Saturday, 22 March 2008

Pollyanna does her bit

I have cleaned the schoolroom. This is a pointless and futile activity.

While I am head down, scrubbing tables as if I am in a Pollyanna look-alike competition, robust and cheerful in my own single-minded war against household dirt, dried-on paint stains and the half a pint of glue Squirrel used yesterday to glue Furryhorn's mane back on, I do not stop to consider for one second that all this activity is useless.

But of course it is. Because while I'm embarked on smartening up the schoolroom, the chief architects of disaster are trashing the front room.

That, of course, is all my doing too. Because in a misguided attempt to displace three little bodies from the schoolroom, I have equipped Shark, Squirrel and Tiger with a board game. At that moment when I pressed the Connect game into Tiger's little hands, saying Go and play with this, I must have fondly imagined the little darlings would sit happily, if not with hands clasped in family bonding, then at least engaged playfully in a cooperative spirit of joining up coloured lines, taking turns with, the box assures me, '140 stout cards'.

How misguided can I get? Did I think then, in the midst of my determined scrubbing, in would run Shark, Tiger and Squirrel, dressed perhaps in blue gingham and white socks and they would joyously cry 'Mama! Dearest Mama! Come and see!' Their eager little hands would fasten into my care-worn reddened palms and they would lead me into the front room and I would be glad. My spirits would lift at the simple joy their child game would evoke in me; I may even slide my hand across my brow and wipe my moistened cheek and offer thanks for the family that I am so deeply moved to call my own.

Or not. Because when I eventually come round from the haze of Cif and become suspicious, and go into the front room to find out exactly why it has been so quiet for the last three hours, I cannot at first see any of the familiar items there - things like sofa, table, rug - it all seems to have been swept away in some tidal swell of toy box contents. The Connect game with which I equipped Shark, Tiger and Squirrel so many hours ago, is scattered across the entire floor. Shark proudly points and says it is the services of course, because they have been town planning. Squirrel claps her hands in delight and says this line (probably of 40 stout cards) is the town's main gas pipe and this, over here, is the water. There is the electric cable and this line is to link up the computers because this is Furryhorn town and there are guards at the gates. Tiger adds with excitement that the large white chalk lines scrawled over my original Victorian wooden flooring - lovingly restored by my own hands some fifteen years ago - is the sewage.

On top of the cables, pipes and sewage channels teeter the buildings. The buildings, some at least half a meter high in construction, are composed of the entire contents of the wood box. For the acquisition some years ago of this supra-large box of wood blocks - large, small, painted, bleached, rough, sanded - I could now kick myself.

And any large city has to have residents, don't you think? That's what makes a community vibrant and alive. Twelve unicorns of mixed sizes have taken up residence in Furryhorn floor city. They are occupying the buildings and squatting, hooves akimbo, in the roads. They have had their manes combed and dressed and are possibly on their way out to the fashionable quarter of the town to have a bistro meal, or catch up with some gossip and chit chat on the lives of the wattys. The wattys, before you ask, are the humans, who do not inhabit this world but who come to invade it and occasionally shout.

Well this watty looks at three delighted offspring and the front room now become a building site of play on a scale Abu Dhabi would envy, and whimpers in her Pollyanna voice, the thing she is most glad about: 'You have worked together very well! No fights! Well done! That is very good. I am most impressed with your town planning'. (She is a home educator, let's not forget, even one with sore and bitten-through knuckles.)

The town stays right through till bedtime, blocking the front room completely, until the town planners go to bed, exhausted and happy. Then it is sad that Pollyanna dons a bandanna and strides about the urban centre looking like a member of the Baader Meinhof group. She reduces Furryhorn's seat of power to rubble, pulls up the gas pipes, dismantles the town centre and blasts apart the sewage pipes with a damp floor cloth.

But there is still something to be glad about, even though it is now midnight and Pollyanna is dog tired from her work of destruction and needs a lie down. Because now we have a cleaned up schoolroom and a tidy front room and, in a true coup, Furryhorn and her followers are exiled to the hall, where they are hopefully awaiting hoof torture.


Brad said...

You always make me smile.

Frog in the Field said...

Very funny - sorry.
I just feel so glad other children make dens and towns too, thought it was just my own.
Of course mine like to do it best when the sitting room has been newly cleaned and tidied...more clear space to trash!

Jonny's Mommy said...

Very funny and very well written.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Wow, though, I feel like a totally inferior blogger when reading your wonderful writing, though.

And a bit honored you even stumbled on to my old rag-tag blog. :-)

Minnie said...

Aw!! Bless 'em:O)) Funny, too.

This happens to me all too often. It's amazing how easily previously spotless rooms can suddenly morph into something resembling a farmyard/tip, etc once your back's turned:O)

Hope Dig gives you a well deserved back massage and manicure.

the mother of this lot said...

How you have survived all these years without sticking to this one simple rule I do not know.

Never, EVER, attempt to clean any room while there are children alone in another one.

Go and stand in the corner.

Grit said...

hi brad! you see i am like pollyanna, because i am glad for that!

hi frog in the field - i've noticed children move towards brightly lit places too, so sometimes i don't open the front room curtains...

hi jonny's mommy - i loved the ramblings!!

hello minnie. a manicure? from Dig?!! I'm speechless!

You are right Motl. I have done 10 minutes facing the wall.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

A triumph! And soooo imaginative, with a surprising knowledge of town planning and - er - utilities.