There are days when life with three can be so very manageable. I have to write this down to remind myself of the fact since it is often the chaotic, stressful, disaster days that are foremost in my mind when I consider taking the boys out alone.
Yesterday was one of the good days though; the days when I am not the frowning, shouting mammy but the relaxed, easy going one who makes having a day out alone with three small boys look like a doddle.
The poor Bavarian had to work at a trade show and I was tempted to plonk the boys in front of the TV for the morning. But at heart I am anti TV and pro activity. I couldn’t bring myself to give in to a duvet and pj day in front of the telly, especially when the weather was forecast to be good.
And so Saturday morning saw us load the kids into the car at 8am and drive to the trade show to drop off The Bavarian. Being just on the outskirts of Karlsuhe, I decided we should visit one of the Saturday markets and have breakfast there, rather then head straight home. What a good decision that turned out to be!
After several laps of Gutenbergplatz, we found a parking space and walked back to the market. Number Three was snoozing happily in the sling, I had a shopping basket with me, cash in my wallet and a son’s hand in each of mine.
The corner of the square we arrived at is the one with the fountain, so we started off by throwing in pennies and making wishes. We then began the important task of deciding what to buy for our picnic breakfast. My boys are good eaters, so we had no problem finding food they liked. Pretty soon we had a basket of food, drinks in our hands and were on the lookout for a bench.
Bench found, we tucked in, chatted and people watched. I wallowed in the happiness I found in watching the boys enjoy themselves and in the admiring glances we got, being taken for a model family.
Behind our bench was a flower bed. Number One and Number Two had a little inpromptu nature lesson, pointing out to me the mushrooms that had sprouted up between the shrubs and the snails nestled on the leaves of the plants.
I had visions of interest being lost once the food was eaten and the hot chocolate drunk, but happily I was wrong. The colours, sounds and sights of the market kept them entertained and we had great chats about the food on sale as we wandered between the stalls. Number One can read quite well now and was reading signs all over the place. “There is fresh fish from the Black Forest Mammy”, “This honey is made from rosemary, look!”. Number Two was amazed at the quantities of some types of fruit, like the damson-like plums, the pumpkins and the qunice that are in season at the moment.
Then there were the gasps of wonder and of disgust at some of the produce, like the mushroom varieties they had never seen before and the heads of romanesco.
The morning went so well, I honestly couldn’t have hoped for better. We shopped, ate, chatted, spent time in the fresh air, learned about plants, did sums in our heads as we sorted our coins to pay the sellers. I never asked what the children wished for at the fountain, But I know that next time we visit the market, I’ll be wishing for another day as happy and relaxed as this one was.