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Irena Tiodorovi}: SWEET LITTLE MONSTERS

Irena Tiodorovi}

– a book about the rights parents have forfeited –

Illustrated by DOBROSAV “BOB” @IVKOVI]


Straight Books About series

Irena Tiodorovic

SWEET LITTLE MONSTERS – a book about the rights parents have forfeited – Illustrated by DOBROSAV BOB ŽIVKOVIĆ


To Mum and Dad …because I was a bit of a handful … Monster Irena

To Mum and Dad …because I was a bit of a handful … Monster Bob

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Read carefully! (don’t say we hadn’t told you!)

Pursuant to a decision taken by the main board of the Carefree Parenthood Association in accordance with the terms of its Statute,and bearing in mind the social importance of increasing the birth rate, the reading of this book is prohibited to all those who have not yet become parents (God willing, they will some day!).Purchase of this book legally requires the submission to the bookseller of the following documents: 1. your child’s/children’s birth certificate(s); 2. your child’s/children’s photograph(s) (only those taken out of purses on the spot are admissible); (In lieu of the conditions set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2, the applicant may also submit the original(s)for verification by the attendant). 3. a parental gaze. Purchase of this book entitles you to full membership in the Carefree Parenthood Association for life. Attention : Should you receive a copy of this book from someone who had purchased it legally and decided to get rid of it because it had only trodden on his corn, on no account may you turn the next page. Return it to its original owner or stash away for another day. Should you decide to read on, you do so at your own responsibility.

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What is the Purpose of this Book? umerous books have been written lately each in its own way defining and defending children’s rights, no doubt a praiseworthy concern. As a children’s writer and contributor to a popular children’s magazine, but above everything else a mother of two "sweet little monsters" packed with energy, I read carefully through all those works of fiction and science, welcoming each individual children’s right. But I could not get rid of the impression that something was missing. What about parents and their rights? Not a single word about that subject anywhere! My two boys (one of six and the other a year-and-a-half) helped me as time passed to establish a (seemingly) devastating fact: the minute your eyes catch sight of that naked and helpless body waving its little arms in an effort to find its way in the fresh new world, and

N

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as you are overwhelmed with a feeling of bliss and pride, as if you were the only one who had ever given birth to a child,that very moment you forfeit one of your fundamental rights – the right to your own life.. Of course you don’t realise it at the time. This book is about the process of realisation and recognition of your loss. It will not help you to avoid it – quite the contrary! It will help you to pass through all its stages with a sweet-and-sour smile on your face, to see yourself in every stage, and finally to recognise a paradox – that by forfeiting the right to your own life you have been given a much more important right – the right to create a new life.. If that’s where the bone is buried (and I think it is), then the aim of this book is to poke a little fun at yourselves… and to find the bone!


The biggest truths and misconceptions about children 1. Children are our biggest treasure! Relative truth If you think back to your childhood and evoke memories of fairy tales, you will remember how Granny told you how after many troubles the youngest of the three brothers had managed to earn a "load of treasure" and how "not even three loads of treasure" could bring the shepherd to forgo his love of the beautiful princess. You have to admit that people are wise and do not mince words. This means that the absolute truth that should follow from this would be:

Children are our biggest (and dearest)load of treasure! 2. If there’s (…) enough for one, there’s (…) enough for two, and the third is the easiest! Absolute misconception You’ve noticed that there are words missing from this saying. This is no accident. Ah, the wisdom of the people! If the missing words were there (strength, will, room, money …), its effect would be completely different. This delusion is easily proved mathematically:

1<2<3 7


or, if you prefer it that way, visually:

3. Small children – Small problems Big children – big problems! Relative truth The difference between an absolute truth and this truth is only the degree of comparison of the adjective preceding the word problem, so that the saying should in fact read:

Small children – Big problems Big children – Even bigger problems!


which should be amended with:

Grown-up children â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Biggest problems! Grown-up children get their own small children, continuing the chain of problems, which raises the degree of comparison of the adjective to a level which does not exist in language â&#x20AC;&#x201C; HYPERLATIVE*.

* Positive: big, Comparative: bigger, superlative: the biggest, hyperlative: enormously big, in fact could not be bigger!

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4. One child is too little, and two are too many! Absolute truth Impossible to prove empirically, but nevertheless true. Viewed philosophically, indicates that what is real isn’t always possible.

Real

Possible

5. All children are the same! Absolute misconception Rubbish – in fact all parents are the same, but all children are completely different! Just look at these two pictures:one shows different mothers and the other different children. It’s quite easy to decide if it’s the mothers or the children who are the same!

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6. The love parents have for their children is the biggest love of all! Absolute truth â&#x20AC;Ś to which you cannot add a single letter.

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Forfeited rights The elementary and comprehensive human right that we have mentioned – the right to one’s own life – can in the case of parents be divided into a number of separate rights, which have been forfeited gradually and imperceptibly in the every-day performance of parental duties. We shall now only list them, and later illustrate them with examples, after which we shall make the necessary conclusions. We will also give a few bits of useful advice, which might as well be ignored for all the good they’ll do – after all, rights once lost can never be regained, whatever one does. The right to one’s own life includes the following rights: 1. The right to a good night’s sleep 2. The right to normal and regular meals 3. The right to spend time in rooms to which even an emperor has to go 4. The right to physical integrity 5. The right to free time 6. The right to the remote control 7. The right to white lies 8. The right to ignorance 9. The right to love 10. The right to sex 11. The right to freedom from all worry 12. The right to rest and relaxation 13. 14. 15. 16. As you see, the list of forfeited special parental rights does not end here. If you have any more ideas to add to this list and have your own story to tell, the second edition of this book is open for your contributions. We have no doubt that that volume will be quite a bit thicker than this one!

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Surprise: It is well known that, when you lose something in life, then you usually getting something in exchange. Well about, what you will get after losing all these things we mentioned, move at the end of the book. Only, you might lose your strength and patience. But, I know you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t! After all, you are a parent, arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you?


The right to a good nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sleep

Universally-accepted definitions of sleep: A blissful state in which the physical and mental activities of the body are at a minimum. Bodily rest and restoration of energy. Temporary disengagement from reality. A cure for fatigue.

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An illustrative tale: "Look at him sleeping like a baby!" – said Mum as she tucked in her second son the day she arrived from hospital. "But he is a baby!" – five-year old Roger tried to explain this indubitable fact to his mother "I hope we’ll all sleep as soundly as that in a short while!" – added Dad, who had just seen off grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and others in charge of welcoming the new baby. "I’m dead tired, and you’re probably too, darling" – he went on, embracing Mum. "Let’s all go to sleep. Luckily we are experienced and know what a baby needs!" Despite his calming words, Dad’s voice contained a tinge of panic. "Of course everything will be all right" – Mum added.."Why shouldn’t it be? The baby is fine and healthy and dry and he’s just eaten …" "And just like his brother" – Roger added proudly. "That’s what I’m afraid of…" – mumbled Dad, adding; "To bed, everyone! To sleep, perchance to dream …" Minutes later they were in their warm beds. "You remember how …" – whispered Dad as he held Mum’s hand. She suddenly jerked away her hand. "Of course I remember. The lullabies, the rocking, the herbal teas, the bleary

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eyes. I remember the tenants’ association demand that we move out. Please don’t talk about it any more! Brothers can be completely different – it’s not at all certain that Kenny will keep crying all night for no apparent reason. Look at him now – sound asleep!!" "All right honey, you don’t need to have a fit! Sleep, you need to rest!" There was silence in the house. But ten minutes later Mum got up and went over to the cot. "What’s the matter?" asked Dad.. "He’s not breathing!" – Mum said sharply. "Rubbish!" "He’s not moving!" Dad got up and put his finger under the baby’s nose. "Here. He’s breathing!" After trying out the finger method for herself, Mum got back to bed, her mind at ease. She’s just begun to close her eyes when Dad shoved her with his elbow. "He’s just turned his head, did you hear?" "He’s fine" – said Mum and dropped off to sleep.


When her internal clock awoke her forty minutes later,she saw the shadow of her husband over the cot. "What is it?" – she asked.. "Isn’t it three hours since he’s eaten? Shouldn’t he be waking up?" "Let him be, he’ll wake up when he’s hungry." "Why don’t we pinch his leg a little?" – said Dad and immediately embarked on the realisation of his bright idea. The quiet of the night was rent by Kenny’s piercing cries.

"I told you he was hungry!" said Dad.. A quarter of an hour later, after the baby had had a bellyful, Mum and Dad prepared for another three hours of blissful sleep. Just as their eyes were closing,the silence of the room was diturbed by the patter of tiny feet. "Mum, the little screamer woke me up and I can’t sleep any longer! Can I join you?" – said little Roger as he wormed his way between his parents. "Dad, will he keep doing this all the time? Will he? What do you think?Dad, dad, don’t go to sleep now!!"


Conclusions which can be made from this story: Children would sleep, only their parents don’t let them! Parents think that sleep a sheer waste of time!

Useful advice you might as well ignore because it’ll never work, anyway:

Don’t allow the child to dictate your sleep rhythms, you should decide his!

Whenever your baby’s asleep, you should also sleep!

Let sleeping dogs lie!

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The right to normal and regular meals

Nutritional tips: An adult needs three regular meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals must contain a sufficient diversity of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Every mouthful should be chewed thoroughly, at least thirty-two times. Make yours meals a ritual, enjoy them and make them last as long as possible.

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An illustrative tale: Roger slammed the front door, kicked his trainers off his feet and sped into the kitchen. "I’m hungry! I want my dinner now!"– he uttered a wish a visitor could easily have interpreted as a command. "Number one," – said Mum in a parentally composed voice – "go and wash you hands!" "Number two, you’ll have to wait until I’ve finished feeding Kenny. After that we’ll all have dinner together!" With one hand Mum was stirring Kenny’s semolina and with the other extracting from the fridge the ingredients for dinner. "But I’m hungry! I can’t wait!" – protested Roger. "Mum’s hungry too, but I have to wait as well!" – Mum said patiently.. Kenny was sitting in his high chair and beating the table before him with a spoon with strength one would never had thought could belong to a tenmonth old infant. He was also very hungry and couldn’t wait. As the semolina was cooling, Mum quickly made Roger a sandwich. "I don’t want the crust! Make me one without the crust!" – said Roger as he sat down at the table. "Not on your life!" – replied Mum as she tried to stop Kenny from pelting the walls with gobs of semolina with his spoon.

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Quick as lightning, Roger ate the inside of the sandwich, leaving a perfectly-formed oval of bread crust on the plate. "Give me more!" "What about the crust?" – Mum turned her eyes towards Roger’s plate, as a ball of semolina hit her square in her forehead and Kenny shrieked with glee at the sight. "You’ll eat the crust, as always!" – Roger replied. The baby burped,began to hiccup and pushed away his bowl, which Mum caught in its fall purely by luck. As she was cutting another piece of bread for Roger, Dad’s voice came in from the sitting room: "When are we going to eat. I’m pretty hungry!" "Just as soon as I’ve finished feeding thebeasts," Mum gave vent to her emotions, quickly adding: "Bless their souls!" Soon Dad was sitting at the table and eating.


Mum smeared some margarine on two bread crusts to make them go down easier and gobbled them quickly as she cleared crumbs off the table. The crusts were very tasty. Kenny was happily asleep and Roger was reading his favourite comic strip in bed as Mum treated herself to the cold semolina remains. "Waste not, want not …" "Would you like some?"– Mum asked Dad, who was sliding down in his armchair as the opening credits rolled

across the screen (the rest of the film was usually spent eyes closed and gently snoring). "Do I have to?" – he retorted.. "No" – Mum mumbled dryly as she looked at the heap of dirty dishes awaiting her.


Conclusions which can be made from this story: If he hits you once with his food, turn the other cheek!

Useful advice you might as well ignore because it’ll never work, anyway: Throw all remains of your kids’ meals into the trash, not into yourself.

Teach your children from day one to eat everything, including things they don’t like.

Once the children are asleep, sit down and eat with your partner a candle-lit threecourse dinner with wine.

Have dinner once in a while in a romantic restaurant, without your kids.

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The right to spend time in rooms to which even an Emperor has to go

The phenomenon and its determinants The physiological need of every human being, including parents. A necessity which can be Number One (liquid), and Number Two (solid, or, God forbid, liquid). For the sake of physical health, both number one and number two need to be done as soon as one gets the urge. Performed in private, outside the company of others (for one's own sake, but also for others').


Illustrative story: Dad's away on business, and Kenny, Roger and Mum have finished lunch and are in the living-room, playing with building blocks. A very idyllic scene, except for an insurmountable problem - Mum has to go to the bathroom. It might not be a problem if she had just one big child, but she also has another who's just begun walking and who's very curious and eager to touch everything (the electric outlet, the TV screen, the phone), handle everything (pots, pans, knives and forks, books) and to destroy everything else (by tearing, overturning and smashing). Driven into a corner, Mum places the big boy in charge of his little brother, instructing him to entertain Ken and to and keep him out of mischief. "But why me?" - asks Roger. "Mum has to go to the loo. Just five minutes." "Again? But you went yesterday, and I also had to look after him!" "Listen, Roger," - Mum breaks off her democratic spiel - "do as I say, period!" At the first mention of the word 'bathroom', Kenny's ears pop up like two little antennae, he flings away the blocks and runs after Mum, getting to the door just a moment too late. "Maaa-maaa…" - Kenny sings out his first word with obvious glee.

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"Kenny…" - Mum answers from the bathroom. "Ma-ma, Maaa-maaa…" - continues Kenny as he begins to scratch at the door. "Roger, what did I tell you? Will you take Kenny away!" - Mum shouted. "Not now, I'm watching the Rangers" - Roger's voice comes drifting in from the living-room, as Kenny begins to lick the door and wail "Maaa-maaaaaaaa!" Mum is desperate. "I'll kill you when I come out" she screams. Roger arrives and grabs Kenny, who is by now shrieking hysterically. "Find something to amuse him" - Mum pleads from the bathroom. After four seconds of relative piece, the telephone rings. "Roger, will you answer the phone!" - shouts Mum. Seconds later, the door bursts open and a telephone receiver followed by Roger's head slide thro-ugh the


opening: "Your office is asking what you're doing. Are you doing Number One or Number Two?" "Give me that, you rascal!" - Mum whispers from the loo. "Hallo! No, no, I'm just washing the floor…kids, you know what they're like… sorry…" Kenny seizes his chance, slips into the

bathroom and begins throwing soap and shampoo bottles into the tub. From her seat, Mum tries to stop him as she explains to her boss the items listed in pro-forma invoice No. 658/03. An overjoyed Kenny climbs into her lap, hugs her and repeats his favourite


The conclusions which can be drawn from this story If you would be well served, serve yourself. Where the Emperor goes on foot, a parent can't go at all!

Useful advice - which shouldn't be followed (for a number of reasons): Suffer in silence until the kids are in bed.

Use a diaper.

Put your kids in the tub so they're within sight until you finish your business.

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The right to physical integrity

About physical integrity (med.): A human being is just a biological organism with limited endurance and shelf-life. The fragile organism is able to function only in its full integrity and its primary goal is to protect and defend that integrity. Physical integrity is nothing but life itself.


Illustrative story: All this might not have happened at all if Mum had not been pounding away so heartily at some veal one Saturday around noon. But the week-end is the right time for a proper family meal with a nice soup, meat and vegetables and dessert. So she put on her multicoloured apron and armed herself with the tenderiser. What an incredible audio-visual experience for a tiny child - his Mum, wrapped in red, blue, green and yellow, holding a big hammer and going BAM, BAM!! "Please get him out of the kitchen. He'll hurt himself," - Mum pleaded with Dad. Easier said that done. For one thing, Dad was busy, playing a horse, as Roger bounced on his back in the role of a rodeo star, pencil in hand instead of a whip. Getting Kenny out of the kitchen would have entailed ending the horseplay, which for Roger was out of the question. Not for Daddy's ribs, though! But whoever asked them? After he had managed to unseat the rider (the little cowboy was now sulking, head buried in a pillow), Dad moved to evacuate his younger son from the kitchen. As he was being drawn out, wiping the floor with his body, Kenny pointed at Mum, repeating the newly-learned words: "BAM, BAM!"

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Luckily, everything has to end at some point, and so did the pounding. Some time later, the appetising aroma of lunch wafted in from the dining room. Half an hour later, the meat and the rest of the food had vanished. After it had all been forgotten, to the regret of the others, one member of the family retained happy memories of the veal: "BAM, BAM!" Perhaps none of this would have happened if the lunch hadn't been so good and if Dad hadn't nodded off, just to let it all settle. Mum was hanging up the was-hing as the air was rent by the roar of a woun-ded lion coming from the living-room. All of Dad's six-footsix were hopping on one foot as their owner bellowed in pain, holding his other leg by the knee. All of Kenny's two-foot-nine were boun-cing happily as their owner held in his hand his newest toy the tenderiser. BAM, BAM!


Tomorrow's headlines flashes before Mum's eyes in rapid succession: Tot Kills Dad with Tenderiser, Man Pounded to Death by Toddler, Sensational: One-Year-Old Attacks Father with Mallet! "Are you all right?" - asked Mum, disarming the child.

"Never better" - mumbled Dad, testing his wounded leg delicately. "Bam Bam!" - continued the tot with a huge grin, showing all of his four teeth. "I bet you were bored without me" said Roger as he came in through the front door. "There's nobody outside. Dad, let's play again!!"

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The conclusions which can be drawn from this story What does a child know about physical integrity? Sometimes even a horse can become a lion.

Useful advice without any purpose:

Never take post-meal naps (it isn't good for your health, and sometimes it can hurt).

Don't take kids' favourite toys from them. Sooner or later you'll learn to regret it.

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Become a vegetarian.


The right to free time

Definitions: Time free of all chores and obligations. Time during which you can do whatever you like. Time when you are free.


Illustrative story: "I've organised everything!' - Dad said full of pride as he put down his brief-case and undid his tie. "The grans and grandpas have been commissioned to look after our kids and the Smiths' kids, and we and they are going out for a night on the town! We have so little free time for our friends!" "Super! Where are we going?" - asked Mum, clearly delighted. "A night on the town, as I said." "But where exactly?" - said Mum as she went through her wardrobe in her head. "Well…I'll ask around!" - said Dad. "I want to go out for a night on the town!" - yelled Roger, who had been listening. "I don't want Gran and Grandpa to look after me!" Mum, ignoring Roger, tried to remember when she and her husband had last been out of the house without the boys. A birthday, when Kenny was three months old. And before that, in the theatre, when he was still inside her (she remembered very well the uncomfortable seat and the pressure on her bladder). It had been so long ago. Everything went according to plan. As expected, the grandparents turned up exactly five minutes after the end of the evening news. Well-argumented facts were used to drive Roger's notions about a night on the town out his head. Dad stood waiting, twirling the car keys in his hand, as Mum applied the last touches of her make-up. The toddler had been bathed and fed, dressed in his pyjamas and readied for bed … or so the others thought. Mum had just put on her right shoe when a loud shaking began (at least five on Richter scale) and a painful whine emanated from the cot. No, not crying, hysterics, moaning, yelling … painful wailing. Playing his parents like a violin. Coolly calculated to strike at their deepest emotions. Mum cast her shoe off her foot and ran into the room

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to console her little darling, heart trembling like jelly. "Please call the Smiths and tell them we'll be lateâ&#x20AC;Ś" - she managed to say as she ran. What followed was reminiscent of a black humour saga interrupted by commercials. During the breaks, Mum re-applied her

make-up and re-ironed her dress, only to go back into the room at the beginning of each successive session of whining. The unselfish Nan offered herself as a stand-in, but the star wouldn't hear of it. "He'll tire out," said Dad optimistically. After an hour and a half, the well-know title The End appeared. A


Parents with dumplings

Barbecued Dad

Knead them sobbing and then stew them with your screaming. Serve piping hot in the morning, when they start off for work late.

Bind him tight so he can’t possibly escape. Season with war cries and a dance of war. Serve to Mum (who else would have him in that form…).

Home-made winter preserves Wash parents thoroughly of all bad thoughts and pack tightly into a jar. Pickle in your school marks and keep lid tightly sealed, just in case…

Boiled Mum Simmer Mum all night with your gently until she’s soft. Sprinkle with sugar and forget until the next day. Served daily.

Squeezed Mum juice

Dad chasseur

Cut Mum in half with a wish and then squeeze gently until all the juice is drained out of her. Squeezed Dad is not recommended, as his skin is much thicker.

Trap Dad, skin and stuff. On no account may chili peppers be used in the stuffing – he’s hot and mad enough as it is!

Dad sourdough

Parental roast

Knead sourdough from Dad with a prank. Let rise and knock back with a fresh prank. Should dough rise too far, run for your life!

Trap parents ready to go out for an evening on the town and roast gently, basting with tears.

Minced parents

Mum for two

Dad’s spareribs

Mum and Dad cake

Mince parents thoroughly several times a day. Make meat balls, fry until golden brown and serve to each other before going to sleep.

Grill Mum with questions whom she loves more. When cooked, divide into equal portions with your brother (sister).

Jump on Dad’s ribs until they begin to crack. Baste frequently with maple syrup and watch out for Dad’s fist.

Sift Mum and Dad and beat thoroughly in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with kisses. No need to bake – they’re baked already!

Sweet Little Monsters  

– a book about the rights parents have forfeited – Illustrated by DOBROSAV “BOB” @IVKOVI] Illustrated by DOBROSAV BOB ŽIVKOVIĆ Ire na Ti o d...

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