It’s happened. Rebellion. After 14 and 12 years respectively my boys have finally realised that I don’t DO housework and have taken it upon themselves to tidy their rooms!
Yesterday, as I lay in bed with Mr Thinly Spread and Bonus Boy, they both appeared at the crack of teenage dawn (9.00, which is VERY early at the weekend for The One Who Is Taller Than Me) looking AWAKE. Mr Thinly Spread and I looked at each other warily, what was going on?
They took Bonus Boy downstairs and fed him breakfast while Mr Thinly Spread and I lay, in shock, in bed. The One Who Is Taller Than Me reappeared with a cup of tea for each of us, shortly followed by Lovely Boy with croissants.
Some rummaging about then commenced and Lovely Boy reappeared at the door to ask if he could use the vacuum cleaner. I nearly lost it then and thought about demanding that the alien creature clearly occupying my son’s body should leave it at once, but I bit my tongue and managed to answer calmly that of course he could and that it was to be found in the understairs cupboard, somewhere.
Mr Thinly Spread could stand this odd behaviour no longer and decided that it was better to be vertical rather than horizontal and sloped off to make more tea.
I lay in bed, alone on a Sunday morning and listened to the distant hum of a vacuum cleaner which was not being pushed by me (I do know how to use it, I just prefer not to too often). I leafed idly through a magazine and made a few ‘to do’ lists in my head.
“Mum, I found Jeffrey the spider in my room.” Lovely Boy stuck his head round the door again.
“Oh, yes?” Jeffrey is a small, inoffensive spider who has lived behind the beading in Lovely Boys’ bedroom for some time and has never caused trouble.
“He seems to have grown, I don’t like the look of him now…he’s really quite big.” I could hear a small note of panic in Lovely Boy’s voice. He is usually a happy spider catcher and can be relied upon to help me out if I am confronted by one.
“Well go and ask Dad to come and get him out if you’re worried”, I offered, cowardly I know.
I could hear them mumbling away below me and then Lovely Boy appeared again. “Dad says he won’t be able to get him if he’s behind the beading…there’s THAT story, you know…” Panic had turned to fear now, both boys had read somewhere at some point in some gruesome book that we all eat one or two spiders in our lifetime while sleeping. No amount of ridiculing this story or talking it through logically has managed to persuade them that it is not true. I knew at this point that Lovely Boy would not sleep while an enlarged Jeffrey was in his room.
“Get a glass to catch it in and poke it out, get The One Who Is Taller Than Me to help you”, he trotted off bravely. I couldn’t concentrate on my magazine now and I certainly wasn’t relaxed. I strained my ears to listen for screams, maternal muscles primed, if necessary, to overcome my fear and leap out to the rescue as they grappled with a tarantula.
There was an eerie silence and then…guffaws of laughter.
They appeared (again), holding their stomachs, doubled over. It transpired, once they had calmed down enough to speak, that the enlarged Jeffrey was in fact a black plastic toy spider which, when poked, had rolled forward in a very un-spidery way. Jeffrey was still small and inoffensive in place behind the beading.
We now have a new method of measuring fear in this family. The boys had constructed a poking stick out of 10cm Knex pieces. They had used seven joined together on this particular occasion. We haven’t worked out yet how many pieces we would have to join together for a “we’re petrified” situation!