Egg in my Face.
‘Let’s go out for breakfast’ I say with confidence.
‘It will be fun’
I’m silly like that. The memory of a goldfish, me. I've chosen to forget our last traumatising outing. I block it out of my mind and pretend it didn’t happen. I have to.... If I remember I’d never leave the house again.
The difficulties start at the mention of getting ready.
'Right kids, we're going out for brekkie. Get your gear on we're leaving in twenty minutes'
You’d think putting clothes onto cold skin after hot showers would be a normal everyday thing? You’d think putting on shoes before going outside was a ordinary undertaking? And you’d be right it is. But when your 4 nothing matters. My 4-year old lives in a vortex where time, rules and routines don’t exist. In her world my demands are like snowflakes landing in a puddle. My voice melts away while more important things (brushing dolly’s hair and painting teddys nails) take over.
Her fantasy land is full of glitter, mermaids and unicorns. It’s a place where she is president and everyone else are her staff. I only exist to aid her on her journey. I feed her and try and get her to bed on time. I drive her to appointments and organise her diary. Because I am a mere employee of hers my demands land on deaf ears. My requests mean nothing.
‘Socks? I don’t need socks’
No, she has more important jobs to do,
'Maaaam! Ellie the elephant is having an operation and I need band aids, Now!'
I spend ten minutes trying to placate the dictator and rummage through draws and pots for one (mother fucking) bandaid. Please let there be one, please.. I think. Anything to avoid a very time consuming meltdown.
Then it's the shoe battle.
I go through 5 pairs, showing her the options and then listen to the reasons why each pair is not appropriate for this particular outing,
‘They’re my dancing shoes’
‘I don’t like those they’re blue’
I take a deep breath and then lie,
‘Granny said you have to wear blue shoes today otherwise she’s going to give you salad for dinner’
My son is easier. He’s 8. All I have to do is prise the iPad from his vice like grip and make promises of a surf later.
I then have to get the baby dressed, pack a nappy bag, prepare some snacks in case the car journey gets too hectic, find my glasses, find the car keys, find my wallet, brush my own teeth, tell everyone to brush their teeth and find a t-shirt for my husband that hasn’t got a coffee stain on the front, tell him to change out of his dirty shorts, find my phone, the wipes and a hat and pile them all into the car.
We’re only going 10 minute’s drive away.
‘Can we watch TV in the car?’
‘No. You can never watch TV in the car.’
‘Can we have a snack’
‘No, we’re going for breakfast’
‘It’s the meal you eat in the mornings’
‘Can I have pasta?’
‘No, you don’t eat pasta breakfast time’
‘Granny lets me eat pasta at breakfast time... and ice cream’
‘Just shut up and put your seatbelts on’
And we’re off. I feel like I just wrestled a crocodile onto a boat and we’re not even out of the end of our road. I turn the radio up, just enough to drown out the fighting in the back.
New venue. New mood. Let’s start again.
‘Ok my darlings, were here!’
They all roll out of the door onto the pavement. I plop the baby in his pram and put his socks back on, again.
I find a baby seat and tie him in. He is secure, unable to escape. Unable to destroy, bite or run towards the main road.
Then comes the ordering. It’s a menu. There are items to choose from. It a normal cafe with normal food. A list of choices is presented in my most joyful tone.
‘I don’t like eggs’