Everybody is Kung-Fu Fightin’

Sometimes, I catch my children playing so nicely together it’s like a Werthers Original advertisement. The older brother teaching his younger sister to do something and her hanging on his every word; and seeing the beatific smile of satisfaction on my son’s face as he realises he has taught his sister something. It releases tiny butterflies of joy in my heart.

We all have moments like these. But unfortunately they are just that. Moments.

It seems to me that the majority of the time is a febrile, shouting, maul of a battle hurtling from one set piece to another like some midget infested parody of a John Woo film. I have said before that my kids could have a fight in an empty room about who is the least combative. I love my kids but I now think The Lord of the Flies should sit on the same shelf as The Baby Whisperer.

We had this exchange recently. Darling Son and I were looking for Nanos (a supermarket in Switzerland, Migros, has devised a reward scheme where the kids get charactered jumping beans (Nanos) every time you shop – the kids over here are positively insane with desire for these poxy things) under the sofa. It was a bit dark, so I got a torch out. Now, this torch was once used (like, months ago) by Darling Daughter for some random project in daycare involving shadows and sweet wrappers, so there is a bit of history between her and this torch.

Darling Daughter (she clocks the torch): That’s my torch.

Darling Son: Well, it’s actually Daddy’s torch. Do you want to see what –

Darling Daughter: – It’s my Torch. Gimme’it.

MrShev (like a bloody idiot): Darling, it is – actually – my torch… [in my defence, I had forgotten that DD had used it once before in un-remembered and random daycare project) we’re using it to –

Darling Daughter (now getting her ‘game’ face on): Mine. (she makes a grab for it)

Darling Son (holding torch slightly out of reach and looking at me with an expression that says: this is going to kick off big time): No! We’re using it to find my Nanos…and it’s not your torch, it’s Daddy’s!

Darling Daughter (who, having bided her time, takes the torch): It’s my torch. Not yours. Not Daddy’s (as if). Mine! (she hugs it close. She doesn’t even have any idea why she needs the torch, she just does. It’s like women and shoes…)

Darling Son: But we need it to find my Nanos! It’s Daddy’s torch, not yours!! (makes grab for it, but DD has an iron will and a rictus grip to match and a row, row, row-your-boat tussle ensues until DD manages to wrest control of the totemic torch) It’s not fair! I was using it first!!

Darling Son then starts a short campaign to get back The Torch and Darling Daughter (I guess) thinks: in for a penny, in for a pound and clouts Darling Son with The Torch. This torch is not an inconsiderable object and must have been designed by someone who watched too many slasher horror movies as a kid; because it is chunky and rubberised. Then all hell breaks loose and everyone gets a time out and a seemingly benign situation descends into savagery in the space of a few seconds. FFS.

Any road, here are a few tips to forestall battle royales in the future:

  1. Pick the Movie No matter how vanilla the film is or how much love  and genius Pixar have sprinkled upon it, don’t ever let one child pick the film. I have had hysterical discussions – as if I am proposing the Good Friday agreement – with my two about whether we will watch Monsters Inc or Finding bloody Nemo. Now, I just put the film on and give them the choice of this film or no film. At least then they can be united in their hatred of my iron will and non-negotiation policy.
  2. Use white plates and grown up cutlery Fuck Peppa Pig. Fuck Spiderman. Fuck Thomas the fucking Tank Engine. Fuck Dora the bloody Explorer. Fuck Barbie. Fuck Cars. Fuck Toy Story bloody 3. I got so bored of all the tears, huffs and tantrums about not getting the pink spoon, or not having Spiderman swinging behind the mashed potato that I had a ‘moment’, went to the Swedish emporium of all things cheap and semi-disposable and bought white plates and simple cutlery. I don’t think that depriving my children from the constant branding barrage of Toy Story 3 is going to make them developmentally sub normal. I just want them to eat their meal and not fight about who has which cup.
  3. Don’t buy cereal with a toy in it (or Kinder Eggs) I think this should be a general life rule for all of us (In the same binder as: don’t eat in a restaurant that has pictures of its food on the menu). If the cereal has a toy in it then it is a ‘kids’ cereal and is basically a box of sugary shite that you wouldn’t feed to a dog lest someone dob you into the RSPCA. The toy – no matter how bad it is – will divide the children and it will kick off. Buy Weetabix and Special K. They never give away anything. Finally, Kinder Eggs are shite, really, aren’t they? Shit chocolate and a shit toy. The last one opened by one of my kids had a sail boat that you had to build. After following pictorial instructions that would have confused Leonardo Da Vinci, we realised the pathetic vessel and then  – on it’s maiden voyage – we discovered that it didn’t bloody float. That is so wrong, that is.
  4. Become a loser a liar and a cheat I had my chance. I’ve had my time. I am never going to score a goal for Arsenal; become the next, big wrestling star and until Snakes and Ladders becomes a recognised, Olympic sport that ain’t going to happen for me either. So, unless you want all-out war to commence; take one for the team. Let goals in, rig games, load the dice and stack the deck. Everyone should have a chance of winning, scoring a goal or finding the best hiding place. Except you. Because now you’re a loser. By choice.

16 thoughts on “Everybody is Kung-Fu Fightin’

  1. Hilarious! the first thing I have read in weeks that is purely for my own enjoyment, and boy, did I enjoy it. My kids are driving me mental with their constant, “It’s mine!” arguments. I will remember this with a cup of tea whilst watching them fight it out…

    • A few points…

      I was rather looking forward to fatherhood. Now I’m not so sure it shouldn’t be renamed refereeing.
      Those Nanos look worryingly ingestible. Looking under the sofa is probably a blessing.
      You’re right about cereal but wrong about Kinder chocolate.
      The plain crockery and cutlery idea is simply genius!
      You’re not bad at Triv and Scrabble (unless Joel is playing)

    (Loving the use of the Battle Royale pic)

    1. Kinder chocolate is pretty nasty when you compare it to anything remotely good.

      Joel is probably the most vicious Trivial Pursuit player ever. That man knows more than Wikipedia.

      Battle Royale is a great book and a great film. Makes Lord of the Flies look like a Butlins Holiday Camp.

    1. Greek salads in keyboards is nasty. I recommend Cyber Clean (with patented Swiss formula) for all your tech cleaning needs. MrsShev has to eat with the natives as well…I kind of approve of the practice myself.

      Really glad you enjoyed the post. I suggest digging through my back catalogue. You will learn nothing and it won’t make you a better person, but you might grin a few times.

  2. This post makes me all nostalgic for those bygone days when I could have a proper fist fight with my sister and it was considered normal. If I pull her hair now or she kicks me, my mum just threatens to send us to Jeremy Kyle (we’re in our late 20’s by the way).

    1. My brother and I used to have full-on bar room fights; leaving blood and teeth on the axminster. One day we called a truce after my brother tried to whack me with a stool after I threw a pair of scissors at him (I never said they were clean fights…)

      1. PMSL! Magic post.

        I too threw a pair of (dressmaker’s) scissors at my brother, in front of my grandparents. I missed and the scissors stuck in the skirting board with a cartoon ‘twang’, as the olds stiffened with what in all hindsight was probably their first minor strokes.

        Also threw a knife and fork at him after he held me in an armlock and tried to bang my head on the kitchen worktop because I’d made honeycomb crunch without asking mum (who was in bed after a nursing night-shift). She got up when the cutlery hit the living-room window (many of our fights ended – unsurprisingly – with him running away) and she burst into tears saying we’d get sent to a borstal.

        The Chinese government may have a point.

      2. Honeycomb crunch sounds like a move in WWF. I think my parents threatened my brother and I with Borstal as well. We didn’t know what it meant, we thought it was a seaside town near Bournemouth which sounded rather nice.

  3. Brilliant!! I think I nearly wet myself reading this. Thanks for providing another reason why Isabel is destined to stay an only child! I still remember the fights I had with my sister and I think we both still have the scars (and I mean genuine war scars rather than lovey-dovey emotional scars – is it wrong that I broke her nose with a ruler?!). Do I look back on it and laugh – hell no!!

  4. I really identified with this. All of it. Think I’ll be off to Ikea for those plates tomorrow.

    My three year dd old can reduce her older sisters to tears just by smiling at her.

    I do enjoy the blog – very funny and very true.

  5. White plates. The best advice ever. Mine have just started to bicker ALL THE TIME and it’s doing my nut in. There is only one pink plate in the house (IKEA packs only have one in each pack) and it’s causes many fights. Never thought of throwing the thing in the bin. Genius.

    1. The designer at IKEA who put together that set of plastic plates either doesn’t have children, has children but no girls or is evil. I am going for the last one because I reckon IKEA thought: one plastic plate? They’ll buy two sets, maybe three. Suckers.

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