A few days ago Mo announced that he had an appointment in Gansbaai this morning. Since it is a two-hour drive to the little town, he thought we could all tag along- pack a picnic basket and the kids' bathing costumes- and make a day of it.
But it was not to be. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had been unable to accompany him, which meant that I spent all day home alone with the kids. But I was not as perturbed at the thought as one might have expected- the two and a half hour drive to Gansbaai with Aisha screaming in her car seat had been a far more daunting prospect.
If I had been at all concerned about how to keep them entertained for the entire day, I needn't have been.
My four kids love water. Give them access to water (whether in the form of a swimming pool, beach, dam, pond or puddle), and they are able to keep themselves busy for hours on end.
Since we do not have a built in swimming pool, their father bought them a 4m (diameter) x 1m (height) plastic pool last year. It was heaven (for me). Apart from the perpetually wet floors covered in wet towels, the fact that they were always happily entertaining themselves (and then-one year old Aisha) worked out very well for me.
But since Mo had, by the time he left this morning, not had the opportunity to set up the pool, which takes an eternity to fill with water, the kids had to find another way to cool down. I had faith in them- I was certain that they'd find some or other water source to keep them happy.
And soon their shrieks of delight could be heard, along with the sound of splashing water. Just to be sure that they weren't cooling off in drain water, I went out to check and found all four of them splashing about in two-year old Aisha's tiny little splash pool.
Believe it or not, that kept them busy for the entire afternoon.
We had a little lunch picnic in the back garden. Since Mo was not home, my healthy eating regime could be enforced unopposed. Lunch consisted of grilled chicken and potatoes, accompanied by a mixed vegetable and summer fruit salad. Had Mo been home, he would have insisted upon additional carbs in the form of garlic bread, rice or a french loaf.
My response to their question, "What's for dessert?" was met with howls of laughter when I told them that I would be serving them an assortment of sliced fruit.
Later after they had all bathed, there were still complaints about the heat. Since I had expressly forbidden them from re-entering Aisha's little splash pool, I should not have been surprised when I found them splashing about in the pond/water feature in the front garden.
Now at 20:20 in the evening, after having reached a negotiated settlement- they are once again being allowed to play in Aisha's splash pool (despite my earlier prohibition)- but are only allowed to wet their feet. The negotiations had started with them proposing the waist-high submergence of their bodies in the water, so with the finally-agreed-upon foot-wetting, I'd say I had fared pretty well in the negotiations, wouldn't you?