I wasn’t much of a rebel.
I was a passive child. As long as I was fed, I was happy. I smiled a lot. It wasn’t until my teens that I wanted to grow my hair funny and reject authority, so I never imagined that my son could start to rebel at two. Indeed, even my one year old daughter is showing signs, throwing food and toys around, wriggling out of my grasp and clonking her brother on the head. I blame my wife. She has distinctly defiant DNA.
My son, being a classic dissident agitator, basically doesn’t want to do anything I want him to do. If I want to change his nappy, he runs away. Bed time, he runs away. Dinner time, not fish fingers, he runs away. If the TV’s off, he wants it on. If I put it on, he wants a different programme. And on and on. His resistance is constant. Childhood rebellion is a powerful force. If only there was a way we could cleverly harness that force.
It’s taken amazing commitment and dedication, but I have done just that. And the most amazing thing about it is that I wasn’t even entirely aware of what I was doing. Cleverly, I have not been hoovering very regularly. I have ignored dust and cobwebs. I have been leaving the house untidy at every opportunity. As a result of my tireless not-working my son has gradually begun to rebel against all the mess.
Finally, my triumph came the other day. “Oh God, Daddy.” He said, stopping in his tracks. As you can imagine, this got my attention. He stooped down and picked up some floor food of indeterminate vintage. I think it was a piece of red pepper, but it was hard to know. He held it up, disgusted. “We need to get the hoover out, Daddy.” He said.
Once I had absorbed his request and regained my composure, I did as I was told and got the hoover out. Astonishingly, he began hoovering. Not very well, but it’s early days.
I am, it turns out, without realising it, a genius.