Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Broken Stuff

It costs British parents £1.8 billion every year to repair the damage their kids create.

That’s right BILLION. Not million. That’s one point eight thousand million.

It’s nearly as much money as the British government spent on International Development in 2001. All that money just due to kids breaking stuff, drawing on stuff and stuffing stuff in other stuff.

And yet it only works out as £85 per household per year. Now that seems like a great bargain. I’ve just tried to work out how much my kids have cost me over the course of their lives in damage related accidents and it is way more than what it should be if we were average (£340).

New carpet due to pot of green paint poured over
Sofa recovering due to pen marks
2 new car stereos due to things being shoved in tape deck and more than one CD thrust into player that only takes one at a time.
New mobile after being dropped in coffee cup.
Countless t-shirts, and jackets that have been thrown up on.
New mattress on bed after springs shot due to excessive trampolining.

And this list is just the tip of an enormous, stained and trashed iceberg. What about the books that get torn up – my books mind not theirs, the games that get smashed or lost, the DVDs that get scratched beyond merely being able to wipe it with the bottom of your t-shirt to make it work, the gardens that have to be relawned or flowerbeds that need completely replanting or how about the money spent on counselling to save broken relationships.

If I counted it all up I’m sure that the final bill would be close to about three grand. Or at least it would if I had actually repaired any of the damage caused, which of course I haven’t. I just live in a stained, bashed up house with a beaten up garden that I stand in and admire in horrible, tattered rags covered in sick and wee.

I would have taken a picture of this scene of family bliss for you but my son has broken my camera.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Lies Damn Lies

I think this might be a generational difference but I don't think I lie to my son as much as my parents lied to me. I don't mean devastating, family secret, your-mother-is-really-your-sister type lies. No, I mean the little ones, the white ones, the "if you eat an apple pip an apple tree will grow in your tummy" ones.

In fact, I think I have only ever used two LWL (little white lies) on him.

1. Father Christmas only comes to good little boys and girls.


2. Monsters are scared of the half empty beaker of milk on his bedside table (this, in my defense was an on-the-spot LWL after he had woken up in a cold sweat screaming about monsters being in his room. It did the trick, by the way.)

I can remember a whole host of LWL dished out by my parents including "picking your nose will make your face cave in", "if the wind changes your face will stay like that", "if you swallow an insect they'll lay eggs in your bottom" (actually that might have been my sister that told me that), and "too much telly would give me square eyes", to name but a few.

I was witness to a friend of my dad's telling his 4 year old daughter that if she didn't eat all her greens that he would phone up the tramp they'd seen the day before and get him to take her away. He did this over a family Sunday lunch and I can't begin to tell you how deathly the silence was at the table after that particular ultimatum.

My friend Stephen tells a story that he used to bring stray dogs home when he was a kid, his mum always smiled when he did and told him that sadly they couldn't keep the dog but she'd take it to a farm where it would be looked after. He subsequently discovered that she took them to the vets to be put down. He has been in therapy ever since.