I STARTED out wanting to be a guide. A mentor. A kind of parenting Sensei if you will. A much beloved Mr Miyagi to my little karate kids.

What has actually happened is that most of the time I am an enforcer. A sort of cross between a prison guard, asylum orderly and jaded old police officer. I am constantly having to break things up. It hasn’t helped that I have encouraged them to come to me with their grievances rather than use more, shall we say, direct means of settling their disputes.

Quite quickly, once they realised that I would step in and mete out justice, they have weaponised me. I am now a kind of human airstrike that my son or daughter can call in to take vengeance on their enemies.

“I’m telling Daddy about you!” I hear one of them shriek. I groan. They explain to me, in a high pitched staccato, what terrible thing has been done to them. It’s always exaggerated. The denials from the other side are always strenuous. The thoroughness of my judgements depend largely on how tired I am.

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“I don’t care who did what to who. Whom. Who. Whatever. Both of you stop shouting, give each other a hug and say sorry. Do it! Be nice to each other right now!” Is not an entirely untypical example of my Solomon-like wisdom.

Of course it wasn’t long before my two-year-old learnt from his older siblings. He even uses me when his siblings aren’t around.

“I’m going to tell Daddy about you!” He bellows at me when I refuse to give him yet another banana. He wanders off to go and find me. I wonder how I’m going to arbitrate this one. I suspect there may be a conflict of interest.