I'm in a bit of quandary. I have played the discipline card but made a fatal flaw. I didn't look at my watch before doing so. Now I'm stuck as to what to do next.
You see the beastie boys were being beasties. Very, very beastly beasties. They decided that dinner was not something to be eaten. Rather it's something that can be flung across the table, pushed into each others faces and used as a new stenciling technique for the walls (chippolatas in onion gravy make a very fetching lengthways pattern on cream walls in case you're looking for eco-friendly design techniques). They also decided that poking each other with forks was a great game. As was ignoring their mother. As was pretend falling off their chairs repeatedly. As was pouring cups of water over each others heads. All gaily woven together with much screaming, punching, kicking and flailing of limbs.
I gave many warnings. Until finally I did what no parent should ever do and said: 'That is your last warning'. Which is an immediate cue that they should ignore it. Which means you as parent can either a) look like a spineless fool to be walked all over or b) follow through. I went for the Box B.
I removed their still full plates of food (except for the broccoli that had been sent into orbit and the sausages that had been used to decorate the walls) and instructed them that dinner was over and that they were to head straight upstairs for bath and bedtime. This of course prompted all sorts of howls about how they were still starving and they won't mess around and that they didn't want a bath. Having heard it all before, I frogmarched them upstairs. Actually I had to carry child number 1 who isn't an insignificant size, while he clung onto the bannistser railings, so that I had to pry his fingers off with every step we took.
So I finally got them in the bath and then realised that it's actually only 5.30 and probably a bit early for bed. I've said they're not having anymore food and that they can know what it feels like to go to bed with a hungry tummy so that next time they'll actually eat their food instead of painting with it. Of course saying this is like farting in a hurricane. It doesn't stand a chance of holding up. Their brains being the size of the peas they ignored at dinnertime, will have forgotten the entire incident by tomorrow morning. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that it will all be forgotten at 5.30 am when they wake up starving demanding breakfast.
I've also said that they're not going back downstairs to play and there's no TV. They've now been in the bath for a full 30 minutes and am sure they've shrivelled to miniature boy shaped prunes, but I'm not really too sure what else to do with them. They will certainly be having an early bedtime but it really is a little early to stick them in bed just yet.
This is the problem with being a parent. No-one tells you how to extricate yourself from sticky corners.
Anyway, I guess an early bedtime would be a good thing today because - alert the media - Mr and Mrs Homeofficemum will be going out. Yes folks, that's correct. It's a Friday night and we're actually heading out. Like normal people who have lives. We're going to the theatre. Actually I don't care much about what we're seeing, but the theatre does have a bar which is incentive enough. So the children need to be in bed and comatose by the time the sitter comes at 7.
I guess I'd better go extract them from the bath. Now, I just need to reach inside the part of me that is the grown up and forget all about the last hour of hell and put my smiley mummy face on. Deep breathe in, and deep breathe out...