When Sam was a baby / toddler he used to sit in his pram being wheeled around like royalty, looking to pray on unsuspecting women. He especially liked women wearing long skirts with elasticated waistbands, because he very quickly perfected the knack of grabbing said skirt and tugging it in just the right way to expose one butt cheek's worth of knickers, all in the space of a split-second as he wheeled past. This was mostly considered acceptable, and even cute, as he was so little. Even the poor woman in front of us in a supermarket queue who got her bum groped forgave him because of his cheeky grin.
He is six now, and still cute, but I thought we were over the worst of this sort of thing.
Sam is feeling the effects of the energy crisis. I don't know if the rest of the world is still experiencing this phenomenon, but Hayes House certainly is.
You can tell when we are going somewhere that Sam isn't particularly happy about. His engine keeps stalling. He stops dead in his tracks, causing me and the other kids to screech to a halt too (as we're all interconnected via Charlie's pram and a complicated hand holding system). I glance down at him to enquire if his shoe has fallen off. He is slumped over like a drunken sloth with his arms swinging idly and his knuckles trailing on the ground. He can feel me glaring at him and, without looking up, proclaims:
"Need a power-up, Mummy"
I sigh while I wait for him to do his imaginary "power-up" which involves making two fists, sticking his thumb and little finger out on each hand in Crocodile-Dundee-fashion, and gently revving them by circling his wrists back and forth. The revving builds and he comes back to life as his body slowly rises to the upright position (think blow up doll). This is accompanied by a gentle buzzing sound which crescendo's into a loud whoosh, and he's off down the street dragging us along with him.
This only happens on the way to school, never on the return journey. His periodic refueling has been an accepted part of the school morning routine for some time now. I was just beginning to desensitise myself to the embarrassment when he discovered the power sock.
Sam likes pink, a little known fact which we'd hoped to keep to ourselves until he was at least through high school. The sock is one of Nicki's old odd socks. It is pink. If you whiz it around above your head like the rotor blades on a helicopter, it negates the need for power-ups by providing a more reliable source of energy. Hence it is the Power Sock. Unfortunately, much like me with my mobile phone, Sam cannot bear to go anywhere without it in case he runs out of power.
I can now be seen everywhere I go with a camp six-year-old spinning a pink sock above his head. We have escalated from mild embarrassment to total public humiliation. Thanks Sam.
Maybe he knows something we don't. Perhaps the oil industry and alternative energy sources are now obsolete. All we need is a power sock each and we're sorted.