My life seems to have taken on a military theme, since I had kids. I sound like the Sergeant Major at drill time. ALL the time. I drive a tank. My kids answer me with “Yes Sir!” I cook as if I'm feeding an army. I'm ready for action at a moments' notice. Even popping to the Post Office resembles a military manoeuvre, requiring absolute precision and guerrilla tactics. It takes at least half an hour to rally the troops and someone has to go on a ‘reccie’ first, usually getting lost or falling over. Then we have to call in the MedEvac team to administer Band-Aids and I end playing Chaplin, while they all whinge at me. Then, of course, there's the briefing, without which a mission may have to be aborted when someone needs the loo half way down the street. Standard procedure is to remind the troops that there is to be no swearing and no fighting amongst the ranks. It usually concludes with the Holding Hands rule (which isn't actually very military, but is crucial if we are to avoid casualties). As with any good military manoeuvre, full combat gear is required for all outings. Gum boots and shin pads are standard issue for the 5 year old, who also carries a range of weapons tucked down his pants. I, as the Quartermaster, always carry an emergency pack containing hats, gloves, socks and spare undies in an array of sizes. I do insist on a military-like parade at the front door, just to be sure that the troops are all suitably attired. And it goes without saying that since I've had children I have spent most of my days playing UN Peacekeeper, in an extremely volatile and often hostile environment.

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