Three of my grandsons are Jack aged 4, William aged 3 and Beau aged 2. Last Saturday morning I was on small boy duty as their mother went off on a Christmas shopping trip.
It was a series of adventures I have to say.
Their mother was ready to leave at 6.30am just as I arrived.
The boys slept and didn’t appear until 7.15.
William, aged 3, had forgotten his mother would be away. He went into his “I want my mum” routine which occupied him until he decided on having breakfast. Small boys are good at whinging for their mothers.
Breakfast was a circus all of its own.
Jack, aged 4, said he’d like pancakes and got out the mini pancake cooker.
I’d never seen one before. I hunted around in the pantry and found some pancake mix, you know the sort, add water and away you go. I asked myself how hard can this be?
I poured the pancake mix onto the cooker. The first few tries resulted in pancake mix going everywhere but, hey I was learning. Then I had to figure out how to turn them over, easier said than done.
I looked at the initial small round mini pancakes cooking quietly and discovered that when I went to turn them they ceased being the beautifully rounded design they were intended to be and instead I had little piles of cooked dough.
Jack said he was hungry and could eat a thousand, oh great!
Eventually I had enough made that looked somewhat like pancakes and after he drowned them in maple syrup he took them away to eat while he watched a DVD.
Beau, aged 2, decided he wanted pancakes too. He is not as particular as his two brothers and didn’t care what shape they are supposed to be or what shape Grandad actually served them up as. So he was happy.
Then Will, aged 3, said he wanted nutra-grain. Being no nutra-grain he decided on Vegemite toast. I cut it up as I thought he’d like only to be told he wanted big squares. After making him another piece he told me he wanted triangle squares, so that was another slice of bread.
I made a mental note to tell his mother to give Will geometry lessons next week.
In the meantime, Beau, aged 2, and a little garbage guts, spies the toast and decides he wants toast too. He doesn’t care what shape it comes in so that was an easy fix.
After a while I went to see how they were going. I discover that Jack, aged 4, has only eaten a few of his pancakes and William, aged 3, had eaten all his toast and now wanted some apple. Of course Beau, aged 2, wanted some as well.
The time was approaching when the boy’s father would arrive to collect them. I am cleaning up in the kitchen when I hear Jack, aged 4, call “Grandad, Grandad.”
Jack is in the toilet, so is Beau, aged 2, who for reasons unknown, just at that moment, is watching his brother. Jack decides to get off the toilet to get a face washer to clean his bottom.
On the way, he drops some of what should be in the toilet on the bathroom mat; Beau, aged 2, steps in it and starts walking it round the bathroom mat.
So I arrive to discover one boy with a dirty bottom and one boy with a dirty foot.
I sit Beau on the sink to clean his foot with one washer, Jack is trying to clean himself VERY unsuccessfully.
I look at Jack and say you better get in the shower and get cleaned up. I send the now cleaned Beau out of the bathroom, run the shower for Jack and get him under it. Then followed by Beau I pick up the bath mat and take it outside.
I grab the hose and start cleaning the mat, then hang it on the clothes line, turn up the water pressure and wash it down some more being careful not to wet Beau who is more interested in Jack’s poo than he should be.
I leave the mat to dry on the line and I take Beau inside. I get Jack out of the shower and send him to get dressed saying his dad will be here any minute.
Jack, thankfully, does find clothes and gets ready.
The boys waiting for their father to arrive, decide to engage Grandad in a spirited wrestle having watched the teenage mutant ninja turtle movie and of course, in the push, shove and tickle of the encounter Will, aged 3, gets bumped on the nose and is soon in tears.
Just as Will is about to descend into a state of hysteria, his dad arrives. I breathe a sigh relief.
I see them off wondering how it was that at one stage of my life, I too had a tribe of small children and how did I cope? But as a good friend has since said to me, it’s why the rearing of children is left to much younger people than us.