It’s that mad dash to put food on the table in the evening. Back from a sports class, small people’s need to eat – and their limited patience while food is cooking – mean it needs to be quick.
Mini and Junior aren’t entirely reading off the same menu at the moment. That’s OK. Tea for three of us on in the background (an easy favourite); and now to time an egg for Mini.
Mini has decided that egg white is OK; egg yolk is ‘yuk!’. So I decide on a well-done boiled egg – not quite a hard-boiled one, but done enough to make the yolk easy to scoop out.
So what can you do in the time it takes to cook an egg? (Seven minutes in this case, in case you were asking.)
Turns out, quite a lot.
Open window to check for favourable noises from small people on the trampoline. (So far so good.)
Get today’s lunchbox items into the dishwasher; try and assemble some food for tomorrow.
Haul the laundry basket in and see if there’s enough for a full load of either colour.
Put away some washing that’s dry but has been hanging about on a chair for a day or so.
Put other items away in Junior’s school bag; check for any significant paperwork that might not have been mentioned to me.
Put a few other items in the hall ready for tomorrow.
Round up a few stray pairs of shoes in the hall.
Realise I am in close proximity to a bathroom, with no competition for it. Seize the opportunity…
…and the timer for the egg goes off, just as I’m reaching for the tap. So be it.
I realised, as I was going around doing the various things, I was also starting to compose a blog post in my head. So that ought to count as an extra.
The thing is, it’s hard to get those few moments when the natives are quiet/occupied.
The ones which mean you can get a run at those tasks that have been eluding you.
The moments that might mean you have less to do in the evening.
(If only you can decide what is you actually want to do in the evening, after bedtime, once you no longer have small people in front of you, demanding any number of things.)
I wrote up this list, not to berate others (or equally myself, on the days when eating anything after five o’clock feels like an achievement). Maybe to capture some of that crazy back and forth productivity of parenting.
The type where some days, you’ve feel like you’ve conquered the world AND cleaned the cooker in just a few minutes, because nobody needed a) a story b) the toilet c) your peacemaking skills or d) made any other simultaneous demands.
Much of the rest of the time, it’s a-d (at least) and more besides.
Still. The egg calculation worked. The washing went on. And no one fell over a pile of shoes when coming back indoors.
I’ll take that as a win.