Go Girls!

Saturday 6 July 2019

Small Boy and I have had the house to ourselves this week, but this weekend, both girls are back and we listen with great pride and awe to all that they have accomplished.

Last night, my eldest got back from her final Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition. She has walked for miles and miles, she is low on sleep, she has more Compeed than flesh visible on her feet, her bones and muscles ache and cramp, one toe is horribly swollen and …..she is starving. She is craving comfort food and we feed her pizza and garlic bread which she devours ravenously. Then it’s iboprufen, hot water bottles and bed. She is visibly tearful with the pain, and that only makes me feel prouder because I can see what a tough ordeal it must have been. But tough or not, my girl has done it – she is bloomin’ amazing!

Prom-dress daughter bursts through the door this afternoon. She has returned from a week of work experience in an Architecture firm ‘down south’. She is buzzing, with tales of 3D software packages, architectural research, trips to ‘the site’, hard hats and full high vis …and above all the fact that, shy as she is, she has done this. Yes she has pressed that button, announced her arrival, introduced herself in the Open Plan Office, accepted offers to go out for lunch and even presented her final ‘house design’ to her supervisors. What an amazing experience and what a brilliant boost to Prom-dress daughter’s confidence. I am over the moon for her!

Small Boy has planned a basket ball tournament to celebrate their return, and I can tell that the girls are glad to be home because they actually agree. Basketball is so much more fun with four than two! My muscles ache now, but it’s mostly with laughter and only the occasional bruise – this is family play after all, not always fair, but fiercely aggressive. Small Boy’s team, inevitably, triumph but there are no losers here today. Today all my brilliant kids are clearly winners and it’s lovely to be a family of four again.

Slam dunk!

Thursday 21 February 2019

One definite advantage of single parenting is that you are always learning new skills. This week it was assembling a basket ball stand…

Small Boy ordered the stand in question with his birthday money, and it is delivered at the start of the week. It’s quite a large parcel to arrive in a house already coping with decorators. By the end of Tuesday, we all bear the scars of at least one encounter with a sticky doorway and Small Boy holds the record, with gloss paint on his feet, his arm and his bum! In addition, we have the daily challenge of rehousing the contents of whichever room the decorators next plan to whip back into shape with their rollers and brushes. In the middle of this interior upheaval, it seems perfectly sensible to ask Small Boy to wait until Friday for his hoop to be built.

Friday is going to be dry‘ I reason, ‘We shall be able to put it all together outside‘ 

Small Boy however is a third child, and he has learned to ignore parental procrastination if he ever wants to get anything done. And so it is that I return home on Tuesday night, from top night out of cocktails and catching-up , to find not only the entire contents of the lounge in my kitchen but also a semi-assembled basketball stand!

I decide to bow to the inevitable. Next morning, with two of us on the job, we make quick work of the allen keys, nuts and bolts and presently the only job remaining is sand, to weigh down the base. I head out to Wickes on this seemingly simple mission but soon find myself gazing in bewilderment at an unfathomable array of choices for our ballast. Who knew that there were such things as ‘sharp sand’, ‘tarmac sand’,  ‘flagging sand’ , ‘yellow’ and  ‘grey’ and ‘silver’ sand  in this world? Thankfully, a very helpful woman points me towards the ‘Building Sand’ shelf and I am soon staggering back to my car with two 25kg bags clearly up to the task of ensuring that our basket ball stand, once filled, will never move again!

Back home, despite the grey gloom and drizzle, Small Boy and I wheel the stand outside and now face a whole new challenge. How on earth do we get 50kg of heavy wet sand into the tiny aperture available on the plastic base? Small Boy is an inventive child and fashions a few funnels out of paper and card but none of them are a match for the sand and eventually we are just scooping the stuff up with an old kitchen jug and ramming it through the hole. Our hands and clothes are covered in soggy red sand, we see the decorators chortling away from an upstairs window and we thank the Lord that next doors’ builders had finished their tea break before we began. We brave it out, as a team, to the very end. Triumphantly we wheel the completed stand into place and high five with gritty hands and grubby grins. 

Not the prettiest of jobs but we did get the job done and it feels great.  As Small Boy happily heads out for a few slam dunks, I do feel like a half decent mum….