Colm O'Regan: The Tesco man is here!

I mean, we always cheer when the Tesco Man arrives. He brings Freddo biscuits. But it’s different now, writes Colm O'Regan.

Colm O'Regan: The Tesco man is here!


I mean, we always cheer when the Tesco Man arrives. He brings Freddo biscuits. But it’s different now.

Because we have spent a lot of time with the children over the last while, and it was good to talk to an adult. And he didn’t ask us any questions.

We have been asked a lot of questions over the last while.

Imagine the Taoiseach’s Leaders’ Questions for 12 hours a day, only we can’t fob them off by saying that they did nothing when they were in power.

Playing cards have arrived in the house. We didn’t have them before, for shame.

Now, to avoid snapping at the eldest, we are playing snap with the eldest.

She does not hold her cards close to her chest, so I am able to see what’s coming and that allows me to win at will.

It’s not edifying, but this is the apocalypse and it makes monsters of us all.

The games don’t last too long because the youngest insists on playing too so she has to get a few cards which she then hides in the freezer.

So I’m not dealing from the full deck. But that is not news. More board games are on the way in the post.

By the way, THANKS to the postmen (and also binmen) who mightn’t have been thanked publicly yet.

There is a danger Scrabble could be brought out. My wife and I played it once a few years ago, but there were arguments.

The wedding rings that have been discarded for handwashing reasons might stay off.

Snakes and ladders should be less problematic.

A surprise has been Story Cubes. They are dice with pictures on them and you have to tell a story based on whatever picture comes up when you throw the dice.

I’m not great at making up stories. My internal editor pretty much shoots down every plot point between my brain and my mouth.

“They’re only two and four years old. It doesn’t have to be perfect,” I plead with it.

“Don’t matter,” barks my chain-smoking no-nonsense editor. “You’re a terrible writer and a bad person. You should stop.”

But Story Cubes have unlocked something in me — and before long, my eldest  are up in a parachute trying to get an envelope off a duck in order to get an invitation to the cat’s party.

We get out and about as much as we can. Social distancing is hard to do with small children, in that you can’t shout: ‘STAY AWAY, THEY’RE UNCLEAN!’ at them when they approach others.

We can see others doing the same with us, but we all smile politely in the universal Irish facial expression of existentialism that says “shur this is it”.

We’re almost relieved when they approach angry-looking slavering dogs.

But the children are resourceful. Yesterday they were painting the backyard fence with water. For 45 minutes.

And water did exactly what it says on the tin. It dried out. So they are at it again today. We are Mr and Mrs Miyagi watching them.

But then at the end of it all, we get to watch them more than we did. And by the end of every intense day, familiarity is breeding the opposite of contempt.

So no matter how many questions we have to answer, if it is to keep them and others in good nick, it’s worth it.

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