Uncooperative. adjective. Unwilling to help others or do what they ask.
I was going to write a blog about Grumpy Deaf Grandad this evening. But then today happened and I thought an update on my attempt at cooperative parenting would be more appropriate.
Yesterday, I wrote an open letter to our children providing some guidance as to my expectations of our morning routine. And a definition of cooperation.
I duly read this to them this morning at breakfast time.
They listened intently. For about five seconds. Then they began looking around the room. Our daughter got up and began to leave the kitchen.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
"To put telly on," she answered with sufficient surprise in her voice to make it very clear that she considered me an imbecile for asking such an obvious question.
"But I haven't finished reading my letter to you!" I said. "Please sit back down!"
"It's boring!" She said, but complied, sitting next to her brother again.
I finished reading the letter. Expectation hung in the air between us. "Well?" I asked, raising my eyebrows and resisting the urge to cross my arms. (I've always been taught that's bad body language).
Our three year old daughter turned to her seven year old brother. "What did he say?"
"Something about spells, the shower and not flushing the loo." Our son replied, helpfully.
"Oh." Said his sister. "Go watch telly now?"
"No! You need to tell me, first time, what you would like for breakfast." I said, forcefully. This wasn't going well.
Our daughter went for her normal cereal, simple enough. Our son was harder to please:
"I'd like a bagel, with butter not cream cheese." That was easy to achieve. "It needs to be toasted on setting 2 and be cut into 10 equally sized pieces." He had suddenly developed Bagel OCD. I tried to remain calm.
Breakfast over I encourage an immediate, seamless, harmonious move to the bathroom to shower.
No such luck.
"Expeliarmus!" Our son was already playing Harry Potter. "You can be Dumbledore today," he added helpfully while running around the ground floor on his broomstick. "you're old enough!"
"Thanks!" I said. "Dumbledore was about 700 wasn't he?"
"You mean you're not?" Our son was pushing his luck.
Encouraged to get upstairs so that he and his sister were at least in closer proximity to the shower, he dropped all Harry Potter implements at the bottom of the stairs. Following behind I immediately tripped over the discarded broomstick.
Our son laughed.
This was a bad thing to do, as it encouraged me to chase him with the broom, using it as a driving aid to corale him into the bathroom.
Our stairs are 'L' shaped. Reaching the turn I was gaining on our son. From behind the ironing basket on the landing our daughter emerged. She was playing a different game, seemingly Last of the Mohicans.
Wielding a toothbrush she threw it, as if she was hurling a tomahawk, in a move worthy of Daniel Day Lewis, creating some considerable spin.
It struck me right between the eyes. All I knew was that it hurt a lot. The next thing I knew I was lying at the bottom of the stairs.
Apparently the fall was quite spectacular. Losing my balance as the toothbrush strike stopped me in my tracks, I fell and twisted, sliding head first down the stairs, ending up in a heap at their foot.
Our son was kneeling next to me looking concerned. His sister was sitting on the stairs behind him. Laughing. "That was funny!" She said.
My head didn't feel funny.
"Shall I call 999?" Our son said.
"No, I'm fine." I said.
"But you're bleeding! From the head," our rather frightened looking little boy said. I put my hand to my temple, looking at my palm as I brought it down to see it covered in blood. Our son handed me some kitchen roll. "Shall we get washed now?" He said.
"Yes please, I'll just sit here for a minute," I said.
The children washed, chose clothing and dressed upstairs while I sat on the stairs, returning within ten minutes. Result.
Thinking that perhaps some kind of dramatic accident should happen more often to encourage cooperation in the mornings, I got washed and dressed myself.
It was only then that I took some note of the clothes our daughter had chosen to wear. Layering as many different colours and patterns as possible.
Just looking at her made my headache worse.
Perhaps I should just stick to the normal game of chasing them around the house.
Asking them to get in the shower at least ten times.
Being scared rigid as our daughter bursts from the nearest cupboard.
The potential for damage seems much less.