Thursday, 11 February 2010

Parenting tip, number two

Parenting tip, number one received mixed reviews. Undaunted I’ve decided to continue.  This tip helps you to get children to the breakfast/lunch/dinner table when they would normally ignore your calls.  It works for husbands too.
Tip number two is a a little bizarre and it is a bit of a shaggy dog story.  It starts with a visit to the Essex Police Museum which does exist, details here, photos of our trip here.  (Well worth a trip but go on an open day when they have the dogs, cars and helicopter there.)
There’s a shop in the museum.  When I say shop it’s more of a till and a small handful of items for sale.  I bought a bicycle bell, like this one.
I’ve got this vision of what my life should be like and in this vision I ride an old fashioned bicycle with a sit up and beg design, basket on the front and a traditional bike bell.  This vision bears no relation to reality. At all.  But, in a vain hope that someday I will be an environmentally concerned mum who is healthy because I cycle everywhere, I bought a bike bell.  I know that’s far fetched, but it happens to be (sad but) true.
Even before I’d left the shop, as soon as I’d paid for it I had taken it out of the box and started playing.  This is because I’m an activist.  I can’t pick the post up from the doormat and take it to the kitchen without opening at least one item.  My husband, on the other hand, can leave mail for a week without touching it.
When I got home I wanted to put the bell on the bike but the bike was in the garage and that was a bit of a faff.  So instead I attached it, using screwdriver, to the towel rail in the kitchen.  I know nobody ever needs warning that they have a moving towel rail behind them, but it was the closest thing to a handlebar without requiring me to get off my backside and go out to the garage.
And I discovered it’s quite loud.  I also discovered that the children loved it, probably because it’s loud.
I explained to the children that I’d ring the bell when their dinner was ready.  They came running to the table when I rang the bell.  Normally if I’d yell “Dinner’s ready” I would, for the most part, be ignored or get a really delayed response.
So now the bell is used regularly and it works a treat.  I guess it’s just a twist on the old fashioned bells you see in old people’s drawing rooms.  But it works, for us.

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