I am typing away, answering well-overdue work messages. Behind me fighting erupts, screaming and loud thuds. They are playing a game of rainbow snakes, a friendly and simple card game for all ages. Battle snakes, more likely, given the racket. I ignore it. With success. The clamour dies down. Possibly my kids too.
Less than a minute later they prove alive and well, tugging my arm.
‘Mama. We are hungry,’ they nag.
‘Make a sandwich,’ I mutter, absentmindedly.
‘What can we have on it?’
‘Anything you like,’ I answer.
They saunter down to the kitchen.
From the corner of my eye I see them piling plates, bread, and a large jar of chocolate paste on the dining table. Well, it’s the summer holidays; I shrug, and turn back to my computer. I hear smacking, and a chomping sound that comes close to a peaceful silence. After a minute of munching the giggling starts. The giggles become sniggers and chuckles. Louder, and louder. They are having fun.
It is not till a chocolaty hand taps on my shoulder that I turn around.
Three completely brown faces stare me in the eye.
I hesitate between a screaming fit, hysterical laughter, keeping on ignoring them, or, last but not least, joining the spa experience. I could use the de-stressing.
After a shower and a change of clothes, I decide it is all my fault anyway, for neglecting my kids, so I surrender. ‘Who wants to play a game?’
‘Yes,’ Jasmijn cheers. ‘I’ll pick one.’
She comes back with Monopoly Deal, her favourite card game.
Linde and Tijm are slumped on the sofa, reading comics.
After some coercion they join us at the table. Jasmijn wants to start, and slaps a rent card on the table.
‘No,’ everyone else shouts, ‘you can’t do that, you don’t have any property.’
Deal might be Jasmijn’s favourite game, but Jasmijn can only read three letter words, a number the text on the cards exceeds easily. Big brother Tijm is happy to help, screening her cards and making sure to use them to his own advantage. After an hour of card tossing, cheating, yelling and arguing, Linde wins. I think.
In any case she wins the game of claiming victory, and I ignore my strong suspicion that Jasmijn won half an hour ago, during my brief absence to chat to the gardener. No one noticed, least of all Jasmijn. Howling, Tijm mows all the cards off the table and rushes back to his comics.
I sigh. Almost two weeks over. Five more to go.