My Spare Energy Tank Is Defunct

PUBLISHED: 10:08 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:46 04 May 2010

MY 11-year-old nephew Josh has been staying with me for a few days and, I thought, no problem I have brought up three sons and know all about keeping little boys amused and dealing with all their boundless energy. What I failed to take into consideratio

MY 11-year-old nephew Josh has been staying with me for a few days and, I thought, 'no problem' I have brought up three sons and know all about keeping little boys amused and dealing with all their boundless energy. What I failed to take into consideration is that when you have children in the house on a full-time basis you develop a spare energy tank. It has a little switch that you can flick on and off according to the child's (childrens') wants, needs, moods and demands. It has a night switch for tummy aches and the 'I can't sleep' episodes and a special function that allows you to have a conversation or give instructions while sitting on the toilet, having a bath, trying to read a book, talking to someone on the phone or indeed carrying out any household chore...and mine is obviously defunct. I was shattered after three days. I even fell into the 'you can't possibly be hungry' trap. I had completely forgotten that it is perfectly possible for an 11-year-old boy to eat two packets of wine gums, a sherbet dib-dab, a packet of monster munch and still eat all his dinner and have room for pudding!

I did enjoy having him around. It was so nice to have some noise and a bit of chaos in the house, but I take my hat off to all the mums out there who are struggling to keep their children amused this half term as I had completely forgotten just how draining it was to be responsible for another human being.

My eldest son Martin and his girlfriend Kirsty have now moved on. Last week I was overdosing on worry pills as they were camping in a place called Yea in Southern Australia, which was reasonably close to some of the worst bush fires. On Tuesday of last week Yea became a "serious threat" and some of the locals were considering evacuating so Martin and Kirsty decided it was time to pack up and move on. They are now in a place called Shepparton where they have found work on a farm picking pears.

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