*Special edition blog brought to you by the kids.
To all the other kids out there, we wanted to share with you our top tips for ensuring you get the most out of your parents on a Sunday.
The key to maintaining control of your parents is to keep them as weak as possible. Lack of sleep makes them weak. Sundays’ should always start before 6am. This is important because the parents do not like getting very early on Sunday. This gives you a 30 minute window of opportunity to wreak havoc before someone in a position of responsibility gets up and starts yelling.
Our strategy is mess, mess and more mess. Knock yourself out and know no bounds. What you are aiming for is to make the house such a complete shit heap (*parental term) that your parents, in their weakened state, won’t have the strength to clear it up. They will have one of those mumbled discussions, then brightly suggest that you all go out for a while.
Choosing your destination
If you think that your parents are in charge of this choice, think again. Here, although you may not realise it, you have major influence. As you will all know, shops are basically devils work. The only forms of shopping which are tolerable are toy shopping and farmers markets (they give lots of samples of really yummy stuff, and Mummy always buys nice food there).
Now this is the time for teamwork. Work together to ensure that at least 50% of you are moaning and crying while the other 50% are bouncing off the furniture/walls. If you are an only child, you only option is to multitask, switching rapidly between the two.
After 30 minutes of this, you can be sure that even the stupidest or bravest of parents will reject shopping as an option, and head for an open space.
As you all know, mud is heaven sent. There is literally NOTHING better than mud (except perhaps Peppa Pig or chips, or Christmas, or Grandma, or Haribo…). Anyway, mud is great.
Upon arrival, get supremely over excited. After all, this is what you have been working towards all morning. You should now go totally wild, leaping in every puddle you find. Obviously, there is no need to have any regard as to whether the water comes in over the top of your wellies, which inevitably it will. Just carry on regardless, testing your puddle suits with more rigour than the manufacturers ever envisaged. Basically, you can never have too much mud!
Do not despair if your parents take you off the muddy path and across a field. This provides opportunities to try out lots of new activities. Today we tried several new sports including mole hill jumping, random field lying and special looking grass ground pulling.
These are always a source of anxiety for parents, and can provoke an appearance from ‘shouty mummy or shouty daddy’. This is because they make some irrational calculation that just because you have fallen flat on your face at least 6 times already over the course of the half mile you have so far covered, you will be somehow stupid enough to fall into the river (I know, stupid creatures these parents!). Rivers are super interesting, but do expect your parents to start the whole holding you by the hood of your coat thing.
The turning point
The best time to launch the turning point strategy is just as your parents start to relax, enjoy themselves, and seem to believe that this may be the first family walk yet where you are not going to kick off. This can be hard to spot, but the closer you get, the better the reaction. For example, today we were standing watching the swans by the river, and mummy and daddy were whingeing on about all the nice days out fishing etc that they used to have before we came along. As they shared a happy memory, we struck. Today we really went all out and applied pretty much all of our techniques. We have included them all for you, but please feel free to be selective (taking into account how robust or otherwise your parents seem):
- 50 % of you throw yourselves face down in the mud screaming refusal to leave while the other 50% race off dangerously close to the river then throw yourselves face down in the mud pleading to go home immediately. (Only children – you will have to apply the quick multi-tasking strategy again here).
- Now, you will realise that you are starving. If your inept parents have forgotten the snack bag, make sure they feel your pain. You can do this by screaming, kicking, throwing yourself face down in the mud, or by looking for alternatives, such as threatening to eat worms and poisonous berries. Grass is edible, so do go ahead with eating grass if that’s your chosen strategy. It’s never done us any harm.
- Obviously, you will also have developed a raging thirst. After all, you have just walked 0.5 miles in a speedy 1 hour. Now we have to say that in our experience, the downsides of demonstrating your disgust at your parents for having forgotten the sippy cup by lapping out of a muddy puddle, significantly outweigh the upsides. This is especially true if your parents are as crap as ours, and have also left the baby wipes in the car. It took a long time to get the taste out of our mouths again.
- Now, of course, you will need the toilet. If there are more than one of you, do make sure that none of you want to go at the same time, so you can include repeated bush trips on the return journey.
- When you see a dog, 50% of you should launch yourselves onto the unsuspecting animal in the name of puppy love. The other 50% should back away screaming as though you are about to be murdered. This also confuses and distresses unsuspecting dog walkers, and makes mummy and daddy feel quite embarrassed. This should not concern you. After all, its their fault you have just snacked on field worm and had a drink out of a muddy puddle!
- Suddenly, you will declare your immediate inability to take a further step. You must, of course, be carried the rest of the way back to the car. Don’t be distracted by the whole ‘Oh look, there is a horsey in that field over there. Have you seen it?’ technique. It’s just a really crappy parental distraction technique. Equally, you can be certain that they will never walk off and leave you. Once you are out of sight, they will be crapping themselves that someone will snatch you, so will not really go any further. If you just lie in the middle of the path, preferably in a muddy puddle, while screaming, they will soon come back for you. This works even better if some other walkers come along as it makes your parents look like really crap parents (which, if you have got to this stage, they probably are).
The final act
Now kids, this is where you have to use your very best judgment. You need to be in tune with your parent/s. Understand that you now need to make sure that although they seem to feel that up to this point, everything is your fault, they change their minds. Unless you want to eat some crap like soup and toast for dinner and then go to bed before the end of Cbeebies, you need sympathy.
While the parents are stripping off your wet muddy clothes and wellies, don’t wail hysterically. Its better to cry pathetically, including the odd gesture that demonstrates how utterly starved and hard done by you are. After all, it has been a whole hour since you were last fed. During the drive home, make sure you sleep, or at least pretend to. This means that your parents will think that they have succeeded in wearing you out (when in reality, they have mostly worn themselves out). As they drive home, the silence in the car will cause them to mellow.
Making some immediate demands upon entering your house may cause them to reach for the beer/gin. This is a good sign and signifies potential further mellowing. If you Time everything right, you might get sausages or stewed steak for supper. If you have achieved well practiced guilt delivering expert level, you might even get yourself some toddler tapas by the fire for supper.
Happy countrysiding to toddlers everywhere! Love Patch, Lou and Emmyboo x