Take my eldest son last night whilst playing with Winky.
Now before I go on I need to explain that Winky is in fact an 8 foot long stuffed rattlesnake with a bell in his tail who came from Ikea back in the days when me and my OH were still 'young lovers' and thought a large fake snake with a bell-end was the kind of 'funky interior design' that would look good in our first flat (along with a lava lamp, fibre-optic 'UFO' light and large plastic cactus that acted as a lamp. I actually sold the cactus at a car boot sale to a woman who collects them and 'plants' them in her garden. She claimed that people walking past 'stop and stare'. I'll bet they bloody do love.).
Many many times I have gone to chuck Winky out only to stop and realise that he held (note the past tense used there) a soft spot in my heart - and then the kids got old enough to play with him so he's staying. Forever it appears.
He didn't used to have a name and it was the kids who named him Winky We won't dwell on that one other that to say, boys will be boys....
Anyway they have a favourite game with Winky which is called 'poisoning mummy'. The rules are thus:
Mummy has to remain on the bed and they attack her with Winky. If either his tongue or 'rattle' touches her she is poisoned and dies horribly (with sound effects) unless she reaches the 'antidote' and rubs it on the poisoned bit. The antidote is a stuffed guinea pig (also from Ikea - not actually a real stuffed deceased pet - that would, erm, a step too far. Even for me. You can probably get arrested for rolling around on the bed whilst rubbing your body with deceased pets, and if not, you should be). They try and keep the guinea pig from me at all costs.
This game always ends with everybody totally and utterly hysterical (including me) and someone always hits their head or falls off the bed (or both) and thus I requested that they could, perhaps, poison Daddy instead. No, I was told. They only enjoy poisoning Mummy.
Hmmm, this is not what I imagined that long-ago day when I stared down at those thin blue lines on the pregnancy test, but then again I didn't imagine much else of what happened next either. Which is probably for the best.
Anyway, Winky is very much loved (by them, not me, I actually find him slightly sinister these days and make sure I never voluntarily touch his 'poisoned' areas, just in case, you know, there is some truth in their claims, call me paranoid and all that but the way my luck runs, you never can be too careful) and then last night my eldest said:
'I wish I could keep Winky longer'.
Of course you can we said, why couldn't you keep him?
'What you mean I can keep him until I'm a TEENAGER!'.
Yes, of course you can.
'WHAT! I can keep him forever!'.
Yes, he's yours!
'YES! I can keep Winky until I DIE and then I can leave him to somebody else......'.
Erm, right yes, that would be lovely.
So there we are. We now have a family heirloom. I expect him to appear on the Antiques Roadshow 200 years from now, together with a print out of this blog post to prove his provenance.
Priceless, that's what Winky is. Just make sure you don't touch his bell-end. Well not unless you've got a stuffed guinea-pig to hand.....