Bad behaviour?

Photo of Glitter Particles
Photo of Glitter Particles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughters’ fifth birthday party was great fun for reasons other than that there was a bouncy castle. One of the reasons it went so well was that all the children were exceptionally well behaved – not a brat amongst them. And there is usually at least one, isn’t there? The one that is a right blooming nuisance and whose parents just sit and watch them running around causing chaos and havoc. I’m not saying my children are angels, far from it, but they know how to behave in public.

There was a brat whilst we were on holiday last year. The type of holiday we had last year is not the type of holiday my husband and I have had before. At least, not since we were kids ourselves. The type of holiday we had last year is normally the type of holiday we avoid like the plague. However, this type of holiday becomes very attractive when you have small children to entertain. This type of holiday is, of course, at a holiday park. A couple of swimming pools, a playground, kids’ club all suddenly look like less like the devil incarnate and more like a sanity saver when you have children. Particularly, if you choose to holiday in the UK during the wettest summer on record.

The holiday park boasted a clubhouse. My husband and I wouldn’t normally enter this sort of establishment if our lives depended on it. But, a nightly show and disco did keep the girls entertained. A well-stocked bar helped to keep us happy. For the record, we didn’t drink copious amounts of alcohol and have our kids escort us back to the holiday caravan and put us to bed. But a couple of drinks on an evening was a treat. It was also a must if you have to endure holiday park entertainers and their brand of entertainment.

After a couple of nights usually get to recognise other inmates, sorry, holiday makers and their offspring. You may even strike up a friendship with some. But there was one little girl who always seemed to be on her own. I’m sure she wasn’t, as she couldn’t have been more than three, but it appeared that way. I’m guess her parents must have been hidden away at the back of the clubhouse somewhere oblivious to what a pain their daughter was being. She wasn’t a really naughty child but she was quite disruptive and wasn’t adverse to pushing and shoving to get her own way. I finally saw her with her parents on the last day of our holiday. This was not in the clubhouse but in the local convenience store. “So that’s what they look like,” I grumbled to my husband.

Thankfully, there were no children of this ilk at the party. There were, however, lots and lots and lots of presents. I was quite flabbergasted at the number the girls received. But, there again, there were about twenty guests and they all bought my daughters a present each. Forty presents – that’s a hell of a lot. I was blown away by people’s generosity and kindness; particularly in these trying times. However, as grateful as I was, there was a tiny part of me that thought “Where on earth am I supposed to put all these?”

Luckily, a lot of the presents were craft-related so an hour or so of making and the thing is done and dusted and out of the way. Also, my girls love making things so these really are the ideal presents for them. Not so for me. It is a great to create things and bond together but the damn things never, ever look like the do on the box. They, also, never, ever fit together as claimed and fall apart with the slightest of sneezes. There I go, being ungrateful again.

One of the making and doing presents was ‘The Big Box of Crafts’. My daughters were very keen to make a start with this as the box showed a wonderful plethora of exciting objects to make – from a sun bookmark to a clown puppet. Did the finished articles look like the pictures promised on the box? Did they hell. Did the finished articles actually stick together or did they fall apart when moved a millimetre? I’ll leave you to decide that one for yourself. Anyway, I left the objects to dry on the girls little table and tidied the remnants away into the box. I left both in the dining room and thought no more of it. My children are not perfect, role model kids, far from it, but I thought that they could be trusted to know right from wrong. How stupid of me!

The following morning the girls came downstairs before me. Only five minutes before but, it seems five minutes is more than enough to get up to mischief. By the time I came down there was a big mess all over their table. A big, gloopy, gluey, glittery mess. They had decided to make gloopy, gluey, glitter puddles on pieces of paper. (Mister Maker has a lot to answer for). In order to do this, they had got out a mug and four tablespoons and mixed the gloopy, gluey, glittery mixture together before spreading it all over the paper and the floor. Judging by their faces they had had the most fantastic time. I’m not sure what my face told them, but I’m guessing it wasn’t telling them I was a happy bunny. It didn’t help that it was first thing in the morning. I’m most definitely not a morning person.

I asked them what on earth they had been playing at, what had been running through their minds, and at what point they thought this was acceptable behaviour (one of my favourite and most used sayings). I pointed out that they were not babies anymore and I expected better of them. I then sent them off into the living rooms amidst tears, howling and crying (them not me) and set to cleaning the mess. It didn’t actually take me that long; only a couple of minutes. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it initially looked. It was as I cleaned up that I realised that as a kid you hardly ever do think through to the consequences of your actions. You see something, have a great idea involving using whatever it is you’ve seen and then carry it out. Your parents’ ire very rarely makes its way onto your radar.

I also realised that, actually, it was I that was to blame for this. I had left temptation in their way and expected them to overlook it. I had left glue and glitter at their disposal and believed they could ignore it. They are just five years old so what was I thinking? I don’t want the type of children who are frightened to express themselves in fear of getting into trouble. My kids are kids and I want them to act like kids. The lesson I learnt here is that I am the adult and the fault stops with me – plain and simple. That it was me who had been badly behaved. That and that I really should tidy up properly in the first place.

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