In which our reluctant hero considers a big problem. Or something.
On Tuesday, we were unexpectedly woken at a little past 3 A.M. in the morning.
“I… NEED… MUMMY!” wailed the voice of our eldest, half upset, half confused and half asleep.
Of course she did. The kids only need dad for changing batteries, gluing, and watching Lego opening or plane crashes on YouTube. Undeterred, I went to see what was wrong.
I quickly realised that “GO BACK TO SLEEP!” wasn’t the best way to sort things out. After crossing my legs to suppress the more predictable wake up of my bladder, I asked what was wrong. That didn’t help either. After a couple more failed attempts, my wife was deployed to sort things out while I shuffled uncomfortably to the loo.
I returned to bed. There were, at best, two hours of sleep left before I woke an hour before I needed to and bemoaned my lack of sleep. Again. I pondered how much longer that I could exist in permanent zombified autopilot mode before breaking, rolled over, and went back to sleep.
It was my turn to do stories the following evening. Since our daughter started reception class, story time includes her reading to us. She’s good too. So good that she was invited to today’s assembly to get a certificate for “super phonics.” Blimey. (*Annoying “my child is better than your child” proud dad boast face*)
She made light work of most of the book, which was a boring, bitty thing, with a plot so thin that it will probably be made into an ITV daytime drama.
“Wigwam” needed a bit of construction work, as did “Jess” which, amusingly, sounded like an angry “Jees” as she got increasingly fed up with trying to pronounce it.
I was pleased that she read “mum” as “mum” and not “mom” as “mom” isn’t an English word and my children need to learn that (a) we’re not American and (b) the indigenous people of Wolverhampton don’t speak properly. I wrote this in the reading feedback book that four year olds have to complete each bedtime. Isn’t modern life marvellous?
Stories finished, she brought up last night’s “worry” which I’d completely forgotten about, having been to London and back since then. Oops.
I asked my sleepy person what the worry was and whether the worry was still worrysome. We went a few times around the block, but she didn’t tell me. I realised that this was probably as she couldn’t remember what the worry was. Which was a worry.
I reassured her that she can always tell mum and dad anything if she wants to. We chatted about how we don’t have secrets in our house, and how this excluded presents (all types), sneaky chocolates before teeth cleaning without little brothers knowing, and general surprises such as “your birthday cake is a surprise and it is called a fruit cake” which sort of ruins the surprise.
I found the little cloth worry doll bag and hung it on the bedpost, just in case. Reassured, she piped up again.
“Do you know how I got rid of my worry last night?”
“No, I don’t. How?”
“I closed my eyes and thought about something else. I thought about my school. I love going to school.”
Isn’t life straightforward when you’re little? Few adults will think about work to calm down after a bad dream, probably for good reason, but in her world everything was sorted.
The next day, my wife found out the cause of the worry, which was a dream about being trapped in a big hole. Perhaps she had been thinking about work after all?
This got me thinking…
Our children are at fabulous, possibly their best, ages, yet they don’t even realise it. They certainly won’t remember any of it.
They have a few rules, but no barriers as nobody has put them up. They can be impulsive and imaginative. Emotions pour out of them, and they do things simply because they enjoy them.
They live in a fantasy land where a blanket and a pile of shoes turn a bedroom into a shoe shop. Where Father Christmas, The Tooth Fairy, and hope for a better future all exist.
They don’t know of, or understand, terrible things like wars, avocados, or Brexit. They even get stickers at the dentist for crying out loud. All I get is a bill.
I want to tell the kids to enjoy everything while it lasts. Because it doesn’t.
But why doesn’t it? Maybe the rest of us have got it wrong? Maybe us grown-ups could learn from the little ‘uns. Maybe we need to smash through the walls and have some fun.
Never mind take your child to work days, maybe we need the occasional “turn up and act like a child day.”
We should turn bus stop seats into swings to squeeze ten minutes of play into our commutes. We should do dress down Friday any day that we like.
“Why’s the boss still in his ‘jams and covered in chocolate spread?”
BECAUSE, WHY NOT?!
We should pop our wellies on and run around at lunchtime. When we get home, we should have beige food as a nice change from the all so “essential” quinoa.
Chuck away the identikit IKEA pics and stick a picture of Princess Poppy or a “bang helicopter” up on the living room wall. Chuck out the king-size divan. Buy (already assembled) bunk beds and duvet covers with your favourite characters on. Sneak a torch into bed and read under the covers. Then sleep soundly, knowing that if you have a worry, then you can fix it by simply thinking about something else.
OK, perhaps not every day. The country would be bankrupt and on its knees way ahead of the early 2019 deadline for being bankrupt and on its knees if we do. But maybe we can be heroes. Just for one day.