She’s crawling. She’s angry. Her target is me.
My heart is pounding. I grab a packet of fish fingers out of the freezer, wrench the box open and throw them at the grill pan. They skitter everywhere. I swear. She’s already through the living room door. I have approximately 34 seconds to put on the dinner.
I gather the fish fingers, blow the bits of fluff off and hurriedly line them up. I turn on the grill. 25 seconds left.
My daughter roars at me like a tiny, enraged, fat, ginger lion. I don’t know what her gripe is. It doesn’t really matter. She crawls more slowly when she’s angry. That buys me maybe 5 more seconds. My son carries on watching TV, oblivious. Thank you TV.
Before I had children, I had time. I thought I was quite busy, but I actually had oceans of time. Infinite, lush expanses of time as far as the eye could see in every direction. I had time coming out of my ears. I was rolling in time. What did I do with it all?
I drop a carrot and accidentally kick it under the fridge. 20 seconds left. No time to get it now. It’ll be a little reminder of this day when we get a new fridge.
I know my time management is appalling. There must be a hundred ways I could better manage my time, but time management requires thinking, and I can’t think. My brain is too slow. It needs time to think. I have no time.
It’s hard to peel and chop carrots in a hurry without chopping your fingers off, especially if a tiny ginger lion is bellowing at you. 14 seconds. I start to panic. Carrot peel flies everywhere. Carrot sticks tumble to the floor. 7 seconds.
She stops. Gently she lays her forehead on the floor and moans pitifully. Thank God. She’s taking a despair break, whimpering and recharging her rage batteries. It doesn’t last long though. I grab a dish and chuck in the carrots. I dump peas in on top of them. They bounce in all directions. 5 seconds. I shove it all into the microwave and turn the dial.
3 seconds, 2, 1. She rattles the kitchen gate like a rioting prisoner, then hurls herself to the ground. I carry her back, comforting her just long enough to stop her crying.
She screams at me heart-rendingly as I put her down and charge back to the kitchen.
Reset the clock, and…. Go! Fill the dishwasher!