Some people around our house were causing trouble on Sunday.
Some people were tormenting and harassing and annoying and bothering all the peeps. Like AAAALLLL the peeps. It was sort of frustrating.
I talked to them about it, but their rebellious, sneaky side won over their "I want to do what Mom asks" side. Hrmph.
So, after multiple, multiple infractions and then multiple requests to stop and several pleading soliloquies asking for peace and even a Scotch blessing or two you would think said trouble makers would reluctantly adjust their behavior and humble look for a new profession.
It was not to be.
Sadly, the mother of these tyrants does not have infinite patience.
Fact! (Possibly understatement of the year.)
Something had to be done.
And suddenly I remembered my favorite book from childhood, "The Phantom Tollbooth." This little gem of children's literature offers several fabulous characters but the one I was thinking of was a demon who gave the champions of the story trifling (and ridiculously time consuming) tasks convincing the heroes that these tasks were of great importance the point being that if they were wasting time on these trivial jobs they wouldn't have time to complete their real mission.
And ta da!!
If my kidlets are busy completing a similar task then they won't have time to fight and distress and plague their siblings.
And so, I gave each offender a small bowl of uncooked rice and assigned them to count the grains.
"There will be no need to talk," (I added some Harry Potter for good measure).
After about thirty minutes, I came in to the kitchen to check on my littles and found them deeply engrossed in their worthless work. We had a little chat about the "fun" of counting rice and how such an activity might be avoided in the future(what? there was a way out of this?). To a chorus of promises of reform and good behavior I released my detainees to the world and (surprise surprise) the level of din in the house stayed at an acceptable measure which involved little to no angry screaming for the rest of the day.
Thanks book friends! Here's a bit of proof that reading really is of great worth.