I have discovered a new law;
“The amount of effort you put into something is inversely related to the level of appreciation you will get back.”
I have found evidence of this on several occasions:
Experiment: I give the boy a slice of bread with cream cheese and don’t even bother to cut it into fingers
Result: it is devoured with the kind of gusto you normally only see between vampires and virgin’s necks
Experiment: I give the boy a lovingly prepared home-made lasagne, complete with made-from-scratch bechemal & tomato sauce
Result: he looks like I’ve unveiled a steaming pile of turd with crawling in slugs
Despite My Son’s Law being an unbending law of the universe, on one of my precious days off work I decide to do what any woman in my position would do:
“Today, I am going to make the boy a sand pit” I inform the husband.
He looks uncertain.
“Don’t look so uncertain” I tell him. “I’m great at making things.”
He generously declines to mention the ‘flan that shall not be named’ – a former attempt at 1950’s style housewifery that almost ended in divorce.
“Why not just spend quality time with your son, instead?” he hazards. “I’m sure he’ll appreciate that more.”
“I’ll knock it up whilst he’s asleep” I lie. We both know his naps are so short at the moment, you can barely knock up a sandwich in that time.
He rolls his eyes.
“I’m doing this for both of you,” I venture. “He loves sand. Just look at that time we went to Lytham St Annes and he didn’t cry when he saw some. This is going to change your life.”
And in my head, I genuinely believe this. By mortgaging some time with my son in the short term, I think I am giving both him and my beloved husband the gift of unlimited fun in the long-term.
I have visions of unveiling my creation and the boy (hitherto reluctant to use his legs for anything except as a filling for trousers) will rise up and toddle towards it with an excited squeal so heartfelt, so piercing, that the frozen hearts of old embittered men who thought that here could be no joy left in the world, will melt on hearing the glorious sound.
Hubby tells me to go to B&Q. A little more forcefully than I think is necessary.
I wander round the store looking every inch the professional DIYer. Tape measure in one hand. Hand-drawn sand pit diagram in the other. Small bookies pencil tucked behind the ear.
“You look like you need some help” an assistant ventures.
“All under control” I tell them.
I wander round the store some more.
I can’t find the timber. Or screws. Or tarpaulin.
I go back and ask the assistant for some help.
Eventually I have acquired the requisite materials with which to complete the task, only to receive a text message informing me my son is awake.
I mean, brilliant. I love it when my son’s awake.
I return home.
This is the bit where, if this was a proper or useful blog, I would give you precise instructions on how to make a sand pit.
Instead you’re just going to get a written ‘montage’ of my efforts, which you have to imagine in the style of the welding scene out of Flashdance, but with fewer legwarmers and porno overtones:
I use a jigsaw to cut the timber whilst wearing a massive pair of plastic glasses that cut a bloody ridge into my nose / I get all sweaty and rub the hair from my brow without realizing I have smeared mud all over my face / I have an argument with the husband over the size of the sand pit in which I tell him about all the friends Edgar is going to have over for sand pit parties / I think that I have put everything away in the tool box (which lives under a pile of shit and takes aaaages to get out) only to find a f*cking spirit level on the side and I almost combust with anger…..
That last one was in slo-mo. Obviously.
Anyway, finally several weeks of snatched moments have passed and I have made the ultimate sand pit.
By which I mean I have managed to fashion something looking enough like a box lined with sand for next door’s cat to want to take a shit in it.
I also have a lid. That doesn’t fit. But that’s okay because, dear doubting husband, you can make sandcastles more easily in wet sand. So chill your boots.
Eventually we have the grand reveal. We lead (drag) the boy outside and remove the top with a flourish. Ta daaaaaaa.
He looks nonplussed.
I demonstrate the superiority of the wet sand at making sandcastles.
He continues to look nonplussed.
I climb inside and start dancing excitedly.
He takes looking nonplussed to new and hitherto unknown dimensions.
The husband, by contrast, is beside himself with being right.
I climb out of the sand pit and kick a small stone in frustration.
The boy spots the stone and wets himself with excitement.
I give up and let the neighbour’s cat take a shit in the sand pit.
At least someone around here appreciates my efforts.
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