Eoin, age five months, decided to start fidgeting at 4:30am and was awake for real at 5:15am. He and I went downstairs so Elana could get some sleep.
In the kitchen, we put the kettle on for some tea (as you do), and Eoin and I started brainstorming. Well, first the sopping wet diaper and damp sleepy suit—certainly the culprits that woke him up—had to be changed. Eoin’s expression as he looked up at me, his gorgeous blue eyes sparkling with innocence, was nonetheless consise and to the point: What should we do? (I channel my thoughts through his random facial expressions.)
His brother Patrick, age five years, was to attend a birthday party that afternoon and we still needed to make the cake. Patrick’s food allergies make it difficult to go to that sort of event because he’s usually unable to eat any of the food. To smooth the process a bit we make our own double-layer chocolate cake with cholocate icing and contribute it to the festivities. Luckily it’s pretty tasty and devoured at most parties. In addition to the cake, lots of parents are incredibly accommodating and put a lot of effort into asking us what sort of things are safe for him to eat, and adjust their plans to use them instead. Absolutely amazing.
I parked Eoin in his exersaucer and started getting the ingredients together. Oven now heating up, I made it past the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt when he started to fuss a bit. I moved the exersaucer to give him a change of view and got the water, vegetable oil, white vinegar, and vanilla together. As I started mixing, he started to complain that this just wasn’t interesting enough. What to do?
Our kitchen is an open plan style with a room next to it lined with lots of shelves like a big pantry, an Ikea cabinet as our folding table, and a washer and dryer stacked up on each other. The washer sat with a finished load of laundry started before we went to bed last night.
A few minutes later I finished prepping the cake tins, the batter ready to be poured. Eoin was a couple of feet away from me, staring with fascination at the washing machine in front of him as it did a new rinse cycle. It began to spin faster and faster, and he giggled with delight.
It was six in the morning, another beautiful Irish day beginning outside. The cake went into the oven, the kitchen got cleaned up, and sanity reigned—for a moment. From one spin cycle to the next.