Do not pass go

We chat in the car on the way home from school.

The boys chant their respective repetitive phrases, one sotto voce, one at 50 decibels, but we're used to that kind of competitive perseveration.

“So tell me the best bit about today then, so far of course?”
“We had a visitor come and read us this book thing.”
“Innernet! Innernet! Innernet!”
“Batteries not included. Batteries not included. Batteries not included.”
“Oh really. Which book?”
“I dunno.”
“Innernet! Innernet! Innernet!”
“Batteries not included. Batteries not included. Batteries not included.”
“But you liked it?”
“Not really.”
“Then why was that the best bit of the day if you didn't like the story?”
“Innernet! Innernet! Innernet!”
“Batteries not included. Batteries not included. Batteries not included.”
“Coz it made math short.” Typical
“Do you have much in the way of homework tonight?”
“Yeah. Tonnes and I don't know how I'm gonna get it all done with these two.”
“Oh they'll quieten down a bit once we're home.”
“Innernet! Innernet! Innernet!”
“Batteries not included. Batteries not included. Batteries not included.”
“They're better!” she warns with a hint of menace. I watch her in the rear view mirror as she glares at each of them in turn, a loaded and meaningful stare, the eye ball to eye ball kind that only big sisters can do effectively.
“You're both gonna have to shut up right. D'you remember? Got it!” I notice that they both cover their mouths with their hands at the same time, as if some secret message has passed between them that I am not party to.
“Got it!” she repeats, just to be on the safe side. Muffled mutterings of 'no, no, no,' spittle out between their fingers.
“What's that dear?” I prompt, hoping that someone might just give me a little clue as to what is really going on.
“It's a new rule.”
“A new rule? What new rule?” Who is making up rules without my permission? I am the only rule maker and campaign manager around here.
“If you're too loud you go to jail.”
“Jail? That seems a bit draconian?” I'm amazed that the trigger word 'jail' hasn't set them both off into meltdown land.
“Well it works,” she pouts. I check in the mirror again. I'm not sure if fear is a good method of behaviour modification? Their eyes are like saucers.
“Even so, we need to ere on the side of truth.”
“It is true.”
“Who says it is true?”
“The new baby sitter.” Hmm. I did think that it was much quieter than usual when I returned from the dentist yesterday. My mouth was in no condition to have the usual de-brief session with an adult, as to the goings on during my hour and a half's absence. The peace does not appear to be quite so mysterious afterall.

 

 

I picture him in my minds eye, the new baby sitter, roped in at short notice. A jovial young man, quick to laugh with an effusive smile. I wonder if he realized that his sense of humour might be different from theirs? A literal mind can be a tantalizingly tortuous thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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