My children have not benefited from having two fully-engaged parents. Rather, we seem to have raised two “only” children, who expect the undivided attention and praise of at least one adult at all times.
Ter has, for the past two weeks, been working on a project that’s had him out of the house for most of the children’s waking hours, leaving the full burden… um… task of parenting to me.
Yesterday, I bought them two plastic bikes (because Angel won’t tolerate Henry being the only recipient of a toy that she’s essentially too big for), and then I took them to the park to try them out. This was, in hindsight, a mistake. I should have stuck to my original plan of only having fun when Daddy’s home.
It all started to go horribly wrong before I’d even got them into the car. I’ve done my shoulder some kind of injury by heaving around my son, who often doesn’t want to be taken from where he is to where I’m going. I was wrangling him agonisingly into his car seat, expecting Angel to get herself seated in hers (although God knows why I had such an expectation – it’s never happened in the past).
Instead, she decided to sit in the gap between the seats, where the dog is supposed to go. The dog tried also wanted to be there. It’s a small space. She’s not a small dog. Cue screaming and drama. I went around the other side of the car to try and heave Angel out, but by then, a segment of the fairy dress she insists on wearing everywhere had torn away and become entwined around the dog’s back leg.
“Bella, out!” I said, in my most authoritative Barbara Woodhouse voice.
Bella ignored me. She was in the car, the car that goes to the park, and she wasn’t budging. I tried shoving her. She retracted into the car seat, every inch of her barrel-like body adhering itself to the upholstery. Angel was wailing. My shoulder was in agony.
So I got hold of the loop of fabric embedded beneath my dog like a sword in a stone, and gave an almighty yank. At this point I wasn’t aware that it was actually looped around her leg, but the awareness followed fairly quickly as she issued a shrill series of yodelling yelps, and her hindquarters lifted away from the seat.
Fortunately, this had the desired effect of convincing her that perhaps she should move, for fear of being subjected to further pain and indignity, so she jumped out of the car. This left me with Angel, upset by the rending of her precious garment, to deal with.
I promised her we’d fix it, buckled her in, and then told Bella to get back in the car. She was very relieved that she wasn’t banned outright from the outing and leapt in.
And off we set to the park.