Monday 19 September 2011

The Play House

This morning I found Iggle Piggle in my knicker drawer. I don’t recall reading that he’s a cross-dresser. Perhaps he was looking for The Tombliboos' trousers.

In the bathroom, my entire collection of candles had been lined up along the edge of the bath, with a single Immac upper lip wax strip balanced carefully on top of each one.

In the garden for most of this summer, approximately 20 plastic clothes pegs (‘Boats’) lay across the decking, each gripping a leaf of varying size (‘Sails’).

This is the work of the little people. And I am not allowed to touch.

I don’t know if it’s just my children, but there seems to be a constant Arrangement of something somewhere, which uses a combination of their toys and my household objects, and which is usually very precisely laid out. There is huge imagination at play here and I am loathed to disrupt or untumble one of these carefully constructed scenarios, just because I really could do with my spatula back. On the one hand I love witnessing the creative expression, the scientific experimentation, the way the inanimate can animate their little, new minds. On the other hand, my OCD tendancies are going into overdrive and I just want to get hold of all the bloody Stuff and put it back into piles and boxes.

It’s when their play area pervades ours that perhaps my tolerance is most tested. Pre-children, I’ve always maintained that the bedroom should be a serene sanctuary – absolutely NO television, stylish décor, scented candles and beautiful bed linen. These days, it’s not unusual to find a plastic pony poking into my back during The Act, or to glance over The Husband’s shoulder to see The Gruffalo peering out at me from under the duvet.

The Husband says that all this chaos makes the house looked lived-in and gives it soul. I am certainly aware that our ‘Beautifully appointed Victorian terrace’ which we bought as DINKs from another couple of DINKs would now be described as a ‘Much loved family home, in need of some attention’. But honestly? I rather like that the chips in the skirting are from where Thomas' wheels hit the edge during a particularly fast race, that the scratches on the leather sofa are from a 'real dinosaur fight' and that the biro swirls by the front door were our daughter’s first drawing.

Perhaps because they serve as little memory nuggets of days already gone by. Days when they are little. Days which we won’t get back. The house bears the scars of their childhood – proudly - and that’s exactly what a family home should do.

And anyway, the plastic takeover that comes to us all does no real harm. Iggle Piggle looked quite content nestled amongst my M&S cotton pants (I’d love to say frilly French lace but The Husband follows this blog and is likely to post a comment exposing me as a bare-faced liar). And you never know, perhaps The Gruffalo even enjoyed his threesome.

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