It’s 1am. I wish my being awake was solely due to the fact that I have become, over the past few days, a human washing machine (carrying what feels like a large load of claws and bones on a full spin-cycle), but I have to admit some responsibility – specifically the late-night ingestion of chocolate. Even as I was (repeatedly) breaking off the squares and ramming them in my gob I knew it was a bad idea, and again when the Man was raising his eyebrows in an are-you-really-having-more manner, but I am powerless in the face of good quality chocolate. (Or, let’s face it, any type at all.)
Anyway. I’m amazed I can even think about sleep after the week we’ve just had.
We took another road trip... It wasn’t so bad this time – shorter (2 hours each way, in one day – so no overnight shenanigans), and we made an amazing discovery: the kids have a ten-minute concentration span. (They’re like goldfish, only a teeny bit smarter. And less relaxing to have in a bowl on your desk.) Armed with this new knowledge, we put a
commandment suggestion to them:
be ye good for 10 minutes (for which read: keep your respective forked tongues in your
respective mouths, and your talons out of each others’ flesh) and ye shall receive 10-minutely tic-tac bribes
It worked. Sort of. They kept their sibling violence to a minimum, although they still managed to drive us semi-demented. The Boy has absolutely no concept of delayed gratification: paw out, tic-tac received, paw to gob, tic-tac in said gob, tic-tac in gullet. The Girl meanwhile – probably just to irritate her brother – takes gratification to a whole new level. Think you can’t hold a tic-tac between your fingers and suck on it for 9 minutes and 59 seconds? Think again. This, naturally, sent the Boy in a frenzied spiral of jealousy, accentuated by the fact that he knew he was being unreasonable. And so we had to endure 10 minute segments of reproachful “Why she has still her tic-tac?”, interlaced with “Is it ten minutes yet? Is it ten minutes now? When will it be ten minutes?” on a loop for 2 hours.
Finally we got to our destination, which was fabulous – beach cabana, friends, other children, kids’ pool, beach restaurants. Our plan was simple: wear them out, have dinner, stick them in the car way way past their bedtime, drive home in the dark in peace and quiet. It almost – almost – worked that way. If only the Girl hadn’t been so exhausted (and hyped up on tic-tacs) that she laughed inanely for the entire duration, muttering “awesome!” to herself, singing snatches of Lady Gaga, and occasionally kicking the (sleeping) Boy on the head; if only the sleeping Boy didn’t keep getting woken up by the kicking Girl and shrieking like he was being tortured; if only that animal – whatever it was – hadn’t walked out, on the only pitch-black stretch of road in the whole of Florida, straight under the wheels of our car. And if only we could forget the sound of the impact as we hit it, and the sight of an enormous gaping hole in the front of my father-in-law’s car. (We stopped, and searched the road, but could see no sign of any animal, alive or otherwise; the car, however, was most certainly injured, and so we can only assume the poor animal was also.)
Oy vey. We got home, eventually (largely in silence, punctuated with occasional maniacal back-seat cackles and off-tune snippets of Poker Face), and put the kids to bed. And then, having spent the entire journey longing for a wee (or alternatively some space for my bladder to expand to its normal size) I indulged myself, then - as one does - flushed the toilet.
Now you don’t really expect raw sewage to come shooting up through a shower drain when you flush a toilet, so you can imagine my, um, surprise. And then the Man’s, not too long afterwards, when the same happened to him – but in a different bathroom. And then mine, again, a few minutes later (pesky bladder) in the third (and final) bathroom in the house. Talk about the backed-up sewage system that just keeps on giving. After three days of this, and unanswered (and increasingly hysterical) calls to the plumbers, it finally got sorted this morning. Apparently our choice of toilet paper is too “fancy” for the delicate - albeit brand new - plumbing system; (whooda thought regular 2-ply was pushing the boundaries of extravagance?)
I didn’t think much could overtake The Animal Incident in terms of leaving a traumatic mark in my brain, but The Toilet Incident appears to be giving it a run for its money. I am now terrified to flush the toilet. I am, in fact, terrified to even use the toilet, and am in danger of becoming the in-house toilet police (not a pretty mental image). The poor Boy announced his usual morning poo today (10.17am, on the button: I NEED A POO!) and my immediate instinct was to tell him to HOLD IT IN UNTIL WE GO OUT FOR LUNCH...
And so, what with the toilet and the car / animal, I’ve been too distracted to focus on the fact that this is meant to be a food blog (yeah, right). As soon as I can get my head – and our bottoms – around using 1-ply toilet paper (it reminds me of the sheets of tracing paper the nuns provided in school – the toilet-paper equivalent of a hair shirt I presume), my kitchenly duties will resume. Promise. Until then, if you’re hungry, do what all self-respecting pregnant ladies do and reach for a bar of chocolate.