Decide to leave the TV on permanently in the hope the girls will become immune to it and treat it more as background noise rather than something to watch from dawn till dusk.
After two days this appears to have backfired. Rhubarb and Special have binge watched all 7893 levels of Netflix and even managed to unlock the secret bonus level after killing the big boss in the series finale of The Sopranos.
They now both resemble Gollum and have reverted to primate-like grunts and gestures, but they finally fall asleep. Carry them both to bed. Go back downstairs and grab the remote (thinking I will hide it in my hotpants drawer) but see a trailer for a programme about Jane Goodall’s life observing chimps in Africa.
Click play. Make notes about the relationship between bananas and compliance. Order forty-five bunches of bananas from Asda. Also note that her son, Grub, had to play in a cage when he was a toddler to prevent the chimps from stealing him. They painted the cage blue and put toys in it. He seemed happy enough.
Google “cages for kids IKEA”.
An item called LINDRANDE pops up. The description says, “decoration, cage black”. I click for more details. It has four and a half stars, can hang from the ceiling and would go well with the rest of our lounge decor.
Wonder if it’s big enough for Rhubarb and Special. Click “product size”.
No. It seems only big enough for a baby vulture but not a six or nine year-old. Order one anyway, just in case. Whoever added the product description to the website might have used cm by mistake instead of m. And even if we can’t put Rhubarb and Special in it, maybe Buddy can be kept inside to stop him biting Babe.
Hear Rhubarb screaming and crying out for me. Rush upstairs.
“What is it poppet? Daddy’s here.”
“The Indominus Rex was chasing me. It was going to trap me with its claws and eat me.”
“The Indominus what?”
“Rex. It means king. Indominus Rex is the most dangerous dinosaur, but it’s not an original dinosaur. No. It’s a made up one. The baddie scientist with the black jumper, who escaped in the first film, made it in his laboratory from a T-Rex and veloceraptor. It can hide itself too with its camouflage so it’s prey can’t see it and it pounces out on them and kills them with its claws and teeth and eats them.”
“Right. I see. And there’s one in the house is there?”
“Yes, it was chasing me. Can you get it?”
“Yes. Absolutely. I’ll use my daddy magic and make it go away.”
“Magic isn’t real Daddy.”
“Only guns will kill it.”
“Do you have a gun?”
“Er… no. But Granddad probably has one. I’ll ask him.”
She hugs me.
“You’re the best daddy ever. I love you.”
“Thanks Rhubarb. I love you too.”
We snuggle. She falls back asleep.
Ask Babe how on earth we ended up allowing our six-year old to watch Jurassic World, a PG, without any PG.
“WE didn’t. YOU did!”
“OK. Let’s not split hairs. Let’s just figure out how to undo the psychological wounds and avoid being called by social services.”
Babe looks at me with her so-I-have-to-repair-the-damage-you-did-to-our-children-again eyes.
I smile and nod.
“I banned you from using domestic appliances with more than one button, not from thinking!”
“Fair point. Fancy a cuppa?”
Three minutes later Babe comes up with a genius way to thwart the worst effects of my poor parenting.
“You ask the girls to write and draw what they experienced as part of their creative writing lesson. It will exorcise and cleanse them of the prehistoric demons you unleashed upon their innocent souls.”
“Ok. Great idea. But do you have to say it with all the fire and brimstone and Catholic-levels of guilt?”
“Yes. That’s part of your lesson.”