Tuesday, 13 August 2013
The fox, chicken, and a bag of corn puzzle
You know the fox, chicken, and corn puzzle right?
The one where you have a fox, a chicken, a bag of corn, and a boat. You can only fit two things in your boat at once and you have to get all items across a river without leaving the fox with the chicken, or the chicken with the corn?
For me, THIS is our life as parents at the moment.
We have one fox. She's nine years old, ginger, and cunning. She is a smart-arse and wants to be top dog all the time. It's tiring.
We also have a five-year old chicken. She is very cute and girly. She loves shoes and bags and can strop like a teenager with the best of 'em. You cannot leave her alone for long with the fox. The fox starts tormenting the chicken and the chicken fights back. Usually the fox wins but not without an injury or two. The fights usually end in tears from the fox or the chicken. But usually the chicken.
Then we have a bag of corn. Actually we have two bags of corn. The bags of corn have just turned two-and-a-half and are pushing their little corny boundaries as much as possible. The bags of corn don't take kindly to the chicken pecking at them. Or pulling them around, or telling them what to do. They get cross and fling their arms around like a windmill. The chicken might not come off so badly if the bags of corn didn't work together. They are very good at working together when there is damage to be done.
I have told the chicken to leave the corn alone. Our bags of corn are particularly strong - both in physique and will. They will not be pecked by the chicken. The chicken is drawn to the bags of corn like a moth to a flame and it always ends in a metaphorical burning.
So the chicken tries playing with the fox instead, which considering the chicken is supposedly exceptionally bright, is not the wisest move.
As parents, we have spent a disproportionate amount of time keeping the fox away from the chicken, and the chicken away from the corn.
We find ourselves splitting them all up so that I have the chicken come and help me on a shopping trip or similar errand, the The Dad has the fox and the bags of corn at home.
The fox and bags of corn can play together nicely. The fox helps the bags of corn to develop role-play and has enough sense not to knock the corn about so they split and spill their little contents all over the living-room carpet. The fox has little incentive to eat the corn.
It is driving us nuts. On the days when The Dad is working and I have to do this single handed, I spend a lot of time feeling like an overworked oarsman.
Parenting. It's a barrel of laughs isn't it?