11 October 2012
As I put Lucy and Audrey into the bath the other night - a bit later than planned - I caught myself saying that if either of them got their hair wet I would cut the wet bits out.
I really do try to limit these sorts of obscure threats but when my arsenal of common-sense has run dry I slink back to them.
Some time ago I remember hearing about a father who told his children that if they left their jandals at the front door the jandal bird would come and steal them in the night. I think the key here is to make someone or something else out as the bad guy, thus making you the mere messenger.
My most overused one is the chopper (helicopter). Lucy has become really good at doing what she needs to do. Audrey, however, has extremely selective hearing (she really is just plain stubborn), and nothing will come between her and her Lego creations, jigsaws or My Little Pony role play. She will walk right past you, 'blanking you' as my mother refers to this behaviour. She also prefers to eat her meals precisely fifteen minutes after we have all started ours.
I told her some time ago that the chopper comes when children are being naughty. And the police helicopter here is shiny and black, like a nasty insect buzzing in the sky. Quite ominous. So when she won't eat, get dressed (this takes an ice age), put her shoes on, pick up her toys (a toy!) I remind her about the chopper. And I don't know how it happens but the helicopter invariably buzzes by at just the right time. Impeccable timing.
Brendan used to tell me off for doing this, but I noticed after a week or two (with desperation setting in) he was sheepishly doing the same.
Sometimes when I think I am the only naughty mother on the planet, serendipity calls and another mum will just happen to confide that when she yells at her kids she shuts the windows in the house so her neighbours won't hear her.