In the UK they’re currently having something called a ‘General Election’ whereby a bunch of politicians try to gain some sort of power by verbally abusing each other while the media covers it all in a sort of ‘I can’t believe they said that’ sort of way. Somebody is going to be left disappointed at the end of all of this. About six months into the UK leader’s new term, it’s usually the voter.
When it comes to home politicking within our family of five, nothing comes close to the potential Lego landmine of upsetting one of our children in order to appease the other two. Or appeasing one to upset the other one because the other other one is happily playing in his bedroom. Or asking the question, ‘Why is [insert relevant child’s name here] crying?’ For this one, I expect lots of staring at a middle distance beyond you, or at their feet, or just blatantly trying to ignore you until you get really frustrated with them.
In any case, bath time was a bit tricky this morning. I was trying to put in a system in place whereby one child gets a thorough scrubbing each day, but they weren’t having any of it. If one kid in our household is getting a bath, that means the other two are going to feel left out. When I told Butterfly, our 4 y.o daughter that her bath will be tomorrow instead she decided to run her program Strop Mode 2.5, where Rationality 0.5 (beta, currently going through QA) and Reasoning 0.5 (beta) are found to be in violation and so are thrown out of the metaphorical window, while Pout Face 4.2 is activated and in turn starts up the short-term virus, Running To Her Room To Have a Massive Sulk 2.1. Meanwhile, the Task Manager (Dadbod 3.1) is left to shake his head at whatever just happened and continued to run the Trim Toenails app on Lightning, our oldest son.
Eventually a bath was made for Lightning because during semi-cuddling into him while trimming his toenails (because every snuggle counts!) I thought to myself about how odorous he was. I tried to remember the last time I gave him a shower or a bath, gave up, then decided to put one on for him. But, of course, Pup suddenly wanted to have one too, so, fair enough, I decided to shove them both in the same bath, got them ready for it, poured in a load of bubbles and everybody was happy for all of ten minutes.
After this, I tried to supplicate Butterfly, which in all hindsight was a bad move, since she didn’t care and didn’t want to be within a 50-mile radius of me. She was holed up under the covers of her bed with Sparkles (a pink and purple spotted leopard) and Tracker (from Paw Patrol fame). I stopped her from running the program Strop Mode 5.0 and eventually got her down through the system to Small Teenager 1.0, Calming Down Now 5.6, Being Tickled to Keep Her Mind Off Stuff 5.7 to end up with Happy Face 2.1.
All this while there was a load of crying and tomfoolery going on in the bathroom. Switching back to there, I told Lightning that if Pup cried again for whatever reason, both of them were out. Otherwise, they had two minutes left. I left the bathroom, happy in my resolve. About thirteen seconds later, Pup cried. Slightly fed up by now, I went back in and hauled out Lightning, got him dry then sent him to his room so he could get dressed. Next came Pup, same deal except that I had to dress him.
Butterfly eventually got her bath too and by this time it had taken about three donkey’s years since I was getting distracted and cleaning various bits and pieces of the house, yelling and turning off lights while wondering where the term ‘blue-arsed fly’ came from. Nevertheless, I got three clean children out of this process, all of them ready to get dirty and sweaty again at a moment’s notice. This is an achievement, people. Hindsight also told me that it would be a royal pain in the backside to get a ‘system’ of cleaning one child each day. Children aren’t robots and can’t be treated as such. They’re little humans, developing all sorts of emotions and feelings and so on. If one child is in the bath, then I’m going to have to herd the other two anyway, like away from snacks and dangerous electrical equipment. And they’re not sheep, they’re cats. They’re crazy. But also a joy.