Monday’s school run was just like any other walk home, a route we’ve covered hundreds of times. However, it suddenly became different when we crossed the road and discovered a walnut under a tree. There was just the one-the others had either been picked up or run over by cars, or just hadn’t dropped off the tree yet. My children decided this walnut was a new kind of treasure so they picked it up (as we have done many times before with other autumn finds). There lay the problem-there was one walnut, there were two children. It’s easy to see how this went downhill.
There were rumblings of an argument starting so I jumped in and suggested that they take it in turns. I estimated a half way point between there and home and said they had to swap over as we reached a local shop (a blacksmiths!) My daughter, aged 3, held the precious cargo until that point and then she had to give it up. Things really took a turn for the worse here. The little feet began to stomp in a most unladylike manner as she handed it over (actually she threw it at her brother with quite some force!) At this point we had about a quarter of a mile to walk. Not much, in the grand scheme of things, but the little one was about to commence an almighty meltdown. The only saving grace was that she didn’t lay down on the floor and managed to hold my hand and walk whilst ranting. It went something like this “you’re boring and boring and I don’t like you anymore and sharing is boring and I want my walnut and I’m going to tell Daddy.” This went on the whole way home. The child was going red in the face as she did not want to pause her tirade of angry comments to take a much needed breath. The 5 year old was really helpful, occasionally waving the offending walnut in her face to taunt her. Somehow I managed to keep calm and, through gritted teeth, told my son to ‘just keep walking’ so we could get home before things got even worse. They both wanted to show the walnut to Daddy when we got in (this had been agreed when we first picked it up), so naturally my son got to the front door first and presented it without his sister there, just to make her even more cross.
Daddy already knew about our impending arrival as he had heard the commotion from down the road (he had been working in the garden and recognised the familiar sound of our daughter’s tantrum!) At this point she looked like she might actually explode with the rage she was directing at her brother. Fortunately she is very much a Daddy’s girl and he managed to calm her down with a cuddle and an episode of Paw Patrol. I felt like a woman on the edge by this point, and I was cursing the bloody walnut. The kettle went straight on for a much needed cuppa!
I got my revenge on the walnut later as the children wanted to look inside it. Not being particular fans of eating nuts, we don’t possess any nutcrackers. As you may recall, I don;t give up easily, so I improvised using a vintage screwdriver that I got from the car boot sale for 50p. The shell was totally obliterated, and the children were distinctly unimpressed with the walnut itself. You just can’t please some people!
Maybe I should have let my son carry it first, but I didn’t. Maybe I should have commenced a desperate search for walnut number 2, but I didn’t. Maybe we should have just walked past the stupid flipping walnut that we didn’t even need and pretended it wasn’t there, but I didn’t. You never can quite tell what’s going to happen as a result of one simple choice. (For what it’s worth, Wednesday’s school run produced 4 walnuts, so everyone was happy, and I made damn sure there were equal amounts!)
How do you deal with stressful situations? (I could have done with using the magic key Mrs Cobs sent me so I could make an escape to fairyland-especially since my hand hurt too much to crochet, which I would usually do to relax!)