“So, what time did you get home last night?” This was the trick question that my parents would pose the morning after I’d been out. Did your parents ever ask you this question? If so, do you recall silently pondering: Did they hear me come in? Do they know I was home after curfew? Should I tell the truth? Should I lie and hope that they didn’t hear me? Yes my friends, it was a life gamble. Sometimes I won. Sometimes I lost. Roll the dice of fate and see what happens! Those were stressful moments. Time goes by. You grow up and perhaps have children of your own to take care of. Guess what you get to do? You guessed it! Torture your own kids! Life can be so fair that way. Bwahahaha!
I used to think that my parents were psychic. How did they know when I did something wrong? How did they know when I was lying? Their magic powers were revealed to me as I became older and watched my silly cousins doing stuff. I watched them grab the milk jug from the fridge and KNEW they were going to spill the milk while pouring it into the glass. As they ran around the house I KNEW one of them would trip and fall and start crying. So, it wasn’t magic after all! All you parents out there know exactly what I am talking about. Let me share some of those fascinating situations and what occurs when you have not yet been gifted with that beautiful clairvoyance.
Beware the Silence: All you parents of toddlers know this one very well. Every adult knows that screaming, yelling kids can drive you absolutely crazy! You pray and beg for quiet. Anything for a little bit of peace. Your wish comes true. You sit back with that still warm cup of coffee and then you remember…THERE’S A TODDLER IN THE HOUSE! Worse still…it’s quiet…too quiet. NOOOOOOOOOO! Yes, that little bit of heaven just cost you two tubes of lipstick (now broken after being used to colour on the walls). That new roll of toilet paper has been reeled into the toilet. Luckily you caught the culprit just before the toilet got flushed into action.
The 10 Foot Dash: Come and catch me! That’s what your little one is miming as you hear the giggle of joy and thrill of being chased. There is one special little way that children run while being pursued. You’ve seen it. They start running. As they are moving forward they are looking backwards, at you, to see how close you are. Hmmm, what do you think happens? Easy to guess for us magically gifted parents…WHAM! Faceplant to the wall.
Third Eye: Guardians of the rug-rats eventually grow a third eye. Not a real third eye, but that sensory eye that can see through walls, around corners, and even into toddler’s minds. This is the most complex and highly powerful tool in a parent’s arsenal. Never let them know the truth for it shall shatter their illusion of your omnipotence. Let them wholeheartedly believe that on the back of your head you have grown an invisible third eye. My favourite would be hearing little voices shout-whisper (kids really don’t know how to whisper) “How did she know?” Well, here is how the power of the third eye works. Parent in kitchen prepping food. Kids in another room watching tv and getting bored. The Parent, with the imperceptible third eye, knows that there has been no yelling, punching, or obligatory sibling fighting. This wise parent would, at this exact moment of realization, yell out, “Don’t you dare!” Children stare in awe at each other. That wondrous look that says “How did she know?” Note: had guardian not yelled this out, said children would have couch pillows in hand ready to swing violently at each other leading to painful tears and hollers of, “My eye! My eye!” streaming through the house.
Blame Game: Enlightened adults know when a youngster has done some dirty deed. “Who did this?!” The interrogative line to subdue the youth. As the adult, you are in charge of this campaign of youthful entertainment. You know that once the rule of no playing ball in the house gets broken, it ultimately leads to something else being broken. Vases, lamps, and flower pots are the top three casualties of war. Veteran parents know that the indoor games begin after several minutes of the “Beware of Silence” phase. For the newbies, being distracted by doing other life chores, the war would begin. The flower pot would disintegrate and someone was going to get it. “Who did this?” is the parental shriek. Children get this wonderful look on their face when they are guilty. We adults know how to read that look. It’s kind of a wide-eyed terror look. Fidgeting is a good tell as well.
Parents, I truly believe that with age comes wisdom. With wisdom comes responsibility. With responsibility comes a time when you decide that screwing around with your children’s minds is waaaaaaaaaay more fun. So use that sixth sense. Bring that terror of your omnipotence into their lives. Tell them that you have a third eye. Tell them that you can see them no matter where they are and that you know what they are doing at all times. Bust ’em when you can. David Copperfield may have his magic tricks, but as adults and parents trying to raise children, we too are practically magic.