Today is World Book Day, which meant I found myself at 10.30 last night attempting to create a beanstalk out of some anti-embolism stockings. The eldest boy was going to school dressed as Jack. Creativity is not my strong point, and my husband’s idea of helping is continually asking what our plan is. I ordered an axe and some green tights, which I planned to stuff with old socks to make a beanstalk. Thankfully, my mum was coming to visit – I asked her to pick up some green felt so we could cut out some leaves. Excellent – this would all work out.
Package arrived yesterday – when I opened it, it contained an axe (which husband pointed out was a Viking’s axe rather than a woodcutter’s axe – I decided the reception kids would forgive this historical inaccuracy) and some green butterfly wings. There was clearly no way I was going to be able to make those into a beanstalk, even with my mum’s help. Cue a rummage through my drawers, and hooray for those stockings – I knew they’d come in useful for something…..who knew it would be a beanstalk.
He did look magnificent and actually seemed pleased with his outfit, which felt like a minor triumph.
I had to pop into work for the morning (Thursday is usually my day off), hence my mum’s visit. She was in charge of school drop off and then taking the little boys to playgroup. When I got home she looked like she would probably welcome a gin – I got the impression it hadn’t been the easiest morning. The boys have been poorly and are VERY irritable. She had, though, managed to knit me a pair of mittens – this seems like something only a mum could do, so a double hurrah for her. She is magnificent. All I can do after a difficult morning is sit on the sofa with my head buried in cushions.
Just to add to the chaos, eldest son had a friend to play after school. This will be excellent, I thought – they’ll play up in his room, my boy will be no trouble. How wrong I was – how could it be that he had been looking forward to it so much, but chose to have multiple meltdowns when the time came? That will be the last time I suggest he plays Snap with a friend – it definitely can’t be played without a referee. All the while, the smallest boys were distraught, desperate to join in with whatever the big boys were fighting over.
I felt for the friend who doesn’t have any siblings and looked completely bewildered at the constant noise.
The boys ended the day on a high, attempting to destroy the house with the giant Viking axe and the beanstalk. I was too exhausted to do anything other than sit on the sofa and watch them get on with it.
And here is a final thought…………unless a man actually takes the role of primary carer (and I know there are plenty of men who do), he will NEVER understand quite how draining it is to have small people making constant demands. My husband is very supportive, but still just doesn’t quite get it. And here is an example:
“Has it been a difficult day?” he asked when he got home, aware that, as usual, I didn’t appear in the best of moods. “Why was it so hard when you had your mum here to help?”
“Let me give you a few reasons” I said, as I went through the events of the day.
“Hmmm, sorry it’s not been easy”, he said. “Have they been good boys, though?”
At which point I poured myself a glass of wine and came to write this.