I took the children to church yesterday; this is a first for us, trying a mid-week service. On our way we passed the hairdressers and, noticing the balloons, we popped our heads round the door to enquire whose birthday it was and to sing ‘Happy Birthday'. Tony, the proprietor, was 60 yesterday and offered he children some sweets, which he always does when the children get their hair cut.
“Only one", I said.
“On no,” he replied, “take two, don’t listen to your mum, it’s my birthday.” I didn’t wish to cause offence, so the children got two little packets. Still, they helped to keep my little girl quiet in church.
On a Wednesday, there is “Coffee and Chat” after the Communion, so we stayed on, an unashamed bribe for being well-behaved in a long, wordy service.
It was lunch-time when we got home. I briefly contemplated doing something from the afternoon’s schedule first and delaying lunch to let the cake go down a bit, but the children needed some free-time after all the sitting still.
I had made soup and I had made too much, so I filled up my little girl’s bowl without consulting her on how much she wanted. She ate about half, which was not bad really, considering the large portion and the sweets and the cake, but struggled after that. I was impatient, and not keen to deal with the problem of disposing of bean soup - too lumpy for the sink, too runny for the bin.
In the end the situation degenerated to her calling me “an idiot”- her insult of choice at the moment. I have decided that I have had enough of this and, all other methods of reasonable parenting having failed, picked her up to spank her. This is not something I am proud of and I would rather gloss over.
As I did so, her foot caught her bowl - bean soup all over the floor!
In hindsight, it is so easy to see how one thing led to another. In the middle of it I was just plain mad. With incredible will-power I managed not to shout “Look what you’ve done now!” and I got on my hands and knees cleared up the mess. As I reflect, I can see the many opportunities I had to head this one off, but failed to take. I wanted to blame everyone but myself. Sometimes, I just don't want to be the grown-up!