Apricots

I try to be a good parent, I really do.

SCENE: We are all in the kitchen. I am trying to start the chocolate custard for the Christmas trifle while Barns makes the kids’ afternoon tea. Nora and June (both 2) are tootling around underfoot.

Me: I’m not really feeling the Christmas spirit this year. It’s like I just don’t have room in my brain for it right now. (I absent-mindedly take an apricot from the fruit bowl and start snacking)

B: Weird. Maybe – 

Nora: My want an apricot.

Me: You don’t like apricots, darling.

B: Do you want some in your afternoon tea?

Nora: MY WANT AN APRICOT.  (I am already selecting an apricot for her)

B: You can have some in your afternoon tea.

Nora: MY NO WANT SOME. MY WANT A BIG ONE.

(I give her a whole apricot. She does not eat it)

June: My want an apricot.

Me: You don’t like apricots, darling. (I start looking for an apricot for her. All of the apricots on the top of the fruit bowl are still rock-hard. Of course they are.)

Nora: Open my apricot.

Me: Just wait one minute, please. (Rummaging in the fruit bowl, I accidentally stick my fingers into a rotten apricot)

Nora: Open it!

(I throw out the rotten apricot. June is horrified. She thought that one was going to be hers.)

June: WHERE MY APRICOT?!

Nora: OPEN IT!!

(B makes placating noises but, hands covered in egg, is frankly no use at all. I hastily wash my hands)

June: WAAAAAAAH

Nora: WAAAAAAAAAH

(I finally find June an apricot, pass it to her and then rip open Nora’s apricot. They are momentarily appeased.)

Me: (to Barnaby) I mean like, Christmas has always been really important to – 

Nora: My no like it. Close it again.

Me: Um. I… I can’t, darling. That’s not how apricots work.

Nora: (doggedly proffering apricot) Mummy want to close it!

Me: Nora, my love, I can’t. You can’t close an apricot.

June: Waaaaaa – (takes a breath)

Nora: CLOSE IT!

June: – AAAH! (B and I stare at her helplessly, as we have absolutely no idea why she is upset)

Nora: MUMMY WANT TO CLOSE IT!

Me: (gabbling) I can’t, Lovey! I’m sorry! I just can’t! I’m so sorry!

June: WAAAAAAAAAH (furious incoherent wailing. Stamps round and round in a circle)

B: (tries to talk to June. Untranscribable. Nobody can hear him. This just makes her angrier, anyway. )

Nora: CLOSE IT CLOSE IT CLOSE IT (takes a deep breath)

Both children: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Me: (Throws away all parenting goals and snatches apricots from children’s tiny hands while shouting) OH MY GOD, YOU’RE BOTH JUST HUNGRY!!! WHO WANTS A MUESLI BAR?

(Peace is instantly restored. B glances at the nutritious afternoon tea plates he has slaved over but wisely says nothing. We unwrap muesli bars)

Me: As I was saying, you know, Christmas, it’s like I just don’t have the room in my brain right –

Nora: My wanna open it myself. (The muesli bar wrapper – brace yourselves for this – is already open)

Published by Tara

I'm a stay-at-home mum of two year old twins, based in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Life's changed a lot for me in the last two and half years and most of the things I do now are new to me, so I'd hesitate to describe myself as anything else, but I'm also keen on (in a very amateurish way) cooking, writing and gardening. I like to read manga and if I ever get a chance to watch a movie then I gravitate towards animation, which holds my imagination forever. I used to read books but these days I find it buggers up my writing - still searching for my own voice I suppose. I used to like tramping and also travel but currently have to be satisfied with the week away every summer that is all we have the money and energy for. As this small vacation with two toddlers takes almost as much intensive planning (and way more packing-related stress) than the six months we spent in Europe, more would probably kill me anyway. We've also just bought our first home, which we plan to renovate into a two-dwelling property so my nearly retired parents can come and live with us. This experiment in multi-generational living is completely uncharted waters for all of us but we're optimists at heart so we're not...too...worried.

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