Raising kids is a challenge, and the fact is no matter how old they are there’s a part of you which always sees them as your little charges.
At the moment I’m in two minds about the current situation in our home. On the one hand, I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to announce my eldest child, Master24, has moved back in with us.
With his girlfriend.
Meaning we now have nine people living in a four bedroom (actually three bedrooms plus a sleep out) home with only one toilet.
It’s awesome! I mean it! Well, bathroom issues aside, I mean it.
Mainly because he can spend time with his younger siblings, which is so important. After all, he’d headed off to university by the time his youngest sister was born, so they’ve got some catching up to do.
Because we are fantastic parents, Tracey and I are all for promoting that.
“Bye!” we’ll say on a Saturday morning as we dance out the door to grab a coffee and chat all by our child free selves. “You kids have fun now.”
And can I just say, he’s been fantastic on that front. Both him and Charlotte play board or card games with the kids, and are happy to watch any old dribble they punch up on Presto or Netflix.
But late this week, things took an unusual turn.
“Where are you going?” Miss4 asked her big brother as he was about to head out the door. He explained he was off to work. “Okay,”I’ll come with you.”
“I’ll get my shoes.”
“You tell Mummy.”
He then had to explain his work wouldn’t let him bring kids to work. Miss4 didn’t miss a beat.
“That’s okay,” she said. “You can take Onchao.”
She dashed into her room and reappeared with the toy Santa decided she had to have, which she named after the winged baby unicorn in Mia & Me.
I hate I even know that. I mean, Mia & Me is no Barbie Life In The Dreamhouse. Just sayin’.
“Onchao!” she announced, shoving her white, horned, winged toy white horse into his arms. “She can go with you today.”
As you can imagine, he was thrilled. Nearly as much as Miss4 was when he arrived back that evening.
“You’re home!” squealed Miss4, running up to him…and grabbing Onchow out of his arms. “Did you have a nice day at Geoffrey’s work?” They ran off together to catch up.
“I didn’t have the heart to tell her I left her unicorn in the car,” he told me later. “I had to park a fair way from the office and I didn’t want to walk the streets with it.”
Not that he got away entirely scot-free.
“Nice unicorn in your car,” a workmate said to him later that morning.
It’s all sorts of wonderful to see Master24 getting this deeply involved in the lives of his little brother and sisters. With the right sort of nurturing, long after Tracey and I are gone they’ll still have each other.
Like I say, it’s great they’ve got this chance to connect.
On the one hand.
But on the other hand, I am concerned Master24 and his girlfriend seeing what’s actually involved in managing the squabbling and workload and demands of these little angels might put them off having kids of their own any time soon.
“You kidding?” Tracey scoffed at me when I brought this up. “None of them are in nappies and they all pretty much take care of themselves. We’ve done the hard yards. This is the easy bit.”
“Well, for Pete’s sake don’t tell them that,” I said.
The kids are constantly in their room making demands and invading their space, and we absolutely don’t want to scare them off before they’ve even started.
Grandkids are our reward for always coming back after we escape the madness to hide out in cafes where we’re able to finish thoughts, sentences and warm beverages.
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Raising a family on little more than laughs.