Dolly's blog: My Family and Other Animals
It was when the dog ate my almond croissant that I seriously considered going on strike. This was the pastry version of the last straw.
The symbolism of my Saturday morning croissant cannot be over-stated. Wildly over-priced (yet utterly delicious) and procured from my preferred vendor after extensive market research, it is the thing I buy for and by myself as an act of self-care. A self-administered pat on the back for surviving another week, and a moment at which I put my own desires ahead of others. Which isn’t to say I’m any form of maternal saint. I’m as self-centred as the best of us; hence the croissant-for-one, which now lay half-eaten on the floor. Desecrated.
In what may in hindsight have been an overreaction, I completely lost my s**t with the dog. As I explained to him through my tears of rage, aside from the symbolism of my croissant it was his lack of gratitude that really got me. I was the only member of the family who walked or fed him unprompted. Had he considered that before eating my special treat? No, he had not. His face gave nothing away.
I carried what was left of my croissant downstairs, visibly upset, and gave one of my children the grave news. Another child appeared. “The dog ate mum’s croissant” one child said solemnly to the other. The other immediately understood the seriousness of the situation, expressed sympathies, and kept out of my way.
In defence of my overreaction, it came at a bad time. The kids were all back from school and close-quarter living was proving to be a challenge – particularly on the bathroom front.
Is there anything worse than sharing a bathroom with other members of one’s own family? Yes, obviously. But oof, as someone who has alphabetized her CDs and arranges books by genre, it’s hard.
The boys had heeded their father's advice that teenagers need to wash and that their hair was "starting to look a bit Mr Tumnus". But now wet towels lay one on top of the other in teetering, festering heaps. Shampoo bottles appeared to have mated to produce litters of nearly-but-not-quite-empty offspring. The drains were full of hair which everyone denied was theirs. And who the bloody hell had taken my special hairbrush?
As I attempted to bring order to the chaos, wiped the wet loo seat yet again and contemplated my industrial action strategy, bathing in self-righteousness, my musings were interrupted by a loud and prolonged slurping noise. And in that moment, it was revealed that the true culprit of the permanently wet loo seat was not my children but was in fact… furry. Taking one last slurp from his giant, oak-rimmed, porcelain dog bowl he mooched off nonchalantly, wet-bearded and shameless. “He looks like we fished him out of a bin” sighed Mr D. “It’s like living with a pedigree racoon”.
So yes, I felt #blessed to have had the kids home for the holidays. But I’m also #bloodyrelieved they’ve gone back. I have no solution for the dog. I ate what was left of my croissant.
After 19 years of fee earning, Dolly now works in a management role in a London law firm. Working four days a week she is supported by a wonderful (though often absent) husband as they attempt to bring up three children aged 16, 14, and 12. A lockdown puppy adds to the chaos but keeps her sane.