Do you find yourself repeating everything several times, not just at a meal time but at every mealtime in fact every mealtime of every day and then giving up because quite clearly you are being ignored? Do you get really, really, cross about it? I do. Especially about minding your Ps and Qs.
I get cross about the fact that I have to tell my boys every single day the same things several times but they just don’t seem to hear me. I feel like one of those talking toys doomed to repeat a select set of random messages depending on how the string is pulled. Instead of “Reach for the Sky!”(aka Woody in Toy Story) I am likely to be heard repeating the following phrases:
- Say Please?
- What do you say?
- What is the magic word?
- If you want people to do anything for you have to say what?
- I’m sorry I didn’t quite catch that. Was it a word beginning with P?
- Don’t forget to say Thank you!
When we are out and about, usually at friends or worse in public, I feel like a demented Barbie Doll as I have to say these phrases with a rictus grin across my face, before giving up and apologising saying things like: “I am so sorry he’s not normally like this!” or else shrugging and saying: “I’m so sorry, he’s a bit tired.”
At home it’s a different kettle of fish. At home I can say these phrases as menacingly as I like not that it makes any difference of course as I have to repeat myself all over again the following day.
Well this morning I had had enough. I decided to change tack.
Me: What boys do you think would happen if no one said please or thank you?
Dumb silence from my boys.
Me, encouragingly: Well you might feel a bit sad wouldn’t you? You might get a bit cross.
The Boys sit as still as statues clearly wondering where Mother’s discombobulations will take them.
Me: What do you think happens when people get cross?
The Boy: They start to shout.
Me, trying not to think that he’s thinking about me: Yes they do shout. Is it nice when people shout?
They shake their heads.
Me: What do you think would happen if everyone was cross with each other apart from the shouting…
The Boy, tentatively: They might fight...
Me: Yes they might they might hurt each other and be cruel to each other. It doesn’t sound nice does it?
Bog Boy’s eyes start to goggle…
Bog Boy, incredulously: There might be a war!
Not quite the direction I had wanted to go in but I think he got the gist of the lesson. If you don’t mind your Ps and Qs there might be a war.
PS: I’d like to report that they now say please and thank you like little angels but they still prefer to pull strings!