For some time, we've been promising LittleBear his own wooden playhouse in the garden. And that time is now here. Having spent more hours than is in any way sensible choosing which playhouse to buy, I finally ordered one, and last weekend it was delivered, flat-packed.
I was extremely pleased that we managed to persuade LittleBear that the delivery of the playhouse was not going to result in a complete playhouse being immediately available in the garden. We explained that it needed painting first, and that it would take a while to build it as well. He announced that he wanted to paint it and help build it. In for a penny, in for a pound, and I agreed. More fool me.
Saturday and Sunday we therefore spent digging the flowerbed to lay with sand and paving slabs as a foundation for said playhouse. BigBear joined in, but promptly pulled a muscle in his glutes, leaving me and LittleBear to continue. LittleBear was in charge of the trowel and I had the spade, so you can guess where the bulk of the digging occurred. And I discovered how hard it is to push a wheelbarrow with a small person also pushing it.
I also, even more foolishly, decided to make progress clearing out our shed. I filled both of our cars with junk to take to the dump, and made a pile on the drive, with a sign inviting people to help themselves, consisting of timber, loft boards, copper pipe, insulation, grouting, tile cement and a wallpaper stripper/steamer. People duly helped themselves, and we disposed of the rest of the garbage at the dump. Unfortunately I also had an appalling Laural and Hardy-esque moment while carrying the loft boards to the front of the house. I picked them up... LittleBear asked me a question... I turned round... and I thwacked LittleBear in the head with the other end of the planks... Once we'd overcome the sobbing, the face clutching, applied a coldpack and had lots of cuddles, I was re-assured that I had not actually inadvertently blinded my son, or inflicted any abominable injury upon him. I felt physically sick when it happened however, and was reminded afresh just how precious, and small, and vulnerable my baby is.
Sunday, and the playhouse was delivered. Much excitement ensued, along with a little bewilderment. It did not, after all, look much like a playhouse. However, once tanked up on lunch, LittleBear was raring to start painting. And, to give him his due, he then spent a good two hours with me, using both roller and brush, applying "Seagrass" Cuprinol to the outer faces of the walls of the playhouse. OK, so he also put the roller down on my foot, painted the ground, sat in the paint tray and painted his own head, but he had a lovely time. And the Cuprinol is water washable.
What with work, and nursery, and not having BigBear at home on Mondays and Fridays when me and LittleBear are home, we promised we'd build the playhouse this weekend. In retrospect, as with so many of my DIY decisions, this was wildly optimistic, but I cannot bring myself to break a promise I've made to my LittleBear. Yes, LittleBear and I painted one side of four panels. Yes, that was a good start. But, there were also four roof struts, the base, two picket fences, plus support posts, four pieces of roof edging, two finials, a door, a window and thirty four pieces of window beading. Plus the reverse sides of the walls. And all of the wood needed two coats. And we were using two different colours.
And that is why I have spent every evening for the past six nights painting timber until 9pm. I am so tired I want to strangle almost anything that doesn't co-operate, and that includes the kettle, the car, LittleBear, BigBear, my colleagues, the computer, not to mention every other driver on the road.
The good thing is that my lovely colleague and his lovely wife are coming over to help build the playhouse. There's basically nothing about building with timber my colleague doesn't know, so I feel we'll be in safe hands. Plus I then get to go out for dinner with them afterwards.
And my LittleBear firmly believes he's painted his playhouse. I feel that between us we perhaps make a perfect swan - LittleBear gliding effortlessly across the surface of the pond, while I paddle furiously and madly beneath the water to maintain the illusion. Or perhaps I'm just an idiot.
I'll let you know how the playhouse building goes in the next installment...