Frictional Drag By Georgiana Westley
Today is about breakfast. It is now my least favourite meal time of the day. It never used to be, in fact there is a huge spectrum of breakfast deliciousness that I love - the comfort of porridge; sweet and milky, even plain made with water. There is something so comforting about it, a gentle morning hug. Appley Bircher muesli. Pancakes, I mean who doesn't love them? I have my own special muesli mix (not homemade, I'm not that organised, but Dorset cereal spelt flakes with Lizi's passion fruit granola. Preferably with blueberries). Fresh bread with honey. I mean, I could pretty much go on all day. This isn't about breakfast fantasies, it is about why breakfast has become such a chore.
My entire family suffers from something that we have always labelled FRICTIONAL DRAG. It is now rather aptly named hangry by most. Without frequent feeding we all become the Jekyll that hides in us all. Both my sister and my husbands were warned about this early on. They cautiously ask, when we are being totally vile and unreasonable, if we might, perhaps, maybe, be a tad bit hungry? It depends how far down the frictional drag path we are on the response. All hope that this can be pulled back, an oat bar consumed, and all be happy and jolly again. Woe betide anyone in our path if we are too far gone to appreciate that food will help.
So, with this in mind, it is unsurprising that both my children are blighted with this. Wilfred more so, poor little mite, as he is pretty much a carbon copy of me, but with a willy.
After the morning debacle with the bloody groclock and the constant calls of 'it is STILL blue star. Be quiet until the orange sun comes up!' (Are my children immune to the power of the groclock? It sells you a promise that they seem entirely immune to... ) At 6.10 when we have all been awake for 1/2 hour and are willing the sun to come up, the morning starts. As does the battle of the wills. Both kids want to snuggle in bed and watch videos on our phones, with calls for milk and warm juice to be brought hither by their weary slaves. The video watching is verboten as it turns them vile. So a book is negotiated instead. Doesn't that paint a rosy picture of family life?? The temptation, of course, is to do exactly that and to stay in the warmth and deliciousness of bed. The clock is ticking. The hanger is brewing. The sooner we get them downstairs with breakfast in them the better, the hanger can not kick in and the inevitable meltdowns will be removed. Bleary eyed we get everyone downstairs.
This is when I would like to project my breakfast fantasies on the rest of the family. Nick quells at the though of food so early, but even he has been forced into having something, so has his unappetising, tiny bowl of shredded wheat. Note - this does not make it in my breakfast dream list.
At the moment, we are in a pretty good place with breakfast range, which has taken about a year to achieve. They will begrudgingly eat vaguely healthy cereal if sprinkled with cocopops. And eggybread doused in honey. Even a dipped egg with mostly rejected soliders. What is she moaning about, I hear you cry! As I said, it has taken us this long to get 3 things on the menu. It is, however, not the range that bothers me. It is trying to get them to eat the bloody stuff that kills me, one morning at a time. If you have just spent the time making eggy bread, it is hateful to watch it get cold and congealed as your 4 year old stares at nothing. Or your 2 year old actually willingly putting it in their mouth before spitting it out again and then rubbing the gooy mouthful into the table. How many times do I actually ask them to put a mouthful in? To stay sitting on their chairs. To stop trying to take pjs off (the youngest is an avid nudist). To not spill their cups of water all over the table. To leave the cat alone. To bloody put a mouthful in and finish breakfast so they can play! So we can all leave that gaol that is our table. It is, on a good day, 1/2 an hour of fierce negotiation and very frequently tears. On a bad day, well it isn't really worth dwelling on... things get very shouty indeed.
Once done, the battle over, the play can start. I can drink my now rather cold tea and see how quickly I can eat my porridge or muesli before I need to be rescued from a fiery dragon by my little knights. One down. Only two more meals to go.