The Toddler is currently obsessed with Bob The Builder. He’s about 10 years behind the times, but that’s not his fault really. I am forever treading on screws, telling him to mind the paintwork and to keep the hammer well away from his sister. At 2.5 years old, he’s starting to dabble in a bit of make-believe (I can’t write the term ‘role play’ without imagining some middle aged couple trying to spice things up a bit. Sorry. I don’t know why and I actually don’t really want to delve into that). Mostly, he is Bob and I am Wendy. Sometimes he is Wendy and I am Bob. The Baby is always Leo and, whilst The Toddler insists The Baby is involved, she is not allowed to touch ANYTHING. The command to enter into Bob’s world can come at any time. I’ll hear the words “MUMMY! Can we fix it?” and, no matter what I’m doing, some kind of Pavlovian response springs into action and I find myself shouting back “YES WE CAN!” whilst quietly remembering I used to have the word “Director” in my job title. We are assigned our roles. The Toddler is Bob, I am Wendy and, of course, The Baby is Leo. So, we get to work – sawing, drilling and hammering all under the command of our esteemed foreman. Bob often brings snacks in the form of wooden cookies, which we all eat in an exaggerated manner and exclaim how delicious they are. Sometimes, Bob will don his oven gloves halfway through a bit of fence repair to pop some plastic bread in the oven. He’s very keen to keep his employees well fed. Leo attempts to pick up a spanner and all hell breaks loose. Bob believes Leo is not ready for such responsibility. Wendy suggests Leo could be given something else as, of course, it’s FUN to work as a team! Bob gives Leo an old, chewed piece of train track. Leo seems appeased. And so it goes.
One time, it’s fair to say I was caught off guard and thrown into character without warning. The Toddler is currently potty training and thus will call me from the toilet when he needs help post-poo (sorry). One uneventful day, I get the call. In I go and, as usual, ask him to just bend over a bit. As I announce I’ve finished he looks over his shoulder, bum in air, stark naked and casually says “Thanks Wendy” then trots off. I find myself saying “No problem Bob!” whilst thinking that, were I to remain in character, I’d be straight on the phone to HR and putting Bob through some serious disciplinary action. I didn’t sign up for this shit. Literally.