They always have some new piece of plastic tat in their sights and their lack of appreciation for the abundance of toys that have overtaken the house (that I like to call home although when viewed through objective adult eyes it appears I now live in an overstocked warehouse for the Plastic Tat Emporium) regularly has me grinding my teeth down to stubs and furtively shredding sticker charts and scattering the remnants on the deck whilst my angelic cherubs are sleeping.
In an effort to curb this constant full- on assault of materialistic desire I decided that it would be a good idea to try to raise the level of appreciation in the household. To at least one notch above totally ungrateful spoilt brats. So now every night, after stories and before the eagerly awaited Fiery Ferguson epic tale, we all take time to say prayers of gratitude - just a short moment to reflect on all the blessings in our life and say thank you to God.
Mum: Okay boys, that's the last of the stories for tonight. Time for our prayers! Who wants to go first?
(Cue simultaneous shouting and bouncing on the beds.)
Boys: ME! ME! ME! ME! ME!
Mum: Alright. Settle down. Johnny Drama, if I've asked you once I've asked you a thousand times, please stop attempting to scale the wall by climbing on your headboard and get back under the covers. No - you don't need to be as high as you can for God to hear you, he will hear you perfectly fine when you are lying down in bed, I promise. That's better. All snuggly? Great. Okay then JD, it's your turn to go first tonight.
JD (head now under covers): mumble... mumble... mumble... mumble... mumble... whisper... mumble... giggle... snort
Mum: Okay Captain Underpants, your turn for prayers sweetheart
JD: I'M. NOT. EVEN. FINISHED. MUMMY! I will tell you when I am finished - I will say AMEN.
Mum: Sorry JD - finish your prayer then.
(Cue more mumbling and rustling under the covers. JD is only 3 but he is already adept at being given an inch and taking the proverbial mile. I am beginning to realise that he has readily adopted the tactic of prayers as yet another effective strategy in his overall nightly objective of delaying the process of bedtime as long as humanly possible. If I'm not careful the Captain and I could be sitting here listening to his inaudible little murmurings till dawn...)
Phew. Now for Captain Underpants.
CU: Dear God, thank you for the sunshine. And the rain. Thank you for my mummy and my daddy. And my brother. And my school. Er... And thank you for my bed. And my cuddly toys. Um... And all my other toys. And my books. (Big pause - eyes search the ceiling for divine inspiration I'm guessing. None found apparently) Amen!
Mum: Lovely prayer gorjus - my turn now
CU (in a furtive whisper): Can I get a sticker for that prayer Mummy?
Mum (blatantly ignoring sticker request and with eyes closed in a pose of deep spiritual connection): Dear God, thank you for my wonderful day. Thank you for my two incredible boys. I love them both so much. I am so lucky to be their Mummy and I am thankful for them every second of the day (the 'every second' is stretching it a little but I figure God will forgive me this little white lie - he's all seeing and knows exactly what I have to put up with). Thank you for all the beautiful flowers that are blooming and all the pretty green leaves on the trees. Thank you for my wonderful family and all my amazing friends...
This audible ramble continues for a few minutes. And it is true. These are some of the many things that I am truly and deeply grateful for. However, there is always a voice in my head adding to the external monologue, expressing a silent and reverent appreciation for the true highlight of my day.
Dear God, the deepest and heartfelt thank you for the divine angel I encountered in the bra fitting section of Victoria Secret today. I'm not quite sure if she was spiritually elevated or just high on drugs but I was certainly witnessing miracles when she waved away my pitiful selection of 36Bs and told me in no uncertain terms that my correct size is in fact a 34C.
Did you hear that?
I have waited a long and torturous 42 years for this moment. How gratifying to know that all good things really do come to those that wait.
This has to count as one of the happiest days of my whole life. I know you didn't see fit to bless me with a God given cleavage but apparently Victoria's little Secret is, with the aid of underwear constructed from some form of reinforced steel and more air than your average Zeppelin - and by manually stretching and securing the fat from under my armpits into the cups - I can create one of my very own.
I was inspired to kiss this angel in gratitude, but to my experienced eye she appeared to be wearing at least half a tube of Maybelline's finest - and I didn't think the prospect of getting lip locked to a half naked and highly excitable customer for the remainder of the afternoon was going to be top of her agenda. So instead I spent the majority of the grocery money on 4 new bras and 9 matching pairs of knickers and made sure she got the commission recognition at the check out. I may be surviving the next couple of weeks on a nutritional combination of cat food and crumbs eeked from the back of the sofa cushions but it was certainly a cheaper alternative to the surgery I had been considering (and, anyway, I could do with losing a few pounds now that summer is finally upon us).
And to demonstrate the depth of my appreciation I promise that me and my newly inflated bosum will put heart and soul into the creation of all Fiery Ferguson tales for the next week.