This afternoon my youngest and I were snuggled together whilst watching the final few heart-wrenching minutes of Toy Story 3 when my eldest suddenly popped into view swishing a foam sword. No big deal, you might reasonably shrug, the ending to that film sucks anyway and besides, it’s just a foam sword – it’s not going to slice any heads off. True. What you may not realise, however, is the fact that this sword has not been seen in quite some time, hidden away, as I knew it to be, in the deepest, darkest depths of… The Cupboard. To reach this sword my child will have had to remove every digger, racing car, robot, fairy wing, dinosaur stilt, baby rattle, toy train, toy farm, toy zoo, toy cookery set, in fact every darn TOY that has ever been slotted into place in that cupboard to form the illusion of a neat and tidy room. Think of it as a giant game of Jenga. The position of each toy needs to be carefully assessed before removal in order to gauge the potential for a toy-tsunami. This kid’s cupboard is NOT for kids.
Taking a deep breath I boldly ascended the stairs to the room that houses The Cupboard. I gingerly opened the door as far as I could before hitting what I rightly imagined to be a vast pile of fallen toys that were blocking the way. Using my super-sonic strength I blasted into the room and stood motionless for a moment taking it all in. My eyes rested on a box sticking out of the debris. Twister!!!! My most favourite of games when I was 9! My whole spirit lifted and a surge of excitement suddenly shot through me before deflating just as suddenly with the realisation that my stupid MS-ridden body would probably scupper any plans of reliving those wonderful Twister-playing glory days. Still, I couldn’t resist rescuing it from the wreckage and I excitedly beckoned for my children to come and see what I had found. Smoothing out the playmat I instructed my children (aged 5, 3 and 1) to stand at the edge of the mat while I spun the wheel and proceeded to bark, “Right Foot – Red” at them. As it turns out, the advice on the box, ‘suitable for ages 6 +’, is pretty accurate. Having neither the experience to know right from left nor the leg span to reach the various coloured spots, my children soon lost interest.
Disappointed but not deterred I switched places with them. Right kids, time to see how it’s really done; watch the Twister Queen in action! “Left Leg – Yellow,” easy peasy. “Left Hand – Green,” Uh, yep. “Right Hand – Green,” Ow. “Left Leg – Blue,” Oh dear, I thought, as my right knee struck the mat. A moment of realisation hit me and I saw myself as one of those mums at one of those parties when I was a kid who, to my young Twister-savvy mind, were utterly hopeless – with their distinct lack of elegance and their failure to keep their balance while their wobbly bums stuck up in the air threatening to bop their opponent on the nose. In order to maintain some level of dignity (and to avoid admitting that I lost – ouch!) I have come to the conclusion that those silly mums back in the day did NOT have legs filled with lead or spasticity or any of those stupid aches and pains that I have in my legs. That’s right, if I didn’t have MS I would have NAILED that game and I’d still be wearing the Twister Crown.