As anticipated, the weekend of "on the fly wheel of fortune" was not a highlight in my life. I struggle. It's hard work. I keep my mouth shut as long as humanly possible but the kid needs guidance and he obviously isn't getting it at home. Actually, what he probably needs is a good slap on the arse and not repeatedly told by mummy that he is the king of the world.
Some of my angst is centred around just plain old fashioned manners; some is around the fact that I'll be cleaning for hours as soon as he is out the door and I've taken ten minutes to breath a sigh of utter relief (or a grateful shout for joy!)
If you think this is harsh, then perhaps you should picture a casual Friday night at my place; watching a movie in front of the television. We have cooked a thai curry and flatbread. Usually, I'd ensure I set the table seeing that rich red tinged coconut milk being splattered across my white sofa. This time, I just sucked it up and let those bowls and plates with flat bread, sail out to the lounge room. They snaked past me, I could almost see those wedges of flat bread grinning as they got a rare night off the cleanliness leash.
No food leaves my kitchen without a knife, fork and serviette. In the kid's case, I generally give 2 or 3 serviettes. At the conclusion of the meal, his serviette, knife and fork are left on the table - unused.
I guess you are wondering, as did I, how the hell you can eat without cutlery.
Trust me, I don't believe it is easier; in fact given the heat factor, it must be like juggling. But I've seen it previously with the kid and even put in the odd waspish "can you please use a knife or fork..?" generally because we were with someone else and I've gauged the 'raised eyebrow' in his general direction. And he can even eat bacon and eggs - with his fingers.
Watching someone eat like a neanderthal doesn't help my digestive system (I have a low "heave" or "gag" switch, so low that the guys at work can actually talk me into dry reaching - which they think is hilarious) for myself, this is more about those hands, caked in bacon grease, that will leave the table, open the stainless steel fridge (and not by the freaking handle) and hang on to every single freaking white wall on the way to anywhere.
Last night, I sat through an entire Thai curry meal eaten as if we still existed in caves; sans knife and fork. Instead, he used the flatbread as some form of scooper - Ingenious, if we hadn't already invented the wheel and say… The spoon. I watched in fascination as he balanced liquid, chicken, vegetables and rice on the edge of a triangle of flatbread, before shoving the whole lot into his face - in one hit - (which weirdly, I felt relief over given that it avoided spillage…)
Then we are off to the Laundromat… Food is chewed in a cavernous, open mouthed fashion; it is like watching a clothes dryer of colours whizzing around and around; only the sound effects are different with a strange kind of mixture of slurp, slaggy chew, slurp/gurgle sound.
And I didn't breath a word; but did encourage the Squeeze to push for the first shower in three days - more as a pity on my walls and furniture than on his hygiene levels which quite frankly, are a lost cause; there is a good 2 ounces of dirt that could be scrapped out from under the nails of those fingers he is eating with. Arrrgghhhh!
This morning, we cooked breakfast and took it out into the courtyard. The sun is shining and it is a beautiful Melbourne day. As the troglodyte style of eating began, I asked (quite pleasantly) for him to use a knife and fork. This received a deadpan (he has an exceptionally flat, dead stare which is disquieting… where I am wondering if he is wondering what it would be like to pick up my lovely Scanpan cooks knife and plunge it repeatedly into my chest) look and then he went back to his plate, wrapping bacon around his fork with his fingers before he said "you get covered in grease anyhow."
Me: "Do you use a knife and fork at home?" Kid: "yes"
Me: "well I'm certain you know how to use them then. It's about manners and being out in the real world. No one wants to sit and watch someone eating with their fingers…"
Kid: "are you finished" [insert flat, dead, I want to plunge a knife eyes in here…]
Me: 'Don't be smart." Kid: "okay" And then he proceeded to saw a piece of bacon into about fifteen pieces and I concentrated on the paper rather than bothering to argue with the fool.
And where was the Squeeze in all this..? Ignore!!!
Hell. I could almost see his little rat eyes, his fricking brain muttering "keep head in paper. DO NOT LOOK UP! If I do, I'll have to address it!!! Ignore! It's not there!
Hostility is not here! Damned coward.