I kneel at his feet to tie shoe laces as he drips toothpaste froth on the top of my head. I should be taking this moment to teach him how to tie his own shoe laces. Maybe I'm teaching him to multi-task but I have my doubts. It can't be multitasking if I'm the slave doing all the multis. I'm against slavery and child exploitation but a helping hand wouldn't go amiss, several extra hands to be precise. Maybe I'm teaching him the art of delegation?
Behind me, my daughter lists her numerous concerns before my brain is able to process the information. It dawns on, all of a sudden, as these things so often do. Due to some parental oversight, she has reached the giddying age of 10 and get is ignorant of the rule. I waste no time in explaining it to her.
“It's simple. Worry about the things that you can change or have influence over, ignore everything else.”
I glance up from the knotted laces to see whether or not she understands. She in turn glares back at me as if I have just crash landed from Mars. We are both distracted by the snorter, who slip streams minty from wrist to elbow. “Eeeow you are so gross!”
“I am not be gross! I am be clean!” He beams a toothy grin and lears towards her. “Hey haven't you heard of personal space,” she pouts, “Mom tell him to stop teasing me!”
“Come along dear, can't you see she's upset, don't be a pest.” As soon as I have said this, I realize several things simultaneously; that he does know that she's upset, that he is aware that he is purposefully annoying her further, and that he is therefore a fully qualified member of the 'annoying little brothers club.'
“Pest, pest, pest! Pesty, Pesty, Pesty! Pst, pst, pst!” he persists with glee. I grab her wrist to stop her swatting him, as I would prefer his fragile good humour to remain unchallenged.
Now all I have to do is figure out a way to curb his teasing tendencies, not that I'm worried of course.