This summer holiday has been very busy and there are still another three weeks until the school term starts and four weeks until they, God willing, start full time.
I had planned to take them out to various places, however, things haven't gone to plan. Two weeks ago I had been looking after my two year old nephew and I wasn't about to go out and about with three 3 year olds (as they were at the time) and a 2 year old who thinks he's a little B'boy, bopping around the flat. We managed to go to the park a few times, but travelling anywhere requiring a bus was a no no.
This week I'm looking after the tripolatas' friend, who turns five in three months. Being surrounded by all these children for weeks on end (not counting the four years since the trips were born) is enough to send anyone doolally. To keep my sanity I have devised a few things to help me get through the day. Before you read on, this is not a list of cute craft ideas to keep the children entertained or child friendly backyard activities (we don't have a garden). You may not agree with all of them, but this is what works for me.
1. Have a stash of goodies: Before your house is overrun by children you should have a stash of treats hidden away. These treats are JUST FOR YOU, so hide them well. Mine used to be hidden in one of the kitchen cupboards, but a certain visitor would always find them and hand them out to the tripolatas even when I'd say they were MINE. I won't say were they are now (Mr U doesn't even know they exist). These treats can be anything from chocolates and sweets to dried fruit and nuts, whatever takes your fancy.
2. Know when their favourite programmes are on: I know, I know, we're not supposed to sit children in front of the TV. I'm not saying to have them glued to the thing, just know when their favourite shows are on that way they get a bit of entertainment and you're free to cook, clean or make a withdrawal from your secret stash.
3. Keep the devices charged up: Most people have some sort of mobile device, and most children know how to use them better than a lot of adults. So give them a bit of tablet/smart phone time, there are a ton of apps and sites that will keep them occupied. For some strange reason the tripolatas have become obsessed with watching You Tube videos of people opening Kinder Eggs, especially tripolata #2. Whilst they're improving their techie skills, kick back and watch one of your programmes, read a book or make a withdrawal from your secret stash.
4. Ignore them: This should only be for a minute or two, when they're in the middle of some serious rough play and you don't have the energy to tell them that someone is going to hurt themselves. Or during those 'S/He did this or that' moments. Just don't say anything to them or simply nod your head and say 'Ok', take a moment to breath, gather yourself, and make a withdrawal from your secret stash.
5. Have toilet breaks: Even if you don't need to go, this is a great place to get away. Close the door, if the little ones come knocking (so long as it's nothing serious) tell them you'll be out soon. Then take a bite of your secret stash.
Now these may not work for everyone all the time, but even if they don't, your secret stash will help see you through the day.
Just in case a any of you are wondering what has taken place in each of the pictures, here is a run through:
The main picture is of my poor peace lilly, after days of pulling the flowers out, they tried to do him in by knocking him on the floor. I was getting dressed and returned to the living to find him on the floor, thankfully he is still alive though after one year I'm yet to see any more flowers.
From top to bottom:
In our former house, I had cleaned up the dining room and then left to do something in another room. I came back to find that they had got hold of some toilet roll and ripped it to shreds. They also knocked over their high chairs, I of course made them clean it up.
Not long after moving into our new flat, the tripolatas decided to rearrange the funiture. Again I made THEM put everything back.
One evening I heard a lot of commotion coming from the landing, I walked out to find almost all their toys at the bottom of the stairs, blocking the front door.
This is our TV stand, tripolata #2 (I believe) attempted to sit on it.
What do you do to survive days surrounded by children?