Batter Up.

We all receive our parenting curveballs. Some of us see them and dodge, others are forced to take a swing. It’s their voracity that differs. Parenting curve balls of late, have been weak and easy to handle. I know it could be so much worse, but in the frenzy that is the game of parenting, I often lose my perspective.

I took the little travelers out to lunch yesterday, they were beyond feral. At one stage, mid meal, when I walked three of the travellers to the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of us in the mirror. Me with a scowl and pulsating vein in my forehead muttering something about the naughtiest children ever, and them looking like three waifs I’d dragged off the street. One was missing her shoes (barefoot in the mall is always a good look), another his socks, the other had left her cardigan behind and was walking bare shouldered in the cold. Hair buns were now disheveled pony tails, and soy sauce sat like war paint on their cheeks.

It began within seconds of being seated. A chicken ball made its way across the room. The table looked like a game of musical chairs but there was no music, just squealing. Someone pointed some chopsticks and nearly took out an eye. I was seated at a different table with friends (my first mistake). I watched from afar trying to make eye contact to deliver the death stare, my attempts were futile. I shout-whispered (it’s a talent you learn as a mother) across the room “put it down, put it down, I SAID PUT IT DOWN!” I made gestures of throat cutting, tried humor and then gave up.

At the end of the meal when we were all back in the car, I announced that they would never be dining out again. EVER. I think I reached my dramatic peak with “Your life will be a continuity of sandwiches, fresh fruit and evening meals at the family table until you are adults, for you cannot be trusted to dine outside of the home”. I had taken on the role of Queen Victoria.

For the entire drive home my vocabulary focussed on adjectives; naughty, selfish, disappointing, ungrateful. I saw one of them was trying not to laugh so I raised the volume, clenched my teeth and went for the jugular “Your father and I will be speaking about this tonight” and then I threw in the starving children in Africa.

They were silent.

Later in the evening, after I’d found the gin, I got in to a discussion with the first little traveller. We talked about friendships and how they can all work differently. I talked to the second little traveller about sleep overs and the anxiety they can produce. I talked to the third and fourth travellers about why it’s always best to get undressed before you get in the bath. Seriously, clothes on in the bath?

And then I took away all of their technology and said they’d see it again on Friday.

“You guys were out of control today, you know that right?”

No-one argued. Some-one made an enquiry “Would you consider giving it back on Thursday night?” the others quickly shushed him.

The game was over. No more pitches, no more standing at the plate. For today.

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