If shouting ‘someone’s going to get hurt’ whilst not looking up from your phone qualifies as parental responsibility then put me down for Dad of the Year.
It’s my default disclaimer for whatever follows. A verbal liability insurance.
(I’ve not tested this in a court of law so if you’re thinking of doing the same you might want to seek some legal advice first).
The kids fight like cat and dog. Literally. When one gets cornered they will draw their claws and hiss.
The problem is I don’t know when they’re play fighting. Many a time I’ve intervened only to find their weapon of choice was a tickle. Interrupted a chase through the house only to be accused of ruining their game. Confiscated swords when it turned out they were on a joint quest to slay the monster under their bed.
That’s not to say I’m shirking all responsibility. Look behind their wardrobe and you’ll find a bow and arrow set, Nerf guns and lightsabers, but I did underestimate their ability to improvise.
A soft toy? Maybe by night, but when swung by its tail above Luca’s head it becomes a deadly mace!
Chopsticks? Not when coupled with the phrase ‘en garde!’
Toilet rolls? When launched from the top of the stairs via Janet’s knickers it becomes a bloody ambush! Those Angry Birds have a lot to answer for.
And it’s not just fighting, they’ve also discovered the joy to be had from a good scare.
On the face of it quite harmless, but the lengths they’ll go to is more troubling.
After Sonny jumped out from behind the sofa I found he’d been holed up with a banana and duvet. How long was he prepared to wait?
Luca filled his bed with teddies to make it look like he was hiding there. He wasn’t. Classic double bluff, he was under Sonny’s bed!
And if my attitude appears apathetic then that’s because it is. You see I grew up with two sisters. I know what’s to come and I’m not getting involved.
I still have a nervous glance over my shoulder before climbing the stairs in case I’m about to be chased.
I wrap myself up in the duvet at night because my little sister once hid under my bed for what must have been an hour just to garner maximum fear when grabbing my foot as I drifted off to sleep.
And I still hate the smell of Marmite. Something my big sister discovered at an early age so would pin me to the floor, smear the stuff all over my top lip and stick her sweaty gym socks in my mouth so I had to breath through my nose.
I’ve been the tormentor and tormented, and it’s a vicious circle of which there’s no escape. A lifetime commitment. Even at forty I’m still looking for opportunities for a scare, and I know all too well my sisters are plotting the same.
So when it comes to the boys fights I make no apologies for not getting involved. I’ve served my time and have the mental scars to prove it.
In the words of Dragons Den,
“For that reason, I’m out!”