Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Battle of the Unicorns

I blame the unicorns. They've been implicated in all the trouble today. First appearance is at the breakfast table. They know they're banned. They knock the milk over and squat in the cereal, and when they jump up, they've got sugar puffs glued to their backside. Then the sugar puffs get sprayed all over the floor, which would be OK except for the fact that I vacuum rarely, and sugar puffs glue.

The next time they put in an appearance is our lesson 'Where did the Persian Empire go?' At least that's my title for it. The kids are colouring in a huge picture of Sinbad the Sailor while I look through all their history books on Early Empires, reading out bits and asking if they can find Turkey on the globe. Then the unicorns arrive. They're like an invading army. Blutina is the leader, because she's blue, apparently. After her comes Furryhorn. He's enormous, and is treated like a gentle giant. Only he's not. I've witnessed him in the bran flakes, and it's not pretty. Then there's Lem whom nobody likes, Pinky who has his horn cut off, Misty whom I despise, and Sardine. She wears a pink curly wig. They all start jumping up and down, and onto the floor go all the books and the papers, and we all do a lot of shouting and a new rule is made: No Unicorns to Appear at the Table At Any Time.

If that had been the end of the unicorn trouble, that would be OK. But they cause five more fights. First because Furryhorn is being forced to marry Blutina and he doesn't like it. Second because Pinky is wearing a new dress and Misty wants it. Third because Tiger is treatening to draw pictures on Sardine with chalk. Fourth because Lem wants to sit in front of the fire and Blutina says that's her seat. Fifth because Dig has threatened to put Furryhorn and all his little unicorn friends in the bin unless he gets off the table right now. Patience with the unicorns is running a bit thin.

By bathtime, they're back. Dig has found one in the sink and in a temper tantrum he's picked it up by the horn, dripping wet, and thrown it into the yard. It's Sardine, with her pink wig. Squirrel, meanwhile, is sitting on the floor, throwing stuff around the room and making ill-advised comments about the state of the house. So Dig picks her up too, and she's in the yard as well. Only she owns Sardine. Back in the house comes Squirrel, holding Sardine at arm's length and dripping all over the floor. Squirrel is persuaded to get in the bath, and Sardine is bundled into the washing machine. Thirty minutes later I find her pink wig has come off in the wash. Now Squirrel is very proud of this wig. She especially made it for Sardine because we all laughed at her bald patch. I didn't realise that was a cruel thing to do until the wig appeared. Then I helped glue it on. It looked better than the chin straps.

Now the unicorns, bar Sardine, are all in their rightful places in the beds of their owners and the children are asleep. All weary day long I've been threatening to put any unicorn I see into a bin liner. And now, after the unicorn wars have all stopped, I find myself tenderly glueing on Sardine's wig, and putting her to dry on the radiator so she looks soft and fluffy for the morning.

Honestly, if I had any power over this, I'd go round now, and cut off all their horns.

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