Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Swop Shop

It’s all fun and games until someone starts crying!

“Hello?  Is that the Swop Shop man?  It is?  Good.  Do you swop boys by any chance?  Yeah, he’s four and a half years old.  Great!  He has red hair, just like his mother.  Does that matter?  Fantastic!  Ok, I need to swop my lad for a new one.  But he needs to be nice.  Not contrary and whiney.  I’ve used up all of my cross words with this boy see, and I’m afraid I’ll have none left for when the baby gets older.  No problem?  This is great!  Ok, so here’s the story.  I have recycling to do in the morning so can I drop my boy off at your shop on the way to do that and collect the new one?  How does that sound?  Will you make sure the new fella is clean and has his teeth brushed and all of that?  Yes, my chap is ready to be swopped.  That’s fine.  So I’ll see you in the morning so.  Perfect.”

That was a pretend conversation with a pretend man on my phone in a misguided attempt to get Oldest Boy, who, at the time, was only four and a half, to dry up.


He was young but not stupid and he certainly was not prepared to take my conversation at face value so he asked me was it a real man on the phone.  I confirmed that it was indeed a real man, and casually left the room. 

Almost immediately there was hysterical, panicked crying and he came racing after me screaming, “Mammeeeee!”

I half laughed and stopped to reassure him that I was only messing and I’d never, ever swop him.  Or his brothers, no matter what they might do.  It took approximately two minutes to allay his fears that he was not going anywhere and a further two minutes for him to put the fright I had just given him out of his mind. 

Then his life returned to normal.  I, however, continued to berate myself for the evening. 

There have been times when I yelled at the boys because they didn’t answer me quickly enough.  I get frustrated because they’ve made a mess and I have just swept the floor. I am truly sorry for the days where I neglected to eat and as a result was short tempered and took it out on them. 

It is not their fault, nor indeed do they care, that their parent is tired, cranky and needs a little time to themselves.  You are but a possession to them, a thing, a means to an end.

And in the midst of all the pressure we have to remember how important language is.  It is not what you say but how you say it.

In light of the recent disturbing childcare revelations, it serves as a reminder to us all, exactly how vulnerable our kids are.

Yes.  It’s all fun and games until someone starts crying.

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