Occasionally there is a break in the weather, a day of no rain when it is possible to venture outside. I have one child who would prefer never to see the outside, addicted to pressing buttons and staring at a screen if I let her. The other, A, who's world of make-believe is complicated and intricate, simply extends into the outside room when the weather is nice. But they have both discovered a den, an outside hidey-hole which has them amused for hours. Not metaphorically, literally hours.
"Muuuuuuum, can we go behind the shed?" pleaded A as I collected her from school, her cheeks slightly red from the stuffy classroom and the gaps in her teeth prominent as she smiles.
It's drizzly, cold and nearly dark.
They throw their bags down, race upstairs, change into jeans and fleeces, pull on their wellies, grab a hobnob and run up to the shed and are gone until I call them back down. They are wet, dirty and flushed with the outdoors when they return.
"What do you do up behind the shed?" I query as I undress them trying to avoid mud on the newly hoovered floor.
"There are sticks, and some holes and sometimes we have to hide from people and we made a cake and put it in the oven....and we EVEN found an orange juice carton!"
In a world of computers, gender specific toys, inappropriately dressed dolls and heinously expensive boxes of plastic crap, they seem more alive when they have amused themselves behind the shed. Wow, that makes my heart sing. Metaphorically, not literally of course.