How to fix a Bad Day

There’s no dodging the issue. It’s been a horrible week.

Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, it’s fine. Nobody died, and we all made it to Friday with bodies and minds (more or less) intact.

But it’s been a long time since I’ve had a week of dealing with so many people who have seemed so determined to find reasons to be unhappy. And unhappy with me, to boot. Which is unfortunate.

Apologies have been made, of course, and amends, where possible. I’m not a big believer in rows and spats. I managed to get divorced without ever having a row, so I’d hate to find myself arguing about something so daft as the Internet.

As I remarked to a friend on the phone last night, there’s rarely a good reason to have unpleasant confrontations – especially when it’s so much more fun being embraced by the warm, cosy sensation of moral superiority that only comes with taking the high ground.

Anyway…this week I had one of those *cough* awesome parenting moments that happen so frequently in our house, where I poured out my problems to Flea, who patted my head and said, “Oh Mummy, this will pass.” 

And she was right.

Because yesterday I got a grip, and remembered our family motto – It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.

And so we brushed off the grumps after school by playing some of our very favourite games:

I Can Only Hear You When You’re Singing: The name of this game, like most of our games, is self-explanatory. All conversations must happen through the medium of singing, with bonus points for on-the-cuff rhymes. Flea came up with a corker today after I offered to cut down our food bills by buying her food at the pet shop: “There’s a box of hay up there on the shelf, if you think it’s so great, why not eat it yourself?”  Fair enough, it’s not intellectual, but pretty quick thinking for a seven year old. The game rapidly went downhill from there, to be honest.

No, I’m an Italian: This game involves talking in a random Italian accent and liberally sprinkling the conversation with the only five bits of Italian we know – bella bambina, ciao, grazie, si, and pizzeria. The winner is the person who can keep it up longest without breaking character. Listening to Flea shout out of the shower, “Ay, mamma-mia, passa me the ‘air conditioner, si?” quite made my evening.

We Invented a Transmogrifier: Fans of Calvin and Hobbes will be familiar with the transmogrifier, a cardboard box that turns you into anything else you can think of. Ours turned Flea into a cat that crawled around on all fours and wanted to be Noddy. After 20 minutes of trying to work out how a cat could be Noddy, it turned out Flea was still playing “No, I’m an Italian” and her cat wanted to be NAUGHTY. Oh, I laughed until I wept.

Run into my Hand: Nothing, but nothing is more fun than this game, which Flea adores (honest). It involves me holding out my hand and telling Flea since I can’t be bothered to beat her, could she just run into my hand, really fast. For additional comedy value, you should occasionally move your hand out of the way at the last possible moment. If another adult is present, you can tweak this game to play “Close your eyes and guess who hit you” which is another Whittle family favourite. For new readers, OBVIOUSLY this is a game, and you’ve no need to report me to the authorities. Promise.

Reading Calvin & Hobbes: I’ve loved Calvin & Hobbes since I was a kid, and read the cartoon books all through my student years. I recently found a whole stash of C&H books in the spare room, and Flea and I are reading them together. We both agree that the strip where Calvin is playing “tyrannosaurs in F14s” is one of the funniest things EVER. You can’t be in a grump while you’re snuggled in bed with your favourite person, sharing a Calvin & Hobbes comic book. Fact.

So there you have it – how to fix a bad day.


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