For a while now, Screecher Creature No. 2 has had to watch his older brother attend birthday parties in play centres, hear his older brother talk about his friends in school and on Saturdays, watch his older brother attend a gym club. Screecher Creature No. 2 is very hard done by. He attends Montessori each day but at different times. His favourite time is the morning; he gives out that he will miss his friends if he goes in the “ahernoon” but still kicks up blue murder when I rock up at 5pm to collect him. He gets upset if he has to leave his jigsaw puzzle or leave the impromptu disco. He talks non-stop about his friends and likes to make cards for them. When he is choosing a toy in the shop, he doesn’t pick the one he likes instead chooses one that his friend might like. For the past while he has driven me demented looking for a play date. He asks me where do his friends live and why can’t he go to their house to play or indeed, when can they come to ours. I feel sorry for him as he does seem to miss out on all of these little things. When his older brother had a friend out to play, it was deliberately arranged for a time when Screecher Creature No. 2 was in school as the shouting and roaring (from him) about the unfairness of it all would have sent me shouting and roaring for the nearest refuge. So tomorrow, Friday, I am doing something about it. Oisin is coming to play. Oisin and Screecher Creature No. 2 are firm friends. Oisin is cool, Oisin loves Mickey Mouse, and Oisin wears beaney hats. Oisin rocks my son’s world. I don’t know who is more excited about the play date; Screecher Creature No. 2 or me!! Except I haven’t told him it is happening yet. I won’t until the absolute last minute as the excitement will be too much for his little body to take and if, for some reason, the play date doesn’t come to pass, the disappointment will be too much for his little body to take. I can’t and won’t do that to him. I have more things lined up for them to do tomorrow than I had for the entire two weeks of Easter holiday. I will bake Smartie cookies and let them shove the smarties into the dough. I plan to make home-made play dough with them. Pancakes will be made for tea as these are already a firm favourite in our house but also go down a bomb on Pancake Tuesday in school. Weather permitting, I have three packets of seeds to be planted and they might like to “help” with that. The trampoline is always a sure fire winner. When they need a rest, (in other words when I need a coffee) I might make proper popping popcorn and let them watch a cartoon or two. It is true that there was never as much preparation done for a play date. I suppose I am anxious that it goes well for Screecher Creature No. 2. This is something for him and him alone. Screecher Creature No. 1 also knows Oisin but I am slightly wary that he will try to take over as is his wont. It did occur to me to invite a friend out for him too but that would be taking from this treat that is Iarla’s. So come on tomorrow and let the games begin!!
I broke the news at breakfast that Oisin would be coming home with us at lunch time and spending the afternoon. Immediately Screecher Creature No. 1 kicked up a storm, complete with anguished tears, and he complained loudly that he “never gets anything.” Strangely Screecher Creature No. 2 was silent. Then he jumped up off his chair and disappeared into his bedroom. He reappeared moments later clutching Buzz Light Year, a stuffed teddy, a book, The Incredible Hulk and a huge grin on his face. The selection of toys, he informed me, were the ones he was going to bring to Oisin’s house. “Eh, Iarla, it’s the other way round, chicken. Oisin is coming here. To play with you.” His face fell and there was a big suck in of breath. A foot lifted and made contact with the floor as he informed me none too quietly that he “never gets to go anywhere!” Time to go to school methinks! I was about 15 minutes late getting to Montessori to pick up the boys this afternoon. Excitement was huge. Both of them barrelled past me and climbed into the car before I could say “are you ready?” On the way home, the tyre iron in the back of the car was the focus of a very intense discussion. They both reckoned it was something to do with taking a hole out of the wheel tyre. Screecher Creature No. 4 was most interested in this new person and he did a fair bit of looking and shouting. Screecher Creature No. 2 seized this as an opportunity to lay down some ground rules. It was strongly advised not to put your finger into the baby’s mouth. His teeth were not sharp enough to bite it off but he would give it a very good shot! And then we were home. The two boyos were out of their seats and at the front door whilst their belt buckles were still being sucked back into the loops. Then followed a brief tour of the house, a few toys were exhibited and they were off out to play. It did my heart good to see Screecher Creature No. 2 having such fun with a friend of his own. The others were made up as well. Even the baby got in on the act and later on in the evening, when I was making the pancakes, he crawled down the hallway to the boy’s bedroom and played with them for ages. I discovered a long time ago that if even just one of the boys is away doing his own thing somewhere else, it completely changes the group dynamic. It’s much easier, quieter and the remaining two get on like a house on fire, regardless of the difference in age. Today I found the same is true when there is a new face in the mix. It’s not quieter but that is to be expected. Rivalry is forgotten about; all they want to do is play with the new person. Thank you Oisin for a really lovely day. I hope you enjoyed is as much as all of my boys did.