Don’t step on the carpet – there are sharks!

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These are not the words a father expects to hear when he walks in the door, hot, sweaty and tired after a morning of cricket. They are also not the words you expect to hear from a 15-year old.

Master 5 was the initial instigator of this event. He built a cushion road from the lounge to the family room. I added a little fuel to the fire by suggesting that they be careful of the sharks in the “water”. Miss 15 and Miss 13 decided that it would be excellent to have a loop of safe islands around the ground floor of the house. Master 13 and Master 11 added the stairs and before we knew it, we could circumnavigate the house via cushions. The jump from the door of my bedroom to my bathroom was a little hairy, but was accompanied by the sound of hysterically giggling teenagers. My husband just remarked, somewhat pitifully as he negotiated his way to the kitchen via cushion island, “I hate sharks!”

Why am I sharing this admittedly entertaining story with you? Well, to entertain of course! But also because it illustrates a concept which I believe is integral to a happy family life. F-U-N.

Life in a large family – life in ANY family – can feel like a daily grind of laundry, meals, taxi drives, cleaning, noise and mess. But it doesn’t have to be like that all the time. Adding a bit of fun, or a bit of silliness can make the day run more smoothly and happily and completely change the atmosphere in the house.

So what do we do to add a bit of fun into our day? There are the family contest nights, where we balance on one leg, wrist wrestle (I am #2 and am still stronger than all the children, but my days are numbered!), plank or see who is the most flexible. These are normally followed by rowdy games of charades. The small boys are often taken upstairs to bath via a horsey ride – and sometimes my husband and I race up! Sometimes we are just downright silly. We play word games, board games and “let’s pretend” games. Visiting children often have a perplexed look on their faces at some new silliness that we have perpetrated, until they figure out that we are joking. We kick balls around at the park, act like monsters, dance, sing and make complete fools of ourselves in public without batting an eyelid. I have been known to serve dinner with an apron on, towel over my arm and a fake french accent. We are often downright ridiculous.

The downside to all this is that it takes energy. Something that we don’t always have after a long day of work and looking after the basic needs of the children and ourselves. My husband is better at this than I am. For this reason, the only New Year’s resolution I make is “HAVE MORE FUN” and I try on a daily basis to think before I say No. I try very hard to look at the world from my youngest childrens’ viewpoint, and thank my lucky stars that our children are young enough to still enjoy a little fun in their day.

So for the rest of the day, I will continue to navigate the shark-infested carpet from the safety of the cushion islands. I am relieved that the children listed the tiles as an island area, otherwise making dinner might have been more challenging than normal!

What do you do to put the fun into your life, or your family life? I’d love to hear and get more ideas!

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