Ollie gets an unexpected lesson in parenting

What makes one person laugh may not turn out to be quite so funny when someone else sees it, as Ollie discovered to his cost when, idly browsing through social media on his phone when he ought to have been ironing, he shared something ‘funny’ with his wife Lizzie…

When he’d stopped laughing, Ollie wiped the tears from his eyes and said: “That’s it. I’m going out for a big roll of very strong adhesive tape first thing in the morning.”

Lizzie looked up from the ironing, (which she was doing in spite of it being Ollie’s turn. He’d conveniently had to work late and had therefore also missed their children’s bath time). “Why?” she asked. “There’s a roll in the kitchen drawer.”

Ollie turned his phone towards her, revealing the picture on this blog. “Not this good,” he said.

Later, when he’d had time to reflect, Ollie made a mental note that if he’d been doing the ironing, Lizzie’s temper wouldn’t have been quite so short, but that hadn’t occurred to him when he showed her the picture. However, having overlooked that, he had to suffer the consequences.

“What an awful picture! You wouldn’t do that to our children, would you? I bet you would; you said you were going out for a roll of tape!”

“No, I…”

“It’s not even close to being funny. That’s mental cruelty, right there, and an awful example to set!”

“Yes, but…”

“Don’t you ‘but’ me; I hope no-one would ever really think of doing that to children enjoying life and having fun. Your dad says you were a real handful when you were little, and I bet he never taped you to the wall, did he?”

“No, but…”

“Then why would you do that to our children? If I ever came home and found you’d done that I’d… I’d….” Unable to think of a severe enough punishment, she threw a newly-ironed shirt at his head.

Freeing himself from the folds of material, Ollie looked at the picture again. “No, I wouldn’t do that. But you have to admit that it is just a little bit funny, surely?” Catching her eye, he went on: “Well, no, actually; I see what you mean. It’s not really funny at all. It’s even cruel. I can’t see why anyone would think it was in the least bit funny. Even if it is Photoshopped. Do you think it’s Photoshopped? Can you even get tape that strong? Can I pour you a glass of wine?”

“I’d love a glass of wine, and you can pour me one when you’ve finished this ironing and put the clothes away. Actually, no, do it the other way around; pour the wine, and then do the ironing.”

Ollie sprang to his feet. “I’ll get the glasses.’

Lizzie pounced again: “No. Just one glass. Red. You don’t need one until you’ve done the ironing. I’ve done more than half, so I should be ready for another glass by the time you’re ready for your first. That seems fair to me when I’ve done half of the ironing. On your turn. What do you say?”

Saying anything would have been futile, and Ollie had been married to Lizzie for long enough, he thought, to know that. Then he reflected that, given the last few minutes, it was a lesson he had still to learn…

Picture: Stephen Denness | Dreamstime