I have written about this before, but spending time alone with any of my children is a revelation.
Our household is noisy and busy. Mornings are crazy, kit-frenzied affairs. Swimming, dancing, football, multisports, netball - they all feature on different days for different people. Each one requires 'stuff' that disappears somewhere into the ether between the last session and the next. It doesn't matter how organised we are. See my last blog post here for a picture of how organised we are. Breakfast orders are barked out and the breakfast table resembles Picadilly Circus.
And Eddie's voice, as a third child, has, through natural processes of evolution, reached decibels above that of his siblings. Its pitch can be migraine-inducing. Sometimes he makes noises like a Jurassic Park velociraptor just for fun. A genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that existed approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the later part of the Cretaceous Period regularly lives and breathes - and screams - in our kitchen.
The velociraptor analogy is apt because he is also extremely temperamental and you are therefore always only one wrong step or one wrong word away from getting your head bitten off. 'Terrible twos' bred thuggish threes, leading to ferocious fours and now frightful fives.
Ane he is not the only one. Often it doesn't feel as if we are getting actual human people ready for a day's living, but creatures of some sort. It is like herding cats, it is worse than trying to put a lid on a box of frogs, it is minding mice at crossroads and any other similar idioms you care to mention.
So it is refreshing when, in the relative calm of half term, I get to spend time with each of them individually. They are quite nice, on their own. I was surprised. They can talk sensibly without shouting. They are sort of like actual human people. Even Eddie. They have manners and are polite. They can sort of be interesting. Who knew?
Now to figure out how to break the pack mentality...
Currently reading: Nora Webster by Colm Toibin.