I’m not sure how common this is, but my kids threaten to kill each other a lot.
Of course, when I say a lot, I mean every second sentence. Sometimes it’s used as a simple threat, a response to some assumed slight or grievance, sometimes simply to get to use the rainbow coloured Playstation controller instead of the blue one. Other times the threats of instant death are accompanied by an exhaustive, lengthy and detailed description of how exactly this death will be enacted.
My eight year old is of the realist school and favours a more naturalistic tone found in such enchanting sentences such as, “I will cut your head off with scissors!” or, “I will stick forks in your eyeballs and make you eat them!” My seven year old leans toward the more fantastical, making plans to “insert dynamite into your face and detonate it” or, “I will shoot you out of a cannon, into a brick wall, then into the sun.”
It is like being a parent to Wile E. Coyote. I don’t watch Looney Tunes cartoons anymore; I live them.
I wonder if I spoke the same when I was their age. I am fairly certain I did not. Firstly, if I had ever threatened my elder brother with death of any kind, he would have taken me up on the challenge and in a pre-emptive exercise, most likely have fed me into some form of wood chipper. Secondly, I just assume that I am like everyone else and that I just kept my murderous intentions to myself. This is probably where we form the patterns of the rest of our lives, where our inner minds are teeming with bloodied revenge fantasies,whilst our outward appearance expresses a repression worthy of Cliff Richard.
They threaten me too, these satanic little urchins.
Promises that my legs will be broken or my bottom punctured by a variety of cooking utensils have become as commonplace as “Morning, dad” or, “I’ve thrown up in the toaster again, dad!” I have decided though, perhaps blindly, that these violent and insane threats are actually heartfelt terms of endearment. What else is true love, but being able to threaten someone with a stiletto boot through their esophagus and still have them read you a bed time story at night? In my delusional state, I fantasise that in allowing such dark intent voice, my children will grow to be free, loving, happy and expressive adults who won’t stick a pick axe through me while I’m sleeping. We live in hope.
In the meantime, as my little angels grow into a kinder and gentler world view, I will continue to sleep with one eye open and never with my back to the door.
You know, like all good parents.