Yet again those parenting manuals have missed out huge chunks, I am sorry to say. Yes they cover the sections on the birthing plan, the first days, changing a nappy, and general stuff you need in the first few days, but unfortunately they do not include chapters such as surviving a poo in the beach, stopping at the side of the road and risking life and limb while they sit on the potty as the car rocks with the cars going past. They always give a few pages of hope and leave you at the end with a happy ending and a bunch of smiles. Nowhere in the books, do they cover ‘Playing the Detective’. Take the last few days, which has been a constant battle of “Oh look what my brother is doing,” or “My best sister whom I love, cherish and dote on is hitting me.”
When the offence goes down you end up going into the room like a scene of crime officer, looking at the evidence around you and questioning the suspects. I start with pulling them apart so they cannot converse and ask quickly what happens. Now the trouble is my little girl, who would never lie or hurt a fly, says her brother bit her, then my son who would also never hurt a fly and says, and I quote “I love you Daddy,” says “It was all my sister, she hit me, and snatched my car.” Now the question is what do you do? They both blame each other, so my answer is to take away the toy they are fighting over, which worked at the start, but now they know that’s what’s going to happen, they hand over the toy they were fighting over and ask to watch the television instead!
Sunday, as we know, is a day of rest and for recharging of the batteries, well that is unless you have children so it becomes another day of on and off squabbling. I, however, generally wake up to the sound of very loud playing or being poked awake thus ensuring that everyone is out of bed all before 7am. Today is Sunday so after the usual morning wake up routine we ate breakfast at record speed and went to a National Trust house. The journey was filled with “He touched my hair,” “She has my toy.” By the time we arrived we looked like we had too much caffeine and were developing a rather nasty twitch. I asked to go straight to the coffee shop and grab coffee. Beside the picnic benches were mini tractors where the kids could play and ride round. Sounds good doesn’t it? The way it should work is that the parents sit, eat cake and drink coffee, and the kids come back tired. Well all the other parents were laughing, whilst we were both slumped over the picnic tables. My little girl then ran over and said “Guess what my brother is doing!” I did lose the plot and asked her not to tell tales. She looked a little panicked and said “No, really Daddy, come and see.” Being over 6 foot, I just stood up to see a little boy who looked like he was at a music festival, covered in water and mud jumping in a puddle, with tidal waves he was creating reaching alarming heights.
Why me, no other parents had this problem? I flew into the playground, and being not so bright, hauled him out, soaking myself. I put him down and watched as water poured from his trousers and pants like a shipwreck rising from the sea after 50 years. As he walked back I did the ‘Parent Walk of Shame’, whilst he walked like he had been riding a horse hard for hours. As we got back my wife said “Oh well, he’s a little boy, let him play, he won’t do it again.” Ok folks, let’s take bets, I feel you know my son by now, in your mind make your decision, did he A) go hell for leather in another puddle, or B) Develop a halo and sit on the tractor whistling a nursery rhyme watching the world go by?
Ok those who answered A you’ve won! No sooner had he arrived back in the play area than the water once again, was reaching around 3 foot high above the mini fence, whilst other parents smiled. I was prepared to let him ride home in another parent’s car and see who was laughing now, but instead I hauled him back out again, and read the riot act, with his beloved fishing net threatening to be confiscated rather quickly!
As we waved the white flag like a cartoon character signalling defeat we strolled back to the car. Once again my wife and I sat in the front of the car, and listened to 45 minutes of “He hit me,” “She has my toy,” “He looked at me funny,” then my little girl made my day. She announced “When you are old Daddy, I am going to drive you around and take you to the coffee shop.” At this point a rather large grin appeared on my face as A) she was paying, and B) I made the decision that I was going to sit in the back with Mummy and scream as loud as I can “Mummy touched my hair, Mummy looked at me funny, make Mummy stop as she keeps staring at me!” Oh yes, 45 minutes of tale telling should just about cover the joy of parenting for when my little girl has children. As a bonus if I am really old I may be incontinent and announce I need a wee and I can feel it coming. Wonder how fast my little girl can drive to a lay-by like Daddy does? Oh yes, old age is going to be fun! Is announcing I need a poo on the motorway pushing it too far?