Talk about middle class problems. The ridiculous lengths of recent conversations with my three sweet, innocent children. To quote Dame Edna Everidge ‘You lucky, luck bastards’ would sum it up nicely, but I’m not sure that would give anyone under 7 a clear insight into their predicament.
After a much needed slow start to the weekend we had all enjoyed the blissful ‘telly time’ (adults not watching telly, as you can imagine, but children plugged into the mainframe for a heady 90min dose of Pixar endorphins). 8.30am marked the end of this luxurious slot and ‘second breakfast’ commenced; toast, dry cereal (they seem to think this is a luxury so let’s just ride with it), and dried cranberries filled three little bellies. And what next? We had nowhere to go and a long list of thank you cards to write, so prep and playtime took centre stage. But not for long…
Admittedly the mini-mules usually do well to share, play and engage each other but this morning there was an abundance of whines, moans, squeals and cries. Accusations of ‘I had that’, ‘that’s mine’, ‘my turn’ and all round ‘mummy he/mummy she…’ complaints threw me completely off the rails. How can we not have enough things to play with when we have so many things!?!
That was it – NO MORE TOYS!
I wish I had the strength to actually get rid of all the toys we have, but I confess I’m both too attached to them and rely on them too heavily to play with the children. Putting them away and sending everyone out of the house had to suffice, and so we went out completely hands free. Completely. There were no toys (not even a few pokemon cards as desired by the biggest mini-mule) and so no distractions or items to be argued over. There were no snacks (I’ve created a rod for my own back with the snacks and now every time I leave the house there’s at least one immediate request for food) and only a bottle of tap water to keep us going. Needless to say we had no spare anything, no Babymule bag (not the cleverest idea as we would have been caught short if the 2yr old mini mule needed a nappy change, but there was a principle I was keen to demonstrate). Just a mummy, a 6, 4 and 2 yr old, and the big wild world.
But then we found the best toys ever, and the best games. A long stick for walking, pointing and throwing. A tiny stream for throwing stones and leaves into, and fishing of course – with our new stick (hurray for the stick!). A path for having wailing monster races which had to end up in the big puddle at the bottom. Gloriously we also found some strong beams of fresh chilled sunshine which warmed up our skin and stung our eyes. And a marshy forest floor where all manner of mermaid kings slept. I wish I could show you the pictures but I left my phone behind where it belonged. More than an hour of unplanned, carefree, un-rushed frolicking about in the wilds. Pure mummy time, pure play time, aaaand relax. And close enough to home to be able to retreat in haste when a small person filled their wellies with icy water (not naming names).
We returned, hungry, happy, relaxed, energised, and enjoying each other’s company. Thank you Mother Nature. No toy could have ever done that. (Except the Pokemon Battle Ready Pikachu…. Just kidding!).