Monday, 12 November 2012

With the Ill Behaviour

So we returned from our half-term break refreshed, revitalised and having almost achieved a tech-free holiday (if you don't count the tv....) but wondering about something.  Why is it that our darling angels pick being on holiday with other people as the best time to try out their worst behaviour?  In the past few shared holidays that we've had there have been inordinate amounts of tantrums, shouting and point blank refusals to do as they're told.  Nothing more serious than that but a very tiring state of affairs and just a little bit embarrassing. 

There are plenty of explanations: they are excited, they are with their friends, they are free from the stricture of routines imposed by school and pre-school and the set way that we do things at home.  It always surprises us when we get back how much calmer they seem but if you factor in the point that mum and dad are not nearly as interesting as their friends and their normal routine does not involve going to the beach every day and getting to stay up late then it does make sense.  Equipped with such knowledge we now know to brace ourselves and try to relax a bit so they don't feel that for the entire holiday their surnames have been changed to "No" or "Stop it!".

Then the other day a friend was telling me that during the wee small hours of a particularly lively dinner party she was holding, her 19-year-old daughter got out of bed and stood at the top of the stairs to tell her off for making too much noise.  Tables turned, here was the parent being the naughty one, and classically she responded with a "no I will not!".  It was payback time. 

It made me think about what happens when I get together with my friends.  Some of this is documented (see Doing it for the Kids or The Kids are Alright) but I will also take this opportunity, in the spirit of reminding myself that it isn't just the children who muck around, to confess to participating in the following:

  • A re-enaction of a 'Spaghetti Western' using tinned spaghetti as our weapon of choice (out of the tin of course).
  • Making phone calls on behalf of the fictitious 'Friendly Society' which involved calling people to wish them Happy New Year.  Whilst our calls were unexpected, we did get a lot of bewildered 'Thank You's'.
  • Having a fruit and veg fight in a classroom.
  • Calling out to strangers from a moving car asking them in an anguished voice "When are you coming home?"
  • Stuffing a car full of leaves, including the glove compartment.
  • Whining at a DJ for switching the music off because we just want to dance, man! 
I have also witness people eating the entire contents of sugar bowls, 30 olives in one go, massively over-spiced curries (sometimes by choice, other times spiked) and pots of mustard for fun.  It's one thing to muck about but I draw the line at inflicting pain on my intestines - I'll leave that to the cast iron stomachs of my male friends.

All of this is silly, childish behaviour fuelled by being with friends and often by one too many shandies.  Replace the shandies with industrial amounts of ice cream and orange juice and you have the perfect small person's storm. 

So there it is, it's not just the children.  The desire to muck about is in all of us, it's just that for the most part our children are spared the embarrassment of our misbehaviour.  Next holiday I'll cut them a bit more slack. 


Soundtrack: Renegade Master - Wildchild (Fatboy Slim Remix)

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