Monday, 8 August 2011

The third law of parental dynamics

The third law of parental dynamics makes child psychologists and entropists tremble in fear. It goes like this: each milestone, while initially exciting, will return to bite you in the arse.

Ali demonstrated the third law of parental dynamics with textbook precision last week, which was an unusual week at Chaos HQ for several reasons.

Most weeks, Britain is a small island perched under a large spigot in the sky. But last week it became a sunny paradise. Our local splash pool teemed with smiling children. Ice cream and Pimms flowed in excess. Grown-ups and children who had over-consumed either lay like wilted dandelions on park benches, still smiling.

Grandma, Uncle Rice, and Auntie A all had the forsite to visit England during the most perfect week of the summer. And for a brief time Chaos HQ - a lonely, wandering, turtle shell sort of home - was snuggled up in the warmth of the family net. A rare pleasure.

Considering the sunshine, we lived at the park for a week. My kin, being nice people, tried not to shout 'FAT LIAR!' when I explained that England wasn't always like this.

Amidst this blissful, pastoral backdrop, Ali uttered her first sentence. Her gullible family clapped. Angels sang the hallelujah chorus. Time stood still and the heavens bent low to get a closer listen. Then what began low, started to grow.
She repeated her first sentence: 'I need a lolly.'  Pause. 'I need a lolly.' Impatience crept into her voice. 'I NEED a lolly.'

Angels cowered. Time slunk away in fear, suddenly realizing the danger of the situation. Sadly Papa and I were legally obliged to hold our ground. But we knew what was coming, and we shook like dry leaves before the hurricane.


Ali needed a lolly as I wrestled her off the playground and into the buggy. She needed a lolly all the way home - a thirty minute walk and an absolute lolly desert.

Kids - like defective electronics - go off. It is just a fact of life: short kids, tall kids, kids who climb on rocks. They go off with persistence and awkward timing, like car alarms through loudspeakers from the pit of Hades.

The funniest thing about these situations is that passers-by look at you like: 'Holy cow lady, did you know your kid is going off?' A perceptive lot, those passers-by.

Ali has needed many things in the days that have followed. Two-ish being more an age of bulldozers than subtleties, we have been unable to explain the needs versus wants dichotomy to her. We will, I suspect still be attempting to explain this to her when she is 25.

Actually I'm still struggling to understand it myself. So this seems as good a juncture as any to say: I need Grandma, Uncle Rice and Auntie A to return again soon.

Guys: as an incentive, I have a lolly waiting for each of you. You'll be pleased to know that I didn't obtain it by looting my local shop. And I promise it won't turn around and bite you in the arse, as per the third law of parental dynamics.

In the meantime my dear family: may the road rise up to meet you and may the sun shine warm upon your face.


  1. I am not laughing really... honest I'm not! That's brilliant, good for her as well - a girl after my own heart, as long as it's not a Fab Lolly! Emma :)

  2. Lovely,it's great when are able to express themselves even when they need lollies ;)

  3. Car alarms, loudspeakers, hades... check. And the passer- bys... I wonder, do none of them really ever have a damned lolly?!

  4. A very good point moomser - next time a passer-by throws me a look I will demand to know where said passer-by has HIDDEN THE STASH OF LOLLIES!!!

  5. We certainly don't suffer from a lack of expression in this house, sigh...

  6. Ach! Fab! My nemesis!

  7. Ha ha. Needs vs wants. Can't wait. This week we have experienced our first full-blown 'going off'. Eek. I provided cushions to 'pad' the area and stepped away. Oh, and cried myself.

  8. No shame there - I find crying is compulsory in these situations. Good luck. Duck and cover.

  9. You got me laughing first thing in the morning. Glad your fam was there for a beautiful summer. Maybe I've forgotten, but I recall a first phrases..."read it again"..."do it again " and "why, why, why, whhhhyyyy?????" almost drove me crazy :)

  10. Oh no the dreaded AGAIN demands! We are still to enter that vengeful WHY realm. I am very afraid.

  11. Would you explain to this clueless American what a lolly is?

    BTW - Glad to learn you are not in harm's way (other from the kiddo). Appalled, shocked, concerned and sad to see riot on television.