In the morning, I get up first. The boys like their hot water bags ready and waiting for when they come downstairs to keep them warm at the table. Six prefers the same breakfast everyday, a very simple cake based on the recipe for gateau au yaourt that our French au pair kindly left for me in her unmistakeable hand, and which I have tweaked to his liking with the juice and zest of a winter orange and the lightest of light orange glazes. He finished off another one yesterday morning, but since I was already in the process of preparing this for dessert, I didn’t make another yesterday; he was not pleased this morning.
Three is the fickler of the two. Sometimes he eats bread with Nutella spread on top, sometimes cereal. Sometimes he demands Italian breakfast cookies, sometimes crackers with strawberry jam. But he always drinks his milk. Lately he wants it slightly warmed, but you must be careful to ask him first. Never warm milk he does not want warmed.
Then begin the negotiations for getting dressed when the boys would so much rather play. And teeth brushing, face washing, it is a battle almost every time.
After that we leave for school, out the door, down the stairs, along the street and to the park. I don’t take my daily picture of the trees then. I usually save it for my way back home, which is one of the most tranquil moments of my day:
At home, Lou, the breakfast dishes and work are waiting for me.
Lou prefers my bed and sleeps with me now. Or, more accurately, I sleep with her, since she spends most of her day on the bed. She has all but claimed it for her own.
And that is how my day begins.