The great thaw



We had one final bout of snow madness on Friday night – daughter two ran into the garden with DVD cases taped to her bare feet and ran around for 10 minutes, as you do – before the thaw set in, at least where we are. Only son had a party planned for 10.30am on Saturday. I wasn’t sure if the car would move and I was feeling slightly sluggish after starting the night with only son sandwiched in the middle of our bed, being joined by daughter three halfway, decamping to daughter three’s bed, then being joined by daughter three at around 4am who stole all the covers. The party was a half hour’s drive away at a trampoline park. I’ve been twice before and it’s usually been fairly empty. The place was rammed. Desperate parents who had been stuck indoors for days were lining up to let their kids bounce out all of their pent-out energy.

On the way we stopped to pick up only son’s best friend. Only son is often more parental than his parents. He informed his friend’s mum that his friend had used a swear word recently. “I took him to one side and asked him if he knew what it meant,” said only son very seriously. “He said he didn’t so I told him to stick to words he knows in future.” Only son has recently taken on the role of moral guardian in our house. I think it’s a reaction to being regularly subjected to his two vegan sisters regularly sighing deeply whenever he supposedly makes the wrong food choice. In any event, only son’s friend wasn’t listening. He was too busy trying to shoot all the cars we were passing with a stick.

By Saturday night we were being subjected to a Timothee Chalamet-a-thon by daughter one. Daughter two was in a corner burning wax in a fondu bowl thing. “What is she doing?” my partner asked in passing. “She’s melting the wax so she can pour it into a small bottle and then she’s going to let it dry and throw it out of her window so she creates a bottle-shaped candle,” I said. “Ahh,” said my partner. Daughter three was sketching noses. Only son was cuddled up with a giant Tigger. “For my birthday,” he said, “I don’t want you to invite Spiderman this year, mum,” he started. Spiderman has attended for the last two years. “When I was a baby I liked Peppa Pig, then I liked Marvel and Spiderman, but now I’m old and I like dubstep,” he announced. There was a long silence. Daughter two, aka Spiderman, looked slightly deflated.

“Back to school on Monday,” I said. Everyone groaned. I had tried to get people to do homework on the snow days. Only son had protested vehemently that he was not interested in his pirate project at all and preferred to watch purple-haired guy play video games on Youtube. “How can you be more interested in purple-haired guy than the actual world around you?” I said. I threw in a reference to David Attenborough for good measure. I’ve been trying to convert only son to David Attenborough for months. “David Attenborough opens up the whole world to you. The world is so interesting, but you are just sitting there and not being in the world. You might as well not be living.” Or words to that effect. Only son flashed me a look of abject hurt and ran for his bed and his teddy bears. “You want me dead,” he sobbed. You what? There then followed a long chat which resulted in a compromise – only son would draw Blackbeard and write a bit about him in return for watching the Muppets Treasure Island which he described as the perfect film for learning about pirates. The David Attenborough battle continues…

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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