of my chair!’ he says. Big brown puppy dog eyes.
I’m having none of it….
FINALLY the doorbell goes.
Until the next time.
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