Egg in my Face

Photography: Jessica Lea Photography

By Victoria Vanstone

“Let’s go out for breakfast,” I say with confidence. 

“It will be fun”. 

I’m silly like that. The memory of a goldfish, me. I’ve chosen to forget our last traumatising outing. I block it out of my mind and pretend it didn’t happen. I have to…. If I remember, I’d never leave the house again.

The difficulties start at the mention of getting ready. 

“Right kids, we’re going out for brekkie. Get your gear on we’re leaving in twenty minutes”.

You’d think putting clothes onto cold skin after hot showers would be a normal everyday thing. You’d think putting on shoes before going outside was a ordinary undertaking. And you’d be right, it is. But when you’re 4, nothing matters. My 4-year-old lives in a vortex where time, rules and routines don’t exist. In her world, my demands are like snowflakes landing in a puddle. My voice melts away while more important things (brushing dolly’s hair and painting teddy’s nails) take over.  

Her fantasy land is full of glitter, mermaids and unicorns. It’s a place where she is president and everyone else are her staff. I only exist to aid her on her journey. I feed her and try and get her to bed on time.

I drive her to appointments and organise her diary. Because I am a mere employee of hers, my demands land on deaf ears. My requests mean nothing.

“Socks? I don’t need socks”.  

No, she has more important jobs to do.  

“Maaaam! Ellie the elephant is having an operation and I need band aids, now!”.

I spend ten minutes trying to placate the dictator and rummage through draws and pots for one (mother fucking) bandaid. Please let there be one, please.. I think. Anything to avoid a very time consuming meltdown.  

Then it’s the shoe battle. 

I go through 5 pairs, showing her the options and then listen to the reasons why each pair is not appropriate for this particular outing.

“They’re my dancing shoes”. 

“Those hurt”. 

“I don’t like those, they’re blue”. 

I take a deep breath and then lie. 

“Granny said you have to wear blue shoes today, otherwise she’s going to give you salad for dinner”. 

One down. 

My son is easier. He’s 8. All I have to do is prise the iPad from his vice-like grip and make promises of a surf later. 

Two down. 

I then have to get the baby dressed, pack a nappy bag, prepare some snacks in case the car journey gets too hectic, find my glasses, find the car keys, find my wallet, brush my own teeth, tell everyone to brush their teeth and find a t-shirt for my husband that hasn’t got a coffee stain on the front, tell him to change out of his dirty shorts, find my phone, the wipes and a hat and pile them all into the car.  

We’re only going 10 minute’s drive away.  

“Can we watch TV in the car?”. 

“No. You can never watch TV in the car”. 

“Can we have a snack?”.

“No, we’re going for breakfast”. 

“What’s breakfast?”.

“It’s the meal you eat in the morning”. 

“Can I have pasta?”. 

“No, you don’t eat pasta at breakfast time”. 

“Granny lets me eat pasta at breakfast time… and ice cream”. 

“Just shut up and put your seatbelts on”. 

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