|These are just their clothes|
There is glitter in the bath and a trail of destruction through the house. There is every indication that a natural disaster has taken place. The little girls are in residence. All three of them.
|They have taken over the bedroom|
Over Christmas I happened to mention to my older son how my big sister used to tickle me unmercifully until I agreed to do the dishes for a week or any other unpleasant task she could think of.
“What a great idea!” he remarked enthusiastically, “I could see them deploying that at Guatanamo to extract secrets from enemy combatants. It wouldn’t leave any traces either.”
Well, I have another rendition technique for those so inclined. Just leave them alone with a toddler and two small girls for a while and they will confess all. Grind them down with sleep deprivation, the constant noise and the chaos and the state of perpetual emergency and they will soon become quivering, malleable wrecks. It certainly causes perfectly normal and peace loving parents to become slightly unhinged, so what hope for a mere bystander with no right to crimp their creative expression.
|And the bathroom|
I have twice maimed myself on assorted kitchen utensils with which the youngest member of the family has been playing. Cookie cutters are the worst. Then there are the crayons which the older ones leave strategically placed at intervals on the stairs. This is particularly hazardous at night as I pick my way through a rubble of books, shoes and pencil sharpeners because I dare not turn on the light. Sometimes there are stools perched precariously at the top of the stairs to repel boarders and at other times the girls lie crossways on the floor. They look so cute then that I am reluctant to move them. They have also thrown the cord of my dressing gown over the rail in order to make a quick escape.
The shoes are a problem throughout the house. They are supposed to be left by the door, but in this respect the girls are like centipedes and must have sixteen pairs each as they are always everywhere, except when we are about to go out. Then you can't find any two that could be remotely related to one another.
|They may not look as if they could make grown men cry.....|
The only time the girls are quiet, move fast and collaborate is when they are doing something they shouldn’t be, like painting the bath with nail polish (they didn’t do that this time), unravelling all the toilet paper or decorating the stair rails and door handles with sticky tape or tissues. Silence is not golden. It means someone has fallen off something and we are about to head for the hospital or they are up to no good.
Fairies R Us have just decorated the ornamental pond with all the neighbour's flowers. I see him peering wearily through the slats of his venetians while the girls shriek with laughter. They have now turned on the hose. Their laughter tinkles like bells through this quiet neighbourhood.
You know it won't last long. Any minute now it will turn into a banshee wail because someone has slipped over or done something to the other, but for the moment, it's lovely. Nature's way of ensuring survival of the species. Temporarily.
My other son just dropped in.
"Love what you've done with the place," he said. "Now it looks all lived in instead of like a surgical ward."
How do I tell him I have been striving for that look - not the lived in one - for the last thirty years and am still in recovery from my own parenting days.
|Nor does the littlest one....|
|But we all know where it leads|