Tuesday, 22 April 2008

It is not a bribe. It is a reward.

In guilt, have started work again. This is not something I want to do. I have to, so I can buy clay. And paintbrushes, glue, felt squares, and wiggly eyes.

It's not like I get any time off, the sort of time you might get if you have to climb into a car or take a bus or hop on the bike or take the train to go to work everyday in an air-conditioned office. No. I work at home. This has several disadvantages. One of the worst is that my desk is two doors and six metres away from the kitchen table. So the kids get to wander into the office, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth; lost souls haunting the gates of damnation, pleading for orange juice, toilet paper, chalk pastels, paintbrushes, a vase to put in the flowers that just got picked. What? We haven't got any flowers, except the ruddy pansies I just planted.

After a morning of constant interruption, I'm about to snap. I started the sighing and snorting and drooping shoulders some time ago, and even though my mouth is still saying Yes? What do you want? the voice is hard and with a glittering steel edge that says If you don't get out of this office right now I shall cut off the horns from all your unicorns. Slowly.

And like all resourceful, resilient children, this means Adopt a New Technique. They creep in, rather than bounce in clutching three dead pansy heads and a big smile. They open the office door so slow and quiet I can hear the hinges breathe. Then slowly, one by one, they stand behind my chair, silently, eyes glued to the screen, mirroring mine. But they're not looking for a misplaced comma. They're waiting for a hesitant finger click of the mouse; a small sign that says, in the war, I've broken. This is the moment for someone to whisper Mummy? The toilet paper's run out.

By midday, there's only one thing to be done. Bribery. There are rules to this, and they are best followed without unnecessary ears. I wait till Dig's nowhere about and then Pssst. Tiger! Come here.

The first and most important rule is to find out what Tiger wants, more than anything in the world. Once I've got her on side I can bribe the other two with a bar of chocolate. I say Not a horse. Try something else. And she does. Second down the list is this.

OK I whisper. Here's the deal. I want two hours a day uninterrupted time in the office. If I get that, after five days you get the arena. When it arrives, tell daddy we've had it ages. Tiger nods. And keep your sisters out the office.

Deal done. So long as she doesn't grass me up, and the other two like Dairy Milk, it should be fine.


Brad said...

Whoa. That sounds like a slippery slope. In 8 years she'll want a Mini-Cooper.

Kelly Jene said...

Nice. I just come out and say "if you don't leave me alone I will pick one of your toys to give to charity." that works every time.

Here's hoping it works for you!

HelenHaricot said...

well, the arena looks fab AND educational!

the mother of this lot said...

I am quite concerned that Tiger's choice of plaything is one which involves throwing Christians to their barbaric death.

Suburbia said...

Mine always grass me up no matter what!! Good luck

Retiredandcrazy said...

There is an award waiting for you over at my place

Grit said...

hi brad, yup, probably. it's a risk i have to take. bribery is always a sign of weak and lazy parenting. that too. i bet the author of that line didn't have triplets and a deadline.

i will try the threat approach too kelly jene!

hi helen! i am sure it was inspired by the trip to chester in december. even though they have only half an ampitheatre, it's still a big enough for a few gladiators.

oh dear motl, i apologise. but at least this is better than the day i took them to the park and they began making spears.

thank you suburbia! (i will offer extra incentive if they do not tell dig.)

i am humbled, retiredandcrazy, and probably do not deserve it but will come over and grab it anyway.

Merry said...

Having snorted with laughter out loud i can only say that after 3 years my children are finally beginning to respond to "the more you talk to me, the longer this will take..."

I also threaten. These days "if you don't let me work i won't be able to afford the unit and all the boxes will have to come back here..." works a treat!

Mean Mom said...

Heavens! I would never have got away with that, with my three! There would have been a riot, if one got playmobil and the others got chocolate!