The Brutal and the Pacifist: Two Pieces in the Same Puzzle

As a parent, you are faced way more than you would have liked with a difficult challenge. This is also not something that anyone really prepares you for, despite the unimaginable abundance of books, websites, blogs, etc. about parenting. What do you do when at least one of your kids is sick? This will happen almost every other week. And I don’t mean this as in what do you do with the sick kid himself, but what do you do with the other one, what do you do with your spouse or just by yourself? You can’t go anywhere, you will be interrupted to take care of the little one, depending on their age, you might have to do a lot of convincing to get them to accept that they are sick and need to rest.

If, like me, you have more than one kid, the sicknesses will more likely overlap, but not perfectly. You will have a sick child and a not so sick child for most of the times. In practical terms, this means that you can’t send them to bed both at the same time and breathe and do something for yourself. No. As soon as one is bed, the other one will demand something; or just need something and you will have to help them. This happens for most of the day, and then there’s a few hours when you have two whiny kids on your hands and you have to do your best to make both of them feel better, or at least not as bad as they could be.

So what do you do with the few minutes you have to yourselves just between you adults? There’s two things that we did this week-end, two very different things that, at first glance, may not work well together for the same person. But they do in our case. The first one is one of the few things my husband and I learned to like while we were still living in London: rugby. We didn’t play it, obviously, we just watched a match from the Six Nations Championship. I am always amazed at how civil those giants are. They can look scary, quite frankly. They are big, strong, they can take a punch, they’re not afraid to dive in to tackle you. Yet their behaviour on the field is so much more civilised than with many other sports. Think soccer: how many curse words per non-playing minute would you hear if you could hear everything the players are saying? How many times have you seen players pushing each other when things don’t go as they wish? I hardly ever watch soccer, it doesn’t inspire me at all, but when I do, I really don’t like what I see for this very reason. Not to mention all the prima donnas who pretend to fall in agony at the touch of a feather so they can get a free kick. Disgusting. I prefer the roughness of rugby because it is honest. It is brutal and I don’t enjoy seeing the players get hurt, as they sometimes do. But I really like seeing how they contain this roughness to the game, governed by rules, and not let it explode once the whistle has been blown.

Or maybe this is just how I like to see it.

Now the second thing we did is much more pacifist and something that gives me great satisfaction, because I love a good puzzle. My husband has recently given me an escape room board game, that we haven’t managed to touch until now. Well, we did actually touch it last week, but we didn’t have batteries on hand. So last night we gave it an honest try, only disrupted a couple of times by Kid 1 coming out of bed for various reasons (he’s in the rather annoying not-so-sick, not-healthy-yet phase).

I’m not usually one to enjoy challenges given by other people. “Let me see how good you are” are usually rather inhibiting words for me to hear. But a puzzle doesn’t really tell you that, does it? And it won’t really know whether you have solved it either. So I can put my little grey cells in motion in peace. And it does bring them peace. If only it could last longer…

And what about this week’s treat? With nobody’s birthday to celebrate or other impediment, I did manage to make something for us: pear pie. Both of my kids have discovered, in one case, and rediscovered, in the other, their love of pears, so there’s an abundance of pears in the house. And with a new supply coming in every week, I thought it would be a great idea to give the older ones a new life as pie (so many a propos there!).

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