Things I avoid -
1) Acknowledging the calorie content in wine
2) Using public loos
3) Cleaning out the fish. I may as well not bother doing this anyway – we have had him for 7 years and he has this amazing ability to avoid death. He has only one fin now and my mother-in-law is convinced he has a cancerous lump on his back (he doesn’t – it’s just his hump) and that he is depressed (he probably is). BUT HE JUST WONT DIE.
4) Playing games with the children.
Yes yes yes, I know, I am horrible. In my defence, I don’t hate ALL games. I like the satisfying flippity-flip and detective work of the “Guess Who” board game. I like the macabre undertone of “Operation”, especially the Toy Story 3 version where Buzz’s ailments are a bad case of “Radar Rash” (snigger) and “Asteroids” (snort). But there are a few that make me want to fold my ear lobes in on themselves and then stuff them in to my ear holes so I go temporarily deaf. You know the ones – the ones that kids get obsessed with and are the only things they ever, ever, ever want to do and talk about and play all the live long day. The ones that make you want to bribe them with smarties and money to just sit bloody still and watch the bloody telly PLEASE. Those ones.
Don’t get me wrong. I know games are good for children’s brains and help them learn stuff in a fun and groovy manner and without it being a boring chore. I think getting people to do stuff you want them to do without them realising you are manipulating them is marvellous. I do it with Smudge all the time.
Me; “We can either watch the football on ITV” *pulls a sad face at him* “Or… we could watch (fabulous girlie chick flick which I know you hate but I adore) ‘Steel Magnolias’ on Film4″ *pulls top down to show a little bit of cleavage…and turns on Film 4*
But just as I don’t want to walk around with my lady lumps on show to get my own way all the time, I have a threshold for the amount of time I can play games for. I have a limit. It is about 10 minutes of games at a time (I am of course exaggerating – it is nowhere near that much).
Take eye spy, for example. A brilliant way of teaching a child how to spell (just kill me now). But, playing eye spy with someone who can’t actually spell, at all, for 3 hours straight, is like having to explain the punchline of a cracker joke continuously to your forgetful old relative over Christmas day dinner. Frustrating beyond measure, and yet unavoidable. And ultimately done with your head imploding in to mulch in your skull whilst you say throught gritted teeth worn down to tiny little bloody stumps.
“Noooo” *pop goes a row of brain cells* “Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?” *bum cheeks squeeze together with frustration*.
The latest craze in our house is rhyming and finding all the words we know in the whole wide world ever that ever, ever, ever existed ever, and that rhyme. Ed is rhyming ALL THE TIME. I don’t know where he has got this game from. It isn’t like I spend all day fannying about writing rhyming poetry on the magnificant lawn at the back of our manor house. Learning which words rhyme is brilliant, and if later on in life he becomes a world famous poet and gets rich and buys me a massive mansion with a fancy lawn that I can fanny about on, then great. But, trapped in a car trying to concentrate on getting my precious cargo from point A to point B, successfully and safely whilst someone is banging on about rhyming words and insisting upon my concentration, is tricky. And unwelcome. I can’t be nice and drive. What if someone drives like an idiot and I need to give them the wanker sign?
“Do ‘cat’ and ‘hat’ rhyme?” asked Ed from the back of the car.
“Yes!” I replied “Well done darling!”
In my mind I heard David Attenborough doing a voice over, saying “The mother here, is displaying wonderful child developmental nurturing skills. She is being encouraging, positive, and is promoting the learning process”.
Well done me, I think…just as another driver reverses off their drive and in to my path without looking.
“ARGH!” I say “YOU TURD!” and honk my horn.
“Mummy?” says Ed “Do ‘window’ and ‘spindow’ rhyme?”
“Yeeessss” I say, and pause. I think, well, I could just leave it at that and not point out the obvious error and concentrate on driving and keep vigilant for people driving like idiots and just let it go. But that isn’t me. I tried to resist it, tried to resist it, tried to resist it…aaaannnnnd… could NOT resist it.
“BUT. ‘Spindow’ isn’t actually a real word, is it darling?” and I involuntarily did a patronising little head shake.
David Attenborough voice is back again “The mother here, has failed at at being nurturing and encouraging and (dramatic pause typical of Dave) will be shot at the horrific parental rising dawn of 5.30am by other mums and dads who continually and without fail find the positive in any answer a child gives, no matter how wrong they are”.
Epic fail. The icing on the cake being the patronising little headshake. You are definitely not supposed to give little patronising headshakes.
“How about… Bird and Turd?”
“EDWARD!” I say “Naughty word!” looking straight ahead so he can’t see my massive laughing grin and as I fist pump the steering wheel and think “YESSSSS! I have nailed parenting!”.
Maybe some games are not so bad after all. But where did he ever hear the word “turd”? I never swear in front of the children. Oh wait. Yeah.