There are things we excel at in our house (dancing about the kitchen, devouring jam toast, farting) and there are things that we are altogether less good at (most things aside from the aforementioned things).
Basically stuff done voluntarily must meet the criteria of being funny, fun or delicious which causes no end of problems with the practicalities of getting to school/nursery/work on time because getting dressed falls into none of those categories.
Of course we could make it easier on ourselves by orchestrating the whole process but we are trying desperately hard to instil some form of responsibility in the eldest one at the minute.
So the new house rules are:
Before you come downstairs for breakfast you must have put your clothes on by yourself. Claiming that you can't do it is wholly contradictory to, er, YESTERDAY when you did actually do it by yourself, albeit over a 45 minute interval of pure unadulterated hell.
You have to apply your own shoes to your own feet before you leave the house. Poking one toe in one shoe and then proclaiming that you can't do it, DOES NOT COUNT as a good effort.
Going to the toilet before you piss yourself will also be looked upon positively.
After a week of hard lining, improvement has been minimal. Probably because the chosen method of aiding co-operation involves making ridiculous threats and never following though. Sorry Jo Frost, my bad.
When I got to thinking about it I realised that nearly everything that comes out of my mouth is absolute rubbish! In fact by the end of the day I often feel like I have exhausted a full arsenal of empty threats including:
Threat: 'If you don't put your shoes on now then you can stay here on your own!'
Problem: Destruction of the house/destruction of himself. Also, um, illegal.
Threat: 'No more TV/i-Pad!'
Problem: I might as well shoot myself in the face, TV/i-Pad time is the only time I actually have to get sh*t done.
Threat: 'If you don't put your toys away I will throw them in the bin!'
Problem: Tempting. But in reality I am too weak/scared of my own kids.
Threat: 'If you don't stop that then we are going to leave Crazy Monkey Funplex right now!'
Problem: I've just paid a £10 entry fee and ordered a latte.
Threat: 'I'm going to phone Daniel's mum and tell her they can't come round later!'
Problem: Daniel's mum talks about things other than Batman. I want that.
Threat: 'You won't be going to Sainsbury's if you keep that up!'
Problem: A very poorly thought out consequence.
Threat: 'If you don't come now then you can get home on your own.'
Problem: Cars and baddies. Probable death. A prison sentence for child abandonment,
Threat: 'OK, well we won't be going on holiday now.'
Problem: I am not prepared to lose hundreds of pounds because a toothbrush was lobbed out of the bathroom window.
Threat: 'Stop messing around or you will be walking instead of scooting!'
Problem: The Journey takes 5 x as long and is peppered with crying and abuse.
Threat: 'Right I'm going to throw your dinner in the bin!'
Problem: I just spent an hour making it. Instead I'm just going to stare at it lamenting its demise.
Threat: 'Would you like me to tell Mrs Jeffries that when we go to school tomorrow?'
Problem: We would both look pretty pathetic.
Threat: 'Do you want me to give your teddy (AKA favourite comforter) away?'
Problem: Way too mean. Also makes me feel like a total bitch.
Threat: 'I'm going to count to three and then I'm going to...'
Problem: Do nothing. I'm going to do absolutely nothing.
So I am still on the lookout for threats that are legal, non life-threatening, of no consequence to myself and are a bit mean but not TOO mean. Answers on a postcard please!
This article is republished with kind permission from the blog Hurrah for Gin. For more of her funny and frank blogs, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
More on Parentdish: Is Supernanny Jo Frost 'unasseptable' to today's parents?