>> Monday, 29 October 2007
"Some-one is in charge" said Boy #1 darkly as he chased the last of his chocolate ice-cream around the bowl. It was the end of a very long day - no, scratch that, the end of a very long week. And only Monday.
I should explain. As most of you may know, last week was Half Term (note the Capital Letters), and since Husband is working like the devil, it was just me. And the Boys. And swimming lessons every day. And a visit from the in-laws. And a chest infection / tonsilitus for Boy #2 (still not sure which, as he wouldn't let the doctor close enough to find out, but after two weeks, 3 trips to the surgery and lots of sleepless nights I refused to leave without drugs). Not to be left out, Boy #1 then developed a nasty barking cough which of course a week of swimming lessons did nothing to dispel. Yes, of course I should have stopped taking him, but the alternative (tears, tantrums etc etc) was too depressing to consider, and since he was fine apart from the cough, I lived down to my Slummy Mummy aspirations and took him anyway.
Then, on Saturday, we got back from visiting friends of ours who have made the jump to out-of-London-living. Never, by the way, ask people in that position what they paid for their new place. It results in feeling rather above your station and a frenzy of activity looking through Cotswold Life & similar, dreaming of the vicarage with 7 bedrooms and stabling for two horses near the en-suite paddock, and with hot & cold running aga's. Until you remember that to run said vicarage Husband will need to continue working in the City and you will see even less of him than you do now. And that you don't do mud. Or horses. And especially not horse-poo. And that Barbour-green is so not your colour.
Anyway, after leaving their mansion, we got back to our box-room in central ex-pat-ville to be greeted by that ominous tick-tick-tick sound that means only one thing. A leak from above. In this case, a leak from the flat 2 floors above ours, that is currently being redeveloped (so is unoccupied) through the flat immediately above ours where the owner is on holiday (and so it was unoccupied), and into ours (which had been empty all day). The water was coming straight down (through the light fittings, of course) into Boy #2's bedroom. Luckily, the water was being soaked up. By our sofa bed.
Boy #2 is temporarily sleeping in our room until normal service is resumed and the building insurers get their butts over her to assess the damage. (Yes, of course I can stay home indefinitely for 3 days of your choosing next week. Sorry, did I sound slightly hysterical?)
Anyway, Boy #1 was off sick today with the final remnants of his cold. It's not that I'm particularly public spirited on the issue of sharing germs, just that his nursery operates a particularly fierce 'stop and search' cold policy, and I didn't really want myself singled out for public humiliation via an unscheduled 'sending home' experience. Having won his battle on the nursery front Boy #1 settled down for what he imagined to be his brother's and my normal schedule without him; a day of unrivalled fun and frolics. Ha! By lunchtime he was clearly bored witless (enough to ask if he could go back tomorrow), and I was going out of my mind. All of these years I've held it against my mother that if ever my sister or I were sick we were met with a complete lack of sympathy and the comment "Well, you know what's wrong with you? Too much chocolate and not enough exercise!" Now, however, I know exactly how she felt. And, am ashamed to say, dished out similar supportive attitude myself. Not fair on a 4 year old, I know - but I had just been through Half Term, m'lud.
So, back to our dinner conversation.
"Who is In Charge?" I asked (believe me, I really wanted to know).
"Me. And then Boy #2." (Pointing over the table in case I had forgotten his brother)
"Why? Why not me? I'm the Mummy (again, note the Capital). Mummy's are always in charge."
"No, you're not. You're just a girl."
At this point my natural feminist instincts demanded clarification. Well, actually they demanded that I make him sweep the floor, cook, do the laundry and shopping for the next 20 years, but since he's only 4 years old that seemed a little harsh. And also, I had my suspicions that there was more to this than misogyny.
"If I'm just a girl, who are you?"
"Silly mamma. You can't be the boss because you are too little." (In my wildest dreams...) "I am Steve, he is Terri, and you are Bindi."
This one could run and run...