Only son is going through what can only be described as a contrary period where he has stepped up a notch his search for complete and total independence from his pesky parents. He even does that thing where he says “I won’t, I won’t [go to nursery]” and stamps his foot in dramatic fashion before rolling on the floor. Therefore it is a brave and perhaps foolish parent who decides to take him to the supermarket to get some chicken for daughter one’s cookery lesson.
And yet it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Daughter one had trialled her recipe on the family at the weekend, supervised by current reigning Junior Bake Off champion [in our road anyway] daughter two. Daughter two is the kind of person who can’t just bake a cake. She has to measure it for moistness and decorate it with melted white chocolate artistically drizzled over the top in a lattice pattern. Daughter one is a teenager. She can barely summon the energy to move from the bathroom to the room next door where the nearest bin is located. Hence there is a growing pile of toilet rolls loitering in the corner. She claims she needs these for a sculputure. Daughter one finds daughter two annoying, to say the least. Being supervised by her while cooking herb-coated chicken is not a recipe, as it were, made in heaven. Daughter one, however, managed to pull off a veritable feast.
Anyway, back to the supermarket trip. Only son wandered in holding my phone. He is a whizz at something called Temple Run and was running a high score. After I had extracted the phone from his hand, he sat down on the ground in the vegetable aisle and refused point blank to move. Daughter three was with me. She pointed at the fruit and vegetables. Suddenly only son became animated. “Look at the lemons, mum,” he said as if he had discovered some wondrous jewel. He then proceeded to gasp with delight at every single item in the fruit and veg and any other aisle. I could see that my quick trip to the supermarket was going to take slightly longer than anticipated. We got to the cake section. Only son spotted an overpriced Peppa Pig cakemaking kit. He was entranced. “We MUST make Peppa Pig cakes,” he said with great enthusiasm. I tried to tempt him with a Tesco Value sponge cake, promising, perhaps foolishly, that I could mould it into a Peppa Pig cake. He refused the offer point blank and lay down in the aisle once again. “I need Peppa Pig cupcakes,” he wailed to all passersby. Daughter three loomed up behind me. “Can I get this lemon juice because I want to make lemonade so I can sell it to our neighbours?” she began. “Peppaaa piiig,” wailed only son, splayed out across the floor. I hoisted him up while explaining to daughter three that lemonade is probably not a big seller in January.
We then made an unfortunte detour up the sweeties aisle. Daughter three volunteered to get “a few” sweeties for only son and her while I queued. Only son calmed down and started advising his sister on his sweetie selection. Daughter three is the most sensible child in the family. Except when it comes to sweets. Her main goal in life is to own a sweetshop [and eat all the contents]. It was not perhaps a good move to put her in charge of sweetie deliberations. About 40 minutes after going into the supermarket for a chicken breast we emerged, somewhat battle weary, clutching a bag full of puce sugar mice.
We returned to find daughter one contemplating life. “I just exist,” she said. “We are just cogs in the system which forces us to work, work, work and do exams. That’s all there is.” Or words to that effect. I knew it was only minutes before she began a diatribe on the irrationality of getting teenagers into school for a 9am start and a plea to her mother for the sanity that is, apparently, internet school.
Fortunately, I had spotted something at the supermarket that will possibly get me through the next month of darkness and only son waking up in the middle of every night to complain about the dark shortly before he complains about the light when we head downstairs for breakfast [this can last for half an hour…every morning]. After a year in which lemon swirl cheesecakes appeared to have been banned by Tesco, they are now back in business. If you have never tasted a lemon swirl cheesecake [£1 a go so a bit of a luxury], you will not know the despair of finding they are “no longer available”. Why? Why cancel something that is such perfection? Asda’s version doesn’t even come close. Do they just want to punish parents who just about manage to get through the week with the promise of a lemon swirl cheesecake twinkling in the distance of a Friday evening? I only hope that the lemon swirl cheesecake’s return is a forerunner of greater things, even perhaps the reappearance of carrot and butterbean soup about which daughter two and I have written a song. We can only wait in anticipation.