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Blog: A lesson in life from 'the Ginger Ninja'
I THINK ‘how hard can it be?’ were the famous last words I uttered before my niece and her entourage exploded into my house.
By entourage, I mean several creepy dolls, a dozen or so cuddly toys and a prized electric toothbrush with Barbie on it.
Twelve hours later I was asking what I’d done in a past life while praying for 9am to hurry up so I could escape to work.
Here’s something I didn’t know before – children are loud, messy and do not like going to sleep.
I still feel shell-shocked, and the poor cat – subjected to several ‘stwoking’ attacks by jam-covered hands – hasn’t emerged from under the stairs yet.
Here’s something else I didn’t know, I’m perfectly happy to bribe, blackmail and extort my way to an easier life.
Typical exchange: “I don’t want to go to bed.”
“Well I do and it’s 2am and we’ve watched Finding Nemo seven times...so put your pyjamas on and I’ll let you have cake for breakfast.”
Don’t get me wrong, I adore the Ginger Ninja (that’s my six-year-old niece, not to be confused with my six-year-old cat), but her love of shrieking and complete dislike of sleep just baffles me.
It’s not like this was the first time she’s been to stay over, but for some reason I never remembered how hard it was.
And I always over-plan. This time we were going to make pizzas, bake cakes, watch a film (always a Disney Pixar) and then she was going to have a bubble bath and be put to bed by 8pm.
We’d managed the pizzas and chocolate Rice Krispie cakes by 10pm (although most of the mixture disappeared before reaching the cake cases...weird) and I collapsed in a heap on the floor, while she ran off with my iPhone and downloaded Candy Crush (I did not know this at the time).
When I eventually got her to bed we had had several stories and games while she told me repeatedly she felt ‘too hyper’ to sleep.
The next morning, bleary-eyed, I stumbled towards the front door to leave the Ginge in the charge of my long-suffering fiance.
“Bye-byeee Auntie Anna!” shouted a little voice, as a pair of sticky hands grabbed mine.
My heart swelled and the tiredness vanished.
I turned back and said without a hint of sarcasm: “What a nice evening we had! Come again, anytime!”
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