I’m NOT EATING THIS RUBBISH! says the Small Child. She mimes taping her mouth and sealing it with an imaginary padlock which she puts in a non-existent pocket. She points at the plate of shepherd’s pie and broccoli and shakes her head in disgust. The other one joins in. ‘Yes; it’s a DISGUSTING dinner. You always make us DISGUSTING dinners. So there.’ Down goes the fork.
We’d already had one almighty row because I made them turn off ‘Horrid Henry’, as tidying the kitchen is a hideous enough task without having that furore in the background. The Older One says icily, ‘You’ve already done ONE awful thing to us once today, making us turn off our programme.’ And, now, she goes on, stabbing an aldente broccoli floret with her fork, ‘you’re making us eat THIS.’
Do you remember Shirley Valentine? Well this was reminiscent of the scene where Pauline Collins gives her screen husband eggs and chips for his dinner instead of steak, which she’s fed to her neighbour’s vegetarian dog out of pity. ‘I’m not eating shite,’ he explodes, sticking his finger in the yolk to emphasis his point, before shoving it violently so it ends up in her lap.
I lose the head. I feel as though I have raised two little tyrants. ‘Fine!’ I yell. ‘Bed! And you better hope Cyril isn’t flying past because this will NOT go down well.’ Cyril and his twin Cedric are two of Santa’s seagulls who patrol the local environs, reporting back to Himself at The North Pole with behavioural updates. Last year, Cedric wrote my children a lovely letter which included tickets to the panto as a pre-holiday incentive not to be little shits. Clearly it was remiss of him not to call in advance this year.
‘Fine then, I’ll eat it!’ The older one tucks in. She has a good auld go at it too. The Small Child still won’t budge. ‘I wanted sausages,’ she sobs. MAKE ME SAUSAGES.’ You don’t even LIKE sausages,’ I say in a mystified tone. ‘Mum has a point,’ says her sister, ruminatively chewing some of the pie. Obviously worried that they’ll be no presents and that by association she’ll be scuppered come Tuesday morning, she has a brainwave. ‘This is a SHEPHERD’S pie, and you were a SHEPHERD in the Nativity, so this is part of you, and you, are part of it.’ I’m amazed. She delivers this information like an explanation of the Holy Trinity. This seems to resonate with The Small Child, and I get her to shovel a few mouthfuls into her disgruntled little face.
Fatigue, I think, is the problem, combined with some serious ‘over-funning’ which I feel, deserves a mention in the dictionary as a compound verb to describe what befalls children during the holidays. This afternoon we went to see ‘Alice in the Wonderful’ in the Lyric. (First –rate acting and singing but FFS, 2 hours is just too long for a panto. 45 minutes, interval, another 30 mins and bang, you’re done. That’s the only way with little kids, I’m telling you. Leave them wanting more and their parents not wanting to mainline the gin.)
Last night we visited the Christmas Market where they whirled around on the carousel, crunched on churros, and went for slides on Royal Avenue.
Let this be a lesson to you folks. Dole out your treats and organise your adventures sparingly. We all need to get a bit more Victorian I think, and rein in the craic, before we’re landed with odious little despots. I’m away to get an early night so I can get to town nice and early to return some Santa gifts. That’ll show ‘em. 😉