The early warning systems for a visit from the three little flowers and their parents are pretty good. Usually this involves an extensive email exchange and numerous phone calls as the visitees embark on a frantic scramble for safety amidst a busy diary trying to avert the calamity. We have heard them all before “Not free until next year”, “The house is being rebuilt that year” and “We are emigrating that week”. We will not be put off that easily!
We don’t so much arrive, more explode into your beautiful house. One of our most memorable detonations involved a vomiting child being held out over the threshold followed by men on the drive up to their arms in child fluids hosing down the car with face masks on. Like a scene from Breaking Bad.
As we pull up outside the house I am imagine the family in a group huddle getting ready for the onslaught in the same way a rugby team get ready to receive a kick off! The speed of the invasion takes most by surprise. It only takes a moment for a hoard of toddlers to run through your door, make their way to the kitchen and to start stripping your house of juice and crisps.
Feeding time is the next major event. Like all toddlers the three little flowers either eat like ravenous lions or they just DON’T. We either stand back and watch from a safe distance or have to get involved in an escalating conflict involving spoons with car noises, songs and bribery as our children show their consummate skills at countering all of their parents increasingly desperate tactics.
As bed time approaches and the team reach the end of their 100 lap sprint around your kitchen table a tangible feeling of hope enters the house. News has reached camp that the three little flowers love sleep. Bath time is never dull and hair washing generates the usual howling screams. But 7pm arrives and as if by magic all is calm. Pinot Grigio is out of the fridge and monitors are on and the flowers are asleep.
Dinner may have the feel of the night before battle commences, like the famous scene from Henry V with a slightly nervous edge but at least the monitors stay quiet…..usually. But the knowledge is ever present. It all begins again tomorrow.
As we depart its hugs and smiles all round and when our car drives off, all remaining collapse or reach for their treasured toys and breath a sigh of relief.
Until next time!