Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A bus ride, caged animals and a twinkle

One of the highlights of my Christmas holidays was the positive remark from an elderly gentleman on a bus.

Let me set the scene....

We had spent 2 days cooped up (and now I have chickens, I know the true meaning of the word 'cooped') at Grandma and Grandad's house. The boys were becoming as violent as battery hens needing escape. They had been filled with chocolate and sweets and had nowhere to run off their excessive energy. Caging them, fuelling them and attempting to maintain good behaviour was an impossibility. On top of all that we were sharing a room with a coughing, sleepless Jonah who had spent the morning howling. Jared had gone to work at a National Trust property for the day, leaving me to hold the very wobbly fort. I was tired, worn down and felt like the worst mother in the world.

Carless, I couldn't take them to run off steam in our usual countryside manner so I decided to take them on the bus to the nearest town and go to the big yellow M for lunch. Anywhere was better than being indoors again all day trying not to knock over Grandma's precious ornaments as the boys were physically climbing the walls....or so I thought....

A bus journey is a novelty for my boys so they were very excited. Clambering straight to the top of the double decker, they noisily exhibited their enthusiasm and plonked themselves right at the front. The bus quickly filled up with the usual village bus journey clientele. Thankfully oblivious to the disapproval, Max and Jonah continued in their noise. Toby, playing the embarrassed pre-teen older brother, stared out of the window sighing loudly and pretending he didn't know them (of course, he NEVER did anything of the sort when he was younger). Squirming in his frenzy, Jonah put his wet shoes on his seat.

I was so tired. I looked at him, not expecting obedience of any kind but knowing I had to address the wet shoes on seat scenario, and wearily requested him to take his shoes off the seat.

To my utter amazement, he just did it. I didn't even have to ask him twice. I, of course, pretended this was a regular occurence and just said "Well done" to him.

The elderly gentleman sitting behind Jonah looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, "It's lovely to see children doing as they are told for a change."

My eyes welled up and I restrained myself from kssing him, throwing myself into his arms and sobbing on his shoulder or explaining to him that actually my boys were the most disobedient boys on the planet and listing to him all their misdemeanours. Instead I simply thanked him.

It made my week. I am usually the object of disapproving looks, tuts, quiet murmurings and even loud comments from (usually elderly women, but not always) people who have forgotten what life is like with energetic children so this was a moment to be treasured and celebrated. Perhaps, on the odd occasion, my training does work.

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