You know how I recently told you all about my new, all-empowering catchphrase, “Dinner’s prepared itself”? You know how I ended up with flowers, and notebooks and my children were shocked into action by the sudden realisation, that all my dragging them as sous chefs into the kitchen means that they actually can cook. Well, if push comes to shove.
I know that you are probably suspecting that the novelty has lost its shine. That the giving has wavered. That it’s all just a distant memory. But you’d be wrong.
Although, I do put my hands up to keeping the now very deceased tulips in a vase on the unit as a little memento. Seriously, it was not a hint to the children that I am in constant need of being showered with affection. When we discussed it, I told them that I just thought that the tulips looked kind of interesting dead and I couldn’t bear to throw them away while I was still able to get such pleasure from them.
Yes, I am sad. But no, I do not have a morbid fascination with dead flowers.
I am not only celebrating past successes.
The giving keeps on coming.
I am telling you, I am on a roll.
My campaign has actually been so successful that my thinking now is, that I should copyright it and sit back making millions.
I’m not greedy or anything.
It just takes a lot of the paper stuff to produce ballet dancers and singers and artists and pianists and climbers and drama queens and ninjas.
It takes a fair bit of diesel too.
And some backbone.
Along with many reliable clocks dotted all around the house and in the car.
But before I bedazzle you with my fantastic organisational skills, let me continue with my story of how I
guilt tripped cleverly nurtured my children into running after me becoming upstanding individuals.
I have a little habit of surprising people of both the small and the large variety, every once in a while, with breakfast on a plastic tray. Otherwise known as breakfast in bed.
It is not quite as altruistic as it sounds. I no doubt gain more pleasure from their happy big and little faces than they can possibly do from a few soggy cornflakes. Besides, three of my four children are now in puberty. Which means suddenly, I am generally the first to rise and shine of a morning. And quite frankly, I often find myself feeling bored as I have no one to play with.
Now, as my story continues, please don’t think that no one has ever made me breakfast in bed. Breakfast has been served to me in my boudoir on a few occasions. Mainly those occasions tend to coincide with Mother’s Day or my birthday. Though never Christmas. I am regularly the one begging the children to wake up at Christmas.
On one of those precious tray days, I clearly remember being mightily impressed by Joni as she carried in, what looked to me, like a perfectly fried egg on a piece of toast. I then noticed little flakes all over the egg. I hadn’t yet rubbed my eyes enough so I assumed the flakes were pepper. Being
afraid I would never get breakfast in bed again a good mother I didn’t mention that I can’t stand pepper and I bit, completely uncautiously, into her offerings.
I chewed and I swallowed and I dug deep and faked a smile. Then I asked what those interesting little flakes were.
Proud as punch she answered, “Dried oregano”
Quickly followed by; “Do you like it?”
Now, for those of you who have not yet tried fried egg on toast with a heavy sprinkling of oregano, take advice from one who knows: DON’T.
I admit it. The whole thing must have been my own fault. She saw me constantly adapting recipes and changing ingredients to suit myself.
So I felt it was my duty at the time, as one of those experimental mother types, to say, “Oh, well done darling for trying out new ideas. It’s lovely!”
I’d hoped she would scuttle off to stuff her face with her own breakfast, and I could, you know, dispose of the evidence, but instead she insisted on watching me force down every last morsel before she left the room triumphantly.
Now if I’m honest, I was quite chuffed with myself for lying to her so convincingly. But you know what they say about pride coming before a fall…
A few weeks later (when it wasn’t even Mothering Sunday or my birthday) she excitedly entered the room with a tray full of, you guessed it: toast, egg and oregano.
If my memory serves me correctly, I think she’d added a few other dried green herbs as well. I think I’ve been forced to block out which ones due to something called Post Traumatic Taste Disorder.
For the life of me, I couldn’t raise a fake smile. I did manage to eat it. And I did manage to retain it. Which really was an achievement. And I also broke the news that that experiment did not work out quite so well as she’d probably hoped.
Luckily for me she still seemed to like me, but reverted to an only-on-special-occasions tray delivery service. I’d burst the poor girl’s bubble.
So you can imagine my surprise when last weekend I heard a strange bump at my bedroom door. Bleary eyed I tried to make some sense of what was going on. I smacked around my bedside table and discovered my glasses, shoved them on my face only to reveal a dressing-gowned blond-haired beauty standing at the foot of my bed. Armed with a smile and a green plastic tray.
I wrestled the quilt off my body and propped myself up with my pillow and I grinned.
Cornflakes (unsoggy, with sugar in an accompanying bowl and a small jug of milk), fruit juice and a nice cup of tea.
Had I not been propped up by my pillow and restrained by my quilt, I would have for sure been bowled right over.
Joni sat on the edge of the bed and watched me eat.
I realised that my husband must have also risen and shone before me, but she hadn’t seen him she informed me. So we guessed he must have been in the bathroom.
I was in the middle of my tea when, lo and behold, the door opened again and in strode my man with an espresso.
He saw the tray and the cup in my hand and he boomed that big booming laugh of his.
Now, I like a bit of caffeine. Really I do. But even for me (I’m the one who once realised I’d drunk about seven espressos in just a few hours) a tea and an espresso at the same time before I’ve even managed to surface, is quite a lot.
As you can imagine, with it being first thing in the morning and having drunk all of those liquids (I’m polite and I don’t like to waste stuff, so I’d also emptied the contents of the milk jug into my bladder), I really needed to pee. When, once again I heard some kind of kerfuffle against the bedroom door.
Joni and I looked at each other curiously. Then the door burst open and in walked little eight year old Akasha with a tray!!!!! I mean, what are the odds of that happening??????
She looked at me, at Joni, at the espresso cup in my hand and at the tray of empties on the bed and shock radiated across her face.
I looked at her tray. It held a bowl of Frosties with plenty of milk, a glass of water and an espresso.
Joni and I started to laugh hysterically which really was quite strenuous for my overfilled bladder.
Akasha started to cry. Also hysterically.
She frustratedly blamed Joni, “That’s where the sugar was! That’s where the milk jug was!”
She wanted to be the one who had thought of mummy and was really quite ticked off that two people had had the audacity to get there before her.
All I could do was to attempt to stop laughing, ignore my bladder and force down more liquids, caffeine and sugar.
Oh and twitch slightly and feel rather nauseous.
You may think that that’s the end of the story. It isn’t.
Come to think of it, you may think that I wet the bed. I didn’t. Apparently, I have a very expandable bladder.
That was last week. Yesterday Akasha entered my room determined to be the ‘first person to think of mummy’, so she woke me up a whole hour before my alarm was set to ring bearing gifts of: Frosties and espressos. One apparently for daddy, who she’d also thought of (but who had no alarm clock set at all). She also pointed out that she had brought me the sugar bowl and the milk jug.
You thought that was the end end of the story?
No, no, no, no!
I have four children. And when you have four children they tend to be really quite competitive.
This morning I awoke to the sound of shattering and shrieking.
Despite my low blood pressure rule of ‘first sit up, stay like that for a minute, then slowly get out of bed’ I shot out of bed, yelling, “I’m coming!!”
In my race downstairs I imagined a scalded child, broken crockery, four scolded children, blood and a fire. Probably because the shrieking was rather continuous and insistent.
I threw the living room door open and then saw the kitchen.
Broken glass littered the floor and my ADHD/autistic son who had not yet taken his tablets was balancing on one foot, meanwhile his barefoot little sister attempted to calm him down, whilst holding up his injured leg, and persuading the dog (who desperately wanted to lick the wailing one better) to “stay out of the kitchen!”
Luckily, my son was only very lightly injured. His distress was more about the broken jam jar and the glass that he’d broken right before that.
Not knowing that, I pulled all my muscles together and carried my fourteen year old boy out of the kitchen. That makes me sound a lot stronger than I am. He’s very thin and doesn’t weigh much. Besides, it’s not far from the kitchen to the chair that I slumped him on to.
More impressive actually, is that I managed not to stand on any broken glass with my bare feet because it was everywhere and anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a right klutz.
I cleaned up some of the glass so I could get to the plasters. Then wrestled the dog away from my son’s bloody leg.
The poor dog was quite traumatised that she wasn’t allowed to be of assistance: licking up blood and tears.
Aden bawled about the hot chocolate he’d been making me as a surprise for breakfast and asked if it would have to be thrown away because it might have glass in it.
I glanced around and there were our two only trays. Already laid with bowls of Frosties and spoons. A generous two litre Tupperware jug was filled with milk ready to be carried up so we could decide for ourselves just how much we’d like on our cereal.
I poured away the hot chocolates as the boy child whimpered. I handed him the dog. I’m not sure which one of them was more pleased. I hoovered up any last remnants of glass and then went and sat on my bed and breathed.
The door opened and in clattered Akasha and Aden with the two trays and the enormous jug.
Reini and I ate our cereal and a few minutes later I nipped to the loo.
I looked up as the door was pushed open. Lori stood there unaware, grinning, arms outstretched presenting a plate filled with toast, cheese and a stunning looking fried egg.
Luckily for me there was no oregano on it!