I notice that with spouse away, the boys do not come into the bedroom in the morning. Usually they bowl in together to announce their pull-up and bed status, wet or dry, at 50 decibels, twice over. Whilst he is away in “England,” I am no substitute. I am left to slumber in blissful peace.
Nevertheless at 5:25 a.m. which is really 6:25 a.m. due to Daylight Savings, I am forced to quit my steaming pit and lumber downstairs to calm the screaming masses. Sunday is pancake day, all of them are on the cusp of malnutrition. I stick the thermometer in my ear before I greet them, just to check that I am keeping the fever at bay: 99.1, let's keep it that way.
We meet and greet as I discretely pat their derrieres for more checking. Dang! More laundry. I shelve laundry duty and commence pancake making. I grab oranges, celery, carrots and sweet peppers, shout a warning and stuff them all through the juicer. I am no nutritionist but I suspect that they may collectively hide healing properties for pre-teens and their acne.
I am in everyone's dog house due to a failure to use my executive function. We have two outstanding issues to resolve, they are in my pending file:- “dog,” which breed, age and sex is the first matter.
The second matter is determination of the 'correct' age that youthful American womenfolk may shave their armpits. Strangely the second issue takes up far more of my working brain capacity that the former. I discover that I have no terms of reference for this issue. There was no such thing as a pre-teen when I was one. I had no idea who, if anyone, had underarm hair, as arm pits were never on display. I do know that if you can't cut a slice of bread with a knife, you should not be allowed within fifty paces of a safety razor.
The pay off for walking to school was the possibility of acquiring a “dog.” The household member who is not sold on the dog theory of motivation is currently in England, for another week.
“I just don't get it!” she whines. “If we get the dog whilst he's away it'll be a fate accomplished!”
I look at my daughter. I keep a straight face. The boys burble quietly, “batteries not included, batteries not included, batteries not included.”
“That would be very underhand dear. Daddy and I make big decisions together.”
“Bukugan sting! Bukugan sting! Bukugan sting!”
“So? Getting a dog isn't a big decision, it's a quick little decision.”
“Geronimo! Geronimo! Geronimo!”
“Daddy thinks it’s a big decision.”
“Well if getting a dog is a big decision, what about the other decision? Surely that's nothing, a real no brainer.”
Her emphasis doesn't escape me, but I let it ride.
I am struck by a thoroughly brilliant idea, prompted by a recent email.
“Tell you what!”
“What?” is the desultory response between gritted teeth.
“Your big sister will be back in ten days.”
“Really!” she perks.
“Yes. She'll know all about that sort of thing. We'll ask her what we decided when she was your age.”
“That's no good! You'll just do the same stupid thing you did with her!”
I bite my figurative tongue. I need to re-learn this skill and practice it for the next eight plus years.
“You're right. I have a better idea.”
“What?” she sighs.
“You can talk it over with her. She's cool. She's young. Whatever she thinks is best is exactly what we'll do. Deal?”
I nudge the glass of juice towards her and deflect her chilled glance. My son gasps wide eyed and begins to sputter, “ you, you, you have….a magic…….an…….invisible…….ring on yur head!”
My hands instinctively fly up. Nothing.
“She's got hat hair!” explains my daughter in a voice of dripping ice, tossing back a curtain of silky tresses. “Yur not gonna go out like that are you Mom!” It's more of a statement than a request. I reach over for my baseball cap and ram it back on my head, “sorted!”
She steps away with the downwards head shake of those whose patience is exhausted.
I glug the rejected juice, slowly. In just over a week my first born, live child will return to the chicken ribbed, bosom of her family. My tree hugging, save a whale, worship the planet, no make-up, no nonsense daughter……….. and we all know the number one criticism that American's have about European women's underarms! I place the glass in the sink, empty, it's bound to be good for peri-menopausal, prematurely senile women too.