HOME IS WHERE THE ARGH IS
Behind the scenes as LP tries to edit Fussy Bird while living through the building of her home extension
I don’t know what I expected on day one of the builders arriving – maybe a bit of groundwork or some marking out on the walls. It certainly wasn’t the garage being knocked down by lunchtime. Wow, no going back now, the chaos has well and truly begun.
Mr P and I have embarked upon a house extension to create more space, and at the moment it’s mostly creating a lot of mud. A LOT of mud. It’s also adding a lot of coffee, milk and sugar to the weekly grocery list, as I’m regularly keeping our hardworking builders refreshed. Whilst I provide caffeine, our four-year-old provides entertainment in the form of various chatter about his swimming badges (they looked suitably impressed, God bless them). Mind you, I’m not sure quite how impressed the project manager himself was one evening on popping by, as our boy insisted on coming downstairs ‘to say goodnight to him’ and finished off his salutations by pulling a moony. Kids really know how to break the ice.
Since then our boy has been making regular reasonable requests to me, which I’m expected to pass on to the builders. Requests such as, ‘Can they build us a new car?’, ‘Can they make my new bedroom rocket-shaped?’ and ‘Can you get them to put a swimming pool in?’ To be fair, we do need a new car. I’ll ask them.
The day the Serious Machinery arrived I was working in London. Husband, working from home, called me up to inform me they’d like to start knocking through to the playroom, but that it was OK because he’d already started boxing up toys, throwing stuff away and moving things into the living room. *CUE TOTAL PANIC* as my inner control freak practically fainted at the thought of him Taking Charge Of House Things, while I attempted to congratulate him (possibly in a strangulated voice), for ‘sorting things out’.
He may have heard a small yelp as I put the phone down, imagining with horror the guaranteed scene of chaos in the living room I’d be returning home to. Not to mention the sweat-inducing thought of him not boxing up the playroom into Appropriate Categories (books, soft toys, games and puzzles, large cars, small cars, noisy toys, Lego, Current Favourite Must Not Be Lost, etc).
And so it is that our living room is now basically a kids’ playroom, where we sit amid (and on top of, and behind, and beside) The Toys That Got To Stay, and attempt to watch TV in the evening while getting evils from Barbie and co. And our hallway is forever decorated with muddy footprints trailed in from the building site outside, while our neighbours are surely hatching a plan to get rid of us due to about three hundred heavy goods vehicles regularly tearing up the street and the air being polluted by a persistent soundtrack from Absolute Radio (the builders’ station of choice). Sigh, must focus on the end game, must focus on the end game…
As discussed in 10 Things Kids Love That Parents Hate Part 1, we do a lot of things to keep our offspring happy (and give us a precious half an hour to trawl Instagram, er, clean the house and get the dinner on). Keeping the young'uns amused and busy with any engrossing activity that tears them away from their best friend The iPad for a few moments makes us feel good about parenting. Plus look at that happy little face! So why wouldn't we want to provide them with things that make them smile? Because some of those things make life for us Hell On Earth. That's why...
Sadly, the things that bring our kids joy just... don't do it for us
My first child was a boy. At my 20-week scan with baby number two, we discovered we were having a girl, and after a couple of years of boy clothes and toys - despite having some seriously lovely clothes and toys for my son - the temptation to go out and buy something unashamedly girlie was intense. But once I'd got a few pink items out of my system, I was quite determined that she wasn't going to be a floaty pastel cliche of girldom. And whenever a family member would buy her a pink outfit or shoes, despite whether I liked it or not, I almost felt embarrassed putting her in it. It seemed so obvious and blatant and, well, standard
... from holidaying with the kids. As we've just returned from a nine-day break in the South of France with our two Small Ones, I thought I'd scare, er, share with you the valuable insights I've gleaned from our little jaunt. Sharing is caring, after all, and if it allows you to feel more prepared for your own holiday en famille - or at the very least provides you with the reassurance that it's Not Just You - then my work here is done.