Thursday, January 08, 2009

How much fun can you have in 53 minutes

I hate getting home so late that one or both of the kids is in bed and asleep. For that reason it is rare that it happens. I take it as a sign that my life is out of balance if I don't see the kids for a while before they go to bed.

At the moment I am starting work by 7.30am, so I certainly should be home to see them. But today was a long day and I got home at 7.07pm. Although Oliver should be in bed by 7.30pm (hah, yeah right) it tends to be closer to 8pm, which I treat as the "must be in bed" time, to give Hayley and I a chance to see each other at the end of the day.

So that gave me 53 minutes in which to have fun with my babies! They were in the bath when I got home. As Hayley told me about her day (complete with threatening road-rager who she called 999 about!), Oliver and Lucy sat in the bath. Oliver decided it would be funny to fill the toy tea-pot with bath water and pour it over Lucy's head. Lucy seemed amused at first but tired of this game more quickly than Oliver who would have continued at length had I not persuaded him not to.

Then I got him out of the bath. My hands were still freezing from the drive home so as I lifted hime out of the bath he whooped and giggled saying "Oooo your hands are cold!", then encouraged me to keep prodding him with them.

Into the bedroom where he lay on the bed playing my ukelele while I tried to dry him. Then he stood up and carried on, by now singing a song I'd never heard before. "Did you make that song up Oliver?" I asked. "Yes I did", he beamed and danced about singing. "At nursery." Then he told me he was playing Rock and Roll. He has picked up on this from watching the Wiggles. Last night while we watched some YouTube footage of The Ramones in concert, he told me "this is rock and roll isn't it Daddy". I was quite surprised.

Back to tonight, when he also told Hayley "you're a silly billy". Where has that come from!

As I dried him he sang Blitzkrieg Bop. He doesn't know the words, just the sounds, but it was so funny to hear. There was my 3 year old son, enjoying the music of The Ramones as much as me. How cool is that!

Then, before I could get his pyjamas on him, he made what is becoming a nightly beeline to get under the covers of my bed. We then have a ritual. I have to pull the sheet back, then straighten up rather more slowly than necessary so that by the time I reach down to pick him up he has pulled the covers over him again, just as I reach down to grab him, ending up instead with a handful of duvet. This has him in stitches.

After a few repetitions of this, I duck under the covers and tickle his thighs. THis has him laughing so hard he almost runs out of breath (though I never let that happen!), leaving him with his face in one big, open-mouthed, silent laugh. Then he begs me to stop, before regaining his breath after 3 seconds and imploring me "again!"

After a few minutes of this we got him into his pyjamas. By now, Lucy, who was in the charge of Hayley (or was Lucy in charge of Hayley), was ready for her milk in her room, so she bid us each goodnight with a kiss.

Oliver and I then headed off to his room where we have always sat on his futon sofa bed to read a story. But that went to the charity shop today in readiness to make room for his bed, so we sat on his old foam mattress. We read three stories from "Stories Jesus Told" and played with Julien putting him to bed in his box. Then getting him up again. Then putting him to bed. Then... you get the picture.

Finally we headed off to clean his teeth which he did cheerfully and impeccably before there was time for him to play with his pteradactyl and Upsy Daisy as I serenaded him with my ukelele version of Blitzkrieg Bop.

And then it was time for bed.
"I love you" I told him, having noticed Hayley got a rare "I love you" back earlier.

"I love you" he replied. Then "I love you too Julien" as he cuddled up to him.

It turns out you can have lots of fun in 53 minutes.