Really. With two parents, or at least, this two, I am always "bad cop". Daddy gets to waltz off in the morning, and listen to Radio 4 in his car for an hour, while I am shouting "YES, you need to clean them in the mornings!", smelling the breath, sending them back, and forcing unsightly cereal down them. I moan all day, I pick up the points all day, then daddy waltzes back in just before bedtime, hypes them all up and is just the most bestest parent ever. I do get a bit sick of it, can you tell? At weekends, the little rules I spend ALL WEEK being mean about, little rules like saying "please" "thankyou" not treating me like a servant, not eating sweets before meals and so on, go out of the window because daddy is a complete soft touch. And yet conversely, he is much more liable to fly off the handle at the constant whining than I am, because he doesn't have to listen to it all week, and has yet to develop the whining deaf ear I have, or learnt to choose his battles (you know: it's 4.30, dinner is half an hour away, the kids are wretched, whiny, fighting. Now is not, I repeat, not, father, the time to have a conversation about getting your feet off the sofa). So yes, it's easier with just me. And you know, maybe i'll get to be good cop for a bit too.
So far, I have been hideous.Here are my main fights.
- I have re-introduced the rules that were in existance before Christmas about eating. Simply, they are, try everything on your plate, no afters with no effort, and no sweets apart from twice a week at my stipulated times. Snacks before meals? Fruit. No, not the truckload of biscuits and sweets that Mother-In-Law shows up with 4 times a week, waving in front of you 10 minutes before dinner, no. And yes, I have had a word. 15,000 times, in fact. How is it going? 2 days of weeping, pushing away food and staring sadly at the cupboard of MIL love. I'm not giving in. So they'll lose a little weight.
- Bedtimes are real. For me and you. I prefer mine to be a lot further away from yours than you want it to be. You can play your organ and screech "Welcome to the Dangerzone" down it, you're not coming out of your room. And you, madam, can throw as many Sylvanians at the door as you like. I don't like them anyway. I will be reading in my bedroom, going "la, la, la".
- I like the word "please". But just shouting "PLEASE, then!" does not have the same effect. I want to hear "Please may I?" I'm an arse, but I can dream.
- Water is nicer than juice. Of course it's not, but you've got to drink it. Because I said so.
- Would it be possible, do you think, to have under 10 playthings out at once? Maybe put some away when you've finsihed, rather than simply tip new toy on top of old, in an attempt to create archaeological layers that would baffle that one who used to be Baldrick?
- TV and PC is down to 45 minutes morning and 45 mins pm, IF you've been out and about in the meantime. Play with the mountain of stuff you got for Xmas. I will play with you, I promise, if you promise it won't be Sylvanians or little army men. Playmobil it is then. I like Playmobil, it fits in my hoover lovely. Actually, this is the only successful thing so far. I like playing with my kids, I just like it more when they are nice and well behaved and i'm not just a skivvy.
Let's see how we are in a few days.