Fixing things

In our household items always seem to get broken. Frequently. This is probably true of most households with excitable children, but was certainly a shock to the system for the husband – who as a child always took a more delicate approach to play. Or maybe children’s toys just aren’t as hard wearing as they were in the 1980s.

Of course, it’s always the ‘favourite’ ones that get damaged. Hookfang the dragon has got broken more often than a 2 year old keeping a promise. Luckily for us, the majority of his assorted dragon parts are possible to reattach. It’s understandable how these things happen. Anyone familiar with the ‘How to train your dragon’ films will know that the good guys don’t win over the evil dragons by asking nicely. In fact, there’s always at least one battle scene. And just like in the films, the dragons sustain injuries. My boys never seem worried though. Their first response is usually “Daddy can fix it.” Poor Daddy has a rather large backlog of items awaiting ‘fixing’ in his garage.

It’s got to the point now where Daddy doesn’t even have the opportunity to be informed of the breakage before emergency toy surgery is expected. He’ll come home from work, walk through the door and be asked instantly if something is fixed. His bemused face only serves to motivate the boys further in their quest to mend the toy concerned, and will thrust aforementioned article towards him then wait approximately 4 seconds to see its magical revival. Both of my elder boys are fully aware that Mummy doesn’t do technical jobs so once Daddy has entered the building so many new opportunities present themselves: superglue sticking, rotating screwdrivers to dismantle the items, competitions to identify how things are connected together and battery hunts. This might seem painfully dull to many but to curiosity filled infants, they are fascinating. As if the excitement of studying how a toy is put together wasn’t captivating enough, there’s then the additional excitement of having it back again (in an improved state of repair).

My children have also decided that batteries are amazing, magical items, associated with Daddy’s fixing ability. He is expected to have spares in every possible variety. The issue is that Daddy has fixed things so many times in the past by replacing their batteries, that they are now eldest’s boy ‘go to’ when something breaks. So when Noddy’s head fell off the remote control car, he suggested that the batteries got changed; when the lightbulb blew a fuse, he suggested that the batteries got changed; and when Mummy washed the garage door fob, he told me not to worry because the batteries could be changed. I’m pretty sure the house could fall down and my children would begin a battery search to save the day.

The thing is, my boys genuinely believe there’s nothing Daddy can’t fix. Middle son’s look of delight when the wheels on his scooter began to turn again (thanks to a replaced bearing) was wonderful. Even items that I know are irreparable are given to Daddy and then promptly forgotten about, so this illusion is not shattered. That made it all the more soul destroying when last week, my eldest was beside himself after the demise of his water bottle. He refused to accept that it couldn’t be saved, assuming Daddy had the ability to make cracked plastic water tight again, had Mummy not wickedly thrown it in the bin. Yesterday, a lollipop shaped pen was also mourned when I cruelly failed to retrieve the pen tip from inside its casing (where it has been forcefully thrust, during an energetic drawing masterpiece by middle son). In time I’m sure they will discover that some broken objects stay broken. They are currently insistent on using the china bowls and plates for their meals because they are old enough and ‘very careful’ with them. So it’s possible that the nasty truth about breakages may reveal itself in the near future with the aid of a dustpan and brush.

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