Plaiting Fog

Today I have made a concerted effort to get on top of the toys that are creeping into every crevice in the house. I'm aware it's a "painting the Forth Bridge" operation, but I have friends coming over tomorrow and I'd like them to be able to make it to the sofa without having to wade across a floor ankle-deep in plastic detritus.

I started in our living/dining room. It's one of two rooms that the children have pretty much free rein in - I'm thankful to have a separate 'adults-only' lounge which I've recently totally banned the children from after an extensive, unauthorised, felt-tip mural appeared on the wallpaper. The children were playing in the conservatory/playroom so I made good time and was soon standing back, surveying the results of my efforts and mentally congratulating myself.

Birdy came fluttering in to see what I was doing, bumbled about being cute for a moment and then emptied an entire toybox over the floor. Patiently, I returned most of the toys to the box and laid out a manageable few on the rug, hoping she'd occupy herself with those for a while.

Then I turned to the conservatory. This was a much bigger task, mainly because of my bad habit of just closing the door on it every evening and ignoring the carnage in there. Still, I was diligently working my way through it all when I heard ominous sounds from the living room. Birdy had emptied every single book off the bookcase.

'Never mind', I thought brightly to myself, 'I can do that when I've finished in here.' (That's not really what I thought obviously, but this is a family show!) Progress resumed and eventually the conservatory floor was clear enough to actually run the hoover over it. A great moment indeed!

I went to put the books back on the shelf, even resisting the urge to just shove them on haphazardly. About half way through I heard an almighty crash from the conservatory. Birdy had climbed on a stool, then onto a table, reached the Lego box and pulled it down, emptying the entire contents over the floor. Half way through scraping up the Lego I heard the unmistakable sound of the toybox being emptied again.

At this point I decided it was probably everyone's bedtime.

I often use the phrase, "It's like plaiting fog." It relates to many parenting moments - all those times when you just think you're getting somewhere and then it all dissolves right before your eyes. We've had a week of it since we returned from our camping holiday. I won't relate all the details here because OB is a sweet boy and I love him and he doesn't need his dirty laundry washing in public, but this week he has seemed intent on leading us from crisis to crisis and, just when I think I have a handle on one thing, something else comes tumbling down. It tires us both out, and it keeps me perpetually on the back foot, responding, reacting, fire-fighting.

But, there is a bedtime at the end of every day, and each new morning is a chance to start again, try again. That was this week. Next week might be completely different. We keep on keeping on.


  1. Plaiting fog and herding cats are two phrases I use very often here (in my head.) Found my little one in the bath in my wellies earlier as I was trying to make tea!

    1. Yes! Herding cats is another favourite of mine too!

  2. And it's all well and good suggesting they put away what they've finished with before getting something different out. May as well talk to the wall.

  3. I love your expression of plaiting fog! It captures the frustration I often feel - perfectly! A few years into life with children and I am still trying to adjust to the ever present mess!!! It never ceases to amaze me as to where the lego ends up!!!


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