Your child is happily engaged in an activity – it’s action stations! In the next four to five minutes, you have your chance to get stuff done – every mother’s dream. The mass of tasks you need to do gets distilled into that one golden moment, and you are not going to let it pass. A minute swells to the equivalent of an hour when you have both hands free and are unassailed by questions and demands.
However, lately, I’ve realised that I’ve been using my son’s trips to the loo as my starting gun. He’s no dawdler, but there are perhaps 90-120 seconds for which he is undeniably detained. I can’t resist the temptation. My chore-thumbs begin pricking and I am off, with a ruffle of his hair and an assurance that I’ll be back for the grand finale.
These are just some of the things I can get done before the summons of “Finished!”: fold quarter of a basket of laundry, stop the baby climbing on the table, put the tea on, change a bed…
And it was just as I was tucking in the (oh, how ironic) bottom sheet that he came hurtling out of the bathroom, fresh from, it immediately became obvious, the arms of a number two. I shrieked in dismay that I would have to change the bed again (it was already past bedtime). And then I had a sanity check. What was I doing leaving my child up the proverbial creek, all for the sake of a couple of minutes’ head start on my housework? The poor dear had obviously got bored and lonely waiting for the hand of justice, and how could I blame him for deserting his post?
So now, I have turned over a new leaf. I have pledged to stay loo-side until the day that, like his father, he takes the throne and breathes, “you’d better leave”.