Come here. Two words. Two syllables. The two words, (and the syllables) when put together, seem like a simple request, however, when half of your six children have yet to hit the age of three, then simple requests, become two year old mind games that this recently turned quadragenarian is not built for.
It’s not that I don’t love playing with my kids, it’s just that when I ask one of my kids to come here, it shouldn’t trigger a Pavlovian response, that has them do almost anything other than come to where I am.
The responses I get to this request vary, depending on what mood the kids are in. The mischievous response, indicated by a giggling toddler stampede that ends with me running after and rounding up the kids like some bleary-eyed toddler wrangler is most common in this house.
Then there is the rebellious response; a ‘no’ is required obviously, but depending on how the ‘no’ is delivered will cue you as to how you want to move next. A quick ‘no’, requires quick action. Appopriate responses include: a stern talking to, time-outs, or a good beating depending on whether or not you want to truly damage your kids. But if you get a ‘no’ that starts with a high musical note, that sort of fades slowly, like when you say ‘awwww’, then maybe you can negotiate something that will end in your favor.
The existential response, the quizzical and never-ending ‘Why?’, is possibly, the most frustrating response of them all. Now let’s be clear, I’m all for encouraging our children to ask questions, challenge conventional thought, and investigate matters that deserve further inquiry, but when time is of the essence and the question, ‘why?’ has made its fourth appearance within the span of two minutes, you might find yourself saying something like “BECAUSE I SAID SO!”. It’s moments like this when you realize that are dictatorships not only necessary, but more importantly efficient. After that, you should also recognize that you have officially become your parents. It happens to the best of us, and unless your parents were total idiots, then you and your kids will be alright.