It should be easy, really.
After all, back in the day I managed to cope with two children while looking after a lifestyle block (albeit a really small one), milking several goats, growing all our own veggies, baking my own bread, growing sheep for the freezer and chickens for eggs, sewing the children's clothes …
So when my eldest daughter decided to occupy a hospital bed for a week or so I thought having the grandboys come and stay would be easy. A piece of cake.
After all, they're at school so all I needed to do was get them there in the morning, go to work, reclaim them afterwards and cook tea while they bounced on the trampoline and played on the lawn, right?
The trick, of course, is being organised.
The first evening they had dinner – no, you can't have tomato sauce on your pork chops. No, No, okay but you have to eat all your veggies. All, no all ... okay half. One bite. All right put them in the chook bin.
Then they had a bath, after which I explained to them that the water in Nanny's bath has to stay in the bath, not on the floor, and not on the ceiling either.
Then they went to bed. And got up to go to the toilet. And got up to have a drink of water. And got up to tell on each other for getting up.
That's okay, I thought, they will settle down, I thought.
In the meantime I emptied their schoolbags and washed their lunch boxes and refilled them with healthy munchies.
I put out fresh school uniforms for the morning.
Yes, the morning …
After staying up late drinking water, going to the toilet and telling on each other they slept a little late.
Then they didn't want toast for breakfast. Or Weet-Bix. Or porridge. Or eggs.
Then they wanted Weet-Bix. Then one didn't. Then that one wanted porridge.
Tooth brushing and face cleaning brought forth an argument about who was allowed to squeeze the toothpaste (me, in the end), then who had more toothpaste (the hand basin).
Uniforms went on but only after they had run around the lounge hitting one another with their underpants. It must be a boy thing.
Leaving the property sparked another argument about whose turn it was to open the gate (nobody) and whose turn to sit in the front seat (both).
We were late for school. When did they change the start time from 9am to 8.50am? Never mind.
After work I picked one up from Chess Club and the other from his great-gran's house.
I asked them how their day went. Good. How was their lunch? Awful.
One had spilled his can of tuna throughout his lunch box. "My food got all fished."
The other didn't like his cheese. Or his boiled egg. Or his popcorn.
There was a fight over who sat in the front. Then over who had to open the gate.
I asked them to get changed and put their uniforms out to be washed.
That evening after mopping the floor after their bath and tucking them into bed I washed their lunchboxes, sent them back to bed and refilled the lunchboxes with moderately healthy food. No eggs, no cheese.
I put out clean uniforms and then sent them back to bed again.
Then I fell asleep on the couch.
The next morning I woke them up early.
"We're tired," they said.
"I know - it's called Nanny's revenge," I told them
I made one Weet-Bix and one porridge. They both wanted toast.
I put the toothpaste on the toothbrushes and told them uniforms would be put on with no running, hopping or hitting each other with underpants.
They ran, yelled and threw T-shirts at one another. They couldn't find their shoes.
They fought over the front seat, the gate, and who was a poo-poo-head.
We were late to school again.
I was late to work.
When I got home from work their great-gran dropped them off at my place. She said there was now tuna all over her lounge carpet.
"My lunchbox got smashed," said the culprit. "How?" I asked.
"I don't know, I wasn't there," said the culprit. "I wasn't even near it."
We went home, I emptied their bags, I washed lunchboxes and repaired the broken one with duct tape. They had eaten none of the healthy snacks.
I filled the lunchboxes with chippies and muffins.
We had fish and chips for tea. They went to bed without a bath. I fell asleep on the couch.
In the morning we all woke up late.
"You'll eat toast and like it," I said.
Brush your teeth, wash your faces. Where are your shoes? You had two yesterday.
I rummaged in the washing pile for clean uniforms. "You'll have to wear yesterday's."
Wash your faces. No, you haven't. Where's your brother? Why is he naked?
Stop hitting each other. Get in the car. Open the gate. Get in the car.
You've got what? Swimming? Get out of the car. Find a towel. Where are your togs. Get in the car. Where's your brother?
We were late for school. I was late for work.
My daughter rang ... "How are the boys?" she asked.
They're fine, really good, I said. "You just have to be organised."
Rachel Wise is news director of HB Community Newspapers and editor of the CHB Mail