How's the hour change going for you?
The hour isn’t back a week in our place and I’m already losing the will to live.
The end of October is when I get reminded that the four of us live in a fairly small house.
This isn’t a problem in the long evenings — the kids go out to the trampoline, or cage-fighting Octagon as they see it, and fight it out.
We used to stop them at first, but that meant they’d remember they should be inside looking for a biscuit, so eventually we just stood at the kitchen window and admired their ability to soak up the pain.
They were able to do that up until last week, when the last sliver of light after dinner was enough to get them into the Cage of Death. (Their words, not mine.)
But 6.30pm is now 5.30pm and it’s pitch black, and it’s Cork after the Jazz Festival, which means everything stays damp until late November, if we’re lucky.
So they’re taking the fight indoors.
That’s not relaxing. But at least it tackles our old friend, the taspy.
You might remember it from phrases such as ‘that will knock the taspy off you’.
According to the internet, which is never wrong, taspy is a Cork term for ‘high spirits’, or in this case, surplus energy in your kids.
If you don’t knock the taspy off them during the day, bedtime is essentially the seventh circle of hell, where they lie in bed whispering to each other for 90 minutes, while you shout “That’s it, I’m cancelling Christmas” up the stairs.
So, we let them at it for a while, intervening now and again to clear up the blood. (That’s a joke before you get on the blower to child services.)
Eventually, they run out steam and we are faced with the big question for all parents — is it too early to turn on the TV? Probably.
And if they get cross-eyed from too much screen time, you could be looking at over-tired taspy, and that’s a different beast entirely to your vanilla taspy, with crying and everything, normally from myself and the wife because they’re still not asleep and we want to watch Succession.
So we let them play with their toys.
Well actually, we say ‘go play with your toys’ but they hear ‘go into the front room and dump all your Lego out on the floor and don’t forget to start crying when we tell you to clean it up’.
This is a problem because there is enough Lego in our place to start tackling the housing crisis.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it was the Duplo stuff that you can dump back in the box with a couple of grabs with your hands.
But our two have moved on to the smaller more intricate Lego pieces that are great for their creativity, but awful for my overall wellbeing. (Particularly when I kneel on one.)
The minute we tell them to pick it up themselves, it turns out neither of them played with it.
Obviously the right thing to do is stay firm and insist they clear up their own mess.
Unfortunately, when a child picks up a toy, they are going to play with it rather than putting back in the box.
Your only hope is to sit there and keep an eye on them.
Which is fine, except watching a child tidying up small Lego pieces is like looking at someone wearing gloves trying to tie up their laces — you end up doing it yourself eventually.
Anyway, that’s us for the next three or four months, until what my mother calls “the grand stretch” comes back into the evenings.
I’d say like to say thanks to the ancients for scheduling a big party at the end of December, we’d be lost without that.
And thanks to the EU for planning to scrap the hour change in 2021 — my knees can’t take any more Lego.