Mrs Banana Head has gone away for a couple of days this week so it means I’m in charge of the house and the girls. On the bright side, it means I get some quality time alone with them and I can make sure the towels are hung up properly in the bathroom and the sink plugs are down properly in the kitchen. I don’t mean all this in a “Sleeping with the enemy” creepy way, just that they’re little things that bug me when “the boss” is here. She thinks she’s the boss and I let her believe that. We all know the truth though, just don’t tell her. Shhhhh. On the downside however, it means we’ll all be looking for missing clothes, equipment for the various classes the girls have and they’ll be a general sense of compete panic and chaos throughout the house until she returns tonight.
Working weekends can be difficult as I don’t get to see my family. It does mean though that I’m around during the week to spend time with them. In an ideal world, the afternoons after school would be full of fun activities together but the reality is different. I’ve often got work to do, the girls have homework and sometimes one or all of us might be in a funny / stroppy / general bad mood and having fun together might not always be on the agenda. I decided this week that I would make an effort to organise something fun we could all do together. I suggested swimming and the girls seemed excited about it. What’s not to love about taking turns holding your breath and watching your children do underwater handstands and jumping into the pool 735 times? Ooh, that sounded a bit sarcastic, am I actually a horrible daddy? No, of course not but you know what it can be like sometimes. I then had the idea of us cooking a meal together. The girls love cooking, I actually used to be a chef and I get mercilessly teased by the whole family that all I ever cook is macaroni cheese. After excited shrieks of, “Yes, definitely cooking,” it was settled.
The first step was shopping for ingredients which meant a trip to Sainsburys and as the girls were with me I knew what this meant. I would end up saying “No” about 347 times to every question they asked. This was the first two minutes and please understand I may have slightly extended the questions below for added value:
“Daddy, can we have some expensive and over-priced snacks and drinks as we haven’t eaten for an hour and we’re about to pass out?” – “No, we’ll have when we get home rather than spend money on gold flake infused chicken strips and organic pumpkin crisps.”
“Daddy, can we buy that massive chocolate bar and those 7 DVD’s that we’ll lose interest with after 30 mins?” – “No, you’ve got enough DVD’s at home to last 3 lifetimes.”
“Daddy, can we spend about £100 on those tacky presents that supermarkets sell for Mother’s Day? Look, they’ve got a big teddy that says Best Mum Ever. She can have it on her bed along with the other 17 we’ve bought her from Clintons over the years.” – “No, now please leave me alone as I’m slowly losing the will to live.
I appreciate I’m now sounding sarcastic, mean and tight. I assure you none of these are true, I just want to buy the ingredients, go home and start cooking without spending a week’s wages on junk that no one needs. So, Jade was making home made mozzarella garlic bread, I was making Chinese chicken with cashew nuts and Katie was making Summer Fruit Fool. I ask Jade if she’s used a proper knife before and she almost chokes with shock. “Of course I have, I use them every week in cooking club at school.” Reassured, I ask her to chop the garlic up. She holds the huge and very sharp chopping knife by the blade rather than the handle and I just manage to stop her from chopping her fingers off as she prepares to go crazy with the garlic.
Katie is busy spilling fruit all over the floor but eventually it’s all rescued and cooking nicely in the pan. I get on with the chicken preparation. I’m finding it a bit stressful micro managing it all so have a glass of Amaretto to calm myself. Both the girls want to sniff it for five minutes which is a bit weird but I let them. I’m concerned a couple of small bogies have fallen in but I don’t care, I want my Amaraetto and no small nasal mishaps are going to stop me. It’s time for Katie to weigh out the cream and yoghurt but in a last minute panic about a potential accident I can see happening I offer to do it for her. Somehow (and not as both girls claimed afterwards, because I was drunk!), I had a minor hand spasm and the cream went absolutely everywhere apart from in the bowl. Oh how they laughed, (and insisted I was really drunk.)
Two hours after starting we sat down together to eat our veritable feast. We all loved the garlic bread and Fruit Fool. Jade and myself were completely enamoured with the Chinese chicken, Katie, not so much. She did what all sneaky children do, she piled what she didn’t want (which was 80% of it) on the edge of the plate to make it look less than it was. It didn’t work. It was sweet that she didn’t want to hurt my feelings but I assured her it was fine and that I was pleased that she tried something new. Jade went as far as saying it was the best meal she’d ever had. Not one to miss an opportunity I insisted she ring her mum straight away and tell her. She rang Rachel who didn’t seem that impressed and was more concerned with berating me for constantly calling her with questions about the cooking. “Can’t you do anything on your own?” which seemed a bit unjust. I had called three times, once to ask how the grill worked, once to ask where the stir fry pan was (turns out we don’t have one) and once with a cornflour based question.
Food made and eaten, kitchen tidied up, ready for bed, we had a quick 10 mins watching the start of the
Exorcist, I mean something age appropriate and random on Netflix before cuddles and time for bed.
This morning I was feeling very confident and proud that everything had been relatively stress and problem free. That all stopped when Jade announced / started to freak out that she couldn’t find her school shoes and I had obviously hidden them. Cue frantic charging around the house whilst shouting, “You’ve hidden them and you’re so mean not helping me look for them. If it was Katie who’d lost them you’d be helping her because she’s your favourite daughter. Dagger through the heart, that’s what that is. I used to say it to my mum all the time when I was always the one being told off and only now do I understand the pain, guilt and suffering it causes, Not really, I just laughed which seemed to make it worse. She then finds her shoes, (where she left them, by the back door), screams out, “You’re so mean, I’m not taking to you,” and storms out the house. I then get a text ten minutes later apologising (she was very tired), saying she knows I don’t have a favourite and that she loves me. All good, all set for the rest of the day, now where’s Katie’s bike helmet……..aaagghhh!
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