Out of the mouth of babes

Parentdom…the phrases chapter.

In the beginning there was a baby. Your baby. A beautiful gurgling bundle of joy.* And then that baby grew. You watched that baby’s every move, encouraging them to roll over, to crawl, to walk and …to talk. 

To talk…we encouraged them to talk. We did this. It was us…and then the talking didn’t stop – and then the phrases came….phrases that can pinpoint milestones in the progressing years.

But in all the years (so far) there has to be one feckin phrase that tops the charts as THE PHRASE guaranteed to make every parent want to fall to the floor and have their own big fat gigantic tantrum. 

Topping the charts of this never ending list of the phrases of doom has to be……

In. A. Minute. 

It’s a standard phrase in my house. The fifteen year old and the eleven year old use it more often than ‘What’s for tea? and I’m hungry.’

It doesn’t matter what is being asked of my beautiful babies, there is a standard response.

“Can you go and get the seventy billion glasses you have left in your rooms as we’re now drinking water out of egg cups?” 

Reply: in a minute. 

“Can you put your shoes on? Because we’re going out in the car to take you to your cricket match.” 

Reply: in a minute. 

“Can you go to bed?”


Repeat three times. 

Reply: in a minute. 

Cue loud screaming from me; followed by….

Mum why are you being so grumpy? There’s no need to shout. We’ll do it/go/get it IN A MINUTE.”

Me. Rocks in a corner. Opens wine and pours bottle down neck. 

It’s a phrase that can incite a rage in even the most perfect of parents. 

Out of the mouth of babes comes the phrases of doom. 

Nearly topping the charts has to be the clamour from my poor starving mites who haven’t been fed for years. 

The scenarios sometimes differ but usually I am in a meeting and my phone rings. Seeing the name and number of  my most cherished of humans, I immediately grab the phone wondering what could have happened, immediately starting to pack up my bags and shrug my shoulders at my colleagues who recognise the face of a worried parent. 

And then the voice on the other end of the phone echoes down that there telephone wire. Trembling I wait for that nanosecond, mainly shitting myself that something terrible has happened….

“Mum, what time are you home? What’s for tea?

Stuff my meetings. Sod my professionalism. Who needs to work. My poor starving children need me. They need feeding. They will have opened the fridge and stared in dismay at the spinach and broccoli staring at them (of course I’m on a diet). They needed proper food. They needed someone to come home and do it for them. Immediately.

Sometimes. Just sometimes the phone doesn’t ring. Sometimes I get all the way home, open the front door and yell ‘Helloooooooo’ to the household. The stupid dog hurtles at me, happy to see me, but silence from humans mainly greets me. The son is of course killing people on his xbox and the daughter is revising.*


And then I get a response:

“Oh hi mum, what’s for tea?”

“Oh hi kids. How are you? I’m fine thanks. I’ve hightailed it down the motorway at speeds faster than light to get home from the office just so I can cook your tea. I’ve still got my coat on. I’ve not had a wee since 6.38am but I am going to hurry the fuck along and make your tea because your lives are so terrible.”

25 minutes later. Waffles, eggs and beans are on the table (it’s Tuesday okay. There’s football and cricket so there’s no chance of any home made sauces, proper food or even a sense of trying). 

26 minutes later I shout….Tea’s ready. Come on. 

“In a minute” comes the bloody chorus. 

Opens another bottle of wine. 

* joy = mainly cacophony of screaming until dummy was applied

** watching NCIS with her computer open

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