I am plagued so I adopt a siege mentality.
I absolutely refuse to make any decisions about anything before they go to school. Children are children, which means that they can recognize weakness. I am at my weakest first thing in the morning, and so that of course, is the time that they leap on their poor hapless prey.
“Mom can we do Year Book?”
“Um?” This question has no meaning for me at all. It is an American thing. It's an American thing that I avoided with my older daughter, which means that I have no previous experience to fall back on. I thought that the Yearbook, was a book of photographs of every child in the class, produced in the year of their graduation. It is a memento and often has amusing notes printed within. This is wrong. This is not correct. I know it is not correct because my daughter is only nine and so has another 9 years of school before she graduates and has her photograph in the Year book.
“Which you are like?”
“Omnitrix, Heat Blast or Four Arms?”
What language is he speaking? He dashes away and returns with some plastic figurines, prizes from school. He shoves their nasty hard limbs far too close to my glasses for me to be able to focus. I stab at an answer.
“Ah! You are like coz he has red,” he sighs, as if I have cheated somehow. Somehow I think I may have, cheated, that is.
I trot off to the screamer in the family room. He is on a circuit. He runs around the L-shaped sectional, jumps onto the toy trunk and flops in to a bean bag, before leaping up and starting again. Round and around he goes, screaming all the way and yet never missing a step. I have no idea what has set him off. I lean on the door jam and wait. I count. I count his circuits. He is growing bigger and stronger. I should hook him up to a couple of wires and he could power the tumble drier single handedly, or double leggedly. It takes longer for him to tire but eventually, 12, his flop stops.
I approach Mr. Snotty but I don't touch his sweaty form because I know that all his nerve endings are still exposed. A touch is the equivalent of an electric cattle prod and I don't want to spark him off again.
“Can you tell me?”
“Er….I fink I can't do it.”
“I mean I fink I can tell you but I fink I can't do it.”
“Do what? What is the 'it' that you can't do?”
“I can't do shower.”
“Dad is saying I am being having a shower.”
Oh yes. That's right. I remember now. We decided that instead of enduring our finely honed 40 minute morning routine, we would squeeze in another step. We wise parents decided that it was much too difficult to only have the eldest child take a daily shower. Instead, genius step, we would shower them all. We are all an absolute shower.
“Well….you're really mucky now!”
“I am not muck I am sog.”
“So, if you're already soggy, a little bit more water won't hurt much.”
I try and think of a lure.
Just like all parents, I need a little bribery.
I bait my hook.
“Tell you what?”
“You can use the powder puff afterwards.”
“Yur powder puff?”
He's gone, flash! Like a streak of lightening, he streaks without his pyjamas up to the shower. I clean the flasher until he is sparklingly clean.
I rub him dry with a soft towel in a fog of talcumn powder as he ponces his body with the puff.
“Pouf! Pouf! Pouf eee!” He is as white as a ghost.
“I am dust. I am fluff. I am laugh!” The bathroom is a cloud.
“I am not sog. I am soooooo smooooov!”
I dress him for speed and send him on his way.
He is the sweetest smelling child that the school photographer will greet today, if a little dusty.