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13Aug 13

Sticking point

This week I found myself in one of the sticky situations that regularly seem to punctuate my life.

Let me set the scene. I’m sitting at the garden table with the nine-year-old, and we’re stuffing newspaper into old tights and sticking them onto a waistband for an octopus costume (don’t ask). The six-year-old is sitting in a cardboard box on the grass, busy building a space rocket.

rocket photo 4

The 13-year-old is sprawled out, compiling the list of jobs she has to complete in exchange for a summer allowance. Between us (me dictating, her writing with eyes rolling) we’ve made a comprehensive list of tasks.

Anyway, I must admit, am feeling pretty pleased with this scene. There’s not an electronic screen in sight, we’re being creative, and I’m teaching my 13 year old some responsibility.

The serenity lasts for about 10 seconds until the six year old asks me if he is allowed to fly his rocket to his friend’s house without me. I remind him that he mustn’t travel anywhere without me. He runs off in search of materials to make his rocket bigger.

The 13 year old pushes a piece of paper across the table towards me saying she’s worked how much each job is worth, and she’d like not to keep a few of them, in return for less money.

I point out that the list is a job lot, and that she can take them or leave them. She reminds me that I had said we should approach the allowance situation like a business contract, and that Dad says you should always negotiate in business.

The six year old interjects to ask where the sharpest knives are kept. I direct him to the kitchen just seconds before his words filter down and I sprint over to remind him that on no account is he to go anywhere near sharp instruments of any kind.

In the background I hear the nine year old calling my name and the 13 year old shouting that she may be able to rethink the picking up her laundry clause, if I would relax the vacuuming her room rule.

Shutting them both out for a moment, I ask what he needs the knife for, and establish that he is intending to cut up the tiles that he is about to superglue onto his rocket. The new roof tiles that had been piled up next to the garage.

I suggest that sticky tape may be better, as superglue might melt because of the fire in the rocket engine. His eyes light up and he asks if he can borrow some petrol out of the car.

rocket photo 5

Quite bluntly now, I have to insist that as well as knives, superglue and our roof tiles, petrol is also banned.

The nine-year-old’s voice is getting louder, the teenager is asking for the number for Childline.

I sit back down at the table and pick up the octopus legs, when the nine year old points out that I have stuck the waist band of her costume together.

The 13-year-old suggests that instead of vacuuming, she could do all the family gluing. It’s not such a bad idea…

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Take Five…

Welcome to Take Five, a blog which is life through my eyes as a full-time mum and freelance writer with three energetic children aged 6, 9 and 13. I have a schedule that could give the royals a run for their money and a husband who often has to work away. When I’m not building camps, playing schools or trying to keep one step ahead of my teenager, I can be found making omelettes, striving for general self-improvement and occasionally hiding in a dark cupboard!

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