The taxing thing about their toys

Inspiration: Madeleine Shaw

LESLEY KEATING: Sugar-free for a year and I’m glowing

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Ever since Christmas Day, it feels like I’ve been building things.

At this point I have to say I’m not good at building things and I don’t enjoy building things.

In fact if I see the words ‘self assembly’ my whole body fills with dread and I know a headache won’t be too far away.

In an ideal world anything that needs building will arrive at my house already built with no instructions and no need to search the house for the Allen key that should have been supplied but wasn’t.

If I was shipwrecked on an island somewhere far, far away and I was all alone, I would hope there would be a cave to live in until I was found because building my own house out of sticks and leaves would be completely out of the question.

Well one that would keep out rain, wouldn’t fall over with the slightest gust of wind and would protect me from a human-eating animal certainly would be.

Bear Grylls, I’m not.

Being part of a large family, my two daughters were the lucky recipients of many Christmas presents that myself and their mum decided to space out over the following days.

Of course, you’ve guessed it, not all presents came already assembled and ready to play with.

My first job was to put together Caitlin’s first-ever bicycle.

The stress is coming back to me just thinking about it. I thought I was prepared, I’d searched the house for an Allen key and found one. But the bike did not require an Allen key, no, just a spanner.

Did I have a spanner? You guessed it, no I did not have a spanner. I had some pliers, though, that would have to double up as a spanner.

I nearly gave up on several occasions but two-and-a-half hours later, the job was done.

I can honestly say I never want to assemble a bicycle of any kind ever again.

Next on my job list was to put together a toy kitchen. Easy you’d think.

No, it wasn’t. If you’ve ever put something together, everything screwed in, then realised that one of the pieces is the wrong way round, you’ll know how I felt.

Yes, I had to take it all apart and start all over again. Strangely though, the most challenging bit wasn’t putting the toys together but actually getting the toys out of their packaging.

Some toys just simply refuse to come out of their plastic containers. But luckily, after fighting with twisted wires, rubber bands, stubborn tape and hard plastic I freed the toy and it fulfilled its destiny to be played with.

I’m going to start saving now, so next year I can pay someone to do all this for me.