What is it about heat that turns your reasonably well behaved kids into rake-wielding maniacs?
As a redhead I loathe the sun. I avoid it at all costs. The ridiculous decision to spend two weeks in Kenya, on honeymoon, is something I still can’t explain but I can tell you I came back paler than when I left.
I make actual vampire-like hissing noises when I see it. My mother is the opposite: a sun-worshipper and an expert at making you feel guilty if you’re not making the most of good weather by being outdoors from the moment you wake.
In an attempt to ‘make the most’ of the uncharacteristically good weather we are experiencing I forced the three of us out of the house and into the garden. Smothered in factor 50 we emerged bleary-eyed and instantly suspicious of the mysterious yellow orb in the sky.
‘What is that, Mummy?’ said Oliver.
“I don’t know, son, ” I answered.
“Kill it,” demanded Oz. Well, what he actually said was: “blama pfffft” but I knew what he meant.
I brought out all the usual toys to the rug on the grass and enthusiastically brought out the world’s most depressed looking paddling pool. This lopsided piece of witchcraft was a bitch to try and set up. After fifteen minutes of trying to force the stupid little poles in the obviously too small holes I may have flipped out and started giving it a ‘damn good thrashing’ Basil Fawlty style.
“What is that, Mummy?” said Oliver.
“Kill it,” demanded Oz.
Paddling pool assembled and children wrestled into swimming suits – an experience they sobbed through – we were nearly on our way to summer fun. Have you ever tried to squeeze sweaty children into lycra? The suncream didn’t help, they kept slipping out of my grip and making a break for freedom to streak across the garden.
Swimming suits on and a ridiculous amount of floating toys thrown in, they still refused to get in. With my left eye starting to do that highly attractive rage twitch, they were both sat in the water and told to have fun.
Oz obviously then began his attempt to drown his older brother. When he was told to stop he settled for trying to hit him over the head with every single floating toy.
After forty seconds of paddling pool fun they wanted out.
The rest of the afternoon was a mixture of chasing them out of the house every twenty seconds, saying ‘no’ to continuous snack requests and trying to stop Oz from pulling up every vegetable I’ve planted with a giant bloody rake I thought I’d hidden.
By 4pm I gave up.
So, good on you sun worshippers; enjoy it all.
I will be sitting in the dark living room waiting for my heat-activated gremlins to cool down and go back to annoying me for completely different reasons; like how I won’t let them put knives in the plug sockets or smother each other while they sleep.