Sunday, 14 August 2011

I have all the help I need, thanks

I am entering a week of mostly domestic labours. I must make the house fit for purpose while we are away. That means, write obsessive notes about the heating systems, install a drainpipe in the kitchen, provide the telephone number for the local police station, and cut back the ivy that is heading its way towards the kitchen window at an alarming rate.

None of this will be any help for the poor sods who must occupy this house while we are away. They will merely look at the boiler suspiciously and wait for the tap to explode, but all my hard work makes me feel better.

However, my labours are made a tad more difficult this week because I have all three children at home.

Recently, I have got away lightly. Squirrel has been on her residential horse week at the local stables; Shark has been throwing herself about tree-tops in Wiltshire with PGL; and Tiger, I am shortly to give away to a lady who lives in a lake. (Okay then, Allie the watersports teacher. Stage II windsurfing course.)

But with one child always away, it has meant a relatively quiet time for me. Twins amuse each other, or they are fuming so hard in mutual telepathic hatred that they separate as far as possible apart. In either case, I have a quiet house.

This week, all three of my lovely kids are together. So I must perform drainpipe fixture and ivy surgery and be a referee.

At this point, please don't say, Grit, ask them to help you!

Having competitive triplets helping out is usually no help at all. My preferred strategy is to manoeuvre them as far away from me as possible, so I have at least a fighting chance of finishing the job I started.

If I don't do this, I find the following happens. Despite the fact that we have an engagingly diverse house with many secret holes and corners where people can hide away, all the kids magically seek each other out and must occupy the exact same space as everyone else.

Worse, at some point, the entire ugly crowd of them will cluster around my parent body. Do you find this? You could have acres, but the offspring will find your old worn out torso, then need to occupy the precise space your bum needs by health and safety legislation to navigate the turning circle in the smallest angle of the entire house, i.e. between the fridge and the washing machine, or the cooker and the chopping board.

So all four of us wedge ourselves there. In a shape roughly 12ins x 12ins. Elbowing each other in the face while I am trying to stick a drain pipe under the boiler.

I will intermittently lose my temper and yell Maths! or Spelling! This ensures everyone suddenly scarpers and everything goes quiet. But it is a temporary solution. Within the hour the magnets in their noses start working again, and they find each other, and me, and come and stand exactly where I am standing with a drainpipe, then they will complain that I am standing in their way.

Well, today I make it hard for them.

I tell everyone we are going to do some maths. Then I quickly climb up this shonky ladder which I have wedged up on a bit of wood in a wobbly yard, and I start wielding a rusty saw and begin a stream of unseemly sweaty cursing.

It is not too long before the fear of maths wears off, and a curious child wanders into view.

She asks what I am doing up a ladder swearing into the street while waving a saw menacingly at the neighbours.

Personally, I think it is obvious. This machine is going at full pelt ...

... and there is a lot less of this stuff crawling all over the garage.

Then she asks, is there anything she can do? After ten minutes lengthy instruction while I become irritable because there are only two buttons on the shredder and I promise it will not electrocute anyone, she begins to feed into it ivy strands at a snail's rate of one twig every five minutes.

Then the other two appear. One starts complaining that I am in her way because she wants to play where my ladder stands, and the other starts up a campaign for ivy rights. Within minutes they have the bright idea of taking the sawn branches off me to build unicorn hatching grounds all over the garden table, thus creating a second domestic labour for later. That one will be much harder because I will have to fight the wretched unicorns for the ivy and then try and put it into the shredder in secret. Not possible.

So this will go on. All week. Drainpipes, gutter, ivy, floorboard, you name it. Help. That's all I can say. Help.


Nora said...

I never know how seriously I should take you. Are you ready to put them up for adoption yet?

Rachel M. said...

LOL Nora, it's not all that bad, I've met the Gritlets, they are just a very competitive bunch heading into the most difficult years of pre-teens - all 3 of them at the same time. Poor Grit, all alone in England with responsibilities. And here I thought when my 1 & 3 because self-sufficient I'd have some modicum of privacy. I see the nose magnet doesn't go away for a LONG time!

Angela said...

I admire you deeply, Grit, I do!

Grit said...

nora, you should never take me too seriously. i am english. everyday is a frolic.

rachel, when you put it like that i am seriously worried!

angela, you are very kind. of all the things i imagine i deserve, admiration usually isn't one of them. but thank you anyway.