Snigger. Arsenal. Bottoms.
As a parent, I have a number of weapons – wait – ‘weapons’ at my disposal in order to deal with my children when they’re unruly. (At this point I’d like to draw your attention to the inverted commas around the word ‘weapons’, just in case you thought I threaten or torture my children with actual weapons when they’re naughty. A good idea, but apparently it’s kind of illegal.)
I can threaten them with confiscation: taking away something they love. There’s the whole ‘counting to five’ thing, which makes my eldest son panic so much he jiggles on the spot whilst screaming louder and louder as I approach the magic number. And no, I don’t do the whole ‘four and a half, four and three quarters’ thing. That’s just daft.
But the most important weapon in my parenting arsenal (snigger) is my Very Angry Voice. It has the power to stop my children in their tracks, wondering whether what they just heard was me telling them off or a freaking massive earthquake with fire and falling rocks. It is a voice which is capable of making extremities shrivel and wither, to make even the most hardened army veteran quake in his boots like a tiny girl. It makes startled birds flock into the sky for miles around. And some people have even known to find it a bit attractive, which is slightly odd.
So the next time you open a newspaper and read about a natural disaster in the furthest reaches of the earth, it’s probably because I’ve unleashed The Voice and the tremors have reverberated around the globe. And I apologise in advance for any damage it causes.