Thirteen years it may have taken me but cue the choir for I am Obi-freaking-Wan Konobi of practical parenting for beginners.
Alright so technically speaking I am not really a parenting beginner given I have thirteen years under my belt but sweet baby cheeses I wish I had figured this out sooner.
I have discovered the way to ensure your success rate for raising obedient children goes up into the green end of the parenting scale that confirms you are indeed WINNING ... or it could lead them to disown you.
Theoretically it could go either way.
Given the small risk of them actually going through with the disowning part, I say just go with it. Even better I am not going to make you wait to discover this info for yourself, nor am I going to charge you $59.99 over three easy payments because Obi Wan does not charge for this wealth of knowledge.
Nope, for today only I'm going to give this info to you for free of charge and then I am going to run for cover before any psychologists or child activists start howling for my blood.
So on the way to school this morning I was in a particularly chirpy mood. Partly to do with the fact my stomach muscles were pleasantly sore from over use yesterday, but mostly it was to do with the gorgeous sunshine evaporating the last of my winter fog.
We were in the car and as is standard practice when I am in the car and in a good mood - I had the radio blaring and was doing my infamous rockstar performance. You know the one where you do the hair flip thing as you pump your arms in the air and make the car shake at the traffic lights as you sing along?
Yep that one.
The very same one that makes your kids beg to be enrolled in boarding school as they sink into their seats and die of embarrassment.
"Mum, stop it, MUM" they each take a turn at groaning.
"I'm all about that bass no treble bass bassssss basssssss cause I got all the right junk in all the right places" *insert double hair flick and the arms out boobie shake*
"MUUUUUUUUUUUM!" they shout as my oldest leans over and turns down the radio.
"WHAT?" I innocently enquire (OK maybe not so innocently)
"YOU are sooooo embarrassing" croaks the teenager as he hides his face from the kids in the car next to us.
"Me... embarrassing? Noooooo" I feign surprise
"Embarrassing would be me winding down the window and telling that cute little girl standing with her mum that you want to marry her. Embarrassing would be me stopping the car next to that nice bunch of cool looking dudes over there and asking if you can be their new bestie. Embarrassing would be....."
I was so on to something.
I could feel it in my bones.
As we waited for the stop/go dude to let us through at the bottom of the street near my teenager's school, Kermie and a couple of radio DJs were singing Rainbow Connection.
"I LOVE THIS SONG" I squealed as I wound down the windows, turned the radio up and joined in with my best Kermie voice and a couple of enthusiastic honks of the horn as we arrive at school drop off.
"Byyyyyyye darling, give Mummy a big smooch cause I'll miss you" I said as I leaned over to the teenager with my lips pursed and ready.
"Oh for gdgbnbd bjbsdjb bjsbdjb" came his muttered response as he practically fell out of the car in haste to get away.
"Please don't do anything to embarrass me when you drive out Mum" he begged as he slammed the door shut. "Puhleeeease"
"So I don't s'pose donuts in the driveway are cool?" I called out as he did the bolt.
We continue on to the next school. Just me and the two younger ones and my extra son from another family that I drive to school in the mornings.
I could tell they were nervous.... like really nervous.
"Soooo you find Mum a bit embarrassing do you?" I ask all squinty eyed into the rear vision mirror.
"YES" shouts the small one before copping an elbow from his older brother and a hissing "Shut up or she'll get worse"
"So I embarrass you THAT much huh? hmmmm well how bout I'll make you a deal. I won't rock up to kiss and drop in my PJs and get out of the car and dance and sing to radio as I kiss you Goodbye and wipe your face with some spit and a tissue if you promise to pick up the dog poop and empty the dishwasher every morning for a whole year"
"DONE" they chorused without hesitation.
And THAT folks is how it is done. Parenting at it's finest I tell you.
Sometimes I am in awe of myself.
Have you ever ridiculously embarrassed your kids? Oh please do tell!