Having a 6 and 7 year old on the boat for the past week has been an eye-opener for us. When we told friends that Kate (6) and Jack(7) were coming to stay, a few (the ones who had kids mainly) were quite cynical about how we’d cope. I dismissed all such talk as nonsense afterall, at 6 and 7 they are just like little adults right? Wrong! The kids were brilliant; it was us that had to adjust.
I accounted for the kids by buying lots of juice and treats for them and ensuring there was lots of wine on board for Mum who would need to relax. I pictured myself as some sort of fairy godmother type, waftign around dispensing stories, treats and recieving lots of hugs and smiles in return as the kids played quietly and Mum chilled out on deck. Well, by the end of the week, I was less Fairy godmother and more wicked witch of the west. It was the questions you see, that were my undoing in the end, I didn’t realise such little people could ask so so many questions!
Liz (Kate and Jacks mum) tried to help me, she did say that often just saying yes or no was the best way to go. But no, I knew better – I had to explain everything…..for example
kate: AAAnnne, what are you doing?
Me: Pulling the ropes to make the sails go up
me:So we can go sailing and take you to a lovely place?
kate: Why can’t we drive?
me: becuase we are on a sailing boat and sailing is so much better
me: becuase its calm and peaceful and relaxing
kate: Can I have some chips?
me: not now, but how about later
me: when the adults are having their drinks
kate: Aaannne, when will the adults be having their drinks
me: at 5pm
kate: what time is it?
kate: when will it be 5pm
kate: what time is it now?
And on and on until at 2:05pm kate got her chips and I had a little lie down. Towards the end of the week, I snapped, I couldn’t take it anymore, the fairy godmother was gone, drowned in a sea of explanations and the conversation went more like:
Kate and Jack: AAAAnnne, what are you doing?
Kate and Jack: Why are you doing nothing?
Me: Thats it! NO MORE QUESTIONS! YOU CANNOT ASK ME ANOTHER QUESTION UNTIL AFTER 3PM!!!!
Kate and Jack: aaanne, what time is it? when will it be 3pm? what does pm mean? why can’t we ask questions? how many questions can we ask at 3pm?why are you putting a straw into that bottle of vodka?
Kate and Jack: Mummy….why is anne lying on the floor drinking and talking to herself? Mummy, Anne said a bad word, she said fairy godmother my ass………
Jack and Kate, thank you for being so good on the boat and doing all your jobs and showing me exactly what its like to have kids
Liz and Paul (and all the other parents I know including my own!) – you have my utmost admiration and respect for doing what must be one of the toughest jobs in the world!
Now I’m off for a nice cup of tea and a big lie down!!!!!!!!!