The kids have been arguing all morning. Sometimes I just tune it out unless there’s blood, and even then I’m likely to ask if it’s dripping or spurting before I intervene. Sometimes, however, I like to play the role of the activist Father Figure and try to negotiate a peace agreement, or at least restore some semblance of sanity and quiet. Today I decided to emerge from my cocoon and strike a well reasoned blow for order.
I addressed the three of them, all standing in front of the door, facing each other. “Do you all bicker and fight among yourselves all the time, or is it only when I’m here?”
This was met with silence, so I repeated the question, looking at each of them in turn and trying to hold my “tolerant but only for just so long Father” look as best I could.
They agreed that it was all the time, it wasn’t just when I was around. “How about if you play pretend? You could pretend that you’re all friends. Or, barring that, you could pretend that you’re all strangers who don’t know one another, and try introducing yourselves and being polite. You, introduce yourself to her.”
Human Tape Recorder: “Hi.”
Reigning Queen of Pink: “Hi.”
Number One Son: “Peace.”
“See,” said I, “that was easy. You can pretend to be strangers and speak politely to each other.”
HTR: “Actually, you told me never to talk to strangers. I think I’d better follow that advice.” And she pats me on the head and runs away.
Number One Son: “Epic Fail, Dad. Epic Fail.”
“Wait a minute…” But it was too late, and they were at least all laughing their butts off, so I declared victory and ceded the field.