I’d like to send a public “shout out” to HGTV and their Canadian twin phenoms, the Property Brothers, with an honorable mention to “Love It or List It.” Why? Well, in addition to being enjoyable and somewhat inspiring television, these programs have been weaponized in my home.
I do hate yelling at my kids. I’m not a yeller by nature. We also don’t really employ corporal punishment in our home. Sure, there have been one or two swats for each kid when they were too young to really understand language well and needed to understand that STOVES ARE HOT and YOU CANNOT KICK GLASS/BANG WOODEN TOYS INTO WINDOWS, but those were major exceptions. Time out threats often don’t have enough gravitas to get their attention.
I guess what it boils down to is this: I’m a shitty disciplinarian. I admit it. I’ve read the books and online experts, but I have to say at the end of it all I’m not sure they’re referring to human children. Sometimes “quiet, firm, gentle voices” will not be heard over the hellish cacophony that human children are capable of producing. Yelling, banging on something, or some other threat are the only things capable of redirecting whatever nonsense is going on.
That’s where the Property Brothers come in. The kids usually choose – with supervision, of course- what’s on TV while we prepare for dinner or hang out in the mornings. Let’s say for this discussion, it’s evening and they have selected Team Umizoomi. While I’m stuck in the kitchen within eye- and ear-shot of our only television which is playing Umizoomi, my kids are in the back of the house screaming and jumping on the bed.
I ask them nicely (at first) and firmly to stop and come out and watch the very show that they selected. They may briefly run a lap around the couch, but inevitably return to my bedroom to do godknowswhat. This is while I’m at the opposite end of the house trying to prepare food. It’s not a good system. This is when I wish they made baby gates that were 5’ tall. I could corral the little jerks in the front of the house with me so I could see whatever mischief was going down.
After several rounds of this, I finally bring out the biggest threat I currently own: “I WILL TURN ON A BORING GROWN UP SHOW IF YOU DON’T STOP JUMPING ON MY BED AND COME OUT HERE.” Stella will usually run screaming “Not a boring grown up show” before forgetting about the threat 2 minutes later. My final – and ultimate – touch is to yell “That’s it! I’m turning on the Property Brothers!” Howling ensues.
Usually, just the threat of the beloved Scotts are enough to get my kids to sit the hell down and chill for 10 minutes so I can finish their meal prep. But sometimes, I actually turn it on. I have to admit, I get a sick pleasure from it.
My current leading fantasy is to have the PBs show up at my door, just to spook my daughter. Maybe a cardboard cutout?