It wasn't a dark and stormy night; I could say "It was a light and quiet afternoon", if it wasn't for the fact that there were no fewer than seven children crowded into my dining room. My poor unsocialised homeschooler had two neighbours' boys visiting, and we had two other friends of his at our place while their mum ran errands. With the addition of my three, the house was filled with the happy sounds of children involved in glue gun constructions. Also with the obligatory soundtrack of "Pffffffeeeeeee-BOOM! POW-POW-POW!" and "XANDER! Use your inside voice, please!"
Then silence fell. All ears perked; all heads turned to the window. "Is that... Mr Whippy?"
"Uh... I don't hear anything. Couldn't possibly be Mr Whippy."
It came again, the dreaded tinkly sounds of Greensleeves. "It IS Mr Whippy!"
"You know he only plays music when he's out of ice-cream." This is a fib which has stood me in great money-saving stead in past. Unfortunately the neighbours' boys are older and are wise in the ways of wiliness.
Honestly, I wish we were in the financial position to be able to buy them all an ice-cream, but seven times Mr Whippy prices is a bit much. With the twins crying and several kids looking hopeful, I had to make it clear that there would be no polar-bear poo today.
So the neighbours' boys ran back to their respective houses. They both came back with ice-cream cash and offered to buy one for Xander, but with twins and guests, it wouldn't have been fair to say "yes" just for him. thanked them, but said no.
Mr Whippy thoughtfully parked directly outside our house. The twins watched with their faces pressed against the window, leaving smeary droolprints behind. The boys came back to play with ice-cream cones in hand. Over tantruming two-year-old twins, I asked them to sit out of sight on the steps until they'd finished.
Thankfully some distraction worked, and peace was restored by the time the boys reappeared sans ice-cream. Some terrific cooperative play between all seven of them led to an intricate car track ("That's the toxic acid... that's the dreadfully dangerous toxic acid... that's a pool of sharks..."). They then moved on to the ever-popular game of "roll the dump trucks down the ramp", but with the clever addition of a box and a kickboard for a ramp, it became a spectacular stunt-a-thon. The best variation was a bucket full of balls on top of the ramp.
It was lovely to see kids working so beautifully together, especially considering that there was an eight-year age range. They took turns without squabbles; the youngest two were included, and everyone had fun. They are a terrific bunch of kids and the whole afternoon would have been a wonderful success.
If it wasn't for that meddling Mr Whippy.
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