Working Mum: Two boys is trouble squared
By Tabitha Ronson
Master A had one of his classmates over for a play date; it is the first time he has had anyone from school over to the house. Quite possibly the last.
It started oddly when Master A did a great impression of recreating Through The Keyhole.
The master of the house giving his guest a guided tour, explaining the merits of having both a downstairs cloakroom and upstairs loo. I do often wonder what goes on in Master A's head - it definitely isn't that of a "normal" five-year-old boy.
Two hours in, the house strewn with toys, my nerves couldn't take any more.
"Who fancies Wreck-It Ralph?" I asked in desperation. Master A squealed with delight, while The House Guest proffered an emotionally blank expression.
It might not be the next Toy Story but Wreck-It Ralph is worth a cinema visit, especially if you are nursing a couple of hyped-up youngsters. Totally absorbed by the movie, the boys sat rooted to their bucket seats like a clubber on ketamine.
I was feeling self-satisfied. Seven hours into the play date, the boys were still having fun - and I was remarkably calm. As with every moment of smugness, however, it soon evaporated.
Too late to get the boys home to cook supper, I opted for an upmarket pizza and pasta chain. It proved to be one of my less inspired moves.
Master A's playmate, it transpires, has the table manners of Steve Martin's Ruprecht, a knife and fork appearing to be alien while spaghetti coupled with a social dining setting proved a fatal combination.
To cool the pasta, he rubbed it between his palms before scuttling rat-like under the table to ingest it. His sauce-smeared face would then come up for more.
The other diners in the restaurant were horrified by the behaviour, all of them looking at me, tutting with disgust.
Not knowing the protocol in this type of situation - can you chastise someone else's child over their table manners? - I dragged them both out despite them only having eaten half their supper and forgoing the pre-paid dessert.
Working Mum, now understanding why parents opt for a Golden Arches takeaway.