Imagine waking up first thing in the morning, looking out of your house window and seeing a beautiful sunny day, from the heat reflecting off the glass, it feels warm, you see children running around, riding their bikes, people in summer dresses. So you run to your cupboard, get your summer clothes out and get ready to enjoy the sun. Some of you might be whistling, others singing a song, you grab your keys. Get to the front door and stop.Damn, you forgot to take your water bottle, after all, if it’s hot, you don’t want to dehydrate and ruin one of the few sunny days you get in England.
Now, you’re ready to leave. Bottle in one hand, keys in the other. You open the front door, step out and the warmth hits you.
Your body wakens as the rays touch your skin.
Suddenly you’re miles from home.
The weather does a complete u-turn, before you know it the skies have turned grey, a cold wind hits you like an anvil and before your eyes can adjust to the loss of light, it starts snowing.
You are freezing, your toes feel like they are about to fall off, then the gust of wind turns into a gale.
You are struggling to make it home. You don’t know what’s happened, even the weather forecast on your phone hadn’t predicted this melee.
As you reach your front door, your cold fingers stumble for the keys and just as you are about to walk in, the sun comes out, the ground dries up and the beautiful day returns and the no trance remains of the temporal anomaly you’d just witnessed.
Welcome to my everyday life when my third and fourth child are together.
Every time they are together, the famous Elvis song ‘devil in disguise’ earwigs me. It goes round and round in circles just like they do.
They are cute together, with an eighteen month difference, they are of an identical height and often confused for twins.
Their faces light up when they smile. They start to play some cute game which quickly escalates and swallows the area surrounding them. They will invade your personal space and all that will be left is that tiny corner they haven’t yet seen.
With the slight of hand, one will scratch, the other will kick and the screaming and crying begins.
Cuteness had left the building long ago, you can see people’s eyes looking at them finding them endearing in their youth and cheer, yet wishing them to stop.
However, these two can not be reasoned with. The more they are told to stop the louder they get.
“Stop it or we’ll go home.”
That buys a couple of minutes to think of my next move.
“When we get home you will go to time out.”
“Sorry daddy, we’ll be good. We want to behave.”
At times I feel like the bad guy because I feel like I’m constantly reprimanding them.
I turn my eyes away for a split second. One has ran to the right and the other to the left.
The hurricane is about to commence.
I need to stop it. Who do I go after first?
I don’t move assessing the situation and most of the time they will run a circle and return my way, circle each other and use me as their roundabout, until one of them extends a hand and scratches the other or they bump into each other. They blame each other and the situation cannot be resolved because they don’t want to listen when they are told “this happens every time. You should listen when you are asked to stop.”
“And you shouldn’t have ran off.”
Two minutes later they are best of friends again and I’m awaiting the next strop.
Then we have the situations when I’m home alone, my parter is at work and I’m making the kids dinner.
It’s rarely the older two, they like to get on with whatever game they have decided to play.
All of a sudden there’s a loud shriek and one of the two is crying.
I have been out of the room no more than two minutes.
There comes a point where all the threats, shouting and punishments expire. The tears subside and they look at you as though to say; ‘I dare you to do your worse.’
At that point, the battle is lost, anything you can do, they can do better. They have three other siblings that they can irritate and possibly send into a rage.
That’s when the game needs changing.
“If you two behave, tomorrow I’ll take you to the park.”
“And toys r us and get us a toy and sweeties.”
“Sure, as long as you are both good, go to sleep when you go to bed and do as you are asked.”
The gale has subsided.
Any new or upcoming parent that says they will not bribe their child(ren) are being very naïve. I chuckle every time I hear that. It has nothing to do with patience or perseverance, it has to do with the fact that your child knows how break and manipulate you better than anyone you will ever meet.
So, that’s how you calm the gale storm and bring back the sunshine. A small bribe. You don’t have to go through with it when they are small, their memories for such things are not that great. Tomorrow is a different day and for now you want some calm and peace, you are tired, you don’t know which way to turn and that five minutes to breath is like the sun shining after the storm.