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You probably all remember Monica from the cult 90s show, Friends. Well, I fully admit, and will state for the record, that I do have slight (and by slight, I mean…er…major) Monica syndrome.

I.e. I cannot tolerate mess.

OH’s persistent habit of leaving crumbs on the unit after he’s buttered his toast in the morning leaves me in fits of impotent rage, and whipping out the antibacterial wipes as soon as his back is turned. DB1’s casual distribution of bits of breadstick when wandering round and eating it actually sends shivers of irritation down my spine.

So I will accept that perhaps, just perhaps, I am a little bit anal with tidiness.

Hence, the events of today tested me to the max.

DB1 was happily ensconced at nursery, so business partner, armed with her 2 year old daughter, arrived nice and early, for us to crack on with work.

A 2 year old and a 17 month old- recipe for MESS.

We had crumbs, toys scattered to the four corners of the room, cheesy rice all over the floor, but possibly the piece de resistance was DB2 and the hot chocolate.

(at this point, I shall sigh loudly.)

I had literally just tipped out the required four heaped teaspoons of hot chocolate powder into the mug; eagerly anticipating the welcome hit of chocolate sugariness in T minus thirty seconds, while the kettle boiled. However, at T minus ten seconds, I made a fatal error.

I turned my back for a second.

Only a second. But it was enough. It was enough for DB2’s determined little pudgy fingers to reach up (literally standing on his little tippy toes to manage), seize the mug and pull it off the side.

With a dramatic pouf of brown coloured smoke, the entire powdery contents of the mug went boofing into the air, like some sort of magic trick, before nestling gently over everything. Floor? Covered. Unit? Submerged in a sea of brown. Neighbouring bin? Coated.

And DB2 himself? Well, as business partner wryly commented, on entering the kitchen (when she heard my devastated squark of despair), it ‘wasn’t really politically correct of Db2 to try to black himself up’. He didn’t exactly look black, but rather more like Peter Stringfellow; the chocolate powder gave him a really disturbing perma-tan look, which was even more alarming with his twinkly little blue eyes peering impishly out of it all. And let’s not forget his clothes, which were liberally covered as well.

So thanks for that, DB2.

Thanks also to bellowing like an over-heated bison every time I a) tried to work, b)tried to talk and c) tried to do anything at all which wasn’t directly related to playing with DB2.

The conversations went a bit like this:

Me: So, you see; if we continue to average at ths amount of sales per week…
DB2: Wah. Wah. WAH.
Me: (striding valiantly on) …then what we can expect come the new year is…
DB2 (now grabbing my leg) NERGH! NERGH!
Me: (hastily scooping DB2 up) …so yes, Er, where was I? Um, yes, yes, the new year. Basically…
DB2: WAAH! NERGH! NI! (grabs my lip and pulls, hard.) NII!! NIIII!!
Me: Oh, DB2, stop it! Let go of my sodding lip!
DB2: He heh. (pulls harder)
Me: OWWWW! DB2, pack it in! I’ve totally lost my train of thought now. Er…oh, bloody hell, where was I? Um, oh yes, I reckon, in the new year, we would…

At this point, I generally crack.

So this, my friends, is the reality of working with children. Often a joy.

But sometimes NOT.