Thursday, February 08, 2007


It's the little things sometimes...

Some days you have special moments (like Miscmum's L-O-V-E lunchtime.) And some days, well, you just have to sit back and shake your head. Heads, actually, as the Daddy was equally incredulous (and I made sure to point out that he actually misses a lot of this sort of STUFF when he is away for days/weeks at a time.)

Nothing drastic - but sometimes it's the little things that make you wonder whether you have a handle on this parenting lark. And because in some respects the issue seems somewhat trivial, you don't know how to deal with it. "Am I being unreasonable here?" is a question I often ask myself. "Am I being too tough? Or not tough enough?"

So this morning:

We are getting showered and dressed (and I'm ironing school uniforms) when Ms 8 stomps up to our room, followed by Ms 11. They usually have had their breakfast by now. Ms 8 is crying.. well, one of those half cry, half angry-with-her-sister looks. Uh-oh, something's happened. She also appears to have crumbs or something on her pj top.

"Alison threw brown sugar at me."

*The parents just gape.*

"She what?"

"She threw brown sugar at me."

"Is this true, Alison?"

*Alison sits, head bowed. (Usual M.O. when she knows she's done something wrong*..)



"Well, she wouldn't shut up."


Add to that, Zoe has consequently stomped through the house right up to our room with, no doubt, crumbs of brown sugar falling off her top as she went. [Ed: For evidence apparently, as I was reminded when it was discussed this evening.]

Maybe it's because they are generally good kids, that I don't know how to handle this sort of stuff. What sort of consequences should I deal out? (I'm thinking vacuuming the whole house, actually... ) Or is a 'telling off' enough?

And then, just for variety, just as they are about to walk out, I notice Alison's school cap. (Don't forget in Australia we have school uniforms.) I usually miss seeing it because she rides her bike to school (with helmet), so the hat gets stashed in her bag.

It's beyond 'pre-loved':

I had wanted to get her a new one last year, but she kept telling me they had run out. Hmmmm. I recalled that yesterday's school newsletter had announced that they had the new caps in. I reach for my purse to get her money for a new one.

She has her head bowed and is tearing up.

"What's the matter?!!... "

"Well, I just don't think there is much point." she says.

"Um.. Alison. OK, this might be your last year of school, but you can't wear that all year. (Thinking also that she is on Student Council, so should be looking half decent.) It's really beyond it. And so I'm happy to spend the money on a new one."

More silence till we harass her to respond. Finally we prise it out of her.

"The new ones have SBP on them instead of SB (SB is the name of the school, two words, and P stands for Public.) and I'd be the only one with one of those."

"Sheesh." (Who the hell in the school decided to change the initials anyway, but...)

Ok... well, you can wear Cait's old one then. (I had had their names embroidered on the back of each cap - which shows you how old it is... that was three years ago! Cait is now in her third year of high school. With the name blacked out, it has served as a spare for the last 2 years.

She begrudgingly takes that one. Not happy though.

"Where's the old one then?" I ask.

"In my bag for a spare." (Yeah, right, like you're not going to swap it as soon as you get to school...)

I make her hand it over... (after all, I need photographic evidence for the blog, after which it is going in the bin.)

Marc, I might add, is backing me up in this, and is equally incredulous. And she heads off to school in tears.

Do we qualify for a Horrible Parents Award then?

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I remember back to my own school days when we had to wear navy blue berets with the school badge on them... hats were definitely not fashionable items in those days. People used to jump on them, put them in buckets of water, anything to make them looked used and interesting. Also being made of felt you could shape them into a more desirable and definitely unregulation shape after the water and bashing treatment.
I sympathise with Alison, a falling to pieces hat would be better than a badge of honour, a bit like the captain's baggy green.
Of course they should clean up the sugar. I always made a point of not interfering in family quarrels as long as no one was being physically mistreated... cleaning up after, though, was always in the hands of the perpetrator.
Horrible parents? Of course you are! Why should you be any better than the rest of us?

As for the mess, let them clean it up, but I wouldn't get all worked up about it. Save that for the really big stuff. If our kids had blown brown sugar at each other we would have laughed at them and made them feel ridiculous.
Yeah I think I would have done one of those snorting laughs at the sugar incident, the sort where you're trying to be the serious parent but it all just sounds so silly you can't help but laugh.

As for the hat, yeah it looks terrible but I can put myself in her shoes. Would she really be the only one? If so, I'd say the school has wasted their money if none of the kids will buy the new ones. What's her problem with her sister's hat? Is it just because it is her sister's?
No you are not a horrible parent. I woudl have probably gone ape over teh sugar thing - it attracts ants like crazy.
If my kids were 8 and 11 would have done a complete 'nana dragged out the vaccuum and brrom and stood over them until they celaned it up, then I would have glared at them until they were uot of my sight GRRRRR!
As it is, mine are 3 and 4, so I woudl ahve just stopped at the 'nana chuck and ranted about how much the lean up was wasting my time, and then we woudl talk about why Mummy got angry. Ha Ha.
Boy, now who feels like the over the top, bad parent (blush).
ha ha - why is it that some points made have to be so messy?
LOL, strauss, you made me laugh this morning reading that. "Doing your 'nana." Such a good saying.

She actually had swept it up herself anyway (albeit not that well.) She would have known as soon as she'd thrown it that she'd cop it. The scene would have been hilarious, really - Zoe in high dudgeon then, and probably Alison trying to persuade her not to dob.

It's one going down in the family annals, to be drawn out as ammunition in the 'well at least that wasn't as stupid as throwing brown sugar' stakes.

The eldest (nearly 14) has been in hysterics over it. Don't kids love it when they see their siblings get into trouble and they are not involved at all.

Sometimes I think Marc has a shorter fuse than me over stuff like that, because he thinks more of the consequences - like ants and cockroaches. The "victim" walking through the house (with crumbs of brown sugar dropping off as she negotiated 2 flights of stairs) probably got to him as much as the stupidity of throwing sugar (of all things!) in the first place.

My reaction usually depends on the mood I am in. Sometimes the most trivial thing will be the one that tips the bucket.
You're pure eveil Trace, making her throw out her favourite hat - honestly! Scarred for life, it'll cost you in therapy bills in 8 years or so...

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