I rarely eat breakfast with my children. Being forced to do so has been the favourite part of my week as a single dad.
Having reflected on the
ungodly horrors challenges of school-day mornings yesterday, it’s only fair to point out that the enforced opportunity to have breakfast with the kids this week has been a real highlight.
Although we try to eat lunch and dinner together as a family at weekends, breakfast is the one meal that always seems to elude me. During the week it’s Heather who marshals the kids at breakfast time while I get ready, and at weekends I’m often back in bed having taken the first shift with our early-rising, Minecraft-obsessed boys.
This week, with Heather in South Africa, that duty has fallen to me. And I’ve loved it.
Those first few hours of the day generally see our kids at their best, and having the time to sit down at the breakfast table with them this week – even for only 20-25 minutes at a time – has been fun.
Firstly there’s Kara, who sits at the head of the table either smiling beatifically or barking out commands such as, “Boys! Breakfast! NOW!” like an old-fashioned sergeant major who doesn’t know the meaning of the words ‘indoor voice’.
Our daughter may be the youngest member of the family but she more than holds her own in any conversation with the kind of earnestness and exaggerated expressions and tone of voice that only a nearly-three-year-old can make endearing. She knows how to make herself the centre of attention and she revels in it.
The boys are more of a complementary pair, from their early morning Minecraft sessions to the games they play at the table. This week’s breakfast-time activities have included their current favourite, the Underground Station Game (either name a station beginning with a specific letter or containing a combination of three letters), counting alternately in French and naming capital cities of the world.
Isaac is ultra-competitive and hates being beaten but Toby, despite being two years his junior, is increasingly providing stiff competition for his brother and between them they egg each other on to impressive levels.
Between the four of us we’ve chatted about what we’re going to do with our days, stuff they’ve been watching on TV, books, school, just about anything and everything.
Okay, it’s not exactly the Algonquin round table but it’s our table, our little exclusive breakfast club where we’ve shared the stuff that’s interesting and important to us. I know it’s not that different to what happens around breakfast tables all over the country, but it’s been new to me to do it as more than just the occasional one-off.
It’s the one big positive I’ll take out of a week that has seen plenty of positives. It’s the one thing that, more than anything else, I want to make sure I do more of in the future.
And while I’m glad that Heather will be back tomorrow, there’s a little part of me that doesn’t want Single Dad Week to end either.
Still, we’ve got one more breakfast tomorrow before Mummy arrives home. Best we make it a good ‘un.