A Recipe for Parenting Panache
Exhausted. Cranky. Worn down, worn out, used up.
Kids at the table bossy and ungrateful, impolite and obnoxious.
The Birthday Girl and Agent 006 are already snarling at each other over the breakfast cereal. I am parenting alone, again, unloading the dishwasher and delivering delayed eggs to the table. I have twice already invoked my ironclad rule of home dining—only polite and grateful children permitted at my table—and sent the children to their room for a time out. Now they are back; they don’t realize it is their father’s absence that is making them feel grumpy and out of sorts. They think it is my fault. I need an ally. Out of desperation, I start grumbling to the apple in my hand.
Cut a slice of apple, hold it up to mouth, whisper surreptitiously to it. Make sure Agent 006 sees out of the corner of his eye. Set it down on the table and say he shouldn’t eat that one, it’s the magic apple. Repeat for daughter.
Both children immediately and disobediently gobble down their apple slices, and wait for the miracle to occur. They whisper conspiratorially to each other and snicker at me. They have eaten the forbidden apple.
I turn my back, and hold the next apple slices close to my mouth again, whispering my secret instructions for a new beginning, a new mood, a different day. Behind me I hear giggles. The children have swallowed my magic already.