Saturday, 22 September 2018

Breakfast at Tiffs 'r' Us

FORGET Brexit, let’s talk about breakfast for a second. Because I don’t know about you, but in our house these days, the kitchen table sees more volatile and incendiary talk than any Brussels board meeting — and from where I’m sitting (at our lovely too-big-for-our-tiny-cottage oak table FYI) the atmosphere’s about 100 times thicker with seething resentment and barely suppressed tension than the Number 10 PR office after yet another leaked memo highlighting gross incompetence.

And even though calm, well-timed, careful diplomacy might be the order of the day in the EU, back on the home front, negotiations have completely broken down and no peace talks, let alone peace agreements, appear to be forthcoming in the near or even distant future.

Yep, we’re on the brink of domestic disaster here, folks and, as the head of the embattled family, boss of two bickering kids, just like Theresa May, I haven’t got the faintest idea what to do next.

Take this very morning, for example. It was about 6.30 and I’d just taken the Co-op pastries out of the oven, so my kids could start the day in a super-yummy, carb-laden, treat breakfast kind of way.

Have I told you about our treat breakfasts before? Just in case I haven’t, treat breakfasts were born of a desire to create new traditions in our life as a threesome once The Ex and I had divorced.

So we’d have movies and popcorn on the sofabed on Friday nights, croissants and cinnamon swirls on a Friday morning, a roast on a Sunday afternoon — you get the picture.

In my new guise as Super Single Mum, I was hell-bent on creating a happy new life for us (as well as a bum the size of Guernsey, it would seem).

Anyway, as the pastries were cooling on top of the oven, I was trying to be organised and sort out tickets for a dance concert at the Eleventeen Year Old’s school online.

Which is confusing at the best of times but when you’ve spent years honing your Luddite skills and resisting all calls to join the technological revolution, this simple, everyday task takes on colossal proportions.

“I can’t see where to buy the tickets,” I said out loud, hoping for some help from my daughter. “I mean, there’s not even a button or a link or a widget or...”

“Oh, for God’s sake!” My daughter stomped round to my side of the table and leaned over the laptop.

“That’s ParentMail! You need ParentPay!” She huffed, puffed, muttered something that sounded a bit like “idiot” and, quick as a flash, one-handedly logged me in to the correct site, clicking on tickets to buy before I’d even had a chance to finish forming a look of wounded indignation on my face.

“You should have done this weeks ago!”

She made her way back to her side of the table and flopped down in her chair, grabbing the packet of Cheerios as she went.

“Actually, tickets only went on sale yesterday,” I gently reminded her, only to be waved away dismissively by a fistful of sugary circles of cereal.

Just then, the Sunshiney Seven Year Old, who was clearly not feeling terribly sunny, frowned his way into the kitchen.

“Where’s my treat breakfast?” He whined.

“And a very good morning to you, too,” I said, trying to smile as I got up to put the pastries on plates. “Argh! Where are the croiss...”

“COOKIE!” We yelled in unison, all looking at the kitchen doorway just in time to see a rust-coloured, feathery tail disappearing silently into the front room.

“MUMMY!” cried my youngest.

I sprang into action and dived into the front room, tackling the dog to the ground and trying to get a grip on a pain au raisin.

But it was no use — he’d slobbered, bit and all but devoured the four pastries.

“Sorry guys,” I wandered back into the kitchen defeated.

“Hopeless,” mumbled my girl.

“You should have looked after the treats better!” My boy’s face crumpled into a mess of tears as he realised that everything is mummy’s fault and it was going to be gruel for breakfast. Again.

And not for the first time in this Single Mum’s life, I pinched myself, wondering whether I was awake or still asleep, having my usual recurring nightmare.

But that’s another story…

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