Over the last couple of weeks, in a bid to raise the kids’ spirits, I have been trying to come up with different things for us to do. One of these things was a ‘spa day’ for me and the girls. Strangely, my husband showed zero interest in taking part. ‘More fool him’ I thought, if he wants to miss out on de-stressing and blissful calm. I had of course, forgotten that I have children.
We began our experience with face masks. I got my selection out for the girls to look at, intending to talk them through what each one was for. I thought I might steer my teenager towards to the tea tree oil one, which is good for anyone who spends 5-7 hours a day picking her spots in the mirror. And I had earmarked the ‘invigorating’ one for my youngest, since she’d spent the last nine weeks moaning about how she’s too tired to do her Maths.
Unfortunately I never got the chance to offer my suggestions, because a nanosecond after the masks hit the bed, my younger daughter grabbed the top one shouting ‘ooh purple’, ripped it open and slapped it onto her face, pleased that within 15 minutes, if the packet were to believed, she would look ten years younger. Even after being reminded that she was born ten years ago, and had looked a bit like a squashed grape, she was undeterred.
Naturally she had it on the wrong way round, and I wanted to help, but because I’d tried to talk her out of the mask, she had decided my intentions were nothing short of nefarious, and proceeded to move as far away from me as possible, using one hand to hold the mask in place, and the other to wave around in front of her, to ward off my advances. I did eventually manage to help her turn it round the right way, but it involved several minutes of my life which I will never get back, and some wrestling.
In the meantime, my teenager had chosen the one which promised to reduce wrinkles. Exactly which wrinkles she thinks she has is something I will never discover, because I chose not to fight that particular battle. I felt it was more important to conserve energy for the upcoming one about whether she is aware she owns a wardrobe, or does she genuinely believe that the true purpose of a carpet is actually a holding area for clothes?
Eventually we were all lying down, wearing our various inappropriate face masks, and I felt myself daring to breathe a little more slowly. This naturally sounded the special alarm that only children can hear, warning my kids that Mummy was beginning to relax. This was the point that they remembered we absolutely must have cucumber slices for our eyes! Given that the number of their combined spa experiences adds up to a big fat zero, I can only blame television for the fact that they knew this was a ‘thing’. So off I trotted to the kitchen to obediently, if wearily, slice up a cucumber, forgetting that I had green paste all over my face, and alarming my Labrador in the process.
When I returned to the bedroom, it was to find them arguing over the Spotify list. One of them wanted to play ‘yoga’ music, but the other one said that made her want to vomit, and she wanted to listen to her audio book about witches. In the end we all agreed that if they didn’t stop fighting immediately, Mummy would not only switch the speakers off, she would personally shove them into places that would make their plans to spend the day relaxing considerably difficult.
Fifteen minutes later, the face masks were a thing of the past, and we had moved on to massages. They both very sweetly decided to treat me to a foot massage. This involved each of them taking one foot, rubbing some moisturiser in for precisely five seconds, before falling about in hysterics over the shape of my toes. This may not sound overly calming, but once they’d finished gulping with laughter, they did at least admit that they weren’t as bad as Daddy’s flat hobbit feet, so I’m counting that as a win.
Our final spa treat was toe and fingernail painting. Normal procedure when painting children’s nails is to hiss at them every five seconds to stop wriggling around, try if possible to get more varnish on the nails than on the rest of their hands, then watch them failing to sit still for the required ten minutes drying time. This leads to eventual outrage about how smudged it all is, and how it’s not their fault they didn’t sit still, because ‘everyone forgets things’.
I was amazed that at the end of the day, both girls declared the spa to be a great success and want to make it a monthly thing. I said absolutely, but it’s not fair that Daddy misses out on all the serenity, so next time he should take part. They were thrilled. Daddy less so. But I didn’t care because by then I was in my happy place – which is anywhere as long as it involves a wine glass.
Bring on Bedtime!