Americans would describe my current mood as 'pissed.' This actually means that I am drunk. I would say that I am pissed off, which means that I am annoyed, or ever so slightly dejected. As much as I try, I am unable to extract myself and my family from the continuing influence of another family.
After the “Easter debacle” we enjoy a trouble free week, as my daughter is unwell and stays at home for a few days. We are resolute, no more shenanigans.
On returning home after her first day back at school, I discover that she is in mourning for the loss of her friendship with pal. Pal now enjoys a relationship with a boy, her seventeenth boyfriend. Her date book is now full, with no time left over for my daughter. I sympathise with her loss, whilst secretly enjoying our easy escape. I explain that sadly, this is so often the way with many girls but that she should not be down-hearted. If she is a true friend, she will be patient and understanding, wait for the boyfriend to move on and her pal's loyalty to return.
I think this is one of the few times that I am genuinely pleased that ten year olds date. I dither whether to test her sophistication?
“So is it a lovie dovie kissy kind of relationship?”
“Oh nooo! That comes later.”
I'm tempted to ask how many decades later, but I don't want to push my luck.
When the weekend rolls around again, we are ready for family peace, or if not exactly peace, then our piece of family time.
All in all, we seem well placed, as I accidentally find the Easter chocolates that bought a month ago, a week after Easter has already past. It's almost worthwhile digging them up again from their new hidey hole in the garage, rather than keeping them until next year. A little celebration, to mark our good fortune.
I debate whether to embark upon the tidy toys marathon or to leave it until after the bike ride in the park, when the telephone rings. The pals chat on the phone whilst we adults exchange worried glances. Both my sons dart around the house like energizer bunnies. I'm used to Mr. Speedy and his mosquito tendencies but I am disconcerted that his older brother seems to be on a similar trend. “When?”
“When what dear?'
“When are we go on our “bikes”?”
“15 minutes. Shall we set the timer?”
“Dere is no such fing as the Easter bunny?”
“True but don't go telling any other little children just yet.”
“It is be 15 minutes?”
“Lets go and find the timer together.”
“Does the Easter bunny have a timer?”
“No he has a calendar.”
“You are say 50 minutes or 15 minutes?”
“He has an old calendar?”
“No, I don't think so.”
“I fink he has a timer.”
“I fink his timer is needed dah new batteries.” My daughter's demands come thick and fast, but we hold firm, “Daddy and I will talk about it first, tell her you'll phone back in five minutes.”
I drag the boys out of the garage for the umpteenth time, unable to enrapture them with the passage of time on the timer. “We'll put our shoes on later dears.” I don't think I've ever known them to be so keen to retrieve their hated shoes.
“Dumb, dumb, dumb!”
“No mean words dear.”
“Dumb is not be mean.”
“Er….well ……what does it mean?”
“It is be mean not be talking.”
“Oh that kind of dumb.”
“Yes dah Easter bunny is be dumb.”
“Do you mean dumb 'stupid' or dumb 'not talking'?”
“'Dumb' not talking.”
“Yes you're right, the Easter Bunny doesn't talk.”
Maybe pal should come with us on the bike ride to circumnavigate the possibility of sleepovers and whose house to have a play date? We could deliver her home so that she's not stranded with us indefinitely. Better a few hours in the afternoon at the weekend rather than endless disruptions during the week. We debate back and forth, anticipating potholes and pitfalls until we manage to come up with a plan.
“Dah Easter bunny…….he got it wrong.”
“He did? What did he get wrong?”
“It is be a secret.”
“How about you girls go on your scooters and the boys go on their bikes?”
“Brill! That would be awesome.” We exchange adult glances, surely this is the fairest option?
“Better go and phone her then. Do you have the number?” We hear a knocking on the window, and there she is, “pal” has arrived during our five minutes debating time. There is no sign of her deliverer. The girls embrace and exchange breathy information, “I waited in all morning but he didn't call.”
“Some people are so unreliable,” she sympathizes.
I think I can be relied upon to rip the phone from the wall some time pretty darned soon. I track down the boys in the garage to uncover a secret before I forget. They pogo on the concrete with their hands behind their backs in a dry leaf pile of chocolate wrappers. “He is be come two times dis year!”
“I am liking dah dumb bunny!”
I want to ask……but I refrain.