Monday, July 5, 2010

Parenting; it’s as simple as ABC

A is for Arguments. Easily handled with a touch of tact and diplomacy, listening and taking on board that small person’s point of view, alternatively I find the stock answer of ‘Don’t Argue With Your Mother’ covers most bases.

B is for Bedtime. Be firm and consistent in this field. Determine the latest possible time that you can go before needing to dive headfirst into a bottle of Chardonnay and make bedtime 30 minutes beforehand. Each time they get out of bed to go to the loo, have a drink of water etc, you earn yourself another glass of wine. When you start slurring your way through the 9th rendition of the Gruffalo you should probably go to bed yourself.

C is for Chocolate. Obviously it’s not very good for them but why should you go without? Always keep in a high cupboard and eat it with your face in said cupboard (as far back as you can get) whilst your child is safely in another room watching Mr Maker (see T). If the little bugger one does comes into the kitchen whilst you're stuffing your face in the cupboard, do not, I repeat, do not turn around until all evidence of the chocolate has gone. Once they know where the stash is you’re stuffed! This also applies to crisps, cakes and confiscated packets of Haribos (see H).

D is for Drawing. Children love to draw. It’s a passage of rights for all small children to draw on a freshly painted or wallpapered wall. If you have a light coloured leather sofa then it will be biro-ed on before their third birthday, and let’s face it, it serves you right for having such an impractical colour in the first place. If you do throw away your child’s scribbles artwork then be sure to do it after they go to bed, they get a bit precious about it.

E is for Energy. Children are bundles of energy and they can sometimes be draining on your own resources. If from time to time you really can’t be arsed to play chase, football, hide and seek and other such ball-achingly boring  energy exhausting games then invest in a Wii. Revel in the fact that your child has great fine motor skills and won’t get obese whilst jumping up and down like a flea playing ‘Slice and Dice’.

F is Food. A bugbear for most parents. Children’s fussy eating habit can easily be brought into line by two tried and tested methods; bribery and threats. i.e. ‘if you eat all your vegetables you can have an ice cream’ or ‘if you don’t eat your carrots you won’t get any birthday presents’, that sort of thing. Never, ever, give a child spinach, if you do and I hear about it, I’ll have no hesitation in calling Childline.

G is for Grandparents. Offload encourage your children to spend as much time as possible with their Grandparents whilst they still like them. Once they reach their teenage years they will think they smell of piss and biscuits. Actually they probably will smell of piss and biscuits by then…..

H is for Haribos. These are for grown-ups only, especially the sour ones. If you find a packet in a party bag, confiscate them immediately (see C).

I is for Independence. Encourage children to be more independent at every opportunity. You don’t want your child to be clingy and insecure, not to mention it’s bloody hard work vacuuming with a child attached to your leg.

J is for Jealousy. Try not to fall into the trap of the green eyed monster. It’s all too easy to feel pangs of jealousy when little Tarquin’s Mum brags that her precious boy can sing the French National Anthem and is a grade 7 violinist at only 4, remind yourself that Tarquin has bug eyes, bad breath and a tendency to shit himself in public.

K is for Kissing. Children love to cuddle and kiss their parents and vice versa. However most children are uncomfortable kissing distant relatives and complete strangers. Don’t force your child to kiss someone they barely know unless you don’t particularly like Aunt Freda and your child has a stinking cold… (see S).

L is for Lying. Obviously all children reach a stage in their development when they start to lie. Counteract this by lying back to them. ‘Haribos are not for children’, ‘We haven’t got any chocolate’ and ‘Mummy is only 23’ are all perfectly acceptable examples.

M is for Money. Yup that’s right you won’t have any and when you do your precious little darling will have it off you faster than you can cry ‘Stop Thief!’

N is for Naughty Spot. Thanks to Super Nanny most parents have some variation of the Naughty Spot, however if you find that this approach doesn’t work for your unruly offspring then why not put yourself on the Naughty Spot, preferably with a Gin and Tonic. Remember one minute for every year of your age, if you are over 30 you might as well make it a large G&T.

O is for Over-Sensitive. If you are of a nervous disposition it’s probably better that you don’t become a parent. I recommend sterilisation.

P is for Poo. Every child will have at least one poo incident that should be stored in memory, photographed or filmed if possible and be retold many times once the child reaches puberty. Preferably in front of their friends. Extra points for photographic evidence shown to love interests.

Q is for Quiet. Forget it for the first few years, don’t worry your patience will be rewarded thanks to the marvellous institution that is School.

R is for Rules. Every household needs rules. Children should be made aware of the rules from a very early age. Rules may be changed at any given time. New rules are to be made up as you go along. Rules are only to be broken by yourself.

S is for Snot. Learn to embrace it because it will be around for much of the winter. Consider your garments enhanced by snail trails of snot. Marvel at just how much snot can shoot out of your child’s nose when he sneezes. Measure how long a snot dangle can get to and compare with other mums, be competitive about it. Encourage your child to kiss anyone you don’t like very much.

T is for Television. Should you allow your child to watch television? How much of Mr Tumble should your offspring be subjected to in any given day? Well this depends very much on how much time you want to spend on Twitter. Although for the sake of your own sanity I suggest that you leave the room whilst Mr Maker is on.

U is for Underhand. Parenting is a battle of wills, start early and be as devious and underhanded as possible. Your children will get their own back on you when you get a call at 9.30pm from the local A&E ward asking you to collect a very drunk 14 year old who you thought was at Boy’s Brigade.

V is for Valuables. If you have anything valuable in your home you may as well take it outside now and smash it on the ground, it’s a surprise that it’s lasted this long.

W is for Wine. An essential part of parenting. Taken for medicinal purposes for those days that the little shits darlings have run you ragged and refuse to stay in bed (see B).

X is for X-Rated. If for some bizarre reason you decide to video yourself in the act of lovemaking, don’t leave the tape where your teenager’s friends will find it when they have an impromptu house party the one night of the year you decide to go out to the cinema.

Y is for Yourself. It’s very easy to get so wrapped up in our families that we forget about ourselves. Take time out every day for a bit of ‘you time’, be it a manicure or a 3 hour marathon twitter session, you will feel so much better to have neglected your snotty nosed beautiful child when you have pretty nails and have caught up on all the gossip.

Z is for ZZZZ’s. A distant memory for most of us. I have found that you really don’t need that much sleep to function. By function I mean standing upright. I generally find that speaking in coherent sentences and hand to eye co-ordination are very over-rated. Beside you’ll have plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.