Posted by: Trudie Trewin | January 18, 2010

Remember when…

We recently spent a week with my sister and her family. She has two little boys, aged 4 and 2, and I was reminded just how easily they can be manipulated at that age (did I say manipulated? Of course I meant to say guided…).

My middle son (10) came out of his little cousins’ room giggling. ‘Mum, the boys have just taught me one of the games they play… they clean their room as fast as they can, then jump onto their beds and pretend to go to sleep!’ Hmm, I’d bet my sister made up that game!

And remember how easy it was before they could read? When the sign saying ‘No helmets inside shop’ could be pointed out with a groan – ‘Oh rats, it says  No ice-creams left in shop, sorry kids.’ Or when the older kids from next door got our kids enthused about The Simpsons, and we could scan the TV guide and say, ‘Nope, The  Simpsons aren’t on tonight’. Or my personal favourite, when the sign on the escalators could read If you run up the down escalator, you will be taken down to the cellar to sort through the bloody, chopped off toes of kids who tried it and weren’t quick enough to step off in time.

I know, I know… the correct parenting path is to gently, but firmly tell them no, they can’t have an ice-cream today, and stand by that decision. But, sheesh, that’s hard! And you’ve got years and years of that in front of you. My advice is to take the easy road while you can… savour that short, illiterate window and milk it for all it’s worth – because in the wink of an eye you’ll be hearing ‘s-i-m-p-s-o-n-s…yes it is Mum! It’s on tonight.’

Now I’m off to teach my pre-teen boys a new game… called play together for one day without calling each other names or twisting your brother’s arms and legs into a triple half-hitch knot. Wish me luck.


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