I need help - I’m trying to plan a 16 hour car journey with my 3 youngest children (9, 6 and 3). In 3 weeks I’ll be setting off on the nearly 1200km journey from our home in South West France to visit family in South East England. My husband is staying here to hold the fort and so I’m journeying as the sole driver with James 9 – who’s incredibly good unless he’s bored, when he turns into the biggest teaser and tormentor of his younger brother Luc who needs no encouragement whatsoever. Luc is the cheekiest, liveliest, most hot tempered, noisiest, “boy-est”, lovable, toothless 6 year old you could ever wish to meet. The youngest, Frankie, is 3 going on 13 and she is the stubbornest, sweetest, winiest, cutest, tallest, girliest child I know. Individually they are brilliant kids, but together they spell BIG TROUBLE.
What am I thinking of? Even 10 minute journeys to the supermarket turn into major battlefields. Luc’s kicking James, James is hitting Luc over the head, Frankies trying to avoid the blows. Or, Frankie’s singing the most annoying made up song in the world and Luc’s joining in, James is screaming at them to stop and the more he screams the louder they sing. I start off with “Come on, stop it now please”, progressing to a slightly firmer “That’s enough now”, to a more irritated “Will you pack it in”, to a slightly crazed “If you don’t stop it I’m going to turn round and go home”, to a final crescendo of “SHUUUUUUT UPPPPPP!” Sometimes my screams do the trick, but rarely for long and I’m sure they’re doing me no good at all.