You know how they say that if your children are uncharacteristically quiet, you should always go and check on what they are doing?
I have had experiences of the kind of things busily silent children can get up to. Over the years we have had fallout from open tubs of sudocream, felt tip DIY tattoos, wall art, various items being thrown down the toilets and nappy contents smeared over furniture and bedding. I agree with those who say that you ignore child-silence at your peril.
However, last night, we had a different experience.
I was upstairs, sorting out the kids clothes so wasn’t giving the kids my full attention. But DH was downstairs and the oldest girls are now 9 and 11, so I don’t think I was unreasonable in leaving them unsupervised. I’d spent some time in the afternoon clearing up the garden a bit, and the weather wasn’t terrible here, so when I heard the kids playing outside, my first thought was ‘How nice.’
I didn’t even bother looking out the window to check on them as I was concentrating on sorting the washing out. They sounded like they were busy and were having a lot of fun.A couple of times I wondered when they were going to come in, but it was still light and it’s the holidays, so I didn’t fuss too much. Finally I heard DH calling them in; I did hear him ‘having words’ with them but assumed it was just because they didn’t want to come inside.
First up the stairs was DS and he was seriously filthy as well as droopy lipped. He was followed by DH who looked grim and started ‘ I’ve already told the kids off for this but…’ This is never a good sign in our household.
It seems that while the kids were outside, they decided it would be a good idea to dig some ‘animal traps’. Aka bloody great holes in our lawn. To be fair our lawn is is a bit of a state after the grim winter we’ve had and the two dogs using it as a race track but I was hoping the approaching spring might help, and the digging of four holes in it hasn’t really enhanced it any.
I talked to the kids about what they had done and explained why it wasn’t ideal, but DS’s quivery lip and explanation that he just wanted to catch a bunny rabbit that he could call ‘Bouncy’ made it very hard to be too cross with them all. I still think the older girls should have known better though and that’s why I have them all out there with shovels at the moment, filling in their animal traps. They don’t look to contrite, it has to be said. Instead they are having a lovely time making even more of a mess, if that’s at all possible.
Luckily we have some new gardeners starting on Friday, who assured me a couple of weeks ago that they will be able to ‘sort out’ our poor lawn. They are very young and very enthusiastic and I have to say I’m really looking forward to finding out if they are so positive when they set eyes upon this new challenge…