You know how in Westworld all the “hosts” have their own scripted loops, plot arcs that they are doomed to repeat? I sometimes feel like that as a parent: that I simply repeat, endlessly, boringly, and in more or less random order, a certain set of key words and phrases to my children in between serving up slop and wiping arses (OK, arse singular). I jotted some of them down today. I list them here in alphabetical order:
Aggravate means provoke, ahem, because five-year olds can’t walk to their friends’ houses by themselves, because it’s bedtime, but you love pasta with broth, but you sleep so much better in your own bed, can anyone hear me? C’mon, sweets, consequence, could you ask that in a different way? Could you please let me handle this? Dinner’s ready, do you need ice? do you want more milk? Did you hear what I just said? Did you floss? Did you flush? Did you pee? Did you use soap? Enough, enough. Five more minutes, for Christmas, for Hanukkah, hello? Hold hands! Hug! Have you done your homework? He doesn’t mean it, he’s just angry, I could actually get arrested, I don’t care who started it, it’s because she wants to be like you, I heard that, I know it seems that way now, I love you so much, I saw that, I was just making coffee, I wasn’t shouting actually, I’ll bring it just in case, I’m doing this for you, I’m not deaf, I’m on the phone, I’m sorry you don’t like it, I’m taking this away, I’m thinking about it, it’s exactly the same, it’s not fair, you’re right, it’s not up to me, kiss! Just one bite, just press pause, just try it, maybe tomorrow, Menchies, milk, movie night, my sweet boy, nerf bullets, no you won’t, not inside, not outside, not that kind of treat, not right now, oh, sweet girl! OK: teeth and stories, one more chapter, one more minute, or you’ll lose dessert, past your bedtime, past my bedtime, pinching, please can I have a hug? Popsicle, privilege, really? Really? Save and quit, say goodbye, say it like you mean it, screen time, seriously? She loves you so much, she’s not stupid, shoes! Shoes! Shhhhhhh, shopkins, so what we’ve learnt is that throwing a ruler in the air is a bad idea, something that isn’t sweet, sorry, I fell asleep, special occasion, sticker, stop needling her, surely there’s something you can agree on, taunting, teasing, ten more minutes, that didn’t feel like a “pat,” that’s the rule, that’s not true, that’s not going to happen, that’s not helping, actually, that’s not OK, there isn’t anything else, this is it, tone of voice, try again, two more minutes, under ten dollars, we had an agreement, well, that’s what we’re doing, well, that’s what we’re having, we’re done, what’s wrong with my singing!? What’s wrong with being a weirdo? Yes, I actually am the boss, yes you do, you can’t hit people, you can’t talk to me like that, you might as well try, you’re not the boss, you can’t get it back, you two actually really love each other.