My daughters are a little scared. Before their very eyes, their once-familiar Mummy is going through a metamorphosis, without even the decency of first entering a cocoon. Although they are now fully accustomed to the lack of bra, every day still brings a new and upsetting adjustment for them.
At the beginning of the week, my youngest told me that she liked my grey eyes. Pushing aside my annoyance that in 10 years she might at least have worked out my eye colour, I patiently replied that my eyes are brown. After much confusion and pointing, it turned out she was talking about the shadows UNDER my eyes. I took the compliment anyway; you can’t be too proud.
As if that weren’t bad enough, yesterday my teenager asked me how I got that scar on my face. Investigations revealed it to be a new wrinkle. I think it probably appeared as a direct result of the eleven hours I spent trying to get them to do their thirty minutes of chores.
And it’s not just my eyes and face. My roots are growing out and the grey is not only back, it’s brought reinforcements. I don’t mind it, but my children seem to view it as a sign of my imminent death and keep asking if I need to sit down.
Don’t be fooled though, they don’t actually mean it. Like all children, they were born with a built-in alarm system, which sounds the second I even THINK about sitting down for five minutes.
This warning is their cue to yell out ‘MUMMY!’ at deafening levels until they get a response. It doesn’t occur to them to come down the stairs and into the same room to speak to me. I therefore spend the next ten minutes or so yelling up the stairs to inform them that I’m not going to keep yelling up the stairs. Their response is to shout ‘Mummy’ again, only louder. It’s basically a game of ‘who will get angry and give in first’ which I win every time.
Once we are finally speaking face-to-face, it turns out that 75% of the time, they want food (the rest of the time it’s the WiFi password). The obvious answer is to get them to do it themselves, but let’s not be too hasty here. Firstly, our versions of ‘snack’ differ considerably. My version involves something with a vitamin or two. Theirs involves me having to hoover up vast amounts of spilt sugar, which I will continue to find in surprising places for a fortnight afterwards.
However, this is still nowhere near as bad as when they attempt to be kind and make me something to eat. I am still recovering from the time they very kindly offered to make me lunch, and I was presented with lemon curd spread on dry Weetabix and hot vegetable stock to drink. I naturally declared it to be delicious, but I think I did too good an acting job, because they now think this is my go-to treat. They will bring Daddy hot chocolate and a Kit Kat, while I brace myself for the crackle of the cereal packet.
So I am greyer in the eyes and hair, more creased in the facial area and deafer by the minute. I’ve got less patience, more rolls of fat from all the stress-eating, and my blood is three parts wine to one part blood cells.
Despite that I am still here, still smiling (a grimace is a sort of smile, right?) and still saying ‘Bring on Bedtime!’