Sunday, 5 October 2014

Dumb arguments I've had with my kids

Before I had kids, I never thought I’d one day be standing outside a holiday house, (with all my friends watching on from inside) having a passionate argument with a small person about the merits of a sweaty cube of cheese.

My then-two year old had been holding the cube of cheese since we left Sydney – two and a half hours previous. When we got out of the car, I saw it had not been eaten, but was still clutched lovingly in his sweaty little fist.

One thing was for sure, that fetid cube was not coming into the house with us.

“Just drop it.” I said.
“No.” He replied, his fist closing more tightly around the prize.
“Just chuck it away.” I insisted.
“Are you going to eat it?”
“Then chuck it away.”

And with my friends watching through the front window (waiting to yell ‘surprise’ for my birthday holiday) my toddler and I engaged in a brief but violent tussle over a cube of cheddar.

Finally, might won over right and I prised open his fist (as he screamed blue murder) and gleefully discharged the cube off into the gutter.

That done, we grumpily entered the house and had “Surprise!” yelled at us as my friends jumped out from behind a curtain (which was inexplicably the makeshift ‘door’ to the third bedroom.)

The whole thing was surreal, from the sweaty cube to my friends hiding behind a curtain that logically should have been a door.

The existence of children in your life  brings with it some pretty dumb arguments that you nevertheless find yourself getting quite het up about.

Here are some other dumb arguments I have had with my kids:

What’s heeeee’s name?

One Sunday, Max (then three and a half) was doing some acrobatic work on the coffee table when we heard the tell-tale ‘thump-waaaah!’ sound that signals you will be spending the rest of your day in the ER.

As we checked his partially detached ear and loaded him into the car I began to worry that along with a disfigured ear, he may have incurred some sort of brain damage from the knock to the head.

He had been very quiet and wasn’t even crying any more. I was starting to get really worried. And then I heard this from the back seat.

“What’s heeee’s name?”

This was our regular car argument: Max would point to a random stranger and ask me what their name was. 

The argument would go along the lines of: I dont know/but what’s hee’s name/ I don’t know/ but what’s hee’s name/I don’t know/but what’s hee’s name? ad infinitum until Max had exhausted himself and nodded off to sleep.

But this time, relieved that my son was obviously back to his usual programming, so to speak, I decided to play along.

“Barry.” I replied.
“What’s heeee’s other name?”
“McBarry.” I said triumphantly. “His name is Barry McBarry.”

And so began a long tradition of naming random strangers out the car window.

Madge McBadge, Ray MacEnray, Jan McPutty and Helen Curlybones (an old lady with scoliosis) just to name a few.


A nun is not a nut

Max and I once had a very lengthy and heated exchange about whether or not nuns were nuts.

My point was: just because she’s chosen to dedicate her life to God, does not make her crazy (debatable, I know.)

His point was: But she’s a nut. Look at her.

(To be fair to him, she was wearing the traditional garb and swanning about the streets of Leichhardt like Mother Superior from The Sound of Music.)

But it was the principle that was important so I decided to tell him a thing or to about tolerance and difference and religion and how seriously some people take their dedication to The Big Guy Upstairs.

He just kept insisting that she was a nut.

At which point I thought he was pretty young to be making judgements about other people’s life choices and I told him so …

Which was when  I realised that he was only four and he thought the word for a nun was ‘nut.’

No one is getting in the door until I can actually get to the door


We have this argument every weekday afternoon at approximately 3.20pm.  Coming home from school, my three children charge the front door so that they might be the first through it. But it’s a small porticoe and if they bunch around the front door, the keymaster (me) cannot actually get to the door and it brings proceedings to a grinding halt.

But all of them refuse to give ground. For some reason being the first one through the door is of utmost importance and something not to be surrendered under ANY circumstances.  So we stand at the front door in a bunch while I invoke the usual prophecy,

“No one is getting in until I can get to the door.”

It usually takes about five minutes for them to figure out (again) that the lady with the keys speaks the truth.

I know it’s hard to believe, but I actually know more about ’80s era retro music than you do

My eldest son, (now 14) is a real music buff and to be fair, he has very good taste. He prides himself on knowing everything about everything when it comes to music and bands. He loves Nirvana and finds it hard to fathom that I once played on the same stage as them (Big Day Out 1992) But here’s the proof if, like him, you don’t believe me. (That’s me at 0:58 with the short bobbed hair worrying that no one is going to turn up.)

But I digress, (impressive, or WHAT?)

Recently we had a very heated argument about whether Paul Weller from the poncey 80s band, The Style Council was the same Paul Weller from the very retro cool post ’60s band, The Jam.  Max simply could not accept this as fact and to be fair, it is pretty fantastical when you consider songs like, You’re The Best Thing against, A Town Called Malice.

I have not yet been able to prove that the two Paul Wellers are never in the same room together, and so Max still does not accept this musical aberration as truth.

When it is cold outside, it is preferable for one to dress as though it is cold outside


Conversely, when it’s 38 degrees outside, it’s logical to wear shorts, not long pants and a giant army overcoat.

When you go on holiday, packing your bag usually means packing some underwear


Have you packed?
Did you pack everything you need?
(exasperated) YES!
Are you sure?
Did you pack underwear?
(Embarrassed silence)

Just because I don’t go into your room, doesn’t mean you can convert it into a rubbish tip (and similar versions of same)


This is essentially a very tricky definition of  jurisdictions: if it’s their room, doesn’t that make them the boss of it?  I have not been able to find a legal precedent (that doesn’t put me in the same category as say, Hitler or Mussolini)  that will effectively blow their argument out of the water.

Dessert is not a basic human right


My kids act like I am some kind of heretic who should be reported to a higher authority whenever I declare that they don’t actually NEED dessert.

The argument comes about when we run out of ice cream, at which point they start rocking the fridge back and forth like rioters.

I have tried to explain to them the logistics of replacing the large four litre tub of ice cream BEFORE the current one is used up and that sometimes there might be ONE DAY where the running out of the old ice cream does not perfectly line up with the buying of the new ice cream.

But they just act like they want to report me to the police.

“You don’t actually NEED dessert.” I say.

This stops them in their tracks. They all stand stock still and make the sign of the cross.

“Devil woman.” They hiss in a frightened whisper.

When travelling three minutes to school, does it really matter who sits in the front seat?


I understand this obsession on a long car trip … but three minutes, seriously, you can’t sit in the back seat for three minutes without bitching and moaning the entire way?


No you can’t buy crap on ebay with your own pocket money …


Because when it comes and it’s crap, you cry. Every. Time.

What dumb arguments have you had with your kids? 

(That's a rhetorical question BTW, don't feel obliged to answer it. It just seemed abrupt to end a post without asking what you've been up to.)