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SocietyApril 10, 2020

A meeting of NZ’s children on how to ruin the lives of parents in lockdown


A tape recording in a brown paper bag recently landed in Emily Writes’ letterbox. After thoroughly disinfecting it she was shocked to discover what it contained.

This story was published on April 10, 2020

Today was a normal day, day 8,271 of the lockdown, and I saw there was a parcel in the letterbox. Knowing a trip to the letterbox would be the most exciting thing I did this week, I ran toward it with an excitement usually reserved for the oven dinging to let me know my macaroni cheese is ready.

I found a tape. A tape that would explain everything for parents suffering through this lockdown.

Below is a full transcript of the recording. For the purposes of sharing this information we will call the children on the tape the names the FBI is using to investigate them: The Grand Child, The Grand, Grand Child and Infant Terrible.

The Grand Child: I would like to thank all of you for making it to this meeting. I know it has been hard to get out of the house but it’s important we connect to ensure we stay on track.

We are two weeks into the lockdown at midnight tonight. I know you’re tired but we must continue. We must continue in our goal. Together we will achieve. All children – teenagers, tweens, primary school kids, toddlers, and babies. We are one.

*wild applause*

The Grand Child: First I would like to acknowledge some of the heroic stories we are seeing. [Infant Terrible], I’d like to invite you to the stage to share some of the achievements we’ve heard about from the membership.

Infant Terrible: It’s my honour to highlight some of the amazing work by the membership. I will try to get through this quickly, as I know we don’t have much time. I hope these will inspire you in your day-to-day lockdown efforts.

Ruby, 5, Gore: Ruby sang ‘Let It Go’ on a loop while her dad was trying to set up a printer at home – she kept this up for almost two hours. I believe her father had to walk around the block to calm down. Well done Ruby.

Kirra, 9, Queenstown: This is great. Kirra talked at her mum for a record 22 hours about Minecraft. Including, and this is masterful really, while she was showering and through the door as she was going to the toilet. A great example to us all.

John, 7, Levin: John has been doing really big dumps in the family toilet and just not flushing. His mother finds it inexplicable and is close to breakdown. Wonderful work John.

Daniel, 4, Dunedin: Daniel waited until his mum had changed his nappy before doing a tiny turd and then after she changed that did a bit more and then after she changed that did a little bit more. Real dedication to the cause there Daniel.

Selina, 7, Kapiti: Amazing initiative here from Selina. She waited until her dad’s presentation on a Zoom meeting to walk into the room and vomit directly onto his lap.

Jason and Jude, 8, Tauranga: These twins put on a two hour performance for their parents and insisted their parents could not leave until they were done. We are told it had songs from the Lion King and that their mother ended up drinking half a bottle of wine in eight minutes afterward.

We’re hearing these inspiring stories from all over the country. Kids who are insisting parents set up a craft project for them and then screaming for two hours because the glue stick isn’t the right one, teens who are absolutely refusing to say one word to their parents unless it’s through a slammed door, tweens who are forcing their parents to watch their TikToks. It’s just wonderful.

The Grand Child: I couldn’t be prouder. But honestly, we need to build on this because the parents aren’t breaking. We need more inane TikToks. We need more teenagers using all the hot water. We need more kids vomiting for no reason. We need more wake-ups at night. We absolutely need you to be interrupting every single work phone call and Zoom meeting your parents have. We need you to break the family iPad or computer STAT. We must never forget out aim: to break the parents.

I know this is hard. I know it seems impossible. But we can do it. We must never forget out aim. I’d like to invite our Grand Grand Child to the stage to remind us why we do this.

The Grand Grand Child: A long time ago a child asked: Is there anything we can do to stop a good parent from loving us? We were told no. Ever since then we have come together to test this theory. It is true that we have not succeeded so far – but we celebrate our small achievements.

I will admit that all evidence shows that whatever a child does during the day seems to be erased when the parent sees them curled up asleep in bed at the end of a long day.

It may seem that every day we are only proving that parents somehow find the patience to deal with their children simply by seeing them sleeping. There does seem to be something in the DNA of parents that means that even when you scream for six hours because you can’t watch YouTube they still just take a deep breath and deal with it.

We cannot know what magic this is – the ability to never doubt your love for your children even when they use your $56 MAC lipstick to cover the newly painted wall. Even when you leap off the couch putting both feet through the wall, they just take a picture and move on. This phenomenon that they love you from birth (even though you just scream and refuse sleep) right through to teenagehood (when you steal their car and take it for a joyride) is totally inexplicable.

Until we can find a reason for it we must keep going with our plan to break them.

The Grand Child: Inspiring words from our cherished elder. Even though we know parents are doing very well through this lockdown it’s important they don’t realise that. So keep up the guilt trips around how you miss them when they’re working even though you’re seeing them more than ever.

This capacity for loving their kids can’t just be bottomless – even though all signs show it is. We must keep testing it.

Now I will let you go because you have an Easter egg hunt to ruin on Friday. It’s important you wait until your mother has put an enormous amount of work into the crafting of it before you refuse to leave the house. Toddlers – I need you screaming and throwing things. Primary school kids – I’ll allow you to do the hunt but you must whine the entire time about how bored you are. Teenagers – I just want you to call your parents losers and then slam the door please.

Well done everyone. Let’s fuck shit up.

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