Mornings with school aged children are fun, effortless and generally uneventful.…….said no parent ever.
Despite the riots that may have occurred the night before I try and start each morning with a clean slate. It’s a new day. Tits and teeth as they say in show biz. Smile on. Lets start afresh.
My alarm goes off at 7.42am. The boys need to be downstairs ready at 8am to avoid a rush. They need to walk out the house at 825am.
By 815am I’m usually giving them their 8th wake up call and in panic mode.
“What would you like for breakfast?” is a question I’ve asked around 3000 times. I’ve had the same, ridiculous answer each and every time. It makes my nerves jangle.
“What is there?”
“Perhaps His Highness would look the full continental this morning or maybe some eggs benedict with vanilla cream french toast? I could rustle you up a warm drink with a sprinkling of chocolate, grated from the stubbly thigh of a recently waxed brazillian cocoa bean picker?”
So at 824am they rush down stairs, pick up some toast and bolt out the door. Shirt half done, unzipped school bag over the shoulder stomping their heels into the back of their shoes, as they stumble down the road, only to realise they have forgotten their ipad, which I am now holding aloft, anticipating their return.
I hear the screams before I see them.
“Daaaad my Ipaaaad……I’m going to be la-aa-aaatteeee…..”
“please take me Dad please tak……..” they breathlessly plead as they snatch their ipad from my outstretched arm and I close the door on them mid sentence.
Having said all that I do love it when a plan comes together. When everyone is up, fresh and ready to go. No fights, stress or aggravation. It’s my favourite day of the year.
So. What to do? How can I make it easier for myself?
I know that they could make their own breakfast or be subject to some kind of Guantanamo based torture to help them learn. And I’m all for that. The thought of nail removal or waterboarding gives me a certain amount of pleasure.
My problem with asking them to make their own food is…. having children in the kitchen.
A possum or other native animal rifling through your rubbish bin makes less mess.
Have you seen a child try and put a dish into a dishwasher? They have the dexterity of an amputee. It goes in side ways, backwards, upside down…. I don’t know how you can put a plate in upside down. But they manage.
And is it really that difficult for your rinsed plate to make the journey from sink to dishwasher without spilling water all over the floor? They are, literally, next to each other!
Or worse still, the humble placemat. A great invention. Designed to collect the food bits that drop off their plate, fork, face or hair. It saves quite a bit of time with after dinner cleaning.
Except when they pick it up and carry it to the sink SIDE-FUCKING-WAYS!!!!!!!!! Totally oblivious to the cascading food scraps that fall onto the floor defeating the bloody purpose.
I do reluctantly let them into the kitchen. You have to. They must go through this learning process. They need to become independent. I’m kicking them out soon and I don’t want them returning because they don’t know how to feed themselves.
Zak loves his toasties. Makes himself one most days with cheese and baked beans, sometimes one with peanut butter. A little harmless snack. Good on him for being independent.
But why wait till the machine smoulders and the smoke alarm goes off before removing it?
“cause I like the crusty bits of cheese dad that melt onto the grill plate”.
Ok I get it. But my heart rate spikes when I see him remove not only these wonderful bits of crusty cheese, with the sharp edge of a serrated knife, but the non stick coating as well.
Please. Give me strength. Which in saying that reminds me of The Serenity Prayer written by a guy called Reinhold Nuiebuhr. It was used in churches in the 30’s and 40’s and is now adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve step programmes.
I’ve just adapted it for parents and I use it each time my children walk into the house:
Serenity Parents Prayer
Please grant me the serenity
to accept my children for who they are;
courage to weather the storm that follows app removals;
and wisdom to know when I am being scammed.
Living one day at a time;
struggling through the witching hour;
accepting wine as the pathway to peace;
taking sleep when I can, as I can
to help me through;
trusting that in a few short years;
if I surrender to the challenges of my children;
nurturne, teach and provide for them;
that I may reasonably expect that one day
they will burden others with their problems