My (almost) four year old and I were playing.
Normally I don’t do this type of thing, but every now and then I put my ‘good mum’ hat on and try and do the things they tell me to do in all the parenting books.
So we were ‘mum friends’ and we were dropping our children off at school. My ‘daughter’ was a stuffed duck, she had the pig.
‘Bye bye darlings,’ she sang. ‘Time for school.’ She dropped the toys unceremoniously on the floor and then turned to me.
‘C’mon mum friend,’ she said. ‘Let’s get coffee.’
I swear this is all my family think I do with my time – drink coffee with my friends. It’s not true. Except on Thursdays.
So we sat at the kitchen table where my coffee was waiting for me.
‘Uh, I’ll have a milo,’ she told the imaginary shop girl.
She nudged me with her elbow. ‘Get me a milo, please.’
Sitting down with our beverages, she turned to me and said ‘we’re having a meeting now, mum friend.’ This is slightly closer to the truth with what I do with my days: ‘meeting’ covers a multiple of events involving other adults.
‘What shall we talk about?’ I asked innocently.
‘My kids! They’re crazy,’ she suddenly shrieked. ‘And your kids – they’re crazy too.’
‘Oh my,’ I said, mildly concerned at the sudden change in direction. ‘What shall we do?’
‘Lock them in their room,’ she said bluntly. ‘They’ll never do it again.’
I was a little shocked at her draconian measures. Sure, I have sent the kids to their room when they’re being naughty, but locking them away forever is a little extreme, even for me. Apparently to an almost-four year old though, they’re practically the same thing. Point taken.
‘Do you think that will work?’ I asked
‘Yeah,’ she said. ‘They’re so silly.’
‘What else shall we talk about,’ I said sipping my coffee.
‘We should scare them,’ she told me conspiratorially.
‘Who? Our kids?’ I wanted to know.
‘Why? I’m not sure that is a great idea.’
She looked at me. ‘Ok. We’ll just lock them in their room.’
I tried to change tack. ‘Mum friend,’ I said. ‘I need your advice. My kids don’t listen to me. How do I get them to listen to me?’
‘Just pat them on their heads,’ she said. ‘They’ll be good.’
‘Does that work with your kids,’ I asked her.
She hung her head dramatically, peeking out under her fringe. ‘I only have one kid,’ she said. ‘And she be very sick.’
‘Oh my,’ I said. ‘What does your husband think?’
‘Ewwwww,’ she cried indignantly. ‘I don’t have a husband! And my dad died,’ she added.
‘So you don’t have a husband, your dad is dead and your kid is very sick? That’s so sad,’ I said to her softly.
She put on her best sad face, looking up at me with her big eyes, her mouth pouting.
I waited for her next grand statement – maybe a dead dog? Burned down house?
Except she farted. A huge, bubbling fart that rippled against the plastic chair.
We both cracked up.
The game was over.