I had a lightbulb moment this morning. Not bad given it was 6.30am. My husband had gotten up with the beasties at some even more ungodly hour. Before you wonder why I was up and not having a lie in, it's because I'd spent 5am to 5.45am trying to jam a duvet between me and son 2 who was determined to make pretty patterns on my back with his toenails.
Then son 1 arrived announcing that he couldn't find his one and only gogo and that he needed my help to find it. I asked whether he had looked under his pillow and blankets. He assured me he had. I sighed, hauled myself out of bed and went to his bed. There lying right in the middle of it was the missing gogo.
I pointed to it. He smiled sheepishly and said: 'I didn't see it'. Of course you didn't dear, because you are a boy. That means you are cursed with 'boy-looking', an evil affliction that will last a lifetime. It means that one day when you're married you can yell to your wife that you don't know where the can opener is and she can yell back and say 'It's in the drawer where it always is' and you can deny that emphatically until your long suffering wife arrives, opens the drawer and points to the can opener lying right in front of your very eyes before picking it up and smacking the back of your head with it.
And so despite my husband getting up, I was now awake. I attempted to read but I needed caffeine. I arrived downstairs scowling, my hair sticking on end and looking like a grumpy womble. As I stumbled over to the kettle my children who had been playing contently with their father, noticed that I was there. There was no 'Good morning mummy' or anything of that ilk. No. The minute they saw their mother, like Pavlov's dogs responding to a bell, my children's stomach juices started going and out came the plaintive cry: 'I'm hungry'.
And that's when my lightbulb moment happened. I looked incredulously at my husband and asked whether they'd mentioned being hungry until they saw me. 'Nope,' he said. At that instant I realised that to my children I am nothing more than a large box of cornflakes that wanders the house. I am the human embodiment of breakfast cereals. In fact, I am a life size representation of all food groups.
It all makes sense really. From their earliest days, their food literally came from my body in the form of breastmilk (not to mention the in utero feast they'd had for nine months). And since weaning them off me, I've still been the provider of food three times a day. So it's only natural that they associate me with food. I just hadn't realised quite how acute the programming was.
I might start viewing the loving smiles they bestow on me in a new light now. Whereas I used to think their affection was genuinely for me, it appears it might actually be because they're peckish and they're simply sizing me up as a large, juicy steak.