Today I had (yet) another strange experience. S has met a boy his age that he gets along really well with, and the mother invited us over for coffee.
I suppose I should preface this whole story by saying that this boy is very sweet and calm and polite. He likes to do puzzles and play quietly in his room with his much older sister.
(You see where this is going, don't you?) On their own S and B can be sweet and quiet as well. But they are boys, and if you put them in the room with another boy they all somehow morph into maniacs. They wrestle and get all sweaty and slam each other into furniture.
Today was, unfortunately, no exception. Despite my best efforts the entire two hours was like having front row seats at a WWF Smackdown. But then without the prize money or the limo waiting outside afterwards.
The boys all had a fabulous time, but the mother sat there with a very strained smile on her face. And I could read her mind as she wondered if I have to chain my children in the basement in the evenings just to get some peace.
Finally it was time to leave. I was tired, hungry and completely frazzled. Made my way to the door, wrestling S and B to get their jackets and boots on. Was struggling to stay polite and keep a semblance of control. I just wanted to be home!
As I was cramming one of B's feet into the WRONG boot the mother came up to me with a bag and said: Do you like this children's book?
I actually don't, but my head was already halfway home and I was struggling with B's other boot. So I said "Oh yes, yes, of course!"
And she smiled and said "Oh, well, great, because I have two of them and thought you might like this one!"
Which was so nice! Especially considering the fact that my kids had just spent the last two hours training her son in subversive martial arts. I think we have two copies mouldering down in the basement, but hey, never look a gift horse in the mouth! Plus, she might be offended if I refuse. So I said: "Wow, that is so nice of you! Thank you! I'm sure the boys will really enjoy it!"
And she handed it to me and said: "Great, then I will sell it to you. I paid 15 Euros for it."
Believe it or not, I actually paid her. It was worth it just to get back out to my car and finally drive home.
So watch out, if any of you have birthdays coming up. You might just get an unexpected gift...