Have you got a chatterbox at home? One that never stops? If not talking, then singing. If not singing, humming. If not humming, something else. If your patience is running thin, then you may relate to this story. If not, you probably will waive your finger at me and judge: ‘This is not how parenting is done!’
As much as I love my children, spending school holidays with them 24/7 can be, let’s say, just a tiny winy challenging. Even more so with the prospects of doing a major food shop with both of them. Something I swore to never ever do again.
But… Here was an idea! Bargaining. Yes, I know, I hear your voices saying this isn’t educational. Especially on a day when my son is grounded. No TV, no computer, no tablet, no XBox… You name it. So what if I back off one ‘component’ of his punishment?? Ohhh, you shouldn’t do this, I hear, parents should stick to their guns. Yup, couldn’t agree more! And still, it was ever so tempting to trade one hour of silence for an hour of XBox. Without any hope this would actually work. It never has. Not longer than fifteen minutes, anyway.
So, equally as much as I was desperate for some quiet time (and, possibly, some stress free shopping??), my son was desperate for any technical enternainment devices. Deal sealed.
Off we went in the car. A couple of miles down the road, the only noises I could hear were the car stereo and those normal driving sounds. Hm. Wow. How nice. How long will it last for, though.
Ten minutes later he was still quiet. With the only exception of one word which I immediately intercepted (‘Remember the deal?’). Here I was, driving into the store car park, slow as a turtle, looking for a space. Even slower, actually, as normally my son’s voice would ring in my ears: ‘Here, here! A space!’ Bummer, now I had to drive – and look for a space. We made it to nearly fifteen minutes, and this is when I realised that I… actually… needed (missed??) his voice. Or, really, his parking directions…
Shall I admit, unpaedagogically, that this was the best ever shopping experience I have ever had with two kids on board… Not that I didn’t get the usual stealing food from the shelves and shoving it into my shopping trolley. Or some undoubtedly begging/persuading gestures, ‘Please, can I have this, and this!’ But… quiet! Bliss.
He got his hour on the XBox. And I didn’t feel like a bad parent. Or should I have done?