World War 3 kicked off in our house this week. Over a pair of rugby shorts. Or maybe two pairs of rugby shorts. Either way, it was stressful and depressing. It was so awful that I even considered not blogging about it. Must have been serious… I still felt like cr*p the next day, but I am over it now and feeling able to talk/ write/ maybe even laugh about it.
It all started on Sunday morning when I got the boys’ rugby kits out. I got the shorts out and looked at them for a second to work out whose was whose.
Exhibit A – smaller, more faded, Cotton Traders brand.
Exhibit B – larger, darker colour, Rhino brand.
If my memory served me correctly (and, as we know it isn’t 100% reliable) the Cotton Traders ones belonged to my younger son. This seemed logical, what with them being smaller and that. Also, I believe we bought my younger son’s shorts second hand and my eldest’s new. Again, this all fitted with the smaller shorts belonging to my younger son.
But then it started. A row between my boys. Mainly instigated by my younger son. My angel who has recently gone a bit downhill.
‘These are not my shorts! My shorts haven’t got pockets in!’
Pockets. I hadn’t even noticed the pockets.
So I explained to him that as they were smaller they must be his. And, anyway, I remembered that his were Cotton Traders.
‘But they’re not my shorts! My shorts haven’t got pockets in!’
I couldn’t sort them out, so I left them to it. And let the big guns deal with it. Daddy.
Daddy said if the shorts didn’t fit (allegedly they didn’t, but how they were too small for an 8 year old, but OK for a 10 year old I’m not sure), he would just need to put them on for now and we could get him some bigger ones later.
Daddy was satisfied he’d sorted it and left the boys to get dressed. Confident that it had all been resolved, he walked away.
My eldest got dressed. My younger son NEARLY got dressed. He wasn’t putting the shorts on. He wasn’t going to rugby. He was staying at home. He was getting louder and louder and more and more irrational. Time was ticking on and he was refusing to put the shorts on. Because they weren’t his shorts. Apparently.
I yelled at him to put his shorts on. He yelled back and didn’t put his shorts on. So I yelled even louder. I yelled and yelled until I’d completely lost the plot. But still he refused to put his shorts on.
Then something snapped inside my eldest and he started yelling at me. It’s the first rule of being a brother (or a sister) – you can say or do whatever you like to your siblings, but if anyone else (even your parents) dares do anything, you are going to turn on them. No matter that the whole situation started off with an argument between the two boys.
Then Daddy was back on the scene, yelling at my younger son to put his shorts on. And eventually, five minutes before rugby was due to start, he caved in and put the shorts on. Not HIS shorts, you understand.
I have never seen my husband so angry. I have rarely been so angry myself and have rarely, if ever, seen my younger son so distressed. And all over a pair of shorts.
The situation hung over us all like a big dark cloud all day. My son lost his pocket money. He arrived at rugby and burst into tears. He was OK when he had the ball or when someone spoke to him, but the rest of the time he was detached and not himself. He was close to tears all day, so I ended up being extra kind to him because I felt so sorry for him. Then my daughter, the only person who hadn’t played a part in this drama, kept bursting into tears because she didn’t like it that her brother was getting more attention and cuddles than she was. By 7pm I was desperate for them all to go to bed.
Still obsessed about the situation, my husband resolved to solve it once and for all. Using photographic evidence. Very little that takes place in my family escapes photographic evidence. I was an obsessive photographer well before digital cameras came along.
A photo taken on the first day of this season revealed… My eldest in the Cotton Traders shorts, my younger son in the Rhino. No, that couldn’t be right. Further detective work was required. We went back to my younger son’s very first day of rugby. There was my younger son still wearing football shorts… and there was my eldest in the Rhino shorts. He couldn’t argue with that. Although he tried. Half-heartedly. He was tired of arguing. As we all were.
Everyone tells me it’s his age – 8 year old boys are always trouble. His brother was, but then he was challenging at all ages. And like my friend, mum to a 3 year old girl, said: ‘Don’t they say that about every age?’.
He didn’t get the new shorts. New shorts would have been giving in and rewarding bad behaviour. Somehow I think he WILL get the new shorts before rugby this week, because I don’t want another day like that again in a hurry.