Alex and Mauro can be right little bandits when Marcia wants to watch her favourite programme on TV after our evening meal. Now I know that none of them is ever quiet when I want to watch something but noisy women and children are just one of the burdens men have to bear. I have also noticed that the vocal chords of my family are somehow linked to my computer keyboard, every time I touch the keys, they suddenly find something that demands my urgent attention.
Short of the unthinkable, I have not yet found an effective way of silencing my wife but today, I came up with what I know will only be a temporary solution but the boys have voluntarily gone into their bedroom and closed the door behind them leaving Marcia and I in peace.
I bought them a crossbow.
It's a compound crossbow which makes it easier for a young child to draw, Mauro may be ten but Alex is only five. Obviously I am in no way an irresponsible parent so I gave them a quick lesson on how the safety catch and trigger worked and told them not to shoot each other before leaving them to it.
It came with a circular archery target. This is the really cunning bit, the essence of the success of my plan. I nailed the target to the back of their bedroom door. They can only shoot at it with the door closed meaning us adults can't hear anything they are up to. Brilliant. I haven't heard a peep out of them since.
I lie, they did come out of the room once complaining the arrows were not sticking to the target so I showed them how to lick the suckers on the end of the arrows so they would stick to the plastic target.
I had given them a sheet of paper and a pen so they could mark their scores and improve their simple addition but was irritated to notice the manufacturer had scored the target rings as 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100 for a bullseye. For a child's toy, that's just too many numbers.