The house that the man built

04 April 2016

They say that the average four year old asks 1000 questions a day. As a parent of three, I have no problem with these statistics. My eldest ASD child cheerfully refers to himself as a questioner.

He’s not wrong.

The sheer number of answers and explanations we give our children is enormous- I never seem to stop talking! This poem is something I came up with after answering innumerable questions about the house, and pondering on the cumulative effect of a day in the life of a mother. When Jr was young he had a fixation on our house, or as it was known then, The Robot Swimming House. Now while there is no earthly reason it has that name, it has entered family history as such.

This is the house that the man built

(No honey, the house is made of bricks, but there’s something covering the brick. That’s why you can’t see them.)

This is the family that lived in its rooms,
who played and who cooked and cultivated its blooms,
all in the house that the man built.

(No, the man who fixed the tiles didn’t build the house, it’s a different man)

This is the washer that flooded the hall,
that crept to the kitchen and under the wall,
that kept all the family all in the house that the man built.

(I don’t think it’s the man who walked past here before. Probably a different guy.)

This is the mother who locked herself out,
who climbed in the window and stepped on the cat;
who unlocked the door to get the kids in;
who ran for the toilet and made quite a din,
all in the house that the man built.

(No sweetie, I think there would have been lots of different people who worked on the house.)

This is the mother who nursed the sick child,
who washed him, and cuddled with a bucket beside
quarantined in the house that the man built.

(No love, the man who owns the house now probably didn’t plant the trees. Yes, I know, our trees died….)

This is the mother who made the girl cry,
by brushing the tangles when her hair was dry;
who stomped down the hall and sulked under the bed
that sat in the house that the man built.

(No darling, I don’t know where the man lives)

This is the mother who burnt the dinner
After assuring the children it must be a winner.
She ordered some pizza, brought right to the door-
served in the house that the man built.

(Yes honey, the man probably had a hammer.)

This is the mother who screamed at the spider
who had to then kill it since the kids were beside her.
She checked the whole house that the man built.

(Okay, the man probably didn’t know the roof would leak, it was just an accident. I need to get some Panadol….)

This is the mother who left wipes on the floor,
and later she found that they needed some more
since the baby had found it and emptied the lot;
all over the house that the man built.

(Look, for the last time, I don’t KNOW the man who built this house, I don’t know if he likes the colour blue or if he has any kids, but I do know you have asked too many questions for one day! GIVE IT A REST!!!!!!)

This is the mother who sat in her chair,
strongly tempted to pull out her hair,
closing her eyes just to pray for a break;
and after the very deep breaths she would take,
she held out her arms to cuddle her brood,
since that was the best way to dispel the mood.
All in the house that the man built.

(No darling, I don’t know why he painted it green.)

 

cate stephensCate Stephens
MOPS Writing Team

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