Things I've learned from my children today.
I was wrong about the spare room. When we got the extension built, the spare room was supposed to be a serene spot - a place of refuge for family members and visitors alike. I imagined it all sunshine, clean sheets and dust motes dancing. Well I was right about the dust motes. Boy One is a cardboard box magpie and a particularly juicy one found its way in the other day. He was making off with it and I asked where he was going.
"I'm going to take it to the room we keep cardboard boxes," he said knocking things off shelves on the way to the spare room.
There will probably never be enough mummy to take away the slightly injured look. Boy Two has a Look. It's the set of his head and the tightening of his mouth. To me it says: "I'm hurt, you've short-changed me, I'll bravely survive although I may be scarred, I trusted you and you betrayed me."
It's not that he gets ignored or rejected - much. We play games, talk and have cuddles. I answer endless inane questions: "What are your favourite socks?", "How many times have you been to the library/hairdresser/garden shed?".
Sometimes, though, in the interests of hygiene, fairness, or - if I'm honest - sanity, I have to stop and do something else.
That's when I get the Look. Either that or when I turn down his kind offer of a game of Star Wars Monopoly because it's 4pm on a Friday and there are a squillion things to be done before I can begin to think about R&R. Or I decline to make him pancakes because it's 6.40am and I have to be 20 miles away by 7am and I've just glued my eyes shut with mascara.
But the Look cuts me to the quick. It makes me want to apologise and scurry to his command. I don't though. But I do wonder if he's a talented Looker or I'm a paranoid mummy.
Your own baby's mess is much less revolting than that of other children. Boy Three is graduating to the next size of car seat. Actually this move is long overdue as for a while we've been forced to push quite hard to get the buckle done up. And he resents the view - the sky, the top of the trees and, whoosh, a lorry. So it was into the cupboard under the stairs to find the two chairs that were handed down to us. Yuk. All grubby with other child drool and crust. So I washed the covers and am now bracing myself to try to get them back on the skeletons again. But I've realised that the high chair and baby walker are both properly manky with dried and sticky puddles and crusts of posset and smear. But that's OK because he put them there. Isn't it?