“What are you eating?” I asked Tracey when I slunk into the kitchen in search of a coffee hit.
“A shoshted shandwish,” she said. Then, when my face failed to register anything but dazzling dumb, she swallowed and repeated, “A toasted sandwich.”
“Smells nice. Can I have one?” I asked hopefully. I’ve been avoiding bread, but if people are just going to wave it in front of me I can’t be held responsible.
“Last one,” she said. “No more bread. This sandwich was leftover from school lunches this morning.”
“I’ll share yours then.”
With the deftness and speed of a headline Vegas act, Tracey’s hands were suddenly empty. It was like magic.
Then, ever the showman, she wiggled her sandwich free fingers at me.
“Shoreshee. Ish-all gone.”
Actually, on the matter of lunches I think we do pretty well. Recently, we’ve taken up the method we used to do when Master24 and Miss21 were in primary school – making up a batch of sandwiches at the weekend and having them ready in the freezer. The only one I have to make each morning is Master11’s because he won’t eat sandwiches with butter and, although I’ve thought of a fantastic way to differentiate the many buttered from the five dry less flavoursome sandwiches, at this stage I’ve never thought of this awesome method before I’ve finished buttering, making, cutting and wrapping all the bread.
But you know how just when you think you’ve got this parenting caper sorted you get pulled up short?
“Can you set an alarm with your iPhone,” Miss9 asked me after we arrived home from the school run pick up later in the day.
“Sure can,” I assured her. “You want to get out of bed earlier tomorrow? What’s up? You got something happening with the Eisteddfod? ”
“No,” she said. “I want you to get out of bed earlier, not me.”
This flies in the face of everything I’ve ever tried to achieve with my life. Something she knows only too well, I might add, given the number of times I’ve yelled at her for waking me up before sparrows.
“Why on earth would I want to do that?”
“To make our lunches.”
“I already make your lunches. You just need to be a little grateful for what you get,” I told Miss9 in my grown up voice of reason.
“Sorry, Daddy,” she told me. “It’s just I think you need to defrost the sandwiches before you pack lunch. My sandwich was hard.”
“How was it still frozen by lunchtime?” I wanted to know. Her older siblings never had this problem.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I took it out of the fridge, had a bite and spat it out. I did try another bite of a different part of the sandwich just to be sure though.”
“Ah,” I said, watching her empty her lunchbox into the bin and place it next to the sink. “The fridge.”
That might stop a sandwich from defrosting in a hurry. They didn’t have them in classrooms when the other two were at school. In fact, the biggest problem the opposite – remembering to avoid giving them ham or chicken sandwiches in summer.
“You’re lucky,” said Master11 from the kitchen table. He had, as usual, beaten us home on his bike.
He’d looked up from where he was shovelling a bowl of breakfast cereal into his mouth like a fireman on a steam train. Anyone would think he was starving.
Turns out there was a good reason for that.
“I didn’t even have a sandwich in my lunchbox!” he complained.
Not that his suffering was in vane – I got to inform my wife she’d literally eaten the food right out of her child’s mouth.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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