switching roles

Following the common practice of casual Fridays, I’d like to propose the “switch the role” weekends to people across the globe.
It’ll be fun.
In some parts – scary.
Imagine a rapist switching roles with the raped…I think he’ll be tortured for a very long time first.
Then killed. Killed slowly.
Ok, imagine case scenarios of switching roles of parents with children, politicians with prisoners, lawyers with chess players; accountants with psychiatrists; painters with literature teachers…

Trade places for 48 hours.
Once a week.
Wonderful things may occur – you just never know.
We can’t understand what other people do and why they act the way they do unless we’re in their shoes, being who they are, doing what they do. But how would it be if we traded places? How would we apply our own knowledge or ignorance in the different role in order avoid disruption?
Ok, we don’t need to introduce switch Fridays to our offices yet, but switch weekends – we could – in our homes. Say, switch parent roles with children’s.
Just like casual Fridays – to see people wear different pants (in my case figuratively speaking since I wont fit in any of my kids’ pants).

If your kids are teenagers, you’ll be likely to get grounded every weekend while they will simply disappear and return on Mondays.
With kids who are under, or around five, would be just as interesting, just as dangerous as if they were teenagers, but instead of having a knocked-up teenage daughter by Sunday, you’re likely to get a toddler arsonist and a house on fire.

I can just about imagine a scenario.
The weekend is on, the roles – switched.
I’m no longer the mother.
My husband is no longer the father.
Kids rule.
A 4-year-old, a 2-year-old and a 3-month-old.
Our cat?
It’s still a cat – ignored, a street away from being stray.
The kids decide on his destiny over the weekend.
He’s likely to be fed chocolate, that’s for sure.

7.00AM

My son arrives with a big bang to wake us up. The big bang comes from the metal ladle he is banging against a metal pot.
“Breakfast tiiime!” He screams, the scream is followed by more metal banging.
Son, daughter and baby (nowhere to be seen, or heard so far) have prepared breakfast for their parents. Wow! I’m encouraged.
“Something must be working with my nagging and regime”, I muse.

“Dress up, first!” My daughter has prepared clothes for us.
“Daddy, this is your cloak”, she hands him a baby blanket and a rope. “Mama, this is yours”, she gives me one of my formal shirts and a tiger head from the tiger costume of my son’s recent carnival play. I put on the combination and remain with my pyjama bottom. My head begins to itch uncontrollably from the tiger head. Its material feels like one million underfed lice attacking my skull.

Breakfast
Parsnip, vinegar and milk?!?!?!
“You need to eat healthily!” My son orders and brings us wooden spoons.
“Why not cereal?” I complain and sound very much like my 2-year-old daughter-turned-mother.
“Eat”, my daughter-turned-mother orders.
“Why vinegar?” My husband dares to ask.
“For taste.” Our son replies. Logical.
“The parsnips aren’t even washed!” My husband shoulders me to quieten in case we get a punishment. He knows punishments will be the first thing to come and bite him in the arse now that the roles are reversed.
So we decide to gnaw quietly on the dirty vinegary parsnip and swallow the combination with sour milk.
I don’t want to know what that will do to my stomach.
Moving on.

Playtime!
Oh, my husband and I dread playtime.
What that will be like!
And we don’t even make the rules!

We end up tied in the basement. The pirates have kidnapped us, my son narrates. My husband plays the lost princess wearing Mrs. Potato-head’s crown on his head. My daughter has also applied make-up all over his face and head.
I am the bald accountant of the kidnapped ship because my kids have managed to half-shave my head. The unshaved part is covered in green plasticine, my blood apparently.

Meanwhile, a bonfire is set in the middle of the kitchen, or that’s probably the couch on fire, for my son to exercise his Fireman Sam skills. Our 3-month-old somehow manages to crawl all the way to my jewellery box and is making his way to the toilet to throw what he’s caught at the order of his sister. The just flashed jewellery seems to be unsatisfactory, so our daughter starts pushing his head down the toilet, because…she’s curious where those things go…

Meanwhile, my husband decides to take some action. He has found a chipped nail on one of his fingers. His chipped nail is, in fact, so sharp that it cuts through the nylon tights with which we’ve been tied up and releases his hands and then mine.
We’re free.

On our way out of the basement we stumble upon my handbag onto which our cat is harnessed, in full reindeer costume, ready to take Santa and spread joy to the world.

We finally manage to get out of the basement. By that time Peter Pan, our son, and his accomplice – Wendy – have turned the dining room curtains into ship ropes and are swinging and swaying from one end of the room to the other destroying everything their legs can reach along the way.

Lunch time
It’s almost lunch time. Only!!!
Our daughter decides it’s time to prepare lunch. By that time the TV is running on yet another cartoon – Toy Story. The episode with all the toys ending in the big trash.
I don’t have a good feeling about this.
Lunch is served by our very hospitable matron – our parent for the weekend.
Lunch is parsnips and vinegar. Again?
More vinegar is served in Mickey Mouse cups.
My husband and I are too weak to speak.
Our kids settle themselves in front of TV, on the floor (now that the couch is burned to ash) with their lunch: a tray full of chocolate, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate milk and chocolate sprinklers all over the place. No idea where all that chocolate came from.

“Nap time!” My son orders as soon as I gulp the last lump of parsnip.
Shit, I freak out at the thought.
Unattended house for another couple of hours?
What are they going to do next?
Barbecue the cat on the bonfire?
Ah, they’ll survive, I argue the case – I need the nap. I’M TIRED!

There is a good side to switching the parents-children roles.
And it’s not just for the fact that you might be granted some nap time in peace, albeit with the prospect of your carpets catching fire.

I guess we, as parents, could tone down on the discipline every now and again. Let our hair loose (the unshaven part, at least) and let kids dictate for a change.

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