Friday, 1 May 2009

Mind Reader?

My late wife, who rather ironically was a real stickler for time keeping, would often say that my ability to read her mind added significant benefit to the smooth running of our marriage.

She would put it differently, but the above is technically accurate.

However, I was less of a mind reader, just more appreciative of the fact that women really do think it is their prerogative to change their mind, or in other words, mine specifically, female genitals grant you carte blanche to renege on any decision, or commitment you happen to have made previously, and any fault or blame apportionment will lie elsewhere.

Therefore granted with this appreciation, and vast understanding, I appeared to be Jedi like in my reaction to a change of plan, it is as if I could see it coming.

What? A woman, changed her mind? No. And I guessed that would happen?


Mind reader is the only reasonable explanation.

Over the last four years I have also learnt that toddlers, or perhaps even children as a grander genre, reserve the right to absolve themselves of any decision accountability.

Twice in the last 24 hours, at the current count, can I cite major examples, and very funny they are too.

I learnt to love the way the Samantha would charmingly make swift changes of plan and mind, and give me the face that said ‘you-know-you’re-going-to-sort-it’.

Bearing witness to that tender look, plus teasing her about it were ample pay back. And the fact that we could both laugh about it together, rather than get angry with one another, summed up our general attitude to each other, and to life.

Max and I have gone the same way. We have developed an understanding, where he is genuinely aware of what he is doing, and that I find it amusing, albeit at times I have to assert a parenting mantra to make him understand that decisions do have consequences.

This week was not one for that.

Yesterday, Thursday, there is a parent and toddler swim session at a local baths that starts not long after nursery finishes. I would say we attend this session two out of three weeks.

I always ask Max in the morning if he wants to go, as it is a bit of a rush from nursery to home, and out again, especially if he plays for a bit in the playground with his nursery chums.

I got a firm no when I posed the question this week, and I double checked on the way to nursery, checking again at nursery, even getting his answer witnessed by two of the nursery’s staff.

They even suggested they would call me if he changed his mind, which was jolly nice of them.

The call never came, so I did not put our swim bag together, nor drive round the corner to save a few vital minutes to enable an on-time arrival at the pool.

I more-so looked forward to a little messing about on the school ground, maybe down at the park, followed by some father-and-son time at home before dinner.

As we got set to leave nursery for the week, the staff wished my son a nice weekend, and a nice swim, before correcting themselves to say he was not going for a dip today. He concurred and said goodbye.

Then as we got down the three steps to the playground, he turned to me and said, yes you guessed it;

“So………are we going swimming then?”

I had to giggle.

And then explained that we could, but we would have to get a move on, and we might not make it to the full session.

He was a little miffed at this, as he was going to have to sacrifice playing for a little longer, with the folks he had just spent the whole day amongst.

Swimming was still a green for go, and we ended up only being a little late, and had a great time.

Jumping on daddy from the side was a particular joy this week. For one of us, at least.

Then tonight, Friday, the usual day of pizza for him, as it was for his mother, we had guests. My folks dropped in on their way home from Wales, and I offered to include them in our dinner plans, without actually checking our food stocks.

I had to resort to freezer stuff, and without enough of any one thing in particular, I came up with the fabulously nutritional cocktail of fish fingers, onion rings, dinosaur shapes, scampi, beans and oven chips.

And as there were going to be so many giants of toddler desire on display, I suggested Max might want to choose from this lot, in lieu of his usual pizza.

He concurred, and absolutely did not want pizza.

I cooked one anyway, thinking, or predicting he may actually change his mind, and that it would not go to waste, only our waistlines, if he did not.

Predictably, and right before I was about to dump the pre-ordered turkey filled T-Rex on his plate, he decided he actually wanted pizza.

“What? You mean the pizza I haven’t cooked?”

And then it came, the look.

The knowing look of his mother, his saying 'quit-your-bravado-dad, you-know-you-have-it-covered'.

Mind reader?

I think not.

Just well matched.



T said...

Awesome. A man who has it all figured out. Yes, you would make any woman happy with that!!

And yes, I did wave at you as I flew over! I want to go back and visit the U.K. I loved being in Europe and the travel there wasn't nearly as bad at traveling to Australia. I will be back!

Kevin Spencer said...

Ah yes, the charming changing of the mind. I always leave all options open until the deed *actually* takes place. Until then, all bets are off as to whether said deed will even happen ;-) Took me a while to figure out but once I did, a certain calm and peace overcame the world.

Gretch said...

actually making the pizza was a brilliant move on your part. i'm not sure i would have, but now maybe i will.


Not a soccer mom said...

Ahhh yes, a good match indeed. You are both real stinkers!
You may regret cooking extras ;just in-case' too often though.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Definitely a good match. My girls and I are very similar, especially Miss M. And though she'sa picky eater, Miss M also likes a Turkey Dinosaur (Bootiful Bernard's of course.) I bought them when Miss E was small in the hope I might move her on to Granny' turkey dinners. Alas they both prefer the dinosaurs, and as it's either that or pasta and vegetables (I've tried other stuff I promise) I am now known as the Turkey Dinosaur Mum by two of Miss E's friends. Sighhhh. I feel so guilty. ;D

NB I give them pasta and veg so often but their friends won't eat that so I'm stuck with the prepacked prehistoric dudes. Ah well.

Penelope said...

Total genius - I love it!
Just be grateful that he is male though - as the mother of a female teen I can tell you, you don't know you've been born sunshine! ;o)

Exmoorjane said...

Great post and a blog I'm going to enjoy reading properly (when I get back to my nice desktop and not sitting perched in the foyer of the Disney hotel with my ancient laptop burning a hole in my trousers). Thanks so much for your comment on mine.....
All best, Jane

A Modern Mother said...

I never change my mind. Well, actually, I guess I do. Can you give my hubby some lessons?

Crystal Jigsaw said...

A woman has to have some priveleges! Your little one knows exactly what he wants, he just wants to make sure you do too.

CJ xx

FrankandMary said...

See, I know some people where the "blame always points thataway~~~>", but they aren't all women. It is a very passive aggressive trait, and I tend to really dislike people who have it. I've met both men & women like this, and I run as soon as I find out, only trouble is, you can't always tell in the beginning, but I would not say women have an exclusive hold on that flaw.

FrankandMary said...

BUT, I love the way you parent :-), just thought I'd get that in ...

SciFi Dad said...

This is a very cute story, but at some point you're going to have to teach Max that he has to commit to his decisions... I mean, he's a not growing up to be a woman, so he won't be able to get away with this.

Kat said...

Toddlers like women are very fickle.

Single Parent Dad said...

T - Cool.

Kevin Spencer - I know, I felt it too.

Gretch - It was this time.

Not a soccer mom - I know, I won't do it every time.

Jo Beaufoix - My boy will eat anything as long as it is shaped like a sausage.

Penelope - I do count my blessings.

Exmoorjane - I am glad that Disney brought us together!

A Modern Mother - No lessons required, just get him to work on the assumption that you will always change your mind, so when you don't it is a bonus. (refer him to Kevin's comment above)

Crystal Jigsaw - Bless him eh?

FrankandMary - I know what you mean. Thanks for your comment.

SciFi Dad - Very good point.

Kat - I am not going to argue with you.

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