Youngest son and I engaged in a lively intellectual debate over breakfast this morning.
Actually that’s a lie.
Neither of us are what you would call Happy, Shiny Morning People. No, before midday our conversations generally consist of monosyllabic grunts and a series of informative hand gestures:
‘Mmmfl’ means ‘Good morning, revered mother of mine!’
*Point* ~ ‘May I have three Weetabix or two slices of toast for breakfast, please,’ depending, of course, whether he points to the cereal cupboard or the breadbin.
*Imitation gagging* ~ ‘You’ll have to have toast; the milk’s gone off.’
‘D’you wannonit?’ ~ ‘Peanut butter, or jam on your toast, darling?’
‘Sweary word’ ~ ‘I seem to have forgotten to purchase bread. How about a lovely bowl of frozen peas, instead?’
‘Uggg!’ ~ ‘I need the loo.’
‘Teeeee!’ ~ ‘I’m having a particularly bad morning. Please make me a brew, or I’ll start throwing things.’
‘Lunch?’ ~ ‘Have you already made my lunch, Mother?’ This is, of course, a rhetorical question; Mother always makes lunch, otherwise, left to his own devices, the poor boy would starve.
Well, this morning I thought I’d shake things up a bit, get some old-fashioned family communication going.
The conversation went something like this:
Mum: ‘Yes, honey. It’s out in the kitchen, ready. And I’ve done your drink as well.’
Mum: ‘Well, please make sure you open the window this time. Yesterday – Son, what is it? What’s wrong?’
A deep look of consternation had burrowed its way across my youngest son’s face. His eyebrows crossed, the skin around his glazed eyes puckered and I swear I saw his bottom lip tremble.
Mum: ‘What’s troubling you, darling?’ I asked, reaching across to smooth the furrows in his wrinkled brow. ‘Is it school? World hunger? National debt? Are you concerned about your future? The planet? Rising university fees? The fact that we have a duplicitous coalition government that nobody trusts?’
Youngest: ‘Nah! I was just wondering what you’d put in my sandwiches.’