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Married with children

Seona Smiles
Sunday, February 25, 2018

YOU'VE heard the phrase "married with children".

It's a whole lifestyle I sometimes think is best illustrated by a parent sitting wild eyed with a cup of strong coffee, hands shaking so hard the cup is clinking on the saucer, while trying to ignore a strong whining sound made by high pitched little voices.

"With children" can apply to many activities.

Last week, for instance, I was ill with children. Actually it was the flu again, but the grandchildren were, shall we say, present.

Lying on my bed of misery with my eyes shut in the hope of sleeping through the worst of it, I became aware of heavy breathing — which turned out not to be my bronchials in deep trouble.

Five-year-old Tufaan Taylor, the Hurricane of Flagstaff, was peering at me from millimetres away, helping me raise my eyelids with her fingers.

"We thought you might be dead," she and her little brother, the Hound of Cullen aka the Fiend of Flagstaff aka Batman, claimed.

They spent the day "helping" me eat my tea and toast and getting me some nice biscuits that they tested were safe for sick people, and entertaining me with the road safety song, the counting song and how to stand on your head in bed.

It worked. I was up and about again the next day, rather than spend any more time ill with children.

That meant I was ready to get them ready and run them hither and thither for their various activities. They have more engagements than a minor British royal.

They do swimming, which I recollect as requiring a bathing suit and a towel, plus flip flops if you are going formal, and enough money for the pool admission fee.

Not swimming with children, that takes multiple large bags, enough drinking water to cross a desert, several changes of clothing including shorts and a tutu, and snacks in case they become feeble with hunger during the next 40 minutes.

So: okay, get your bathing suit on. What's wrong with this one? Why don't you like it? All right, get the one with the stars on it. Where is it? Well where did you put it when you took it off yesterday? Just wear the blue one for today. No it's not too small/big/stupid looking. Just get it on and stop crying.

Yes, if you want to you can take your Superwoman backpack to carry your towel. This towel. Because I don't know where the Moana one is, probably in the wash.

All right, I'll find it if you must have a towel with a hood. They didn't have towels like that when I was young, you just dried yourself. With a hanky, or stood around in the sun and steamed.

Of course I know you need sunscreen, I'm a hideous example of what happens to people's skin if they don't use sunscreen and coconut oil from birth. They just didn't have it when I was little. Stop poking my freckles and go out the door without letting in the d…..

Never mind, I'll get her out before we go. Just put your shoes on.

No, not those shoes, they are ballet shoes and quite unsuitable for the swimming pool. They will get all soggy. Flip flops would be good.

Not those ones, they belong to your brother, that's why they don't fit. Wear the pink ones. Neither do I like pink, but nobody will notice on the short walk between car and pool. Okay, okay, the blue ones. They should be on the shoe rack outside the door, if you would only go outside.

Has anyone seen the other blue flip flop? Make the dog give it back, then. She's under the sofa.

No, no, other foot. The left foot. Pass me the marker pen — see, the foot with L on it is left, the flip flop with L on it is left — match them up. Good.

The other one; the only one remaining from a pair of blue flip flops, is therefore the right one for the right foot.

No, L is for left. When I said that's right I meant left is correct … never mind, just get in the car.

Stop fighting about who sits in the middle, pick a side and belt up. I can help you. No, I did not put it around your neck on purpose, you must have moved your head.

Here we are at the pool, everybody out, bringing your bags with you. I know they're heavy, I get to carry them all the time. I'll carry them this time too if only you will please, please, please exit the vehicle.

It means get out of the car quick or I'll take you home again now.

Yes, the concrete is hot, where are your shoes? Why did you take them off in the car? Put them back on at once. The one with L on it matches the foot with L on … forget it, just run to the water.

I'll just be sitting here, hoping you don't drown because I'm too exhausted to save anyone.

* The writer is a regular contributor to this column. Views expressed are hers and not of this newspaper.

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