The trouble with holidays is that they are just so exhausting.
Without the bribery of ‘electronics’ time, we fail miserably in the ‘discipline’ and ‘routine’ departments. Even when we ignore the issue of jet lag, they’re still up and buzzing about until gone 11 every night.
“Go to sleep and tomorrow we shall have a treat!” just doesn’t cut the mustard.
“Go to sleep and then tomorrow you can rot your teeth on candy,” is no sweetner.
“Go to sleep and we’ll go to the beach tomorrow / have a day trip / insert any other enticement you can think of!” fails to meet the mark.
Sadly they need no electronic assistance to ping them out of bed just before six every morning.
I drag them to the beach for an educational extravaganza. I’ve given up saying ‘it will be FUN,’ as I appear to be in the minority. My daughter was quite keen initially until the weather took a turn for the worse. The boys are both aghast and horrified.
We pass the Life Guards setting up their site on the edge of the beach as we pick our way over the rocks.
“Whatawe gonna do if we catch one?” she asks with a hint of caution.
“We’ll look at it for a while and then we’ll pop them back in the rockpool.”
“Can we take em home?” she pleads.
“Well…..maybe for a few hours but then we’ll have to bring them back to the beach.”
“It’s just I heard you talkin to Dad about crab sandwiches. You’re not really gonna eat em are you?”
“Eat crabs! Dat is insanity!” he bellows. “England is evil!”
“Put a sock innit why dontcha!” she announces in her best American accent.
It appears that everyone is picking up the vernacular. It sets him off in a vortex,
“Sock? Wot sock? I am not be have dah sock. Wot sock!”
“Oh dear. Nevermind socks dear. Lets concentrate on crabs for the moment.”
“Crabs not socks?”
“You are eat dah socks?’
“No, not socks nor crabs, anyway these, will be too small.”
“Good!” sighs my daughter, grateful for the pause. “Come on guys it’ll be fun,” she calls encouragingly. She looks at me. I look at her. She grins, “well maybe for us huh!” she adds conspiratorially.
So wise yet so young.
They boys generally lack enthusiasm for "new" experiences and this time is no different. “We used to do this when we were little too, but we used hooks,” I offer forgetting the trigger of anything that could remotely be described as a deadly weapon.
“Hooks!” he shrieks in anguish, “England is evil!”
“But not these ones. These ones don’t have hooks. They won’t hurt the crabs.”
I stuff luncheon meat into one of the tiny net bags and demonstrate my dangling skills amongst the crashing waves. “That’s never gonna work mom, you shoulda got the ones with the hooks.”
“Of course it will work, we just need a little patience.” My sons hold a bucket in one hand and a reel of cord in the other with expressions of those condemned on death row.
I pull up the string gingerly. I am flabbergasted to see a crab on the other end. “Quick pass me the bucket!” To my utter amazement two buckets are hurled at my personage. A lightening speed reaction. Horray! My daughter passes her across too.
We all peer in the bucket. Joint attention! Horray!
“Ooo he is a little gorgeous one,” squeaks my youngest.
“He ain’t little,” commands the middle one.
“He’s a girl,” demands my daughter. “Mom, how dya know if they’re girls or boys?”
“He no crab! Wot is it wiv five legs?”
“I am luv my new friend. We can take him America?”
“England is evil!”
I demonstrate, rather ineptly, how to pick up a crab without being pinched. I exist in a vortex of squeals of delight as the crab demonstrates waggling.
“He is dah cutest guy!”
“He is more gorgeouser dan my rock. I think.”
“What do you think dear?”
“Maybe I am liking England a lil bit.”
“Oh good! At last! About time Sunny Jim!”
“I am like free pet crabs and free rocks.”
His big brother looks across at him. Do I detect mischief? A tease or a prompt or both, I'll never know as he mutters, “America! Land of dah Free!” But it works, “ENGLAND IS EVIL!” he bellows to the surprise of Life Guards, up wind 50 yards away.
3 hours ago