Not all conversations with #MisterFourGoingOnFourteen are intelligent, smart, funny or entertaining. So it is with disdain that I share these two stories. Yet I hope another Daddy can learn from it. Or at least empathize.
Daddy: “My new crutch. Please may I have it back?” It’s for my current yet ongoing knee problems.
Jai: “Nope”. He walks around with it, wielding it like a sabre.
Daddy: “Please don’t point that at people, particularly mummy and daddy!”
Jai ignores me. I hobble around the house, trying to catch up with him. I can walk, but not for long. My right knee hurts like hell.
Daddy: “Please do NOT hit the windows. Don’t hit your brother. Don’t hit the back of my legs. PLEASE do NOT do that again!”
Jai looks at me, then looks away – and taps his brother on the shoulder. No pain, but scares Aidan. He toddles off to find mummy. Smart kid, he leaves the scene of the crime.
Daddy: “Ok, that’s IT! Time-Out for You!” I reach frantically for boy, but fumble on his shirt.
Jai dumps crutch and runs. I pick it up, and resume walking better. Jai gets away with it this time, but not for long…
Jai (moments after I regain control with arm-crutch): “I want Shaun the Sheep!”
Daddy: “You have to clean the messy lounge room first.”
Jai: “It’s a mess?”
Daddy: “Yes. Your toys do NOT belong on the floor. You know where they belong.”
Jai: “I don’t see it.” Sigh. Plays skip-rope with mummy’s tape-measure.
Daddy: Sigh. “Take another look. Tell me what you see.”
Jai: “Trucks! Animals! Balloons! Books!”
Daddy: “Good. I will clean up Aidan’s, you do yours, we will meet in the middle.”
Jai: “The where?”
Daddy: “Start cleaning up. I’ll tell you when we get there.”
Jai: Intrigued now. “OK.”
Oh my days, he actually cleaned up.
Daddy: “High five dude!”
Jai raises hands and wipes Pluto into the next galaxy. Oh my hand.
It’s fun, but only after he starts listening – and realises there is a reward for his effort.