It Takes Two to Tango – Part 1

Published / Written by Judith Portman / No Comments Yet

You know when you get that feeling that you could just tear your hair out? Well I’ve had a few days like that lately. I (foolishly) agreed to take care of a friend’s kids (and dog) for a few days so that she and her fella could have a much-needed city break on their own. They’ve been through a rough time lately and really deserved some quality time alone.

Now my kids are grown up, (17 and 22,) and I think I had forgotten just how stressful it can be, looking after younger ones. Ben and Jessie and 5 and 7 respectively, and old enough to know what they want, and they aren’t afraid to tell you! They also have a wild, (okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it did feel that way,) Border Collie, imaginatively called ‘Deefer,’ (D for dog…Deefer!)

Piece of cake, I thought. No problem; I can do this standing on my head! How wrong was I?! The first day started off quite well when I prepared to give them some breakfast. I thought I knew what kids would like and sausage and beans had to be a winner, didn’t it? The resounding answer to that was, “NO! We don’t eat processed foods. Mommy says they are bad for us and we shouldn’t have anything out of a tin, either!”

I stood there, scratching my head and wondering what on earth I could give them instead. “Boiled eggs and toast are good,” cried Jessie. “We eat them all the time, don’t we Ben?” She patted his back, encouraging him to come forward and speak. (He’s a little shyer than she is.) Unfortunately, she patted him a little too forcefully and he stumbled forward, tripped over the dog and landed on his bottom in the bowl of dog water. After what felt like interminable wailing from Ben and a swift change of clothes, I sat them at the kitchen table while I put water on for the eggs.

Okay, I can do this, I thought, popping two slices of white bread in the toaster. “NO!” yelled Jessie. “We can’t have white bread. It’s got no nutritents!” ‘Nutritents?’ Oh! Nutrients, I thought, getting what she meant. Now I know that white bread is no good, but when you’re on a budget, sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and so I shamefully, (and blatantly,) lied to those poor children! (I know, I know, I hang my head in shame!) 

“This bread has been specially made for you,” I said, calmly and smoothly. (It doesn’t do to let kids know they’ve actually got the better of you!) “I asked the baker to dye it white to see if you would know the difference!”

“Well that’s just as bad then,” Jessie intoned, gazing out of the window while picking her nose. “We don’t do dyed food either.”

“How about some fruit instead then?” I asked, thinking I would still cook the eggs and use them for egg mayo sarnies later on, (yes, using white bread! That would be my lunch sorted, at least!)

“Is it from an organic farm?” (Yes, Jessie again!)

Sighing deeply, I walked to the bottom of the stairs and yelled for my hubby. “Jay? JAY! Come and help me out here please.” He had been staying upstairs out of the way and watching something on the PC. (Lord knows what though!) “It takes two to tango and I need your dancing skills.”…Silence. “NOW PLEASE!”