Why do my kids take great delight, even if it is a sub conscious one, in flinging their things around? “Things” would be a very broad umbrella term in this instance. “Things” covers socks, underwear, food, toys, books, blocks, Lego, papers, clothes, bits of sodden tissue, you name it, and they’ve thrown it. Their missiles go everywhere. Under the furniture, on the light fittings, on window ledges, into the pancake batter, on top of and under white goods, into and under beds, everywhere. Then they walk away. Once it’s out of their hands, it’s literally out of their minds. Along comes their mother with the sweeping brush going through a mid-week cleaning crisis and the furniture gets pulled out. The sweeping brush gathers up all the forgotten about and abandoned Lego men, blocks, crayons, various items of cutlery, stickers, Bakugans, trash monsters and suddenly there is a mad scrambly panic to collect these once forgotten but now very important and precious bits and pieces of plastic. They are scooped up and I am given a very dirty and accusatory look along the lines of how could you? This is mine! And approximately five seconds later, after the piece of broken plastic is given a cursory glance, it is literally dropped onto the floor again. Once they are satisfied they have rescued the toy, they are content to lose it again. I mean, Jesus. Another thing they love to do is calorie count for me and ensure I get an adequate amount of daily exercise. I counted once and they forced me up and off a chair 271 times. Like an eegit I had a cup of coffee in front of me, and a contraband piece of chocolate. I say contraband because treats are a rare commodity in our house now after the Dentist Debacle. (See The Painful Tooth of the Matter on www.seriouswagon.ie for more details if you don’t believe me!) So that counts as exercise in my book, and the calorie counting, well, they spied my smuggled from the kitchen into the sitting slash dining room miserable bit of chocolate didn’t they? (Large bag of Giant Chocolate Buttons. Nom nom!) I flung a fistful of them into the far corner of the room in an effort to make the Screecher Creatures hunt for them. It worked too. For about 10 seconds. Next time I’ll do it differently; I’ll open the back door and fek the goodies out into the long grass. I’m bound to get at least three minutes that way. If anyone in the catering industry is reading I have a really good tip for you. It will get you massive brownie points from the parents of kids in your restaurant and they’re bound to return with their custom. Serve rock hard cement ice-cream to the kids. It’s fool proof. I saw it happen once with our lot. As is always the case, the kids get served first but by the time your own meal arrives the kids have finished mashing theirs into the table and/or throwing it at each other so out of desperation you order desert for them. On this occasion the ice-cream was particularly solid and they dug at it with their spoons, concentration levels so deep and intent, there wasn’t a word out of them for a good ten minutes. Bliss. We even managed to have a small and banal conversation about the weather or my shoes or something. I’m thinking about trying that the next time I need a moment in the bathroom. Or a lie on. And another thing. The following are spectator sports: football, rugby, tennis, basketball. These are not: me taking a shower, me using the bathroom, me having a cup of tea and a treat, me reading a book or magazine. Will someone please tell the Screecher Creatures that? It’s not that I mind them gawking at me when I’m in the nip. After all I want them to know that the naked body is exactly the same as the clothed one. Without the clothes but you know what I mean. It’s just sometimes, I want a little me time. A little me time for a long time. Like more than 10 minutes. I’m pretty good at switching off. In terms of zoning out, I mean. I don’t think any of us ever switch off completely. Our hibernate button is always flashing but I like allowing my thoughts to wander. I’m pretty good at it. It’s nice to stand under the hot shower and just look at the tiled floor. Look at it mind, not see it because I’d be afraid a mad notion might hit me and I would actually start to scrub it when I’m in there. I heard about a woman doing that once. I also like to stare out the window. Just off into the distance in an I wonder what’s over there kind of way when I’m having a cup of tea. When I do this, sometimes I press my forehead to the glass. I like the coolness of it. Except for the day I got stuck for a brief moment to the strawberry jam. It escapes me as well how I didn’t see it there. Although I think I previously mentioned my kids’ penchant for chucking foodstuffs about. It was not a definitive list and scones with jam are included. I suppose it’s inevitable really, the boys being boys and all, that they take sadistic pleasure in hurting each other every now and again. It pains me to say this it really does, but they hurt me too. It hurts when they don’t trust me! “Mammy, what are you eating?” Screecher Creature No. 3 asked one morning. It wasn’t quite nine o’clock and I was eating chocolate. A box of mini smarties to be exact. “Eh, toast.” I replied, trying not to breathe on him. He’s a bit like me and can smell chocolate through plate glass. But he is also a product of his position in the family, in other words, there are no flies on him. “Let me see.” He demanded, standing in front of me and opening his own mouth as wide as he could to demonstrate what he meant. See? He doesn’t trust me. Then there’s the “what do you want for your breakfast?” routine. They love this one. They really put me through my paces with this. And before you ask, it’s always Weetabix but they all like it different ways. One likes it hot with honey, another prefers it cold. A teeny tiny smidgen of chocolate spread appeals to a third and then there’s the one who eats it literally like a biscuit. And the teeth brushing? Again, there are preferences for toothpaste. When it’s hitting 8pm of an evening and I am desperate for a little peace and quiet, I would put Nutella on the fekin brushes if it meant getting them into their beds quickly. Kids will get you marching but running around after them is not exercise. It will tire you out all the same as will the arguments about food. “Eat your vegetables.” “I can’t. They’re boring.” “??????? Look just eat them and stop playing with them.” “But, they’re vegetables!” “Ohforgodsake. Here. Give them to me if you don’t want them.” And that folks, believe it or not, was a bone fide conversation I had with Mister Husband one day. Just to clarify, he was the one refusing to eat his greens, not me. So it’s not just the tiddlers that test your patience and make you question your sanity, the big ones are just as bad.