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 Only one week left of the school holidays and I have exhausted my reserves of creativity, energy and maternal feeling. 7 O’clock marks the cut off point at which Mumzilla arises from the ashes of Daytime Mummy who has fallen, exhausted, face down into a vat of wine. The children have taken their holiday entertainment into their own hands. Harriet is now sleeping in a cardboard box – to simulate Camping rather than homelessness I assume but I do devoutly hope that Social Services are not made aware of this development. The Boys are attempting to knit themselves a nest – wearing special nesting hats they have retreated to the top bunk with all their most treasured possessions (and their sister’s knitting bag) where they have been busily constructing a veritable tarantula’s web of brightly coloured wool.

This is preferable to them watching Television as that just gives them ideas :–

One lazy summer evening – watching the children play and idly wondering why Ben was crawling along the ground – suddenly my attention was caught as they came closer and I could make out what he was doing. Closely supervised and apparently directed by Sam he was picking up tiny things and OOH NO – EATING THEM!  STOP!  It turned out that according to Chief Scout and School boy legend Bear Grylls – you can survive quite well eating ants – No. 1 son was the source of this wisdom but had sensibly persuaded Silly brother No.2 to do the experiment. 50 ants later Ben had rather a queasy night – “Probably the formic acid” was his sage elder’s sympathetic response. The next plan is to catch and ‘milk’ an adder for its venom – in order to concoct an ante-serum: rather hoping for total and abject failure on that one!

Similarly  – Shortly after a particularly wet afternoon when the children had been allowed to watch cartoons back-to-back it should not have come as a particular surprise to anyone that I found myself pulling cactus spines from parts of the Silly Brothers’ anatomies. It transpired that Daft Husband had acceded to the boys’ entreaties that these plants were their dearest wish and heart’s desire. Apparently he swallowed – without questioning – the line that botany, specifically of Desert plants, was the new enthusiasm.

A wiser parent may have made the connection between this new found love of cacti and the favourite Tom and Jerry Cartoon in which poor Tom’s posterior comes into close contact with one of these spiny articles and so our hero spends an uncomfortable passage up-side-down on the doctor’s couch. This scene is always met with hoots of laughter and replayed over and over again. Perhaps following the their most recent foray into the staging of comic practical jokes, and the difficulties encountered, the boys will be a more sympathetic audience to Tom’s plight.

I think Television may have to be banned as a bad influence.