Wednesday 14 January 2009

Maximum Madness

"Have you gone mad?" asked my parents, as I told them the plan.

"We all think you're mad", said one mum, as she dropped off.

"You must be mad", said a dad, as he picked up.

My son's 7th birthday party was at our (fairly small) house on Sunday: 16 children, mostly boys, mostly aged 6-7.

We played games like Pin the Trunk on the Elephant, Pass the Parcel and Treasure Hunt in teams.

We caused a riot between the sofas with a candy-spraying pinata.

We settled disputes over prizes.

We fed them junk food.

We let them trash the boy bedroom and run about in police clothes and helmets, shooting and sword-fighting with anything that might resemble a weapon (with a little imagination).

We freed the boy who got stuck in the loo.

We gleefully accepted sister-in-law's offer of help.

We marvelled at how boys won't walk if they can run, won't run if they can roly-poly, and always SHOUT FOR NO REASON!!!

We declared our bedroom strictly off-limits. Strictly. Off. Limits.

We hid the hamster.

We threw punch balloons (big ones on elastic) down the stairs, turned the music up and got out of the way as our guests almost combusted with excitement.

We shouted a lot and hardly anyone listened.

We turned off the lights for the candles on the Spongebob Squarepants cake ... how I love watching kids' faces when everyone sings 'Happy Birthday to You' (and just for once nobody bellowed out a rude version).

Have I gone completely ding-dong-doo-lally-stark-staring-bonkers-checking-into-cloud-cuckooland MAD? Probably. But it won't be long before the kids want to do something more sedate on their birthdays like bowling, cinema, or pizza, with just a few close friends. And then they won't want me at their birthday parties at all. So I reckon I might as well make the most of this short time and keep their parties as insane as possible.

Sunday 4 January 2009

Our Lazy Days Are Numbered

Tonight the kids and I had one of those long-film, easy-food, no-bath kind of evenings. They tumbled about laughing, gave each other wedgies and went to bed deliciously late and mellow. I slobbed about in sweatpants, neglected all the chores and took a leisurely tour round some of my favourite blogs instead.

Over Christmas I was sick and had no appetitite, so I lost quite a lot of weight. Now I'm better, my body has moved cleverly into post-famine fat-hoarding mode, which coincides nicely with having a kitchen full of Christmas chocolate biscuits. It's getting out of control ... surely I've had enough catch-up calories by now?

We only have one day left to be lazy toads, before going back out into the real world to report dutifully to work and school on Tuesday. Shame really, I'm quite enjoying this!

Saturday 3 January 2009

Beach House Treasure

Grandma Dorothy's white hair was rinsed pale blue, pink or purple at the hairdressers. "My hair used to be thick and dark, just like yours", she told me as a child, leaving me wondering if I too would go lilac in old age.

She and Grandad Wilf lived in a bungalow near a stony beach by the sea. Her oil paintings of roses and holidays hung on the walls, and a clock tick-tocked on the sideboard, keeping us kids awake at night. Grandma Dorothy made her own jam and stored it in jars with paper lids in the larder. There was an apple tree and a bird bath in the neatly manicured back garden, and squidgy white sofas in the 'sun room' where they snoozed after lunch. The greenhouse - Grandad Wilf's hideaway - was full of buckets, watering cans and seed trays. It smelt of soil and home-grown tomatoes.

We used to take bets on what colour dress Grandma Dorothy would be wearing, when we drove to the south coast to visit. Her dresses were always bright, often floral, and she wore them with slippers and an apron while she cooked lunch. Her teeth fell out after the war, probably because of having babies on food rations. But she had false ones, and the brightest and most genuine smile I have ever seen. I'll always remember her laughing eyes as she hugged us when we got out of the car.