On Friday of last week, fellow school Mum and good friend Cathy came over with her three lovely children Isabelle, Joshua and baby Emma. Whilst we sat downstairs with Emma, busily catching up over cups of tea and biscuits, the children ran upstairs to Joshua and Grace's rooms on the third floor.
The intent in any child's mind of course when either attending or hosting a play date, is to empty as many toys as humanly possible onto the bedroom floor or next available space, hence creating a minefield of chaos for the poor mother in charge to clear up when the play date is over. The departing mother may sometimes give a polite and guilty offer of help which is often greeted with a breezy 'not to worry' by the host mother. This is usually because she knows only too well that it will be the departing mother's turn the next time, thereby providing an unspoken fair and harmonious relationship between friends!
This particular play date was one I am sure I will always remember. I guess I should have been suitably alarmed when Grace ran downstairs into the kitchen holding up her hands to complain about the Barbie hair that was stuck to them. I assumed this was the result of some vigorous brushing and diligently removed the said strands from her rather clammy fingers and palms. It was only when she merrily trotted back up the stairs that I noticed a six inch piece of her own hair laying in the middle of the kitchen floor. With alarm in our eyes Cathy and I raced up the stairs to find a scene straight out of the bad hairdressing guide handbook. My son Joshua, Isabelle and Grace had found a pair of children's blunt ended nail scissors that I had unwittingly left on top of the book case and decided to play 'hairdressers'.
Barbie had taken a fairly big hit and had a resulting bald patch where the children had practised before attempting their live models. Although Isabelle had lost two, four inch strands, off each side of her beautiful long blonde locks and Joshua had had a little taken off top, it was Grace who had been the most experimented on customer. She had happily and dutifully taken her seat on the bed whilst Joshua and Isabelle had got busy creating their masterpiece. The fringe that I had taken most of the year to grow out was now back, there was a nice bit of layering round the sides and at the back a less professional looking job with a large clipping taken from the crown of her head and a slightly more reserved longer piece that rested half way down the full length of her hair. The discarded hair was later found hidden under the bookcase.
Cathy and I spent the ensuing twenty minutes exchanging gasps and a few restrained smirks whilst explaining to the children why we mustn't play with scissors. We reconciled ourselves with the fact that it could have been a lot worse and Grace could have ended up with a monstrous attempt at a bob or such like, before saying our goodbyes and operation hair clean up began.
The Henry Fielding quote 'when children are doing nothing, they are doing mischief' has since sprung to mind. Looking back, it now seemed suspicious that they were all playing so quietly and well!! So the moral to this tale is, if you leave 'it' in reach, it may likely get used by small pairs of hands with devilish intentions!
I have decided to place Grace's shorn locks mixed with a few strands of Barbie hair in a bag for safe keeping as a reminder of this lesson and so I can smile in the years to come when I look at them and remember that rather special play date!