Last week I found myself faced with a sunny day off, 3 children to amuse and no plans in place. Having deprived my kids of days out lately because of the extreme heat I decided that I owed it to them to do something fun. Giving it careful consideration I ran through all the things in my head that could go wrong and concluded that taking them out on my own was a terrible idea… but I don’t generally listen to advice, especially my own. So, I determinedly stumbled round the house getting things packed and ready for a day out at our local dinosaur park (where else?!). Getting out the door is always a challenge, but on this particular day it was more so because I’d stripped the beds that morning. I should probably explain the significance of this – Duvet Day never fails to work my children up into a total frenzy; the beds become boats, the pillows – anchors and the duvets – tents and when they tire of that the beds become trampolines and the duvets – sliding sacks for the staircase. And so it was amongst this chaos that I struggled to get ready and to locate the items of my previously neat pile of spare pants, nappies and clothes that had now been disbanded to all corners of the house.
My legs had turned to jelly before we’d even left and with all the jollification going on inside our house beforehand I’m sure I needn’t have taken them out at all; but… I am me… and we had dinosaurs to see.
I won’t bore you with the painful details involved in unloading the children from the car, standing in an entrance queue in the blazing sun and pushing 3 separate kids on 3 separate swings. Instead I’ll skip to the real reason we were there – The Dinosaur Splash Zone! Never has a day been more perfectly suited to a splash zone; the wonderful cooling effects of the water on my feet helped to moderate my body temperature and provided a joyous reprieve from the heat as well as providing the children with limitless fun.
Now, before entering we had set up camp on one of the many benches nearby. Trouble is the park was awfully busy that day and I’d offered to share the bench with another family who, in the time we’d been away splashing, had taken over the entire area and left our things teetering on the smallest edge of the smallest corner. I know you’re all thinking, ‘why didn’t you just ask them to move along?’, and that’s a perfectly valid thought, but they seemed so settled and my energy levels were already spread so thin, so I decided instead to sit myself on the floor and contemplate which of my kids was least likely to kick off if I left dressing them ’til last. Age order seemed most appropriate, youngest to oldest. This is the part when the realisation of having no-one to help really hit me. My body was screaming at me and all feeling had left my lower limbs. While on my knees I battled to get the children dressed, gradually sinking lower and lower until my nose was actually touching the ground as I fought to pull a t-shirt over my eldest son’s head. I finally slumped to the floor, power depleted and just lay there with my eyes closed while listening to the various food-related demands of my hungry children.
What was I thinking?
Perhaps next time I’ll just let them loose on the sofa cushions, ‘here kids, go nuts’!