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 Post subject: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 06:02 
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I was at a friend's place yesterday and he has his three kids at home for the summer holidays. They are lovely kids but very active, constantly playing interspersed with fighting and a lot of high pitched screaming.

We were making raspberry jam and a spaghetti sauce (not together!) which took hours to prepare and cook, in between arbitrating with the kids and keeping them entertained.

If it takes three adults to keep three children from killing each other, then how on earth did Joey and only one helper manage to keep all her kids under control while doing all the housekeeping required?

Except for one incident in Rescue with Margot, the kids never fight. And when Margot tries to argue with him, Charles gives her a 'look' and she stops - really? it's that easy?

We get idealised moments of visitors going into the living room and the milky fair twins are playing or reading quietly, the baby is cooing away in the playpen and the three tier tea tray is all ready to go.

In real life, the twins would be fighting tooth and nail while the baby is screaming, the host would be too harassed to even dream of having visitors over, the place would be a total mess of toys and books scattered everywhere and the 'tea tray' would be a teabag and a bikie.

Did EBD simply have a very unrealistic view of family life? And if so, why? Is Joey's the family she desperately wanted to have herself?

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 08:17 
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I think EBD's unrealistic view of life comes primarily from the fact that she had no siblings during the majority of her childhood, her brother having died when she was quite young. That said, children in that era didn't have the freedoms that modern children do and any fighting would have been done behind closed doors in the nursery. There are a couple of instances in the later holidays books, for instance in Future:

Quote:
“Have it your own way, but don’t dither. I’m so thirsty, my tongue’s hanging out of my mouth. It’s a pity,” [Jo] went on with a wicked look at Con, “that we didn’t ask Irma for one of those two last bottles of blackcurrant wine of hers. I’m sure she’d have loved to let Con have half of what was left, seeing she’d already had quite a dose of it.”
“If we weren’t in Minnie,” Con said severely, “I’d tell you exactly what I think of you. That business wasn’t my fault!”
Mike’s eyes gleamed. “What did it taste like, Con?” he asked. “Oh, go on! You must know. I’ll bet you licked your lips clean, anyhow.”
“Well, I didn’t,” Con said coldly. “I’m neither a dog nor a baby boy –”
It was just as well that Mike was fenced in by Roddy. He did jump to his feet with a shout of rage, but Roddy stiffened and he could hardly climb over him. In any case, his father ordered him sharply to sit down.
“If you can’t take teasing at your age, the Navy’s off, where you’re concerned,” Jack added. “You began it yourself, anyhow. Pipe down!”
Mike knew better than to argue. He sat down sulkily and, as they had entered the town, there was plenty to distract his attention. Joey, leaning across and speaking in an undertone and fluent German, told Con to leave him alone.
“You’re years older than he is. You’ve no need to mind his cheek. Let him alone, Con!”
Con blushed. “Sorry I didn’t mean to get his goat.”


There is also the simple fact that, in many books, children do behave better than they really do. It's probably because, as you say, it is difficult to get things done if the kids are always misbehaving. For instance, look at the Bobbsey Twins, the younger set of whom are six but almost never behave like any six-year-old I ever met! And the twelve-year-old set of twins act more like eighteen or twenty IMO (in fact I have just checked and they're four and eight respectively in the first book, so it's not just EBD who can't keep ages straight!).

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 09:35 
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I really like the nursery scene in Exile, where Rix is bossing the others about and then he and Sybil fight because he calls her a baby and she says she's not a baby. Madge says somewhere else that David "squashes" Sybil if she's being annoying, and we also get Maeve Bettany muttering about Peggy bossing her around. That all seems fairly realistic to me :D.

There's also a nice scene in Joey & Co in which Steve and Mike argue over who's getting to sit by the window ... but Charles shutting Margot up with a "look" definitely doesn't seem like real life to me!

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 12:37 
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I cannot see a girl about four years older than her brother being quelled by a look.

Do you not think that the Maynard children rarely fighting is a product of EBD obsession in later books of the perfect Joey with the perfect family? In the Tirol years the children had faults and this did continue into the Welsh years.However once it got to Switzerland and concentrated a lot more on Joey, rather than Madge, the children became little angels in a sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 13:03 
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Of course, if the younger kids got fractious or overtired, they would be packed up to the nursery with Rosli or Anna, and not be on display for visitors. And don't forget the instant obedience thing... But yes, EBD's portrayal of small children is sometimes quite off - the triplets coming in to make small talk with visitors at age two or three, for example.

With that many kids, I can see all sorts of combinations of conflicts springing up.

I can see Margot acting up and trying to push around the others, or take more than her fair share. Len would try to smooth it over, but Con would bluntly call both of them out over it. Len would try to take charge and tell the others what to do, and the others would challenge her authority and push back (and not buy "I'm five minutes older" as justification). Charles would be fairly quiet and biddable, but occasionally get fed up and really lose his temper. The boys would probably get physical and knock each other down and wrestle, and Mike would try to keep up with the older boys and get on their nerves. And I can see Con and Charles getting stressed with too many organized games and being in a crowd, and hiding in nooks and crannies to read.

I agree that the portrayal of the Maynards is part wishful thinking of how a big family would be, and part the need to show Joey as the perfect mother.

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 14 Jan 2017, 20:23 
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They'd all had the magical Jem-approved Training To Obedience :lol:

I'm the older of two children, and my brother and I fought like cat and dog when we were younger. Having one sibling was bad enough but if I'd had ten, I'd have gone mad. Especially if I had to look after them all the time like Len does.


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 03:05 
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Hi,

But even the "fight" in Future is nothing. There were up to 15 (!) kids in one van. The Maynards, Melanie and the Richardsons and only ONE fight and the occasional argument over who gets the window seat. There should've been non-stop screaming and crying while Joey yells at them all and Jack turns the van around :banghead:

jennifer wrote:
Of course, if the younger kids got fractious or overtired, they would be packed up to the nursery with Rosli or Anna, and not be on display for visitors. And don't forget the instant obedience thing...


Yeah, I think that is the main difference now. EBD was writing about families who keep separate play areas and the kids were trained to stay in their playroom and keep the toys and books there as well. But even when in their own nursery/playroom, there apparently is no screaming/fighting emanating from there.

I was also reading Challenge the other day when Biddy returns with her small children and Hilary runs out to greet them and beg them to stay quiet cos she just got her baby to sleep.

If you had two small children coming home after a holiday and a train journey, wouldn't that be close to impossible? I can imagine them running into the house screaming and definitely waking up the baby.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 06:05 
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Lotte wrote:
They'd all had the magical Jem-approved Training To Obedience


Yeah, I can just imagine Joey lecturing my friend on how to train his kids to instant obedience. And being shown the door for her trouble :D

Every now and again we see Joey telling off one of her children (Mike?) and saying "You know 'I want' doesn't get you anywhere", but that seems to be end of it and the kid instantly shuts up. EBD seems to think that that's sufficient whereas I would be bracing for a tantrum and screaming.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 09:23 
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I don't quite understand all this about expecting screaming etc. My early years were in the late 50s and screaming was a definite no-no. It would be acceptable if one was hurt or terrified but not for general excitement except maybe at a fairground etc. It seems to be the only way youngsters communicate now (with grumpy old lady hat on). :dontknow:


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 10:38 
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delrima wrote:
I don't quite understand all this about expecting screaming etc. My early years were in the late 50s and screaming was a definite no-no. It would be acceptable if one was hurt or terrified but not for general excitement except maybe at a fairground etc. It seems to be the only way youngsters communicate now (with grumpy old lady hat on). :dontknow:


My grumpy old lady hat is firmly on too delrima.

And from living in tbe Czech Republic I know that there are countries where it is still a no no.

Sadly, now that my brother has small grandchildren I find myself restricting my visits, and I also spend too much time shushing my own grandchildren. They are very noticably quieter when we are out and about in the CR.....

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 10:50 
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I was about to say the same thing! Child of the 70s here, my sister and I did squabble, don't get me wrong, but I don't recognise fighting and screaming and shouting. Mum and Dad would soon have put a stop to that.

I actually think in a big family it's possible there might be less fighting. My sister and I only had each other, when we disagreed there was no one else to play with; in a larger family would there other siblings to play with, presumably certain siblings would be closer to each other than to other siblings...? But then we hardly ever see the Maynards at play in the later books, it tends to be more on organised trips.


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 11:24 
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Another grumpy old woman here! Screaming across swimming pools, running around and crawling under tables in cafes and restaurants, blocking the aisles on trams with scooters ... gah! And it's not just kids - why do people have to have loud conversations on (or indeed off) their mobile phones in public places? Chris and Rachel, whoever you are, I know every detail of what you do and don't eat, and so does everyone else who was on the same tram as your mum and her friend yesterday morning :roll: :lol: .

It really annoys me when Cecil, who is clearly far too young to be there and whom we're told is upset because she's been made to go without her afternoon sleep, screams during the pantomime in Trials, kicks a tray and knocks hot coffee over some poor woman, and Joey acts as if it's hilarious. Imagine the comments if the Bakers or the Pertwees or the Hopes had taken a kid of that age to a show and let him or her spoil it for other people!

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 13:24 
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Going back to what Joyce said about the number in the mini van,with the adult and a big dog there must have been about 20.Surely thats a small bus, not a mini van?

You get told the younger children are playing in the nursery, usually with a sister in attendance, but you never see the older ones doing anything, like shopping trips or snowball fights, surely they must have been allowed some fun on they own without it being organised or having to drag all the younger ones along?

I've not read Trials,but the thing about Cecil reminds me a bit of Robin in Eustacia where she was far too young to go but EBD seems to think it was perfectly acceptable.And of course Joey could do no wrong re Cecil, I believe she even says something to ML about the sacrifices mothers have to make?


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 14:50 
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The conversation with Mary-Lou was at that pantomime, IIRC. Missing part of a school pantomime was clearly the biggest sacrifice anyone could make :roll: .

During the same pantomime, Joey dumped Felix and Felicity on Maeve. When they started screaming during the power cut, Maeve immediately told them to shut up. So Dick and Mollie had evidently taught their kids to show consideration for other people!

Felicity has friends of her own age - Lucy and Jean - living nearby, and the younger ones would have had Hilary and Biddy's children to play with, but the older ones have got no-one nearby except each other. Steve and Charles must have got very bored at home.

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 14:58 
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I think Caroline is correct in saying that the dynamic in a big family is totally different from where there are just two or three siblings.

Competition for parents' attention which one would think would be increased, is actually, I think, reduced; this competition does seem to be what leads to lots of screaming and showing off in small families. It is always very noticeable how much better behaved children are in the total absence of their parents....

I can't find any of those happenings in my Armada copy of Trials. Were they cut out of that edition? The twins seem to have been entrusted to Josette. And why not?

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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 16:44 
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Steve and Charles must have got very bored at home.

Yes, Steve was fifteen by the end of the series, wasn't he? It's a bit much to expect a boy of that age to spend his holidays with only his family, doing family stuff, and no companions his own age.

I think all the older Maynard boys would have been off to stay with friends in the holidays as they got older.

Mike even more so than Steve and Chas. There's quite a big gap in age between Charles and Mike, and Mike and Felix; Mike will be quite lacking in companions in the holidays as he grows up.

It's a pity Dartmouth no longer took boys by the time Mike was old enough to go, he could have palled up with Peter Marlow and spent holidays at Trennels - similar big family, but much more freedom.


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 19:24 
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delrima wrote:
I don't quite understand all this about expecting screaming etc. My early years were in the late 50s and screaming was a definite no-no. It would be acceptable if one was hurt or terrified but not for general excitement except maybe at a fairground etc. It seems to be the only way youngsters communicate now (with grumpy old lady hat on). :dontknow:

No, it was the same for me and my early years were in the late '80s / early '90s, and Mum told us that we should NEVER scream unless we were badly hurt or in danger. Boy who cried wolf, etc. That's why I hate hearing kids scream in public just for the fun of it (and I'm autistic and it makes me go into sensory overload).
Alison H wrote:
It really annoys me when Cecil, who is clearly far too young to be there and whom we're told is upset because she's been made to go without her afternoon sleep, screams during the pantomime in Trials, kicks a tray and knocks hot coffee over some poor woman, and Joey acts as if it's hilarious. Imagine the comments if the Bakers or the Pertwees or the Hopes had taken a kid of that age to a show and let him or her spoil it for other people!

If I'd behaved like that in public, Mum would have been angry with me or taken me out (she actually did do that once, she took me out of a Sooty live show because I was really upset). And if any of the 'undesirable' families had let their kids behave like that, they'd have been judged but of course, Joey gets away with it. :|


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 15 Jan 2017, 20:01 
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My kids argue and have their moments but nothing to the extreme that you mention (and can sometimes be quelled by a look or word - though not from each other) if one realises they've crossed a line they will say to the others


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2017, 01:18 
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I only had one daughter and she is 23 now but I would have been mortified and taken her out if she yelled in a public place. I still remember with horror a lying flat on the floor tantrum in M & S when she was 2.

We don't actually hear so much about the Maynard family holidays in the very last books. The summer immediately before Challenge Phil is ill so I cannot see the family going away en masse. Maybe the Emburys took the three older boys away. I cannot remember if it is that summer or the one before Redheads that Len, Con and Margot go separately to Simone, Frieda and Marie.

The boys would have been wanting to stay with friends or have friends staying with them. Stephen especially strikes me as the type to have lots of friends.

Doesn't Len say though that with large families they made their friends within the family?

To go back to the original question don't Len and Con fall out with Margot in Theodora? I think Con and Margot at any rate stop talking.


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 Post subject: Re: Maynard kids ever fight?
PostPosted: 16 Jan 2017, 03:47 
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JayB wrote:
Quote:
Steve and Charles must have got very bored at home.

Yes, Steve was fifteen by the end of the series, wasn't he? It's a bit much to expect a boy of that age to spend his holidays with only his family, doing family stuff, and no companions his own age.

I think all the older Maynard boys would have been off to stay with friends in the holidays as they got older.

Mike even more so than Steve and Chas. There's quite a big gap in age between Charles and Mike, and Mike and Felix; Mike will be quite lacking in companions in the holidays as he grows up.

It's a pity Dartmouth no longer took boys by the time Mike was old enough to go, he could have palled up with Peter Marlow and spent holidays at Trennels - similar big family, but much more freedom.


Don't forget that the Richardson boys arrive quite a while before the end of the series, most likely because EBD realised that the boys had little companionship. Roger is sixteen, but Roddy is twelve (given as 'thirteen, or near to it as makes no matter'), which is the same age as Stephen, so that gives him company. Charles and Mike have rather more reason to complain than Steve does.

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