Tuesday, 8 January 2008


My three year old is without a doubt a delinquent. I am at my wits’ end given that nothing makes the slightest difference to her behaviour. No warnings or threats work; she just walks on by, tossing her red hair behind her defiantly.
I am not proud to admit that I have administered the occasional smack to her bottom but I’ve even given up on corporal punishment. For one thing she has such a tiny little bum that it makes me feel awful and for another, she cares not a jot.
Over Christmas we had some friends staying who smoke. His cigarettes were in the kitchen up on the window sill. The kitchen was pitch black as he, his wife, Hubby and I were in the sitting room. The eldest children were in their rooms doing whatever it is teenagers do, whilst my youngest were purportedly in bed, asleep.
An hour after we thought they were out for the count, the five year old appeared in the doorway, clutching a fistful of tobacco. “Look what my sister has done again”, she said, in a bored voice, rolling her eyes.
I jumped up and at great speed ran up the stairs and sure enough a whole packet of B&H were scrunched up and scattered under her bed.
Picking up the worst as best I could, I ran down to retrieve the Dyson and sucked up the remaining mess. What I couldn’t understand is why she would go into a cold dark kitchen, climb a stool, find the fags, run upstairs with them and then tear them apart. It’s not as if she knew they were there. What induced her to go there in the first place?
Our guest was a little more magnanimous, “Hey, it could have been worse”, he laughed, “She could have lit them!”
And so it goes on. Every night there is no getting her to sleep before ten thirty even though her elder sister is lying in the bed next to her, desperate for sleep and yet every night she does something catastrophic.
A couple of nights ago a piercing scream emanated from their room and once again Hubby and I careered up the stairs. The five year old was in bed clutching a nasty burn on the inside of her wrist.
“Oh my God!”, I exclaimed, “How did you do that?”
“She”, she wailed, pointing at the Red-Head, “opened up the lamp and I tried to stop her but I put my wrist on the bulb and it was very hot”.
The lamp in question was a children’s night light, a sealed unit that takes a Philips screwdriver and three screws to undo. The Red-Head had undone it without the use of any ironmongery and now her big sister was scarred for life.
“What were you thinking?” I demanded of her, simultaneously gripping the five year olds arm and holding it under very cold running water. True to form she just shrugged her shoulders, whilst her poor sister screamed.
The following day I visited the chemist and asked the pharmacist if he knew of any soothing ointment I could administer. He duly showed me an appropriate tube and on my return I applied liberally as advised. Hubby placed gauze over the top and put everything away in a drawer.
Later that evening, I walked into their playroom to find one of their little red chairs plastered in yellow cream; a tube lay next to the chair – empty, squired of its contents. “What is this doing here?” I roared, looking for the culprit.
The Red-Head looked me in the eye, “The fair (she can’t say the chuh sound yet) was red like her arm”, she pointed at her sister, “I make it better”.
“For heaven’s sake! How many times must I tell you not to play with things that are not yours?”
“But mummy” added her big sister, “She always does. That’s why Daddy’s wine is in the bath”.
“What?”, I heard Hubby holler, before sprinting upstairs.
The language that came out of the bathroom has no place on this page but suffice it to say, it was of fairly profane naval vocabulary. I ran up to see what had happened.
A Dartington glass, Admirals decanter (I have big ambitions for Hubby) that I bought him for Christmas and filled with the finest old tawny was on its side in the bath, the stopper has yet to be located, the port having long since been poured down the plughole.
“Get up here at once!” Hubby bellowed down the stairs. Under normal circumstances, most normal children would meekly appear, quaking in their boots as their parent ripped them off a block or two. Not so the abnormal Red-Head.
She pirouetted in, her arms above her head a la Darcy Bussell and politely enquired, “What’s the matter daddy? Why daddy fross (see Chuh sound, ditto cuh sound)?”
Daddy was out in orbit at this point, “Cross? You are asking me why I am cross, when my best present in wallowing in the bath, empty? The thirty quid’s worth of port imbibing the freaking fish in the Tamar?”
“Take it easy darling”, I advised. Alarming veins were popping out all over his forehead.
“Daddy”, she said, exasperated as though he didn’t know, “My Matey bubble baff is all don. I liked your red bubble baff. Not very bubbly though”.
“What?”, he said, falling into the nearest Lloyd Loom, “Bubble bath?”
It was at this point, as I tried my best to stifle a giggle that Hubby ran downstairs, picked up the car keys and drove off.
“Daddy is don like the bubble baff”, remarked the Red-Head matter of factly.
As a matter of fact Hubby wasn’t gone long, only long enough to locate a good bottle of red wine.“I’m telling you Alice”, he said, pulling out the cork, “Thank God I’m going back to work. Otherwise it would be a case of one of us has to go”.


Mary Alice said...

Oh my, you have a wild one don't you? Hide the liquor in the garage. You'll need it.

enidd said...

tee hee. but enidd feels for your hubby and all that port down the bath...

Sally Lomax said...

Whoops......... Oh dear........

I think you need some very hard to open cupboard locks.

You'll laugh one day...... And Hubby may even laugh too.... One day.

Alice Band said...

Mary Alice - wild? She's totally free range!

enidd- no chance of it being passed the left. Just straight down!

sally - It's not so much the things in the cupboards she gets her hands on. Trouble is she has a beguiling smile...

thefoodsnob said...

Too bad you don't have a choice to go (at least for a while!)
I always found with my kids three was the hardest (at least of the toddler years.)