60. Grappling-hook baby

I am not done yet. Last week I made a coffee table by hammering two old pallets together. It went to my head. It fuelled my ambition. I’m making an outdoor dining table, by hammering six old pallets together. I’m still at the crowbar and sledgehammer stage, which is the part I enjoy, and it let me spend a little time with the kids.

Family time with 23thorns

Family time with 23thorns

Not that I gave them a sledgehammer or anything. They took it when I wasn’t looking. But it did give me an opportunity to be with them without engaging with them, apart from having to relieve them of the occasional sledgehammer. It was educational.

We have the classic pigeon pair, except that they are five years apart. This means that they should have absolutely nothing in common, but they seem to have come to terms with this. As I sat quietly filling my hands with chemical-infused spliters, they played a nice, quiet game called “moms and dads”.

Not an ideal game for siblings. Outside of Alabama.

Not an ideal game for siblings. Outside of Alabama.

My ears pricked up immediately. This sort of thing can be a bit alarming. I need not have worried. The game started quietly enough. My five-year-old daughter, hereafter known as “V” emerged from the house carrying a toy baby. So far, so good. “I” she announced, “am a mom!” She turned to her brother, the nine-year-old “B” and, with a certain degree of authority, told him “You are the dad.”

My heart sank. She looked so excited, standing there in her high-heeled shoes and self-applied makeup with her little baby, desperate for a little attention from her big brother, but there was no way. He’s nine. He’s a boy. No way would he play with toy babies. But he surprised me. “Sure”, he said.

Maybe I should get my daughter a different baby.

Maybe I should get my daughter a different baby.

I was a little surprised. I shouldn’t have been. The game began.

“We”, said V, “are waiting in the queue. Let’s look at our shopping list. We need some milk.”

My heart ached for the boy. What a noble sacrifice he was making. Or not.

“Yes”, he said voice rising slightly, “we need milk. And some pistols.”

“Yes!” replied V “And bread. And some food for the dogs. And nappies for the baby.”

“And a grappling hook!” B was working up a head of steam.  “And some hand-grenades! And a power core!”

Sorry, dear. The shop was all out of milk. But I did manage to get that grappling-hook you wanted.

Sorry, dear. The shop was all out of milk. But I did manage to get that grappling-hook you wanted.

I was impressed. They were playing two separate games. Together. It was time to pay. V fished in her handbag for her credit card. B hit the deck. “Baddies!” he shrieked. “Yes”, said V, “It’s time to get in the car and take the baby home.”

They made their way to my Land Rover and climbed in. “I am the driver.” Said V.

“Pilot.” Came the reply.




“The driver of a jet is called a pilot.”

The fuel consumption is breathtaking.

The fuel consumption is breathtaking.

V refused to be thrown. “OK”, she said, “I’m just going to put my baby’s seatbelt on. We have to go home to do baking.”

The doors closed. There was a moment of blessed silence. Then B burst from the back door of the car with a 20 meter length of ski-rope tied to his ankle.

“Aaaaaargh! Help! The baddies are just behind me! Pull me back in! Quick!”

Every single time I've tried this I've been attacked by baddies.

Every single time I’ve tried this I’ve been attacked by baddies.

V was happy to oblige. She appeared at the door and started to haul in the rope.

“Quietly, B.” She said, a picture of calm motherhood. “The baby is sleeping.”

God knows who was flying the plane. B was duly returned to the safety of the cockpit. There was another moment of silence. Then they both emerged from the still airborne plane. The boy fell to the ground, clinging to it for a second like a frightened gecko, before leaping up, imaginary and freshly purchased pistols at the ready, before dashing off round the corner, ankle still tied to the ski-rope.

Parenting rule #1. You can never have enough rope.

Parenting rule #1. You can never have enough rope.

V followed placidly holding the other end of the rope. “It is time”, she said, “for the baby to have her bath.”

I was left in a pool of blessed silence. But it could not last. The corner they had gone around led them straight to their mother, who had been quietly browsing the internet. I seized the opportunity to begin pulling splinters out of my hands with an old pair of pliers. One minute. Two minutes. Ten minutes.

I find DIY very calming. It's a Zen thing.

I find DIY very calming. It’s a Zen thing.

The boy reappeared around the corner, still trailing his ski-rope with his sister attached.

“Aaaaargh! They’ve got a velociraptor! Pass me the grappling-hook”

“Here! But hurry up. The baby’s bath is still cooling down, but it’s nearly ready.”

Parenting rule #2. Bathtime is an easy way to calm your kids down at the end of the day.

Parenting rule #2. Bathtime is an easy way to calm your kids down at the end of the day.

They disappeared around the corner again. One minute. Two minutes. Ten minutes.

The kitchen door burst open. There stood their mother, a picture of icy calm.

“You”, she said, “need to stop playing with your pliers and go and get us some wine.”

Parenting rule #4. 'nuff said.

Parenting rule #4. ’nuff said.


28 thoughts on “60. Grappling-hook baby

  1. albertine says:

    Mid-season form! Hilarious.

  2. narf77 says:

    Steve is back to making spoons and has veered side left into infrared photography and time-lapse photography (wholeheartedly supported by moi thanks to it being a very “non-destructive” hobby…Mrs 23Thorns might want to take note…). He also made me a nice little wooden rack with hooks made from forks twisted into rude finger signs while I was away on a flash visit minding my daughter’s dog, parrot and rat while they absconded to the big island. Note to self…don’t go away again…that “happy family” image had me believing that it was an actual family picture…that lovely lady bears a striking resemblance to Mrs 23Thorns and babies are generic but I only had to look at the male quotient to know that it wasn’t your family…no glasses see…There was a 6 year gap between my eldest (the son-and-heir) and his sister who shall be known as “victim” for the purposes of this illustration. On her second birthday, the son-and-heir, then 8 designed and illustrated a trap to catch her in baited with sweets. He mentioned something about disposing of her “far away so she couldn’t find her way home” after catching her… I knew that my childbearing years were never going to be a straightforward affair after that. Why bother removing the splinters? Where is the sympathy quotient in that Mr23 Thorns? Take a leaf out of Steve’s book and leave them in, develop infections, complain loudly about how painful it is to do the dishes, sweep the floor, get wood for the fire, do ANYTHING (except watch television…and play the guitar…) because of your wounds that you got providing for your family (providing fodder for the wardrobe in the spare room…). It might work for about a day till the novelty wears off but hey, it’s worth a shot. When do we get to see a photo of all of this pallet love by the way? Is Mrs 23Thorns amazing mosaic going to feature on the wall so that we can see that as well? Perhaps there are a few more posts involving artful placement of outdoor furniture (feng shui anyone?) and conflict resolution about who puts what where…could be fun (for us 😉 )

    • 23thorns says:

      Oh ye of little faith! Just another three of these, and a three metre table, and we’ll be sorted for firewood for the rest of the winter.

      • narf77 says:

        I just had to utter my explosive oath under my breath there Mr23 Thorns! What are you trying to do!!! Steve might just stumble over this post and you are doing the African equivalent of “Stirring the possum” with that image! You KNOW that a man can’t have another man produce images of their latest “build” without every single man in the near (and in our case far) vicinity feeling the instant need to “create” in unison! What have you done!!! Forgive my overuse of inverted commas…I am a literary plebeian.

      • 23thorns says:

        Tell him it doesn’t have any raised middle fingers on it (yet. I am inspired). He’ll soon move on feeling smugly superior.

      • narf77 says:

        Hopefully his newfound love of taking 10 second apart shots of stars at night time for hours on end will keep him off the computer long enough for this post to disappear in the flotsum of the sea of blog posts that drift past my inbox every day…

  3. sisteranan says:

    hoo. still laughing… *wipes tears from eyes… thank you

  4. Lyn says:

    You Mr23Thorns, have amazing children! Their imaginations are wonderful. I loved this post. It is without doubt, the best one I’ve read all day. It reminded me of when my son and daughter were 4 and 6 and were being chased by Daleks 🙂

  5. JennyO says:

    Holey hilarious!!! Laughed so hard and the photos… thanks for stopping by my blog, I think I may get another cup of coffee and read a few more of your posts! 😀

  6. Love it! 🙂
    Now hubby is getting very suspicious of my bursts of manic laughter each evening! Lol

  7. kokkieh says:

    A very entertaining post, as always. Tag!  You’re it!

  8. Trapper Gale says:

    I raised five kids… I feel your pain. Or at least their mother does.

  9. Sigh. Our daughter is 4. About that wine…

  10. Miss Molly says:

    As Jane Fonda once said to Donald Sutherland in a completely different circumstance, “I like your mind.” You’ve nailed (pun intended) childhood, parenthood, DIY carpentry and marriage in one hilarious post.

  11. I’m trying hard to convert another follower for you on this one! The fish is on the line, now I just have to reel her in. I laughed harder at this one than at anything else I’ve seen this week…this is exactly how my brother and sister and I were as children, and strangely, my parents’ reactions make SO much more sense now! Then again, we were the children that got locked outside in the summer time for an hour at a time, just to give my mother a little peace and quiet. They were never in any way abusive or neglectful about it, but I hated it as a child–but as an adult, I understand the urge to do that! Now if only I could get the seven-year-old to do my DIY work for me…

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