Collective untruth is difficult to deal with. And that is one of the wonderful
things about siblings. It’s one in, all in.
‘Similar to collective persuasion, or collective bribery, or … or ….
You’re lost once you have more than 2 children!’
And honestly? I think they are right! As much as our four oldest bicker and squabble they do stand together against their father and I at least once or twice a day. What am I supposed to say when they are all denying that they even took the milk out of the fridge let alone left it open and sitting on the work surface. Or when someone has tipped cereal all over the table and not cleaned it up, yet amazingly nobody tipped the cereal. Deny, deny, deny really does seem to be their mantra.
I hate to imagine how many times I have been bombarded with 4 separate but simultaneous conversations and then 5 minutes later when I’ve had time to process the situation find that I have agreed to something without even realising it! My reaction is usually wonder and awe at how they manage it rather than annoyance.
Then there are the times they ask me when I am obviously stressed or under pressure and agree just to get them to stop pestering! I often don’t realise of course until they feel that it is time to cash in on my promise of a trip somewhere, or ice cream, or whatever else took their fancy. They can keep these promises quiet for months and spring them on me at any given moment that conversation usually goes a little like this:
Them: Mami, you remember you told us we could go to THAT PLACE?
Me: Ummm?*runs through every conversation we’ve had over the last two weeks*
Them: Well, Dadi said that we’re not doing anything tomorrow, and the weather is going to be nice.
Them: And you did promise, so can we go? Please? Huh? Pleeeeaaase?
Me: When did I promise? I don’t think I remember saying that.
Them: Yes, you remember that time when the dinner was burning, the baby was screaming, and you were helping LV make that school project, while juggling.
Okay, I might have exaggerated there a bit but you get the picture. The planning they put into these conversations is fantastic they manage to ask only for things that are suitable for a given day, for example the local country park on a warm day or an indoor activity on rainy days. They even manage to play us off against each other. Plus they never, ever forget! I have been reminded of these promises I apparently made years and years earlier!
My husband and I often find ourselves looking at four pairs of puppy eyes asking for something, the ‘oh please Mami, we promise ….(insert any good deed imaginable) if you give/let us…’ When we send them away with a resounding ‘No!’ We will eventually get them trickling back one after the other over the next few hours, or days with their individual pleas.
There are even times that they know when to pull out the big guns. What is this secret weapon you ask? It is none other than the baby brother!
For almost seven years, until O was born, LV was the baby. If there was some stubborn situations that hubby and I refused to budge on he would be the one sent down with his quivery bottom lip and big brown eyes. Softly whimpering things like ‘but I think I would have really liked to go there’ or ‘I really do like ice cream Mami!’
Luckily for me he has had a bit if a growth spurt, and a big boy haircut, over the last 6 months and of course he is now no longer the baby so his effect is waning but I’m sure they will all train O well, in the ways if parental wrangling. They have had a trial run with LV so they will now know all the best tricks and I’m sure he will be a formidable ally for them.
Now don’t think we are push overs. Yes our children outnumber us but they rarely actually get their own way on things we don’t want to do or give them anyway. But these kids really do have some power of persuasion in their little gang. And that is great!But it seems their loyalties only run so deep. They will defend each other to the last, unless of course they have actually been caught out doing something then they will instantly try and blame it on someone else. Also, I actually brought this subject up with them the other day and E said that, one day they should all claim it was them, just as a change, they them all looked at each other and decided that was a bad idea as what if they said it first and no one else did too, so I feel there may be chance for me to use a little reverse psychology in the future!
So how about you? Do you often find yourselves being outwitted by your children? Do they use their collective powers to persuade, or even trick, you into doing or giving them something? I’d love to know we are not alone! Let me know in the comments.