There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Communal Existence

Having returned from almost 3 weeks away, Jubileeing in Norfolk and two weeks in Greece on a Mark Warner, I have come to the conclusion that communal existence is something of a wonder/ simply the only way to go.

This is not something that must be taken lightly, you cannot just wantonly pick some people that you "really" like and head to the nearest estate agent to select a property that would match all your combined budgets / needs. One has to be more selective than this it would seem. At this point it would seem pertinent to mention that I am basing this science on communal existence with children and other people who have children. Although, should you be reading this and not have children, do please feel free to respond to this advice with others who don't have children...

As far as I can tell, children behave a lot better when amongst their peers, providing their peers are not hellish children who are best avoided at all costs. When children are at school, they sit down and eat without getting up and down from the table to smear food around and about or to hit their older or younger siblings. They do not seem to whine at anyone in earshot demanding all sorts of things that make the person in charge want to leave and get a new job that has nothing what so ever to do with little blighters. They remain at the table, on the chair and are dismissed at the appropriate time. I have to believe that this is to do with environment, not just simply because anybody else is far better at looking after my little cherubs than I am. Although I also know, that this is true, as most people have more luck with my two than I think I have ever had in their entire years on this earth (my children, not the other people).

So, over this three weeks away I have been watching and digesting and ruminating on behaviour, hours spent chastising v hours spent enjoying and I have, in the main, seen that my children are far happier and slightly better than totally out of control when they are in amongst a group of children.

In Norfolk, for example, there was another little boy, same age as my eldest, and his baby brother, and not one of my girls tried to kill the baby or maim the little boy. Sure, this is not Carealot and my children weren't massively transformed. They had their moments, but in the main, they were much more controllable and therefore manageable. We went crabbing, I pushed the frontier and headed out with my girls to low ground by the waters edge, where we were very near swallowed by quick sand and as a result nearly drowned in the water. This was TOTALLY my fault though. The girls just wanted to catch crabs, they actually wanted to spend indefinite amounts of time doing something as a group that didn't involve squabbling, whining, maiming or varying degrees of hell. They played, they interacted, they shared and they occupied each other. Yes, one day, hungover parents left them all to their own devices while they caught a few more parent winks, and the conservatory of someone elses house was painted, creatively mind, with the carefully stored, left over chocolate wedding cake. But I saw this as enterprising rather than malicious or naughty. When questioned, they all owned up, rather proudly, to their various rolls in "chocolate gate" as it has become to be known. But the point here is, they did it together, and they did it peacefully and quietly meaning that forty winks was possible. This is unheard of in my house. If forty winks are required my husband and I are used as human climbing frames, CBeebies is shouted for, breakfast and libations are demanded relentlessly until, bed becomes purgatory and we have no choice but to drunkenly stumble from bed to kitchen. We like to remain responsible at all times!

On holiday in Greece, despite my youngest nearly drowning (true story) on the second day, and in spite of monumental tiredness on the part of the children, play was conducted nicely in the main and hugs and kisses were issued liberally between respective kinders. In fact, it would seem that, the only time children really became unmanageable was when parents intervened and tried to usher children to do what they requested. At these times of course, there was another adult there to diffuse the situation so rarely would it get to a point when torture or abandonment were on the cards. When else do you get this apart from communal existence?

With communal existence you also have comparisons. There are times when frankly, your children are nowhere near as bad as someone elses, never mind that the children being compared to as the base line for dreadfulness are always mine! At some point in communal existence, unless your child is perma Beelzebub, your child will shine as angelic, you'll be able to smile smugly, nod your head at anyone who cares, and say "I did that".

Unfortunately this is not a fool proof plan and there are flies in various ointments, but the fact is, by the time you get to realise that, your child might well be being slapped by your co Communer's child and you'll have to worry more about that and less about the other. It's an idea, and surely, anything to get beyond the daily grind of children is worth it isn't it ?