Let’s talk about what it means when Daddy is away. You’re a solo-parent, the decision maker, the stability, the good cop/bad cop to every argument, and often told ‘but Daddy would let me’ (no Miss Sassy, Daddy would not let you wear just your underwear and crocs to school). With that in mind there is a need to keep life as normal as possible for the Kids. If you speak to Wee Man he will tell you that Daddy is ‘at work’ and has looked after elephants in Africa, spiders in the jungle and camels in the desert, apparently I am married to David Attenborough! For Miss Sassy it is a bit harder as she has a better concept of time, so we have to do something to keep her going until Daddy returns.
So, when Braai Boy goes away we have a jar, a jar which we fill with Smarties, one for everyday he is away. The idea is that the Kids have one Daddy Sweetie everyday, and when the Daddy Sweeties are finished Daddy will be home. Every time Daddy goes we have a ritual, Smarties are emptied on to the table, Daddy counts them and the Kids place them in the jar, or in their mouths much to Braai Boys annoyance as he carefully counted out each Smartie. The Daddy Sweetie jar is brilliant because I can chuck more Smarties in if he is delayed returning. Yes, I can see the knowing smile on many Deployment Divas faces – Return dates changed? Flights delayed? surely not!
Daddy Sweeties – Bribery/incentive/bad parenting (*delete as appropriate). I prefer to see it as Kid Management. How to get the Kids out of the house in the morning? No Daddy Sweetie until they are fed, clothed and at the front door (if we’re running late shoes are optional). Refusal to eat anything green? Oh dear me, that’s one less Daddy Sweetie. Won’t go to bed? Oh well, that’s no Daddy Sweetie tomorrow. Kids rolling round on the floor screaming, hissing, spitting trying to inflict maximum pain on one another? No Daddy Sweetie at all today, or perhaps the rest of the week!
It is a means to an end. They see how close it is to Daddy’s return, and I get some kind of leverage on days when I am on the edge. What’s not to like?