15 Apr 2014

There's somebody at the door

Our doorbell went twice yesterday, which is still something of a novelty as we haven't had it that long. The kids still occasionally sneak outside and press it, just so the others will run to answer the door. But the door bell was pressed yesterday by genuine callers and not resident chap door runners.

Caller 1: A child young man who has just started work with a roofing company. They will be in the area tomorrow and will be offering free no obligation quotes guaranteed for 12 months. We spoke politely for 2 minutes, I took one of his flyers to get rid of him and as we said goodbye he remarked 'Wow- you have your hands full' (referring, I assume to the 2 youngest kids who during the course of our brief conversation interrupted to ask if was time to go swimming yet).

Caller 2: TNT delivery driver dropping off a box of conference supplies. The door was actually open when he called and the kids were in that glorious in-between state of weaving their scooters around the swimming rucksacs on the drive and running back into the house to ask me are we ready to leave yet? I hurriedly signed for my delivery and commented to the driver that now we could go swimming (hurrah!). Instead of sharing in the excitement of the occasion he rolled his eyes and offered me a 'Good luck.'

Maybe if one of these exchanges happened in isolation or I was experiencing a different balance of caffeine or hormones or it wasn't the holidays therefore I wasn't both working and trying to enjoy the company of my kids (and feeling guilty for doing neither particularly well) I wouldn't be typing this. But collectively, both blokes hacked me off.

Is it a common assumption that a casually dressed woman answering the door in the middle of the day and being willing to speak politely to a stranger while child related noise is heard from another room is desperate for adult conversation about no obligation quotes for anything as long as it offers respite from CBBC, finding bits of toast down the side of the sofa and accusations of who started something?

And are most people so out of touch with their inner children that the sight of 2 real ones scooting around their own front yard means that luck must surely be needed to cope with the exhaustion of observing them do so?

It's ironic really- the parenting thing is pretty low maintenance at the moment. Keith and me are enjoying that blissful lull between needy small child clinginess and hormone driven grunting and door-slamming. To illustrate, the events of yesterday went thusly:

09.00: Wake. No school so I can lie here a bit longer. Yeah!

09.15: Get up. Kids up already. They have had breakfast. I wipe table and fill sink. J does dishes (his holiday job). E hangs out 2 loads of washing (his holiday job). Madi makes me a cup of tea (her holiday job).

09.40: I put another load of clothes into wash. Leave kids playing the wii-U. Go back to bed with lap top and phone.

10.00 - 12.00: Madi makes me another 3 cups of tea. I drink them. I answer many emails, reconcile 4 payments, work through the amends on a manual that goes to print next week and answer the phone 5 times.

12.00: Kids make their own lunches. Madi makes me another cup of tea. I drink it and sneakily eat 5 bubble gum bottles. (The kids don't know I have any left). J does the lunchtime dishes and says he'd rather be on laundry. It's tough being 2 foot shorter than your brother. You get the low jobs. I'll have to get up soon. I need my laptop charger and a wee.

13.00: Ethan brings in washing which is now dry, and hangs out another 2 loads of damp stuff. I fold the dry washing into separate piles according to owner and the kids put it away and make their beds.

13.30: M and J pack swimming bags for all of us. I am finished my amends (yeah!) and have almost got my inbox down to one page. I get quite excited by this, then remember our new system involves categorising emails. I filter by category and am met with a page of them requiring attention. Darn it.

14.45: The kids are ready to go. I am almost ready. I've just got to allocate the cheques I want to bank today. Give me one minute.

15.00: The one minute coincides nicely with Mr TNT Man. Great - another thing not to wait in for tomorrow. We leave the house, walk to the library and choose 6 books. I do the banking while the kids scoot on to the park. I take a detour to get a takeaway coffee then drink it while watching them play. I collect Dragonvale coins and re-breed my 2 dragon pairs on my phone then we walk / scoot to the leisure centre. The entire pool is now our oyster as everyone can tread water for 30 seconds and swim a length without stopping. Madi and Jackson show me their diving. I can't dive. Water goes up my nose and fizzes around in my sinuses making my eyes water and the rest of me panic. We discover I can still swim faster than Ethan, even though he can easily outstrip me on land. I am happy. He is not, but hides it well.

19.00: We walk to Tesco and get picnic elements for tea. We meet Keith at train station and drive back to park and eat tea together in the sun. Jackson won't have to do his holiday dishes tonight. He is happy. He is glad his holiday job involves dishes and not laundry.

20.05: Brrr. Getting cold. We go home. Everyone gets ready for bed. No one needs a bath or shower as we are clean from swimming. Jammies on and straight to bed with new library books. Everyone is happy.

See what I mean? Things are a doddle now. I made these people. I enjoy their company. They are pleasant and helpful and after years of sacrifice and servitude it's payback time and they are actually quite useful. Especially Manchild. He can reach high stuff and carry heavy things. And at one hour on Minecraft and one Tassimo latte per day, he's easy to keep and quite good value.

So Roofing Child: Little tip for you (the art of small talk is such a tricky thing): Stick to comments about the weather- It's safer. And people like my mother in law love talking about rain and how the forecast is always wrong.

And TNT Man: Just bring me parcels, not conversation. Unless you want to request a go on the scooter. Kids love that. You will instantly become cool and get a swimming invitation which societal norms dictate you must decline.

8 Apr 2014

I spawned a man

It's finally happened. Manchild (aged 13) can now beat me at arm wrestling. We have had several re-matches and although his victory is not consistent (yet), beating him is now exhausting and has left me with aching biceps in both arms and a deep seated sense of unease about my own middle aged feebleness.

How did this happen?

He was only born 5 minutes ago.

I still think of him as being like this.

Now he's more like this.

I don't know why I'm freaked out by this new development. What's parenting all about if it's NOT to watch your kids get bigger, stronger and possibly a bit smarter than yourself?? I am consoling myself with the fact that The Look still works and he's still scared when I get mad (which isn't often).

Keith finds my reaction amusing. It'll be interesting to see if it's still funny in a couple of year's time when Manchild can slosh him too.