Something magical is happening these holidays, and it all started on a bit of a high when I gave my kids a job to do.
Was this it? Was this the turning point? All those hours alternatively yelling threats and dangling carrots at the kids and THIS was payday. I had suddenly become a SuperDad. I foresaw books, chat shows and possibly my own Supernally styled tv series, SuperDaddy.
Moments earlier I’d decided it was time to check on the kids in the backyard.
Actually, what I thought I’d be doing was yelling at them for not doing what I’d asked them to, but I was surprisingly, amazingly and a little bit wonderfully wrong.
In fact, they’d nearly finished the job I’d set them.
“That is incredible,” I called down from the balcony while simultaneously patting myself on the back. I grinned down at them. “You’ve pretty much finished.”
Given their assignment was to pick up all the bits of broken water balloons leftover from the previous day’s water balloon battle, and given there were 5 packs of water balloons (so 500 balloons and therefore 500 bits of plastic), I didn’t think I had a lit match’s chance in a water fight of getting out of doing it myself.
But it was done.
And I was the one who told them to!
Just as I was about to call my wife out to bear witness to my parenting success, Master10 explained what had happened.
“We’re making me a pillow,” he called up to me, then indicated the colourful pile of spent water balloons under his head.
Like the majority of his pillow, I momentarily felt a little punctured & deflated. But then I thought of a way to clutch a shallow victory – his method reminded me of something. Plus I remembered I was the one who showed him that particular something.
“So you’re doing a Mary Poppins,” I grinned.
It wasn’t to be an especially long lasting facial expression.
“What do you mean?” he wanted to know.
“You know, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. That sort of thing.” I might even have sung a line or two at this point. “From the movie.”
Okay, so by now I knew I was sunk. But I gave my answer as much theatrics as I could muster, spreading my hands wide and shouting with what I hoped was enthusiasm but fear might have come across more as crazy nutter, “Mary Poppins!”
He didn’t let me down. No wait, he did.
“Who’s Mary Poppins?” he asked.
Then suddenly I had help.
“She’s the one with the umbrella,” said Miss8, throwing another couple of water balloons on the pile under Master10’s head.
“The nanny,” I prompted.
“Oh, yeah,” said Master10. The penny had dropped…straight down a drain. “Nanny McPhee.”
I guess it could have been worse. He might have gone with Nanny Fine.
Which is why, once they’d completed Master10’s pillow and binned it, I gathered all the kids into the lounge room for an education. There is no way any of my kids are growing up without the sound foundation which comes from an appreciation of the classics, like Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Anne Of Green Gables, Now & Then, The Princess Bride, Pollyanna and Sister Act.
“What’s going on?” Tracey asked, joining us. Obviously she was attracted by the smell of popcorn.
“Dad’s making us watch Nanny Poppins,” said Master10. He didn’t sound thrilled.
But even more concerning….Nanny Poppins?!
I rolled my eyes and looked over at Tracey as if to say ‘see what I’m dealing with here?’, but I gathered from her next line she didn’t exactly get the gist of my frustration.
“I love that movie!” she said.
Deliberately ignoring everyone now, I pressed play and settled in.
“Now I remember,” said Master10 a few minutes later. It was music to my ears. Only it turns out it was the wrong song. “This is the one where the kids sing and she marries the guy with a whistle.”
So anyway, I wonder if you can guess what we’ll be doing the remainder of the school holidays?
Hint: it involves a LOT of popcorn.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”