Wednesday 3 August 2016

Game on

"Come on Mummy, you can do it!" Could I though? Could I really? It turned out I could. Hop, skip and a jump along the towpath, ignoring the stares of the more sedate grown-ups out for a walk. That's all there was to it. Yes, I know, we are not talking about rowing across the Atlantic here, but for some reason I seem to have lost the ability to play with my children. Now the summer holidays are upon us, I am struggling to re-discover my inner child.

A boy's feet with a crab in a bucket - crabbing!
Recovering the lost art of entertaining the kids!
A whole year of working freelance, finishing off my novel and squeezing out the odd blog post has left me devoid of play skills (and I mean the physical, get-down-on-the-floor, act-like-an-idiot mode of play). When my kids were little, I wasn't too bad at it. Apart from that first culture-shifting moment at a Monkey Music class in Earlsfield, where I realised that parenthood now required me to sing ridiculous songs and swing my arm like an elephant's trunk, I generally managed to get down to my kids' level in those early years. 

But when my nine-year old son asked me yesterday to play a mystery food game (where he and his sister got to blindfold me and place morsels of food in my mouth, Russian-roulette style), my instinct was to say "no!" Couldn't we play a sensible board game, I pleaded? Or bake a cake? 

I had to battle with my control-freakery big-time before I could submit to my son's sadistic whims. From the gleeful look on his face, I knew he was gagging to deposit raw tomato in my blind mouth (almost my worst food ever). And indeed he did, after the walnut and the dog-food flavoured jelly bean. But we all laughed uncontrollably and it felt good, in a wholesome way.

Then came the dog-walk this morning and the athletic challenges along the towpath, again set by my jester of a son who loves nothing more than making his mother act like a twit. I suppose this is what summer holidays are all about. In some ways it's quite liberating. It doesn't always come off, but I am trying hard to turn my mind away from work and live in the moment with my kids. This precious time with them will surely run out and in years to come I will berate myself for not letting my hair down more. So bring it on - who knows what they will have in store for me tomorrow!


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