I wake up this morning to find my house covered in salt.
It’s not a euphemism, nor poetic license or even attempted creativity- I’m being quite literal. Every surface in my home– floors, tables, lounges and beds– is covered in a grainy, white sprinkling. I wake and sit up, raise my hand to rub liquid nightmares from my eyes… and find myself scratching grains of sodium into them instead.
That is the most fucking unpleasant way to begin a day.
To my horror, my phone tells me it’s almost nine am. As anyone with preschool or toddler aged children knows, that is an unearthly time to wake. I have a vague memory of my daughter crawling out of my bed not long ago– hopefully not long ago, how long has it been? She usually wakes at eight, a sleeper while her brother is up at the crack of dawn. But the Chop has learnt to chill out until a more reasonable hour of at least seven o’clock, as opposed to half past five– he grabs a yoghurt from the fridge, throws on the jumper I’ve left out for him, and chills out on the lounge reading books, watching endless SpongBob or defiling my iPad with Lightning McQueen.
Knowing that both children have been awake (outnumbered) without me for an unspecified period of time is enough to wake me up instantly. The house is (touch wood) relatively kid safe– doors and windows firmly locked, the few chemicals we do have stored under lock or outside.
It’s the potential bio–hazards or nuclear war zone that they’ll leave for me that scares me.
And the kidlets did not disappoint.
An entire half kilo of salt (non–idiosed, tsk tsk) is spread from here to there, back door to front. It increases in density on the floor space of our tiny kitchen, and trails like Gretel’s bread crumbs throughout the rest of the house.
Note the use of the feminine Gretel there? The Chop, butter not even softening in his mouth, is still engrossed in the iPad, watching WipeOut on YouTube.
|Cheeky, you say..? You haven’t seen the half of it. Photo by the awesome Byron family photographer Kirsten Cox.|
I think I know which of my angels is responsible for this one. The one with the cheeky, toothy smile and messy bed hair so much like her mothers, who’s curled into a salty lounge chair giggling softly at me.
What do you do, in a situation like that? How much responsibility can you expect a four year old and two year old to take for their own actions, when it took until two am for the temazapan to finally kick in, and seven hours of sleep only just barely cut it?
I hate it, I hate making excuses for myself like that. But I do it anyway, because I think the guilt would eat me alive otherwise.
There’s a silver lining here… a salted rim on the glass containing a bad martini. I choose not to yell, although I’ll admit I sighed enormously, and immediately my son said “That was naughty, wasn’t it mummy? I’m sorry”
Can you help me clean up, please, I ask, and my children scatter in two different directions. The Bump disappears to her room, the Chop into the storage cupboard.
Seconds later, my baby girl emerges wearing a chef’s hat, one arm caught up in a fairy dress, carrying her tiara– all essentials for cleaning up spilled salt, obviously. My son is making a banging, scraping racket, calling over the top of his own noise“It’s OK Mummy, I’m getting the vacuum cleaner!”
And I start to laugh, giggling uncontrollably at my house covered in salt, child half dressed in varying shades of fairy, the other in man-of-the-house mode. The Bump joins in straight away- she’s always up for a giggle and it doesn’t take much to set her off. My son stares at me, wide eyed for a moment, before he starts laughing too.
The three of us sit in small mounds of salt, and for some stupid reason I throw a pinch of it over my left shoulder. For luck, maybe. Whatever. I don’t need luck, right now.
I’m happy with laughter. Right now, laughter will do.