Perspective, in the answers to questions like these will often yield an interesting contrast of opinions. There’s the parents opinion which is absolutely irrelevant and of no consequence whatsoever and then there’s of course the children’s. In this piece, I present only my two bits and will pretend my opinion matters.
Those of us who have small children will usually be jarred awake from that recurring utopian dream where you have no kids and that the weekend ahead is to do with whatever you please. It will often be the younger one priming the cockerel to announce the coming of dawn with that oh-so-familiar screech.
Thus my day begins. I pick up the screaming bundle of joy and stagger into the kitchen looking for the bottle of milk that will plug the daily distress call the child sends across to my very understanding neighbours. It works wonders and soon that smile that I love so much is beaming at me and my nerves begin to calm, bringing my body back from red-alert status to more manageable adrenalin levels. This moment of tranquillity as the sun rises is only broken by the bubbling sounds of smelly release from my diapered descendant.
Meanwhile, on the other side of my world, a separate battle is being waged. The second banshee has arisen and has immediately escalated events into running battles between himself and my fellow inmate. Skirmishes involving cereal and underwear happen across the previously sedate vista while I clean off the incredible happenings in number two’s nappy.
“Good morning”, she manages as she chases him brandishing a toothbrush.
When the sun finally clears the horizon, we’re seated sipping the first coffee of the day wondering how best to entertain our captors for the next 48 hours. We know full well that we must, once again, show courage and bravery, never flinching at whatever they throw at us and provide a unified front to the unrelenting onslaught that awaits us. I quickly wipe away a tear before my wife spots it. I’ve always admired her for her strength and patience but I can’t help thinking again that she might be fortifying her coffee with something on the sly. Smart lady if she is.
We eventually decide to do what we always do, which is whatever the kids want to do. This wisdom acquired from many days of getting things wrong has also shown us that anything involving dirt and danger will do very well for them. There’s a nice restaurant at the beach in Hout Bay that has a huge sand pit which promises all sorts of peril and adventure and provides just the right mix of thrills to keep them interested for a while.
We set our minds to breakfasting there with the only problem being that it only opens at 10 am and so we have to contain the storm in the house for a few more hours.
The weekend will pass with us trying to direct or contain the inexplicably boundless energies of our charges in all sorts of different places like this. Sometimes we meet up with other parents and let the kids pit themselves against each other for a while. This is always very nice for all involved and I only wish we could do it more often.
To the inexperienced, this might sound like the beginning of a weekend from hell and wonder why anyone would willingly choose a life like this. This smorgasbord of intrigue, smiles, smells, amusement, amazement, bewilderment, laughter, tears, dampness and innocence is of addictive characteristic and though I curse the rising sun every Saturday, I look forward to every weekend with the children.
If you do not have small children of your own, then the best thing to do on Saturday morning is to wake up smiling, give yourself a pat on the back before proceeding to do whatever it is that you like to do. Twice even. But know that you are missing out on what is easily the greatest experience in this life.