At various times over the last couple of weeks I’ve been finding books like the one above on my laptop. There’s a whole series of books in the series, with topics like Being Rude, Bullying and Being Messy, which helps to explain to kids why certain behaviours are unacceptable.
Finding a book in my little alcove frustrates me because I hate it when the kids leave their stuff all over the house and especially because they aren’t supposed to go anywhere near my work laptop.
Sometimes I’ll put the book back on the shelf but usually I’ll demand a passing child do it – to the usual cries of, “I didn’t do it!”
“I’m always cleaning things up I didn’t do,” I’ll tell them in a whiny sort of voice I’d be embarrassed to use in front of another adult. “Instead of seeing it as a punishment, consider it helping. That’s what I do.”
Then this morning, as Tracey raced around the house getting the kids ready for a hectic morning at the soccer fields, I made myself a coffee and sat down to check in on Facebook (because it might feel neglected if I don’t).
And there was this book.
I snatched it up and stomped out to the kitchen. Tracey was in the shower so I marched over to the kids at the dining table.
“Who put this book on my laptop?” I demanded.
As you can probably guess, no takers. I gave them my best daddy speech in my best daddy voice.
“I’m sick and tired of picking up after you guys. You’ve got to put things away.”
Theatrically, I put it into its slot, showing how easy the whole process is was go to whoa, and went back to my coffee.
But not before I shoved my head into the bathroom to let Tracey know what had happened.
“Well, best to lead by example,” she told me.
“That’s what I did!” I assured her. “I showed them how to put it back on the shelf.”
After a busy morning of sport and still more coffee (Tracey took the five kids to soccer while I went and had a cup of Joe with Jody Allen and Clancy Briggs from Stay At Home Mum) we met up briefly on the soccer fields before arriving home.
Later, Tracey ducked off to the shops to buy some jeans and I made sandwiches for the kids. Oddly, Miss3 insisted on jam and ham combination.
When Tracey arrived home she had no more jeans than the pair she’d left wearing.
“I refuse to buy the size they say I am,” she told me.
I chuckled. Then, as I’m prone to do these days when I chuckle, I immediately walked out and sat at my laptop.
“Twitter?” asked Tracey, reading over my shoulder. Nothing goes out into the ether without my dear wife giving the nod. I like being married.
“The world’s gotta know, baby. Nothing personal.”
The final copy approved, I pressed tweet and we continued about our day.
Later in the afternoon I found another book on my laptop. From the same series, only this one was on Teasing. And after the lecture I gave this morning too! I couldn’t believe it.
“Did you leave this book here?” I asked Miss9.
“No,” she said.
“Do you know who did?” I asked her.
She looked worried. Her eyes were darting.
“Just tell me,” I coaxed her. “Your name won’t be mentioned.” I always protect my informants.
Thirty seconds later I put the book down in front of Tracey. She smiled.
“It took you long enough,” she said.
Well, you might have been just a little too subtle, my love, but I promise I’ll be a little more helpful next Saturday morning when we’re all getting ready.
You might want to keep the Teasing book nice and handy though 😉 Also, I think I need to apologize to my children.
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes,
Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’