I think it all started during the heat of the Dubai summer. All Dubaians know how impossible it is to convey how hot and humid the summer can be. No matter what adjective you try to use to describe it, you never quite seem to succeed, with all efforts falling short on the cliche side of the fence.
The time before we take flight for cooler climes can be a challenging one, when outdoor play is off limits. When the kids feel so cooped up that even modern technology cannot keep them occupied, they often revert to old fashioned play. This always brings a smile to my face for a number of reasons. Whilst their generation cannot avoid technology, I think it is good for the kids to play board games, build dens from cushions and blankies, and even play indoor table tennis. For my three, old fashioned play, brings them together in what can be a squabble free few hours. Seeing them having fun together, working together and hearing their giggles always makes me smile.
One of their favourite games over the summer was ‘pretend hair salon’. They would set up their salon in the playroom. They had their customer’s chair, a towel, squirty bottle with water, an interesting array of products smuggled out of the downstairs bathroom (including deodarant and toothpaste???!!) as well as a variety of brushes and combs. They happily took turns playing the stylist and customer, bursting into fits of giggles with every squirt of cold water to their manes. For this game, I had only one rule ‘NO SCISSORS’. This might seem quite an obvious rule for two 10 year olds and an 8 year old….but having recently followed a trail of shiny, fluffy, freshly cut snippets of youthful blonde hair through my kitchen to discover DS2 had taken a scissors to his own fringe, the last thing I wanted was weapon-wielding children playing barber shop with their siblings!!!
As they played in rare harmony, I went about my chores. There was no yelling, no arguing, no ‘that’s not fair’ moans, no slamming doors or huffs of ‘Mummy, DS1 is being mean to meeeee’, to the point I had almost forgotten they were in the house. As I hung out the laundry, the unusual silence made me feel like I was the only one in the house. That kind of silence is the kind of silence every parent knows not to trust! With my kids in any case silence, more often than not, is the very loud sound of mischief!!!
Not wanting to give them the chance to stop or hide whatever they were doing, I tiptoed across the tiled floors to the playroom, and spied through the crack in the door. A soggy haired DS2 was sitting in the chair with the towel draped around his shoulders, his eyes shut tight as if he were bracing himself for a shock. Looking on with a big grin on his face was DS1. On the other side an unsure but willing DD inched a scissors towards the side of her brother’s head (insert horror emojis!!!). I felt sick. Every instinctive fibre of my being wanted to yell ‘NOOOOOOOOO’ but I couldn’t risk half of DS1’s ear being sliced off by the not so steady handed ‘barber’. Instead I made a shuffling sound to alert the trio to my presence. Three sets of ‘oh, oh, she’s caught us’ looking eyes met my ‘are you absolutely insane???’ facial expression. Without prompt the scissors were handed over. No lecture needed.
Comparatively iPads are a lot less dangerous…….