The first sign that things may be a tad out of control is when you are awakened by the smell of kitten food. (At this point it is only fair to disclose that D and my bedroom is almost the length of the house from the kitchen.)
So, you carefully, nervously make your way to the kitchen, only to be intercepted at the last turn by 2 small particularly rascally looking munchkins, whose intention it plainly is to keep you from seeing the kitchen. At this point you notice they are wearing socks with their summer pjs. And your son has no pants on at all (actually that bit about no pants doesn't even register until much later...it's pretty common around here.) The smell is now unbelievably strong.
You ask small munchkins what they have been doing. *Ice skating!* they respond with glee. Is there such a thing as too much glee, when discussing ice skating? Inside. In summer. Officially nervous now. Then you remember the socks...Cole and Imogen discovered in Spring that socks on tile floors make for slippery times - or ice-skating, as they refer to it. You think maybe it's not so bad after all. You should know better.
You diplomatically skirt the 3 year old barricade and round the corner to the kitchen. Ahem. There is somewhere in the vicinity of 2kgs (4.4#) of dry kitten food spread over the kitchen floor. That would explain the smell. There are also a pair of gumboots and the ugliest shoes ever (red croc wannabes with car decals - I blame the father for them). It later transpired that Cole and Imogen were giving the kittens some food when some spilled on the floor. They discovered that walking on it was quite slippery and decided to spread some more to try *ice skating*. Except that the nibbles were also a bit greasy on their feet so they grabbed the shoes, only to discover that they were too heavy and crushed the food. The socks were a great idea. Apparently.
At this point (practising deep breathing and studiously avoiding catching each other's eye lest we get the giggles and it's all over, but also not blow any tops), Cole adds *and we're having pudding...and you didn't see!!* And you know, he was right - further around behind the kitchen island there are my 2 beloved Denby salad bowls (huge things we've had since our wedding), a teaspoon in each, and pudding. In this instance, pudding is half a litre of pouring custard (anyone else crave that around Christmas or is it just me?) in each bowl, as well as half a (gigantic) tub of sprinkles. TG they couldn't figure out how to open the ice cream (and I'm sorry for cursing you TipTop when you came out with the new style lid that's a bugger to get open). And except for the icecream - which was full and had been left on the floor - the custard and sprinkles containers had both been carefully put back in their respective places in the fridge and pantry. Empty. And they did this all so damned quietly - we thought they were both still safely in the land of Nod!
So in conclusion, yay to the kids for looking after Cookie and Mahé as responsible pet carers, not so yay for destroying the kitchen in the process.
On the up side, nothing was broken (bar a few nibbles), Cole and Imogen were great at helping clean up (well, insofar as *3 year old* and *clean up* are able to coexist) and I was so truly proud of the calm way D handled it (he was the first wave of parental assault on the ice rink and early morning diner) and you know, we have had a bit of practice from the milk-and-leather-ottoman incident a few days before. (Helpful tip: *Nice to see you daddy - don't go in the lounge!* is always a red flag!
Three is super fun, but I'm beginning to seriously fear for the survival of my furniture....the kids I'm not too worried about, those two critters are way smarter than they need to be! And in this family we seem to be having many discussions about *thinking it through* these days...anyone care to lay bets on what progress we're making?
(god, my kitchen looks so bland at floor level, maybe I should look at a permanent sprinkle installation to give it a bit of colour...)