Parenting three boys is like trying to solve the riddle of the fox, chicken and grain | Romesh Ranganathan

We’re on the farm going back and forth between mini golf and kids’ disco, while my son grapples with sibling-based Fomo

My ongoing fears about my incompetent parenting were compounded last week when I found myself utterly incapable of meeting the needs of one of our children. I’m loth to write about this, as my previous column on the kids’ bedtime was met with a number of tweets along the lines of, “Man struggles to look after kids. How VERY progressive.” For the record: I am inexperienced at bedtimes because I work evenings. But some people have assumed it’s because I am reinforcing the patriarchy.

My wife and I have three boys, and it turns out this is the perfect number to ensure that you are never doing something that everybody wants to do. There are disagreements, Fomo, and forced compromises. I often wonder if the kids would be better named Fox, Chicken and Grain – as in the riddle about how to take them across the river one at a time without the fox killing the chicken, or the chicken eating the grain. It is a puzzle I would often use when I was a maths teacher, until one child told me he would take the grain first, and then watch from the boat as the fox killed the chicken, which is the answer I imagine Boris Johnson gave as a kid.

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