(Started on 19 September 2017)
“It happened again! I really love him. This Friday night ritual with my son is something I look forward to each week. But…”
“But what?” Mary chimed in. She wanted her to speed up the story so that she could share hers.
Alison continued, “But Marcus spends so much time outside playing with the fire after we have cooked the meat. Sometimes he can go on for an hour longer. And all I want to do is lock up the house, sit in bed with my book, and eventually fall asleep knowing Marcus is sleeping soundly in the next room.”
Mary and Sophie nodded. They understood.
“I’m only 37 but I feel so old. And he’s only 11; full of life and wonder. But how do I stop his obsession with the fire?”
The room they sat in was dimly lit, compliant to the grey clouds outside. It was a Saturday afternoon. The three of them met once a month. It started out with the same intention as all other book clubs. They started with all of them buying the latest of Karen Kingsbury. They had probably discussed half of the first chapter. And since that first day these visits became a “you have a shoulder to lean on” sessions. Much needed therapy for these ladies. Accompanied with home baked cookies and some tea. They had managed to stick to the cooking baking roster quite religiously. However their books stayed tightly shut.
Mary jumped in with her dilemma. “I have a similar situation with the kids on Sunday. After lunch, Jim and I want to go for our afternoon nap, but Jason and Jessica always want to jump in the pool. And once they start they can stay in there for hours. Then next thing we know, it’s already 5pm and they day is drawing to a close.”
“Ladies, these are serious concerns. We need to do something about them!” Sophie continued, “My son has a fascination with picking up little creatures. Especially frogs; and I’m so terrified that he gets bitten by something more dangerous one day.”
Sophie and her hubby built the pond in their garden when they first bought their home. They liked the therapy of watching their goldfish and koi. It was a great idea before kids. Now that George was at his curious age – he’d often put his hand in the pond and pick up the frogs. Soon he may just attempt going for the goldfish too. And then little Rebecca may follow suit.
These ladies each had dilemma. What could they do? They each stirred their tea in sync as the silence hovered about their racing minds.
Being a wife was difficult at times. And being a mother was no easy feat either. There had to be rules and ways that could make things easier…
“How do you two feel about white lies?” Mary teased. Sophie and Alison frowned in her direction.
“What do you mean? What are you suggesting?” Alison asked cautiously.
“A white lie isn’t harmful at all…” Mary, “…in fact, they can even help people. I believe.”
“How is that?” Sophie leaned in.
“What if we told our kids an untrue story that would make them not do what we don’t like them doing?”
“Like what, though?” Sophie blurted out loud. She was already trying to think of a “story” to tell her curious George.
“Well, what if you told George if he touched any frogs he would get warts on his hand?” Mary suggested.
Alison and Sophie smiled and nodded together.
“What a brilliant idea!” Alison exclaimed. “Now that we have one child sorted… what about the other two?”
“We need another cup of tea.” Sophie said. She went to go make another round.
Three streets down from where they were, little George was oblivious as he reached his hand into the pond and grabbed the unsuspecting frog. “Look, what I got…” and showed the frog to his sister. She giggled with excitement.
Those petrified frogs would soon be safe.
Sophie came in with the tray of cups and another tale to tell the kids.
“Why don’t we tell Marcus, if he plays with fire for too long, he will wet his bed?”
Alison and Mary burst into laughter. “Yes! Yes, that’s an excellent idea. And believable too.”
“Two kids sorted. We need one other idea…”
“Mary, how about this; for your kids…” Sophie was on a roll with her ideas, “Tell them, if they swim, right after eating, they will drown? It’s bad to swim on a full stomach.”
Again, another brilliant idea!
The next weeks four weeks went by, in bliss. The ladies came back to their usual chit chat session rejuvenated. There was a glimmer in their eyes and a swagger in their walk.
Marcus had stopped playing with the fire. He was mortified that he may wet his bed.
On Sundays, after lunch, Jason and Jessica would diligently go nap too. The house was so dreamy.
And curious George lost his curiosity… He did not want any warts on his hands.
“Wives 1 – Kids 0.” exclaimed Sophie.
“Cheers!” And the three ladies raised their wine glasses. Their gathering had evolved. From tea to wine and to their children convinced by a new truth…
And that my friends, is how the old wives tales began…