One of the things about the summer holidays which is coming back to me today.... ooooohh, it's coming baaaack.... Is just how much trouble a horde of boys can get themselves into when their days are totally unscheduled. Yes, they lie in the hammock looking cute but the whole time they are PLOTTING SOMETHING.
For example. We all know that cavemen used bones and spines and things to tip their poison arrows, right? Well, HAHA! Once upon a time there was a horde of small boys, cousins, brothers and visitors who decided to make bows and arrows. The adult in charge was soooo happy that they were playing nicely outside together that it was hours before she realised what they were really up to.
What were they up to, you ask? Well, they had caught a whole bunch of fishes from the ponds outside: Guppies, Mollies, Sword-tailed Hillaries, Tetras. And they had laid them out on the roof of the cocoa-drying shed to dry out in the sun so that they could use the fish bones to make weapons. There they were, dozens of dead fish, laid out neatly in their macabre rows, while the horde of boys whittled their sticks in terrible readiness.
When the adult in charge discovered this, her ex-vegetarian sensibilities were sorely affronted, but she could not trust herself to speak for fear that she would give herself away by totally cracking up with laughter. So she commited one of the sins of parenting: "B-b-b-ut what are you DOING? Just! I mean! Just wait till I tell Dad!"
And, the adult in charge ran for it, and handed responsibility to an adult who could keep a straight face. Sean went out, told them all to "Stand there! Time out! Don't move!" and while the boys stood trembling in their boots outside, Sean and I laughed inside and tried to figure out how to deal with this. I mean, the boys were little: Chas, Issa and Mikey were maybe six? And Sam would have been five? They were not "naughty" as such, in fact they were quite inventive little engineers of doom, but they had to understand that you don't just kill dozens of innocent creatures for a game.
I can't even remember what the outcome was. I seem to remember Sean saying "THINK about what you have done!" And Sharon arriving to collect Mikey and reacting with the same surprised laughter when she heard about the mass slaughter (pesciscide?) that had happened that day. We agreed that our children are geniuses, and that it was a shame to thwart them in their caveman experiment. But still.
Now, the boys are older and they know better... or do they? Today's project involves climbing a ladder up into a tree, while holding on to the swing, and then LEAPING out of the tree in the hopes that you can keep a grip on the rope as it hits bottom and do "Amazing Stunts" while you are launched maniacally skyward in the other direction.
First aid kit, check.