You see it all began a couple of months back when my son developed an obsession with washing machines, having watched his daddy and I load, unload and tumble-dry the laundry far too many times without including him in the rigmarole of it all. He began longing to join in with helping with the washing duties (because it's the most fun activity on the planet don't you know?!), so much so that he was sorting the dirty clothes from the basket into colours and was even loading them into the machine, all ready to press the button and let the exciting process of getting them all 'clean and fresh', as he puts it, begin. We began to get quite concerned at just how helpful he was being (he was having tantrums when there was no more dirty clothes to wash!) and decided to get him his own toy washing machine, this, however, has not been a replacement for the real deal.
His newest 'thing' is watching toy washing machine videos on YouTube, but honest to God, I don't know what's worse, the fact that my son loves watching them or the fact that people have actually spent valuable time out of their lives making these videos, they are awful! Today I had well and truly had enough of washing machines so I desperately racked the 'children's TV programmes' part of my brain to try and find a suitable alternative, or in fact ANY alternative to these washing machine videos... nothing was working, none of his usual favourite Balamory (or stupid bloody Balamory as he's now calling it, for shame!) or Me Too! episodes, the childhood and parent annoyance titan that is Peppa Pig couldn't even win him around, I thought and thought and finally it came to me - what sugary, overly happy, irritating character could little ones love more than Barney, so I bit the bullet and put that big, slightly creepy purple dinosaur on for him... it worked, for a while at least. This is what has become of me... I feel rather ashamed that it has come to this. I never thought that I would let that nasally voiced, overly happy, 'everything is a bed of roses' persona into my life again, he irritated me as a child, you can't imagine how much of an annoyance he is to me now.
It seems the older my son gets, the more the stench of that ugly parent desperation seeps into my life. I've gone from running around the house trying find something, anything to wash to stop him losing his complete and utter shizz because the laundry is done (surely we should be proud of the fact that we reach the end of the laundry basket on such a regular basis!), to offering him the sun, moon and stars to leave the soft play or playground. He's cottoned onto me though, the old reliables of "I'll get you ice-cream" or "we'll go see Nana" no longer work, he knows I'm bluffing - so what do I do now?
So what is it that turns a rational, well put together and health conscious parent into one who will desperately and willingly do anything to get their child to co-operate? A quiet life that's what! That's all us parents really want. It's the reason I buy toy washing machines, cut up old clothes into pieces of fabric so that my boy can 'do his washing', listen to crappy washing machine videos on YouTube (and lose a piece of my mind slowly and surely with each one), resort to the demands of my little one for the sugary snacks at times (I wish he'd stop stealing my Haribo fried eggs and hearts!) and makes me have to rely on a old frenemy such as Barney for backup... this is the desperation of parenthood, please have pity... and send wine (to be consumed after baby number two makes his or her appearance!).