During the course of the holidays, my children discover how to parachute, or more accurately, test which toys can fly and those which cannot.
This is scientifically tested from the top of the stairs where the toys are hurled into the air, bounce off the ceiling and crash down on innocent victims below. It proves to be thoroughly hilarious entertainment for a good half hour. On conclusion of the half hour, they realize a serious flaw in the game plan, namely, the ten foot Christmas tree in the flight path. After a quick check, several items appear to be adrift, including a highly prized DS game, a one inch, thin, grey, plastic square. The meltdown that ensures is more or less inevitable. Whilst it would be perfectly possible to disassemble a 10 foot Christmas tree to hunt for the treasure, with my current responsibilities I am both unable and unwilling to compromise in this manner.
This more or less guarantees an hour of perseverating angst every day, first thing in the morning. The daily dose of angst almost persuades me to comply, but the time simply isn’t available. Arguably, an hour spent sequencing my son through the series of events that led up to this disaster would be better spent hunting through the needles, with hindsight, but I lack the energy.
Sadly, my efficiency levels are so low that we fail to take down the Christmas tree and other decorations on Twelfth Night. However, we are prompted into action with the dawning of the recycling visitation, which promises to arrive on Tuesday. With the children back at school on Monday, my elder daughter, Nonna and I take on the task in shifts. We each work independently in different parts of the house in an attempt to remove every trace prior to the end of the school day. Although the boys are generally oblivious to the décor, for some reason the strip down phase causes no end of grief and anxiety. Far better to remove all evidence in one fell swoop, the swift, slight of hand of magicians.
As I lift, roll and stash each decoration, my mind is free to reflect. Thatcher’s arrival has made several significant impacts upon my children. Thatcher is at the chewing stage of puppy-hood, which means that just about everything is fair game. It’s a daily game. Anything on the ground becomes fodder. Anything on the sofa or other surfaces above ground, is off limits. We have a mounting pile of evidence or our mistakes:- shoes, books and toys. None of these things are of value or worth protecting. A few prized items are worth the effort:- Webkinz, Pokemons and electronics paraphanalia. I foresee that before too long, the whole household itinerary will have been culled in this manner.
After lunch I haul out the tree into the roadway ready for collection, leaving a trail of green, prickly needles. The needle sweep up is also time consuming, several sack loads end up stacked next to the other debris and recycling materials. This leaves me just enough time to walk Thatcher before the school run.
Thatcher is keen to mark the dead tree. I am equally as keen that his offering should be elsewhere. Tree collection is hazardous enough an occupation without the added contributions of every household pet in the street. I distract and entertain as we lollop along the road with each house displaying still further green temptations.
As we reach the end of our circuit I see the huge recycling trucks approach the house. Thatcher is not keen on large noisy things. I hover, uncertain whether to continue his exposure or let him off the hook after 69 minutes of traffic? He cowers at my ankles, tail between his legs as we near the house. Suddenly, he makes a mad dash for the tree, his muzzle buried deep in the pines. I wonder if he has found a stray Christmas decoration, a choking hazard. On the command to drop, he does so without a qualm. There on the black rough tarmac is a small, thin, grey plastic square.
I wonder if plastic smells? I wonder if the plastic smells of my son?
I wait until completion of the school run, and the shock waves of despair at our denuded home to subside. I wait until the ebb tide, when spirits are low but even.
“Hey guys?” No-one has any interested in any more words, their daily allowance fully expended after a strenuous first day back at school.
“Guess what I found today?”
Floppy people display disinterest, their body language says it all.
“Guess what…..Thatcher found today?”
Bleary eyes blink with just the tiniest hint of something approximating interest.
“Look!” I hold up the tiny, grey, one inch square between thumb and forefinger with a white contrast wall behind. Gasps of genuine delight, amazement and joy chorus from every corner of the room.
“Did he really find it Mom? Where did he find it?”
“Fatcher found it?”
“Fatcher is being dah….………twuly……….. awesome one!”