My wife took the girls to the beach today, where Destroyer spent the afternoon pouring sand on her head, and they enjoyed that so much that they didn’t get home until 7:30, to find me recovering from a marathon. A marathon of playing computer games. My wife deposited the kids with me, and then fled for dinner with adult friends.

All I had to do was clean the kids, read their stories and put them to bed. I could do that, couldn’t I?

I ran the baths, argued with La Serpiente about whether she was going to brush her teeth or I was going to do it, got her out of her clothes, got her onto the toilet, got Destroyer out of her nappy (one that was impressively heavy) and put her in the bath, and then got La Serpiente off the toilet, washed her hands and put her into the bath. Where she cried out in surprise and joy, pointing out that Destroyer had just deposited something into her tub.

Destroyer began to stand up, and it took me a moment before my brain could process the sight before my eyes. Destroyer had clearly been storing something up to surprise me, a deposit about as big as her leg, languishing at the bottom of her bath. I plucked her up and placed her on the toilet, then picked up the bath tub, still full of water and now the deposit as well, and manhandled it next door to our other bathroom, where I poured the whole horrid mess down the toilet.

In retrospect, that was not such a wonderful idea. If I’d slipped, I would have sploshed a couple of gallons of water and shit across our bedroom floor, and leaving a small child perched on the rim of a toilet with only her 3.75 year old daughter to look after her isn’t the most inspired parenting decision I’ve ever made. But in terms of orchestrating the different tasks like keeping crap off my kids, it was the best I could do.

This greatly pleased La Serpiente, who kept telling me that Destroyer had done a poo, and then asking me why she had, and then telling me again, while Destroyer sat calmly on the toilet seat, holding a small plastic duck. I cleaned La Serpiente, got her out and dried her down, then sent her off to dress herself while I ran a new bath for Destroyer, rinsed maybe half the sand from her head, and then took her in to her sister’s bedroom, where we read too many stories. La Serpiente has become obsessed with a teach-your-kids-to-tell-the-time book starring Peppa Pig, which we had to read. La Serpiente herself told me that she wanted to learn about clocks – perhaps she’s following in her great-grandfather’s horological footsteps.

Destroyer just wants me to read the same damn Winnie The Pooh story again and again. Cruel fate, this.

However, apart from Destroyer’s crude homage to the pool scene from Caddyshack, both children were well behaved and went to sleep quickly tonight, which suggests that they’re only acting out when they have an audience of both parents: when only one of us is around, they’re on good behaviour. What can that possibly mean?

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