We've just come to the end of ten wonderful days of having my parents staying at the house. Of course, it's been great for me to see my parents and spend time with them, not to mention the fact that they literally do everything for me while they are here! I haven't had to cook a meal, make a brew or get up at crack-of-dawn-o-clock with the boys for over a week!
Honestly, though, I think it's even better for the boys than it is for me. With more doting adults around the place, there are plenty of knees for everybody, and somebody to dole out love and attention every hour of every day. All the stories, talk, songs and games have really brought the boys along and they've learned new things that I wouldn't normally have had time to do with them. With the best will in the world, I just can't always give them the time they want - it would be nice to spend the whole afternoon endlessly drawing fish, birds and trains on the etch-a-sketch only to have them instantly erased, but sometimes I just have to do the laundry or make the tea or some other humdrum necessity.
Even better, with an adult to child ratio of 3:2, we've been able to let the boys out of the pram to run freely far more than I ever can when I'm alone with them. It's simply impossible to keep tabs on two toddlers who tend not to come when called. They do seem to be intent on running away in different directions!
But with two extra pairs of hands, we've been able to go to the park twice and to the seaside where the boys have had no end of fun running all over the beach and climbing down into the holes we dug in the sand for them. They've probably had more exercise in this last week than they have had in the last month!
This is why social services lay such an emphasis on support network when they consider an application to become a foster carer. Yes, as a single carer I can love them, care for them and provide them with a safe home and plenty of interaction and stimulation, but for those wonderfully necessary extras, it's always good to have a few extra pairs of hands around the place!