My three year old asks for a green apple.
'A green apple.' he clarifies.
'I want one too', says the five year old.
'A green apple,' he adds.
They are both skipping around, excited about their green apples. I cut them slices of green apple. The three year old takes them. The five year old wails.
'I wanted a red apple. Why can't I have a red apple? '
It's true there's a red apple sitting in the fruit bowl with the green apples.
'You asked for a green apple.'
'I wanted red.'
'Well, I've cut green.'
'I want red.'
The boy is going to break me. Do I give in?
'Well, what do you say?'
'Please can I have red.'
I reluctantly cut a red apple and eat the other half of the green one. Later when he comes out of school, he's thirsty.
'Mum I need water.'
'I don't have any water.'
'But I need water.'
'OK. Well, we'll get some at the music class.' We are taking the seven year old to his guitar class.
'But I'm thirsty.'
'Did you have water at snack time?'
'I'm thirsty now, not then.'
'Well, wouldn't it be nice if there was a tap in the car and we could get water whenever we like.'
We briefly digress into the imaginary tap idea, having it dispense apple juice and frozen tubes of popsicles. This is too much or the five year old.
'I'm thirsty.' he wails
'We will get some water at the water fountain when we stop.'
It's after we have delivered the seven year old to his music teacher and as we are finding the water fountain for the five year old that the three year old tells me he needs to do a pee. The bathroom is one of those sealed rooms with a heavy door. The three year old doesn't want to be in there on his own with the terrifying flush and the noisy air dryer. I go in with him. The five year old waits in the empty corridor outside. We wash our hands and when I try and open the door it is even heavier than I'm expecting. I push against it and realize the five year old is pushing just as hard the other side. I give it a good shove. He's pushing against it as if he's holding back flood waters. My shove is stronger though, and he is pushed aside.
'You hurt me' he wails, indignant.
'You were trying to shut us in the bathroom!'
I'm reduced to this peevishness.
'Would you like it if someone was trying to trap you in a bathroom?' I say.
'But you hurt me.'
I feel bullied and angry and tired. Later I tell my husband about it. I know it's petty. I ended up fighting with the seven year old too. I let him play on the computer while I was preparing supper and afterwards when I asked him to get his backpack from the car he started crying about how terrified he was of the garage and how he couldn't do it because he was so scared.
'You don't get computer privileges if you can't do simple things like get your backpack from the car.'
'Do you think he was trying to make you laugh?' My husband asks when I tell him about the bathroom story.
Trying to make me laugh? I hadn't looked at it this way. Then I imagine him telling his brothers. 'I trapped mum in the loo.' Yes, perhaps he might have been trying to make them laugh. 'So-and-so says he trapped his mum in the bathroom.' That might have some punch in the playground.
I was on a long haul flight with my husband many years ago. When we had our meal trays delivered he stuffed my face in the cream pie. He could not understand my rage. His implication was that any fun loving gal would have had a good old laugh about that. I felt like I was the kid sister and I was fed up of being the kid sister.
'Were we married when you stuffed my face in the custard pie?' I ask him.
'It wasn't like that' he says, smiling. And damn it if I'm not smiling too.
I demonstrate for him with my own hand the pressure on my neck as he forced my face into the sweet marshmallow fluff. He says that's not true. I apparently lifted the pie up to smell it and he gave my head a little push so I got a tiny bit of cream on my nose. Was it flirtatious then? Or did he think I'd laugh?
'Were we married?' I ask him.
'I think we were on our way to Australia.' So I married him in spite of the custard pie. 'Three hours out of Heathrow' he adds.
'Three hours out of Heathrow on a 24 hour flight, you thought it was a good idea to stuff my face in a cream pie.'
Being trapped in the bathroom by your five year old, having your face stuffed in a pie by your husband. I should lighten up. I should lighten up and try and see the world through the inscrutable lens of a small boy. Because I live with four of them. The little shits.