I'm not particularly proud of myself when I avoid parenting. But I'll admit it happens most Sundays.
Because surely on Sundays all parents of young children should commit gleefully to playing with their kids: sleeves rolled-up and flying kites, digging in sandpits, role-playing in the playhouse, finger painting, whatever.
I'd rather not, thanks. The fact is after six full days of running around after my two lovelies I often want to go AWOL. I'd like Sundays off. On days when I feel like this, and I can't hand them over to Nana's house, I find myself getting through by telling the children lies and bribes every hour, and creating numerous distractions.
This approach controls my grumpiness, keeps the children happy and helps me carry on when truth be told I'd rather be lying in bed with a book. On a recent Sunday with my children I spun and created 21 lies, bribes and distractions. Oh dear. Here's how the day went:
1. "Yes, I really love you both clambering on top of me and bouncing on my bladder at 6.07am" (because I am mildly hungover and desperately need to pee).
2. "See that green button? Just push it and you can watch an hour of cartoons if you sit still and don't make a noise."
3. "You know, if you don't sleep in next weekend Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy will take you off their nice lists, seriously."
4. "Ok, you go ahead and wear that outfit in public today because I know you want to express yourself" (actually, I can't be bothered fighting you on this and losing my cool. Even though your leggings are two sizes too small and give you camel toe, your top is stained and shoes don't match).
5. "If you don't brush your hair this morning and remove those knots and crumbs, a bird will land on your head and build a nest."
6. "Yes, I'm very happy to sit in that indoor playground for as long as you like" (despite it smelling like wee in here, the coffee tasting like crap and you're likely to bring home another tummy bug because this place is as hygienic as a toilet bowl. But at least I get two hours break from parenting).
7. "Be nice and enjoy playing with little Whatshisname on the bouncy castle" (even though the boy's an ass I happen to know his mother, who's watching us).
8. "Don't worry, love. I'm not upset you were too distracted to go to the toilet earlier" (and peed all over my car floor).
9. "Yes, I will happily try and answer your 49th random question this morning" (which is: 'Mum, if someone's neck was cut off could the ambulance people drive faster than 200 km/h to get to the chopped person?').
10. "Sorry, I don't know the answer to your 50th question. But your teacher will! Ask her tomorrow."
11. "What was that? I can't hear your 51st question, darling. My ears have broken. I'm deaf - completely deaf!"
12. "No, this is not a lolly in my mouth. I'm not hiding anything. It's actually a coffee bean covered in vegetable sauce. It's definitely not the same lolly I said you couldn't eat earlier."
13. "Of course Dad and I would love a family holiday on the Coast this year so we can visit theme parks and family friendly restaurants" (rather than leave you lot with Nana so hubby and I can escape to a tropical island, sleep in, drink and eat ourselves stupid and have wild sex).
14. "Sorry loves. I'm in the middle of very important work on the computer now. Go and play outside for an hour - or two!" (so I can surf Net-a-Porter and dribble over shoes I can't afford).
15. "Just this once it's quite all right for you both to watch You Tube's greatest hits for an hour non-stop" (because I need an afternoon nap).
16. "Stop picking your nose. I never do."
17. "Eat your vegetables. I always do."
18. "That is not a red capsicum. It's actually a red rocket and if you eat it you'll run fast like a rocket."
19. "Yes, of course I keep all 70 sketches and doodles you bring home from preschool every week. I just can't find them right now."
20. "I've a sore throat but I know your father would love to join your bath time tea party and have a sip of your bath water cup of tea" (I know you little buggers have been peeing in the bath again).
21. "Oh God, I can't see! Dad will have to read all your bedtime stories tonight. Hang on, I'll shout for him" (because I need to crawl into my own bed with a cup of tea and browse Net-a-Porter, again).
22. Thankfully, this final one is not a lie. And I'm happy to say I told it more than 20 times this day to both my children: "I really love you, little nuggets." Because in spite of all the other trivial stuff in our day we will always truly love them.