Taking Stock - November 4, 2013

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You may have noticed, thanks to the roads being just that little bit quieter and the fast food joints just that little busier, that last week was half term.

For those folks who like to point out at every opportunity it‘s ‘my fault’ for having children it will have meant a quieter drive to the office without all those school runners in the way.

For parents it’s been a frantic week spent trying to keep a lid on chaos.

Amazingly I escaped Gazette Towers myself for a few days and have spent the time rather than complaining about referees, attempting to be one.

Generally I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the men in black but after three days on parenting duty I’m starting to understand the job a little better. For a start, when dealing with three under-fives, you need eyes in the back of your head all the time. After all there’s no telling when one, while the others are busy crayoning directly on to the table having run out of paper, is going to, say, see how the oven works.

Like the man in the middle you need the patience of a saint and a good sense of when to pick your battles.

Getting all the books out is annoying but fine, eating them isn’t.

I only wish the means of punishment were so simple.

The referee has his cards - yellow and, if necessary, red.

I suppose being sent off is a bit like being packed off to bed - every parent’s most potent sanction. Beyond that lies a whole heap of trouble.

My Good Wife always tells me never to use a punishment I’m not willing to follow through with.

It’s probably best then if she doesn’t find out I’ve cancelled Christmas on no fewer than four separate occasions and, as it stands, there are just the two of us going to Disneyland next year. The problem is I’m too much of a softie.

I’d rather be good cop, leaving all the really tough punishment to my better half and winning points in the ongoing popularity battle.

The whole thing is rather exhausting and, after three days of playing referee I’m glad they’re back in school next week. As for me, well, I’m going back to work for a rest!