Thursday, 8 May 2008

History should tell us

All morning me and Dig are drowned under an ocean tide of sweetness and co-operation, so the grounding and the threat of having to stay at home forever - or at least never being able to stop on bike rides to visit places of interest ever again - have possibly had an impact on Shark, Squirrel and Tiger's developing mentalities.

And mummy Grit and daddy Dig are feeling good about this. We are the King and Queen of our castle! We have demonstrated the sovereign powers and rights of the ruling parents! Yes! We have established authority and control in our own dominion! Yes! We have contained the rank and file and ordered our society!

In this stable and adult directed environment we like to believe the little gritlets are researching new ways of co-operation and team working. We have seen such evidence indeed. The careful and socially responsible division of mud for the mud pies for example, cutting the grass with nail scissors so mamma doesn't have to get out the mower, sitting together in the tree, whispering, and proclaiming that because they have been so helpful and nice now for four hours and thirty-two minutes, that's justification for daddy Dig to book another PGL holiday and for mamma to take them to see Nim's Island at the Odeon.

We will see, I say, after lunch, when everyone has been polite at the table and not shouted 'She got more than me!' And then, carefully putting down her fork, Shark declares 'And now I want to sit on a parent'.

Usually this is not the creepy thing it sounds. This is something that Shark, Squirrel and Tiger do when they like to assert their claims to be cute. They like to come and sit on a parental lap after eating. The grown ups have fondly explained this as a way of saying 'thank you for my full tummy' but it probably evolved from a sort of primitive-instinct thing to secure ongoing parental attachment so that dinner appears on the table in four hours, and possibly cake inbetween.

Of course at the knee-sitting routine Shark, Squirrel and Tiger take turns, because they have only two parents. Sometimes they agree in advance who is sitting on who for how long and sometimes they organise the line up for the knee-sitting and cuddles by rota. But sometimes they just start pushing and shoving and fighting. Then daddy Dig and mummy Grit get swamped by not very cute arms and legs thrashing about and become flattened under the combined weight of two huge kids fighting for control over a left leg and get elbows in the face and then everyone starts shouting, screaming and crying and the gritlets get banished from the kitchen and sent to the far reaches of the kingdom to calm down.

Well today that line of Shark's is a bit creepy because I get the intuitive feeling the little girls might have somehow planned this invasion upon the royal person; there is a bit of meaningful silence and intent looking at Shark when she says 'And now I want to sit on a parent', and Squirrel and Tiger both laugh. Dig laughs too, but I think it may be nervous.

Squirrel sits on Dig's knee and Tiger and Shark agree to divide up the mummy Grit legs so that Tiger perches on the left and Shark perches on the right. That's not very comfortable, and I think my thigh bones might be cracking under the strain but I'm prepared to go with it because everyone's been so sweet and helpful now for six hours ten minutes.

And then out of nowhere the unicorn appears. Unicorns are banned from the kitchen. And the front room, schoolroom and now, the toilets. They routinely knock over the wine glasses, land in the tomato sauce and inhabit spaces where they should not be. They take over the remote control, guard the stairs, command the computer table and get dolled up in sparkly necklaces and silk scarves before taking flying lessons down the stairs. The unicorns are everything. They are the brave soldiers who fight against the watties, and the watties, I suspect, are me and Dig and every adult thing. The unicorns, if I am being philosophical about it, are the symbol of the struggle between the powers and rights of the child and those of the adult world. They are the pioneers expanding kiddy frontiers; they sweep the land for dominance and assert the right to baron rule. They even have their own song.

And I am trapped. When I am safely pinned down in my kitchen chair with two 8-year olds feigning cuteness, fastening my legs to the floor and with one hand each holding my arms, the unicorns appear. There is uproar and laughter. It could be the siege of Berkeley Castle* all over again.

Because in what better manner to to subvert the newly-established adult control, to reestablish kiddy dominance, than to strike at the head that wears the crown? Not one, but two unicorns are battered up and down on mummy Grit's tender head while the unicorn anthem is chanted to whoops of delight.

Well after the barons have scattered to raise their further armies, I may leave the bloody scene undignified, with an elbow in the face and with my crown displaced, but I leave too with resolve. Next time I will return with better watchfulness and will check under the kitchen curtains before agreeing to any knee-sitting.

And, I can claim, I have got away lightly, because at no point was I threatened with a red-hot poker up the bottom**.

The usurper, plotting the next attack

And while we're about it, I've found this palm squirrel on the schoolroom floor. Tiger claims the stick strapped to its ear is a snorkel but I do not believe her. It looks suspiciously like a pikestaff to me.

* The parliamentarian forces take the castle in the English Civil War
** The unfortunate but fatally flawed Edward II


Elizabeth said...

I thought the poor squirrel had been stabbed as well! Watch out Grit!

Merry said...

I thought it had been forcibly turned into a unicorn.

Have you read Alsion Weir's book on Isabella... man, he'd have been an annoying husband!

sharon said...

I'm glad to hear that an interlude of co-operation has come from the grounding. Long may it continue! Re your reply to my last comment, I had a small advantage in the setting ground rules dept as I used to be a registered childminder (it was the only way I could afford to stay at home with my boys). As the boys got older we 'acquired' more children and quite often I had up to 6 other children as well as my 2 boys. In order to cope with the assorted ages and activities e.g. schools, playschool, fun and games at home, shopping, naps and meals we HAD to have a system and a set of rules. It does work if you are consistent - and persistent lol! We also walked almost everywhere which helped to burn off some of that excess energy.

sharon said...

PS. I thought the squirrel was armed with a lance! The Sealed Knot displays have a lot to answer for.

Sandi McBride said...

DOn't count on the grounding effect lasting never lasted long with mine. You know I'd put your lot up against the Nanny anyday lol...and they're in therapy for fear of dogs? Really? I should think it would be the other way around lol

Pig in the Kitchen said...

your kids are hilarious! i LOVE the snorkel. Altho it too says death to me...

Mean Mom said...

Crafty aren't they? They'll go far in life!

OvaGirl said...

It sounds like you may have lost the battle but ultimately you will win the war. Also, re last post, Dig is a genius. If only they had been grounded away from the house earlier. You could have read the papers and maybe even had a bubble bath.

Grit said...

Hello folks, thank you for your comments, I am going off now to catch up on some blog reading, and I will probably see you at your place.

And Sharon, with that professional experience, you are welcome to come and give me classes.

Frog in the Field said...

Sounds like every mealtime in our house, only it's finnier when it happens to someone else, obviously :D
I LOVE the snorkel...

Maggie May said...

I'm splitting my sides here! Hilarious!