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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  1. Your little travellers might be giving you a hard time for being ill! Which is, of course, grossly unfair, but they may feel a need to be angry with someone. (Or they just might be having a feral day.) They love you really!

  2. Ah yes. Just when you’re lulled into a false sense of security that you have the best kids ever…BAM!! Reality check. They all do it. They’re just keeping it real. Reminding us we really have little control! Really, it’s best to drink the gin & try again tomorrow.

    Laughed so hard at the ‘shout-whispering’ across the room. Ha ha, yes, we mothers do all do that, along with a look that could kill. You’ve got wonderful kids. Tomorrow’s a new day xx

  3. LOVED the ‘shout-whispering’. Does it ever, ever work? I’m thinking not, yet we all continue to do it. Sounds like the LTs now know without a doubt, ‘feral recess is over, Mom’s BACK’. Underneath it all, I’m sure it’s a relief to them that you’re back on your game.

  4. Couple of techniques I’ve learned now that I have 16, 14 & 7. First I make sure they are not beyond starving. Personally I love a good nosh when I’m starving, so satisfying, but if kids are running on empty they are feral. So while it seems crazy to nibble something just before going out to eat, I encourage it if the last meal was too long ago. Second, I give them the Queen Vic lecture before getting out of the car (what a pain I must be….) and set super-dooper clear expectations on what shall and shall NOT be done. Third and most importantly I have become an expert in instantly scoping the floor plan in the restaurant and selecting seating assignments. Miss 7 NEVER sits next to or opposite Mr 14… or there will be trouble! No discussion entered in to about seating plan, kiddos!

    I do most things without hubby as he’s rarely there (whole ‘nother story) but have got very good at parenting solo!

    • Thanks both for the post Kirsty, and for your advice FunMumx3. I also believe it helps giving the lecture and some food beforehand, Γ‘nd we’ve found that certain seating assignments are way preferable over others… But these things I often only think about in hindsight…

  5. Hi I found you over on Cathy’s blog,Wandering Sheila .. Read this with amusement .. been there, done that,now we are on the Grandchildren stage .. and I do exactly the “shout whisper ” voice as I did with my boys.

    I do only normally take one grandchild out at a time, (they live in different parts of the UK) but even then I get frustrated sometimes, when we go out for lunch or something. It is getting easier with the older one, but the youngest I say “it is a treat” would you rather be stuck indoors .. or out with Nanny .. your choice .. we can get a bus home now if you want ! They push us to limits sometimes πŸ™‚

    How lucky your children are to have the life they do have .. some children never get out of their town or village here.

  6. I think it’s all of us and it’s great that you are honest and blog about these days as well πŸ™‚

  7. Taking stuff away > you can do that because your kids are little. Try taking something off a 6ft 14yo. I weep for the days when he was little and did what I said. Now I am the master of cajole, convince, trade.

    This is not what I was aiming for.

  8. Welcome home. lol.

  9. Fabulous. I’m a lurker… I think I’ve commented a few times. But I have to tell you that I love your voice. You make me giggle/snort and sometimes cry. That’s what I love in a blog. Thank you for sharing!!


  10. Hilarious post!

  11. Being a parent is hard and those of us who have been there but a long time ago, nod and say, “I remember those days” with a smug smile. I always tell my younger friends with little ones, “it will get worse before it gets better (the teenage years are coming) but IT will get better!!” Now that you are settled back home, can you send me an address where I can mail a book to Lizzie in appreciation for her part.

  12. Oh my goodness! I literally had tears rolling down my cheeks while I was reading this…& so did my husband when I read it out loud to him! I have had this exact same day countless times…& threatened the “never going out of the house in public again” too. πŸ™‚ I just started following your blog a few months ago & I can’t tell you how similar I feel our lives are. Thanks for writing so well & making me laugh & smile.

  13. I think parenting has to be one of the hardest things in the world to do, and you are never really done. You put a fun spin ono it, and make me realize that I am not alone with the parenting or the Gin!

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