Friday, May 04, 2007

RM April 13 - Need to know basis

A FUNDAMENTAL part or rule of my parenting has been ‘on a need to know basis’. What the Young Wan didn’t need to know she didn’t.

This has been very handy over the years particularly for the ‘are we there yet’ scenarios. If they don’t know they are going anywhere they won’t be asking now will they?

Some of my friend’s children are at that stage where they don’t fully understand time and this is where ‘need to know’ becomes very important.

If they know they are doing something fun at the weekend and it is only Monday, the wee dears will do the ‘is it Friday? when is it Friday’ about every five minutes.

Why put yourself through endless questions that have the same answer.

I used to do this for everything from weekends away, trips to the cinema, the time I got preview tickets for the first Harry Potter movie of which the Young Wan has been a massive fan.

So not only was my head not done in by endless questions of when, where and how, but the look of wow on her face when she realised what we were actually doing was something else.

You can also have a bit of fun with it. That night of the Harry Potter movie, she would have been 10 or 11 years old, I bet her as we were ‘ahem going into town, (not to a movie at all)’ that she wouldn’t wear her big witches hat.

I am sure she thought that strange but she did it. When we got to cinema I asked her to stand in one place while I checked times of the Harry Potter movie which was officially opening the following week.

She told me afterwards she was thinking ‘oh all these kids are going to see Harry Potter, why is my Mum torturing me like this’.

The excitement from her when she realised what was going on is something that still makes me smile.

I once even managed to pack a weekend bag, got the two of us onto the airport bus before I told her we were off to spend the weekend with my friends in England.

At one stage she liked Justin Timberlake and unknownst to her I got tickets for his Point Depot concert. That night we went to dinner with pals and despite one of them blurting it out by mistake, the blurt went unnoticed. Later on I asked herself ‘wouldn’t it be lovely to go for a walk?

She agreed and when I asked her where she thought would make a lovely walk, she answered ‘by the river’.

Perfect my cunning plan was working out even more according to plan.

So off we went in a taxi down to the Point Depot beside the river where we got out and she saw all the people.

Everyone with us all welled up when I pulled out the tickets, she was ecstatic.

I am telling you the need to know rule is massively important and even more so now she is a teenager.

I have had a few occasions when I have been working late and decide not to let her know. It is probably better than teenagers do not have time to prepare for the coveted ‘free gaff’ and why broadcast the fact to them.

While a little amount of organisation is involved, making sure her dinner is prepared or at the very least there is money for the chipper, I will let her think I am coming home as normal.

Only I am actually not in the office, I am not even in Dublin sometimes. But as long as the Young Wan thinks I am just about to walk in the door, fantastic.

I’m telling you, its on a need to know basis.


Deborah said...

Excellent policy! Wish you'd posted a week ago before I told my toddler she was going to be three next week! ;-)

Boliath said...

Brilliant! I can imagine her face when she realised the HP thing and the Justin T thing too, you're a fantastic Mum you know. I hope I can surprise and delight my childer like that just once.

Katherine said...

What is the story with all mothers' ability to devise crafty plans at the drop of a hat? Do they have classes in cunning while pregnant?

cc said...

Why didn't I think of this. The problem with me is that sometimes I'm so excited about impending outings myself that I can't help telling the wee fella, as to hold my water for the required length of time is unbearable! I shall have to change my ways!

Anonymous said...

the new harry potter book is out in the summer yay

Kav said...

Excellent advice. I get the feeling I'm going to be doing that a lot in the years to come.

RamblingMan said...

the secret's out ! she surely knows your trick now ?

Flirty Something said...

Wow that is so cool, can you adopt me please?

Emma in Canada said...

Great idea! I may have to steal that one.

Mairéad said...

Brilliant idea! Especially about the teenage years! We were talking about taking a mini break soon - and not telling ours (18 and 16 going on 25!!), just leaving a note saying: "Might be late tonight" or something! Better than the must have party they'd just have to have!

Midget Wrangler said...

really good advice, but I have a terrible disease, I am incapable of lying, not even lying by ommision by not saying anything but I just can't and my three year old can even tell when I'm lying so there is no hope for me. They really should do pre mothering courses like the ones you do before you get married I'd never have passed!

Red Mum said...

thanks everyone! Need to know seriously works.

As to giving my secrets away the trick is, at this stage anyway, to never let them know. Most evenings I am home but once in a while.... I'm not home when she thinks.

As silly as teenagers can be she isn't (I hope yet) silly enough to chance it.