Sunday, 1 June 2008
It's often been said that one of the joys of parenthood (primarily for the fathers of boys) is that it provides a good excuse to play with lots of your children's toys.
As an adult I'm sure it would be frowned upon if you independently took to fiddling around with Lego, the sandpit, or the wooden railway track. But of course using the thoroughly plausible and acceptable alibi that 'you're playing with the kids' gives you an opportunity to indulge in a bit of proper play
Any excuse to build a vague Lego approximation of an Avro Lancaster should, and is, grabbed with alacrity.
Indeed the evening 'clear up' of the post play devastation wrought by the progeny can often take slightly longer than expected as another couple of lego Spits or Hurricanes are added to the several standing squadrons billeted in the 'Playroom'.
Now Fred, our eldest, has really started to develop an interest in matters scientific over the last year. Essentially it boils down to Space and Bugs. So as a present in reward for achieving a few notable milestones in the last few weeks we decided to buy him an 'ant farm'.
And it is absolutely fascinating. After the bug hunt element and the somewhat tricky task of persuading the little blighters to move into their new home many hours have now been spent just sitting and watching them at going about their business. You wouldn't class them as pets but they are in many ways much more interesting.
Watching a society functioning within several interlinked plastic boxes is a joy. There was one particular ant though who obdurately continued to dig in the opposite direction to all of her fellows and ended up in a little chamber all on her own. She wouldn't come out and just seemed to sit there in an antish sulk. I struggled to explain to the children why I named her Gordon.
Meanwhile the poor hamster is probably feeling either neglected or relieved at the lack of attention.
Unfortunately the air holes in the product we bought are perhaps not quite small enough as a few ants have got away on a foraging expedition in the kitchen.
But it has been a great success. Even the television has been relegated to an also ran activity as 'watching the ants' is the inevitable response to the 'what are you doing?' question.
I'm off now to pull up a comfy chair, crack open a couple of tinnies and watch the guests. I'll let you know if Gordon does anything useful.