To construct a Den that is indestructible, yet comfortable. The Location is important but not essential, as long as the property is in ‘THE WAY’ then they will be happy. My client’s dislike period features, so sloping or low ceilings are unacceptable. There must be enough living space, so they can live separate lives (never have to share toys). Both living areas must have IDENTICAL fixtures and fittings (or they will freak out)
The clients only plan on living there for 5 to 6 minutes, but the den must be built to last forever. Under NO circumstances should the den structure collapse. The only reason they are moving, is so they can pull the den down themselves and then get REALLY upset about it.
The question I dread to hear from my son.
‘Mummy will you play fire engines with me?’
I look pleadingly at my two year old daughter who is backing towards the door shaking her head and saying ‘uh uh no noooo’ She is still recovering from ‘Playing’ Fire Engines with Lil Man yesterday.
I look back at my little boy, who looks up at me with his big blue eyes and says ‘I’ll play nicely Mama. I promise!’ whilst fluttering his eyelashes.
I’m unconvinced but tentatively sit down on the floor next to him and remind myself of his rules.
Don’t touch my fire engine EVER.
Don’t touch ANY of the fire engines unless given permission to do so.
Once a vehicle has been allocated to me I must always FOLLOW and NEVER over take, regardless of the seriousness of the emergency.
I must await instructions from Fire Man
Bossy Boots Sam before I can do or say anything.
IF and this is a big IF I pass the initial training (Sit still and DO NOT touch anything whilst occasionally saying ‘WELL DONE FIREMAN SAM’ or ‘YOU CAN DO IT’) Then and ONLY then will I be given the honor of wearing the Fireman’s helmet (For literally a second).
I was allowed to save a cat from a tree once, but I suspect that was just to keep me quiet, whilst he put out the real fires.
I nervously reach for the Fire engine he has put in front of me
‘NO MUMMY DON’T PUSH IT PULL IT!! NOT YET!! STOP MUMMY! WAIT THERE!
‘MUMMY PLAY WITH MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!’
I’m barely breathing. Just my feet and bottom of my legs are visible from below the curtain, I’m perching on the windowsill. ‘DON’T MOVE A MUSCLE’ I tell myself.
ONE... TWO … THREE … FOUR… SIX… EIGHT …FIVE’ they count to ten.
I’ve bought myself three seconds, maybe four.
I can just about make out MissChief lying on the floor with a small sofa cushion on top of her, everything except her left arm is visible, and she’s giggling ‘IM HERE MUMMY IM HERE HAHA YOU CANT FIND MEEEEEE.’
My son is sitting in a toy box holding a pirate sword over his head, thus rendering him completely invisible.
I really want to explain to them AGAIN that they don’t need to hide if they are the ‘seekers’ but I daren’t draw attention to myself.
‘COMING READY OR NOT’ they chorus whilst staying exactly where they are.
I use this precious time to myself to text my friend Emma.
Sent 9.36 AM
Current status: It’s raining and I don’t want to play anymore.
Location: I’m hiding behind a curtain.
Mood: Patience critical
Current status: My son is pushing spaghetti into the gaps in the floor boards.
Location: Hiding behind a clothes horse.
'I FOUND YOU MUMMY!! Will you build a Den with me?’