What I really hate is when cafes close the kitchen even though they're still open. I don't drink coffee and when I'm hungry for lunch, I don't care how delicious your triple layer choc brownie orgasmo cake is, the kids had their little hearts set on a bowl of hot chips and I wanted a gor-met sandwich, dammit. It's none of your business how many of the chips I would have eaten in the name of "cooling them down" for the children. And don't look all incredulous that I'm looking for a meal at 3:10pm. You're not the boss of what time I can eat certain foods. Except on this occasion when you are. Stick your made-fresh-this-morning lemon tart up your jaxxy. I'll take my business elsewhere, thankyouverymuch.
Which is my way of explaining how this story begins in the carpark of McDonalds. It wasn't my idea to eat a Smoky Texan something burger. For god's sakes, I was after something gor-met. The fact that they brought me the Tasty California something something burger instead just added insult to injury. By the time I realised, I had already scarfed all the fries so I ate the burger that should never have been and tried to forget my troubles for a little while.
But this is motherhood, not some fantasy land, and so it wasn't long before the voices from behind began.
"Oh, maaan! I hate this weather!" cried the five-year-old, surveying the darkening sky from the comfort of his fully waterproofed and climate-controlled seat in the car.
I took another bite of the burger I never ordered. The sweet chilli sauce tasted like…was it pineapple?
"Harlow is pulling my t-shirt!" whined the three-year-old.
"Give her this, " I said, throwing an empty chip box into the back seat because feeding my infant daughter cardboard seemed preferable to feeding her dirty McD.
Peace was restored for a brief moment before the three-year-old called out again.
"Drive the car now, Mumma!"
"Hang on, Zig. I'm still eating."
"Noooo. Drive now, Mumma!"
"Be patient, Ziggy! I won't be long."
"Now, Mumma, I want you to drive the car noooooowwwwww!"
"For god's sakes, why?"
"Because I don't like to smell the rain."
I turned in my seat to stare at the small child clamping his palm over his nose dramatically.
Indeed, the clouds could scarcely have been any blacker and when I did finally manouvere out of the carpark and into traffic, the heavens opened with such hammering ferocity that I considered bringing the car to a halt once again, but at this point, perpetual motion was a drug I could not quit.
With squinting intensity, I drove home, fearing the apocolypse was a mere t-shirt pull or whiff of rain away. No doubt sensing that no tense scene is complete without a haunting soundtrack, Luca began to sing;
"All the trees are dyyyy-iiing! All the trees are dyyyy-iiing! All the birds are dyyyy-iiing! All the birds are dyyyy-iiing!"
"I don't know if I like this song, Luca! Haha!" I laughed nervously.
"Every-fing is dyyyy-iiing! Every-fing is dyyyy-iiing!"
I turned the radio up but on some level, I knew he was right.
When we got home, I unbuckled Harlow from her carseat. She had steadily eaten her way around the rim of the fries box, her little face speckled with wet, red cardboard. She cried when I prised it from her little fingers.
Mentally I high-fived myself. Motherhood par excellence. Again.