We’re getting a lot of this in our house at the moment…
But mummy lets me do it
But daddy doesn’t say that
That’s not mummy’s rule
You know the kind of thing.
Naturally, the main culprit is the increasingly wily, nearly six year old Dylan. However, his little brother is now cottoning onto the potential rewards of playing mum and dad off against each other too. It’s bloody irritating.
First, because it normally results in a prolonged debate in which all parties steadfastly refuse to budge until a threat of no TV, no bedtime stories or no pudding is issued (incidentally, my three go-to parental ultimatums when backed into a corner).
And second, because in the chaotic pace of everyday life, where Laura and I only actually parent as a twosome at weekends or during the very last part of the evening, keeping track of exactly what the rules are is like trying to stay up-to-date with Donald Trump’s White House staff.
Tangent alert: if you’re female and need a reason to re-consider having kids, check out what it did to Trump’s neck…
I mean why would I want to waste the precious uninterrupted moments I have with my wife checking whether or not she lets Dylan eat only the broccoli ‘trunks’ or if Nathan inserting his face through his miniature lavatory platform and proclaiming himself ‘Mr Toilet Seat’ is permitted? And even if I did, why on God’s green Earth would it ever occur to me to ask?!
There are many more examples, most too mundane to write here. And that’s the point. It’s not the big stuff where there’s a problem. I’m confident Laura and I can be relied upon to align on the likes of punching, flagrant insubordination and the consumption of ice-creams immediately before a meal. Or, as recently, the crime of bellowing oh my gosh, look at her butt! out the car window at a rotund female pedestrian. (It’s a quote from the movie Sing in case you’re lucky enough not to have seen it.)
It’s the incidental stuff where the issues arise. Things that happen when you’re flying solo and that you just can’t see coming until they actually do – by which point of course, you’re in no position to agree the response. I mean, does a double episode of Paw Patrol count as one or two viewings on the TV? When precisely does an angry dinosaur impression become too loud?
As last week’s bewildered pub waiter discovered when Nathan descended into a 10 minute meltdown because the Bolognese came with ‘tubes’ rather than ‘ghetti’, none of us can predict this madness, so none of us can prepare for it!
As perhaps I’ve been guilty of before, I sound like I’m building up to some kind of solution here. I’m not. As far as I can tell, setting the house rules and seamlessly enforcing them will be a constantly evolving test – especially as the boys get older and more sophisticated in their attempts to find a loophole in our allegiance.
I guess the only thing parents can do is talk to each other and try to get the big decisions right – and then reward ourselves with a drink when we do! Unless anyone has any better ideas? Grandparents, I’m looking to you…