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What they really had for breakfast and other little horrors our children love to reveal…

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An article in The Telegraph today reminded me of an embarrassing incident that occurred a couple of weeks ago. The piece was a frighteningly accurate account of the chaotic reality of most people’s early morning routine. It put me in mind of when my mother-in-law visited on a Sunday afternoon recently, innocently enquiringly of my daughter what she’d had for breakfast, to which my first born happily replied, ‘dry roasted peanuts’.

There followed a full five minutes of me trying to explain that this hadn’t been breakfast at all but an ill-judged and totally unsanctioned mid morning snack. It sounded weak, although it was pretty much the truth. Our son is a great one for eating in the morning and will have whatever we care to serve him. Shona, on the other hand, doesn’t have an enormous appetite before 11am. Despite being offered a selection of breakfast options that a five star restaurant would be proud of, she often refuses them all, waiting for a couple of hours before feeling the desire for sustenance of any kind. By which time she might graze the cupboards largely unnoticed.

So I began to consider all those awkward situations where our children, in their eternal innocence, reveal our worst habits and cock-ups to the world. Naturally censorious as the pre teens tend to be; hang-overs and lie-ins appear to rate very highly in the long list of crimes that our offspring feel the need to tell their teachers and friends about, usually first thing on a Monday morning.

Swearing, passing wind or topping up a glass of wine are also on that list, along with large underwear and the existence of/methods employed for the removal of, any kind of body hair. Nobody fully warns you about this hazard when you embark upon parenthood.

No aspect of your life will pass without comment or judgement once the little darlings first become capable of speech. Most of the time, we will find this honesty refreshing and adorable. But just occasionally, when our youngest decides to announce to all present that they’ve not brushed their teeth for a week, or eaten a piece of fruit since June, we gaze at our shoes, wishing the ground would swallow us up, desperate to explain that this is Timmy’s idea of a joke but knowing  that there’s really no point.

Now it’s been said, no one is ever going to believe it’s not true…

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