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Enid Blyton Did Not Keep Kids in Sight at All Times

By Catherine Sim - 3rd September 2010

Our house is a funny old place. One of the reasons we bought it was that it had a secret passage. This so appealed to my Enid Blyton sense of childhood that we spent a lot more money than we could comfortably afford. As we sat down to yet another dinner of spag.bol. the other night, I realised there were a couple of extra kids at the table that did not belong to me, one of whom I had never seen before. We did not have this problem at our old house where we slept six to a room and could have a discussion with the person on the toilet while we were watching TV.

This old house provides many hiding holes for grownups and kids which leads me to think about this whole open plan living idea. Do we really need to see what everyone is up to all the time? It’s lovely to all come together but it’s also great to have different things going on all over the house, especially with a big family with a variety of needs and interests. It also helps to be able to separate warring parties. Now number 1 son is in high school he has decided that he hates at least one of his siblings at any given time so the secret passage comes in handy for a quick getaway.

Of course, having a computer within adult sight is essential for internet safety especially as they are still so young and vulnerable. (Although our security software is so strict, I can’t even Google,” happy child” without being blocked. Our password is my dead Great Aunt’s first husband’s nickname so good luck with that kids! ) Our computer is right in the middle of the action so I can see exactly what ebay item my daughter is interested in.

My idealised Enid Blyton childhood did involve a lot of unsupervised kid time. Lots of planning adventures, (after the chores were finished of course) and picnics with bread and lashings of honey. Lots of creativity, responsibility, resourcefulness and jolly good fun

Keeping the kids always within sight might tend to stifle these wonderful qualities so I’m very grateful for all the weird spaces in this house even if it means that extricating visiting kids to go home has become a huge challenge. The longest extrication belonged to a friend of son number 3 and took approximately 1 hour and 55 minutes from the time his mum came to the door. (Yes I did know he was here!) I nearly called a plumber to get him out with an electric eel.

On thinking though, this could be a problem as they become teenagers. Maybe we’ll have to go more open plan after all. Better ring that architect pronto.

Image: federico stevanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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