Ok, so this isn’t one of my proudest parenting moments. But I’m going to share it because no doubt most of us will have to go through this rigmarole at some point in the next few months, and as well as being mildly amusing (only in hindsight, I assure you), let this be a warning not to promise rewards in the moment you aren’t willing to deliver on; you may regret it.
A lot of you parents will already be familiar with the current dilemma – your child develops a cold, then starts coughing, so you need to get them tested before they can go back to school or attend doctor’s appointments.
This happened with Eden a few weeks back. I was desperate for her not to miss any more school, so the test got booked. The day started out well; we chatted lightheartedly about a little ‘tickle’ up the nose, then the plan was to do a McDonald’s smoothie as a treat afterwards.
Let me tell you, the half-hour drive to the test centre was the ‘smoothiest’ part of that day (couldn’t resist the pun, sorry 😂). We got there, they gave me the test kit, and I read the instructions in blissful ignorance. ‘Take your time,’ they assured me. ‘There’s no rush. If you need any help, just put your hazards on.’
‘Pfft, who needs help?’ I thought. ‘I’ve got this!’
The angry cat 😾
It was just myself and the girls in the car. ‘Ach, we’ll have a wee girls’ day out,’ I’d thought (uncharacteristically optimistically).
But my first mistake (of many) was not bringing Daddy with us, because as soon as Eden laid eyes on that cotton bud, she morphed from her usual cuddly kitten self into an angry tom cat in the front seat beside me. Back arched, reversing, growling, immediately she began swatting her little paws at me.
Oops, there goes the swab.
The puddle protest 💦
‘Right Eden, here is a sweet, you may eat the sweet WHILE I put this stick up your nose, got it?’
Eden stuffed her sweet into her mouth, but as soon as I moved the cotton bud in her direction she melted into a puddle of tears and flopped herself down so far in her seat that the sweet strategy became logistically impossible.
The kind attendant saw the chaos, came over and tried to sweet talk her into it. All he got were frowns and grimaces. He suggested we come back another day. I assured him we’d get there eventually.
The wailing (brick) wall 😭
He suggested I let her watch a programme on my phone. That got the swab up for two seconds, but then pure chaos descended. Eden literally threw herself about the car, crying as hard as she knew how. By that stage, I was crying too. Zoë just kept saying, ‘my ears hurt, my ears hurt, my ears hurt,’ over and over. We had hit a (wailing) brick wall.
Desperation descended. All reason went out the window. Eden had flung herself into the back in an attempt to escape my clutches, so I had to clamber, (very awkwardly I’ll add, since I wasn’t allowed to exit the car), into the back seat, and plead with her:
‘Honey, we’ll go to McDonald’s and you can get a muffin if you’d like.’
‘Sweetheart, you can pick a toy in the shop.’
‘Pet, do you see the other GOOD children in the car park who aren’t making a fuss?’
‘Look, there’s a unicorn in the sky!’
I tried pinning her down. She was too strong.
I tried telling her off. She was past it.
By now we had been there two hours. Yes, TWO hours.
The rash promise 😬
I was done.
‘Eden, what do you want most in the whole wide world?
Will you put this up your nose if I give you a hamster?
Ten seconds and the test was done.
I beeped my horn and the man came over.
‘Wow,’ he said, ‘you are one persistent mummy. Most people would have given up long ago. Well done.’
I just smiled through the watery eyes. I’d been humiliated enough. He didn’t have to know about the hamster, really.
And it’s a good job I didn’t tell him.
Because I was about to get even more embarrassed. We’d been sitting there that long with the music on that my car battery had gone flat. So a whole team of COVID test centre employees had to push my car so I could jump start my way home.
What a day.
And now, I have to deliver on my promise. Soon a hamster will be joining our family.
Good job we’ve already got a name. If he’s a boy, he can be Covid. If she’s a girl, Corona works quite nicely.
What’s the moral of the story?
In the heat of the moment – no matter how bad it gets – never promise what you’re not willing to deliver on. Because it may just come back to bite you 😂