I used to be clever, now I compete in the Parent Olympics

May 21, 2015

London 2012 banner at The Monument.

London 2012 banner at The Monument. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After last year’s Olympics and the Paralympics (and not forgetting the Special Olympics) how about the Parent Olympics?  I often see my life as a mum as a competition, albeit one in which I am unlikely to get past the qualifiers.  I can think of several different disciplines.  Scores would be based on absolute results (whoever is first) combined with artistic ability (the minimum of fuss involved, the compliance of the participants and so on).

The school run would surely be the key discipline, the 100m, of the whole competition.  The object of the race would be to arrive on time for the school pick up with a younger sibling in tow.  To achieve maximum marks, that sibling has to have just started doing their favourite activity, in our case, watching tv.  Under starter’s orders, they have to make the transition to something they really don’t like, namely, picking up their older sibling from school every single day, and get to school within a set timescale.  Marks are awarded for arriving on time as well as for acquiescence of the younger sibling.  Any means are acceptable including bribery, threats, persuasion and brute force, as long as it doesn’t hurt.  My current preferred method is the promise of Smarties (commonly known as the ‘bribery technique’.)  This has worked at least once and I will try it again in the hope that I may get a week out of it before I have to alter my approach once more.

If parents are successful in the ‘school pick up with younger sibling’ round, they can progress to the ‘removing a lollipop which has accidentally made its way into your child’s mouth just before dinner’ round.  Again, marks will be awarded for acquiescence, with deductions for any screaming by parent or child.  The most effective approach is probably to invest time persuading the judges that the lollipop won’t do much harm and it’s not worth the effort and pain of trying to remove it.

A particular favourite task, which could be included in the Krypton Factor/Generation Game round, is tidying up toys in other people’s houses.  We, for example, have small cars in one container, big ones in a hamper, some plastic food in one tin and some in another, depending on the type of plastic food.  Very difficult to get right if you’re not familiar with it.  So, in this round, we would all go to a friend’s house, observe where the toys are as they come out and then have a timed session in which to get them back in the right place with the bonus points awarded for being able to close the toy chest afterwards.

There are many other possible rounds.  The ‘Get your child to eat red cabbage and broccoli without complaining’ round.  The ‘Get your child dressed in something you want them to wear rather than the inappropriate for the weather option they’ve chosen’ round, timed, of course, and scheduled for seconds after you’ve woken up in the morning.  A particular favourite game of mine, mentioned before as it is a constant in my life, is ‘Find your child’s top 5 toys, before they’ve grown out of them.’  These will obviously have been lost because, as they’re the favourites, they’ve been played with the most.  I currently can’t go past a radiator without looking behind it for a car or a Moshi Monster character.  Knowing your child’s movements isn’t always a help because, in a cliff hanger twist it turns out that Moshi Monsters are going AWOL because of the younger brother, who isn’t collecting them, hiding them.  Nail biting stuff.

Perhaps the trickiest one would be the ‘consistent parenting round’.  This would be a sort of parenting Mr and Mrs round where the partner who is at home least has to take over for the day and guess which ground rules have been set/amended/reneged on.  This round is enlivened by the departing parent throwing in a threat as they leave which the at home parent has to carry out, such as, ‘no tv for the day’.

I hope you’ll share my enthusiasm for the Parent Olympics.  Dreaming up new categories and pretending I’m a participant in a game keeps me cheerful when I’m playing the ‘who can keep calm the longest while their children interrupt their bickering only to scream at you’ round.  I’m not sure I’d win that one, but I get plenty of practice.


2 Responses to “I used to be clever, now I compete in the Parent Olympics”

  1. sanlip Says:

    Oh yes, love the one about the top-5-toys. Spot on, I’m in!


  2. The more I think about it, the more grateful I am that currently only one of my children can talk.


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