I looked after an extra four year old child today. That may sound like a mad thing to do but it was a joy. The last ten days or so I have been struggling with a few inner demons, the resurgence of old resentment at my personal situation, disappointment that a faint light I'd glimpsed at the end of the tunnel had been extinguished, etc etc... all very boring and I won't tell or dwell. But taking two 4 year olds to a local country park was just the tonic I needed.
Having two girls I love the chance to find out a little more about how boys work - clearly I didn't spend enough time doing this in my younger days or I wouldn't now be a lone parent (now, now, said I wouldn't dwell).... but I'm glad that my younger child hasn't fully renounced all contact with the opposite sex just yet.
We set off for a walk to the duck pond, fed said ducks and tramped on a little further. We hadn't gone far before little boy spotted a den-like canopy under a low tree.
"We can make our campfire there" he announced. The next half an hour was spent gathering sticks for our 'fire' (no I didn't really light one, obviously), climbing on fallen trees and taking it in turns to be monsters and dragons. All this while my own four year old proudly walked, clambered and stumbled around with a toy dog stuffed under her t-shirt: "I've got a baby in my tummy." (her, not I!).
Eventually I gave in to the boring parental urge to persuade them to walk on a little and the walk round the lake that usually takes half an hour then turned into a manic race lasting roughly three minutes.
We had a lovely time. All thanks to a different perspective for a few hours.