I caught myself repeating those words as I cradled the phone up to my ear while talking to Mags, peeling potatoes and answering the tugging I felt on my apron. Daisy needed something and I wasn’t listening to her. She could’t see what I was doing with my hands at the sink as the peels fell into the bowl. After I realized that I had repeated the words, I paused, finished my conversation with Mags, rinsed off my hands and bent down to look into Daisy’s face. I wanted her to know that I was there for her.
Mothers spend a lot of time communicating to their kids. And a lot of it concerns safety directions. Some days I feel like I’m moving from possible accident scene to conceivable mishap as I supervise Daisy and Stevie. Daisy doesn’t deliberately look for trouble, but being short lends itself to having to access areas that sometimes require climbing. She regularly has scraped knees that require kisses for soothing but I try to anticipate situations that might bruise her beautiful head. Stevie has the daredevil gene and looks for obstacles to climb, jump, hurdle or fall from. His knees are perpetually scraped, as well as his shins, elbows, wrists and hands. We’ve already experienced stitches and the sight of blood doesn’t seem to upset him. Maybe he’ll be a doctor.
I don’t want anyone to think less of my mothering skills, but I don’t mind the occasional small injury. I want my children to explore when it pleases them. What I don’t want is to repeat the words “in a minute” while completing a task that should come second. After I gave Daisy a kiss, she held up her favorite doll, Katy. Katy’s buttons are difficult to fasten. I finished pushing the buttons through the snug holes and handed Katy back to Daisy. She smiled and ran back to her game. I returned to my peeling and had a brainstorm. Tomorrow night, I would serve “Minute Rice” with pork chops. That one convenience would give me plenty of time to watch the kids play longer. I need to look for more convenience foods to start to serve to save more time.