Last week I had a playdate. This is what took place …
3.00pm New mum and two children from the bear’s new school arrive. We do the awkward “let me take your coat” dance.
3.05pm I oaf-about trying to impress new family “what kind of toys do you like? We have a toy kitchen, a Batman cave <blah,blah>”. 7 year old girl not impressed. We don’t cater for girls above age 5 years in this house I’m afraid.
3.15pm Boys have a mini tiff over a toy.
3.20pm The weather was tolerable, so we threw open the doors. Mums stay indoors drinking tea and getting to know each other (sizing one another up, are we a match?).
3.25pm The boys surreptitiously took tools out of the tool shed. To do this they had to lift two concrete slabs and get past a lawn mower, up-turned rake and an axe (I’m not joking). 2yr old is walking around with an up-ended screw driver (she’s prone to the odd stumble). The boys hammered anything they could get to. They took a pair of pliers to the padlock on the shed determined to ‘break it open’ and then the fun really started.
3.45pm They found my 21 pots of paint testers, opened them and painted the 100 (probably more, it’s old ok) year old tree
Scariest of all is when you can’t see or hear anything.
3.50pm Mental checklist:
Patio stones lifted
Excavation under patio stones and inspection of creatures
3.55 pm Loud drilling noise, guest boy walks up to door saying ‘we’re just doing some drilling ok’ …. I run to door, the bear is carrying a live drill with ‘bit’ whirring.
I wince – check other mums reaction… she seems ok (she may be horrified but is hiding it well – I like her). I rush out, remove drill, hiss expected admonishing words in the bear’s ear while smiling serenely for benefit of the guests.
4pm Kids ask for paper and colours – they now want to colour the tree and make signs to stick round the garden. Harmless request. False smile. “Yes of course” through gritted teeth (I can’t be @rsed to go round after picking up soggy bits of paper and the 4th set of broken felt-tips).
4.35pm Trampoline – One boy jumps on other boy’s foot, mini fall out. Placated by Lego.
Both girls wondering in the wet mud in only socks – I watch the other mum “if you’re ok with it I am” (course I’m ok with it, anything is fine in the next 2 hours – as long as my kids behave, yours stay alive and we all have fun).
4.45pm Girls are bored. Craft explosion. Mr Maker and all the craft gifts that never see the light of day are wheeled out.
5pm Poor Doug (the cat) has had enough ham-fisted patting and tugging, he flashes his claws. Girl cries (oh sh1t). “He’s so lovely, normally he would never do that” (if you had your bum hole prodded with a Mister Maker glue stick – you’d do far worse).
5.10pm 2 different meals cooked (packets opened and stuff put in oven) on request.
5.20pm Sausages, chips, beans served. Pasta with pesto and peas served.
5.40pm Family leaves. “We must have you back to ours”. Brilliant, that’s at least another 4 weeks before we’re back here!
5.45pm I shove the kids in front of the box and get the j-cloth and dustpan out.
5.55pm I minesweep the garden collecting: spanner, hammer, pliers, trowel, tins of paint, wet paint brushes, pieces of paper (hand-made ‘signs’) and rescue the half-buried wellie.
Why do I do this?
I do it for the love of the blighters. Anything to help the bear make friends in his new school. MUM GUILT.
With the fringe benefit – the promise of finding another comrade along the way. The question is … will we be invited back???