I have lost my voice. When I woke up this morning it was gone. It began with a sore throat yesterday at breakfast and ended with red wine and a couple of sneaky cigarettes at a dinner party last night (I know, I know – sneaky ciggies have to stop).

Henry Hotdog woke both G and I up with great urgency this morning and announced that he’d looked in the fridge and his ‘cake in a cup’ was gone. “It’s goooown” he yelled.

Not knowing that the eldest little traveler had run her own version of junior master chef and everyone had made a ‘cake in a cup’ while we were out the evening before, we both took a moment to register. I opened my mouth to ask what he was talking about and nothing came out. G began to ask but was interrupted with a very melodramatic “You don’t understand me – you never understand me”. He slammed the door on his way out. He is five. He has more drama in his life than Judy Garland and Lindsay Lohan put together.

Within five minutes he’d found his ‘cake in a cup’, it was on a different shelf in the fridge than he thought. Immediately our little Sybil switched back to his chirpy self again.  In those 5 minutes he’d managed to find himself a Harry Potter cape, some gold rimmed round glasses and he’d drawn a scar on his forehead. In his mind he was now Harry Potter. He’d put a spell on a couple of Polly Pockets, unloaded two buckets of toys over the carpet and life was good.

Five minutes.

I can’t help but wonder if this is the life of the fourth child. Don’t bother taking time to discuss and request because no ones listening. Your voice is too small and it’s too busy. Just scream, jump up and down, get everyone moving and then sit back and wait to see the action.

A few hours later when he knocked his leg quite badly on a bathroom cabinet and burst into tears he cried “it’s awful being the smallest, I can’t reach the toothpaste, I can’t see the hand soap and everyone else can do it without trying”. I wiped the tears from his eyes, straightened his glasses and carried him to my bed. He sobbed while I held him and then he stopped, looked me in the eye and said “I like your hair like that”.

Switch. Moving right along.

We’d forgotten about the injury, we were now talking hairstyles. Without a voice I was forced to just sit and listen. We moved on to the mystery bag at school, the sausages we had for breakfast, and the hard core family issues such as the fact that he says “bye Fred” every morning to his brother but his brother just says “bye” and didn’t I think he should say “bye Henry”. He told me about the 72 year old author with grey hair that came to speak at school. How old do you think she’ll get? I shrugged. Is 72 older than Granny? I nodded. How old will Granny get? I shrugged. What would we do without Granny? I shrugged, bit my lip and shook my head. Granny’s not 72 for ages right? I nodded. His eyes opened as wide as they could when he told me that his friend had told him London has earthquakes and bad, bad floods and were we sure we wanted to go there later this month? I giggled and whispered “that’s rubbish” and he smiled and said “I’ll tell him he got it wrong, I’ll tell him my Mum said that’s rubbish”.

And then it occurred to me that Henry Hotdog really didn’t require me to speak all that much. And that it was highly possible that in amongst the homework, soccer practice and writing deadlines, this was the most listening I’d done with the Henry Hotdog all week.

“You don’t understand me – you never understand me”

I’m listening.

And just incase you’re wondering. Here’s the recipe for the much coveted 5 minute ‘cake in a cup’

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)
Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1,000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little.

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  1. Loved this.  Poetic wisdom wrapped in laughter….the best.
    (I’m so making those for the boys tonight!)

  2. Ah, it’s all in our perspective, isn’t it? Sorry about your voice, but sounds like a wonderful talk with HH!

  3. You describe Lexie to perfection! It must be a last child thing.

    You may be voiceless, but your words are still enchanting. Xxx

  4. Hey, I’m new around here (found you via Blogger) and just wanted to say I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts!

    Love how boys suddenly switch topics in conversation without any warning (I have three boys myself and they ALL do this). Oh and cheers for the cake in a cup recipe – definitely trying that one out!

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