|Brothers In Arms|
With four boys in the house the odd fight is inevitable. Or pretty much guaranteed. As parents, Mister Husband and I have gone down the usual road lined with threats and empty promises to withhold treats until further notice, stop all cartoon watching and decide those who cannot have manners and stop shouting will not go swimming at the weekend.
They don’t work. Most likely because they are never properly carried out. I have found you need to hit upon an immediate treat. For example if they know the cinema is on the cards that afternoon, that is the threat to use, not something that is two or more sleeps down the line.
We’ve all got short memories. Or in our case, a terminal dose of anything-for-a-quiet-life-itis.
We have stumbled upon a little beauty, however. The advent and subsequent birth of the recent Minecraft computer game craze in which you get to be the Master Builder (Lego Movie reference right there!)
The vaguest threat to have a Minecraft ban imposed sees exemplary behaviour for a record 15 minutes or thereabouts.
One morning last Christmas during the Minecraft advent, a DS ban was in place so break-outs on the school run were to be expected.
I tend to turn up the volume of the radio in an attempt to drown out the fracas behind me but that can only do so much.
I was forced to employ some distraction tactics.
“Let’s see who can find a car with antlers and a red nose!”
“That’s so easy! There’s one. And another.”
We approached the parish church and I pointed out with much excitement and gusto, an abandoned Santa hat complete with white bobble, tied onto a gate post.
“Where? Where is it? I can’t see it!”
“Look. Over there. Look out your window.” I tapped at the glass and drove past the hat.
“Hah! I saw it and you didn’t.”
“No, you didn’t!” (Punch!) “You’re only (punch!) saying that to annoy me.”
“Ow!” (Punch!) “He (punch!) punched me!”
Fights such as those are not just reserved for car journeys. They like to challenge each other when sweets have to be shared.
“They’re all the same lads!”
“No, they’re not! His are yellow jellies and mine are orange. It’s not fair. He always gets the yellow ones.”
“Ha! Yesssssss! I got the best jellies and you don’t.”
(Punch!) (Punch!) (Punch!)
It’s exhausting. But at least they’re predictable.
The other morning was the complete antithesis of their sparring and whole hearted efforts to spill each other’s blood.
The older three boys were curled up together in one chair, deeply engrossed in a multi-player game (both boys using their Nintendo DS but linked up to one game) heavily in combat with Lovely Liam looking on from the side.
I was washing breakfast dishes and the conversation went something exactly like this.
“Oh. Sorry about that, Conor. Didn’t mean to hit you.”
“That’s ok. “
“Yeah, I was just moving my arm to kill you in the game and I slipped.”
“I know. I said it’s ok. It didn’t hurt.”
“Good. I’m really enjoying this game.”
“Me too. You’re really good at it.”
“No, you’re really good at it.
“Yeah, I am I suppose. But you’re really good at it too.”
Who are you? And what have you done with my boys?????