“Can I make garlic mushrooms for breakfast mummy?”
It was 7.30am on a Sunday and Freya as usual was very specific about what she wanted to eat.
“Yes,” I said, “but I don’t have any mushrooms; we will have to wait until the shops open.”
“I’ll have pancakes now and mushrooms for bunch then.”
I said, “It’s brunch, darling.”
“OK, I’ll have them for that then.”
The girls love making pancakes and constantly argue over whose turn it is to beat the batter.
I decided to put ‘Give it to me’ by Madonna on the stereo. The joke was lost on them but at least they started to dance instead of fight.
“What’s the difference between plain and self raising flour mum?” asked Sorcha. Before I could open my mouth Willow was answering her.
Willow is my eldest daughter and as such feels she is the second mother. This can cause confusion for all of us.
She has an insatiable appetite for information. When she was little, this was fine as I could answer all her questions. But now even a trip to the beach can end up with a list of books we need to get from the library.
“Why does the tide go in and out? How does the moon affect this? What do you think those ships are carrying? How do they float? Do you know mum, if you put sand in a jar of water and leave it for a million years, the sand will disappear?”
“That’s a waste of time then!” I say
“You’re weird mum,” she replies, then continues with a new line of questioning.
“Do you think those people are on holiday? Do you think that girl is the same age as me?”
“Willow,” I stop her in mid flow, “Why don’t you go over, make friends and find out.”
10am Sunday morning, we were in the supermarket as soon as it opened, in search of mushrooms. We were dancing round the aisles singing, “I’ve got cup cakes on a cloudy day,” when I almost landed on top of a man. To make matters even worse, when I looked up, I realised that, many years ago I had actually been on a few dates with him.
“Hello!” he said, “how are you? I haven’t seen you for ages.”
I suddenly turned into a sixteen year old; unable to look at him or think of anything remotely interesting to say. I realized he was holding onto a pushchair and now focused all my attention on the small child sat within it.
“Hi,” I said, as casually as possible, “your little boy is beautiful, how old is he?”
I still don’t know his child’s age; all I do know is that he said, “You look really good!” At which point I babbled something, gathered my girls and shot round the corner of the toiletry aisle.
“Mum, do you need any of those things you stick up your bum?” Freya has the loudest voice and I was very aware we were within earshot of the ‘ex date.’
“No silly,” said Willow, “they’re not environmentally friendly, she uses a Mooncup!” They started to argue about what type of sanitary protection I use. Considering that I had never been intimate with the ‘ex date’ I would have liked to maintain an air of mystery.
I said, “Can we stop it now please and talk about something else.”
“Yes,” said Freya, “can I ask, is that a hippie on that woman’s neck?”
“No, you silly sausage roll,” answered Willow, “a hippy is someone who lives an alternative lifestyle.”
“Oh, like mum then,” said Sorcha.
“Not really,” said Willow, “she’s just non-conformist.”
“Mum’s a communist?” said Freya.
“Right, that’s it, stop! Let’s find the mushrooms and go home.”
After numerous arguments about whose turn it was to pull Ermintrude, our shopping trolley home. We were in the kitchen making the garlic mushrooms. I had put some beetroot in the oven to cook, ready to make a cake.
“Beetroot makes my wee pink!” said Willow, “but do you know mum, it doesn’t happen to everyone, it depends on the alkalinity or acidity of your stomach.”
“I’m not eating garlic mushrooms if they’re going to make my wee pink,” said Sorcha, walking into the kitchen.
“For goodness sake, what’s wrong with you today? I’m going to send you all to China so I can get some peace!” I said, trying to serve up their lunch.
“Cool, I can have lots of Sushi there!” said Freya.
“No, you’re thinking of Japan,” said Sorcha, “China’s communist.”
“Great,” said Freya, “I can live that alternative lifestyle there then, can’t I?”