It’s 6.30am, and I’m snoozing on the sofa as my son, Noah (2) watches Milkshake. Now and again I open one eye to have a cheeky leer at Jen, the rather yummy presenter, only to remember that I haven’t got my lenses in and all I can see is a blur of colour.
“Breakfast, Daddy.” says Noah, more of a demand than a request. Before I can ask what he would like, he continues: “Bun.”
A ‘bun’, for him, is a toasted teacake, and at the moment he loves them. Grunting in agreement, I roll off the sofa and blearily stagger into the kitchen. I open the cupboard to grasp a teacake. My hand grips only air.
Oh, no. We’re out of teacakes.
A very middle-class sentence, I know, and one that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Downton Abbey, but the fact that there are no teacakes makes my heart sink. I can’t handle this so early in the morning.
I shuffle back into the lounge, a blanket wrapped around my spindly legs. Noah looks at me quizzically as I sit next to him and take a deep breath. I feel like I should be pulling off a surgical mask and giving some relatives bad news, but no: I’m preparing to break the news to my two year-old son that there are no teacakes in the cupboard.
“Noah,” I say, my voice trembling slightly. “No teacakes.”
I hear a little PING, a tiny metallic sound much like the one a grenade makes. And, like a grenade, the PING comes shortly before the explosion. He inhales.
“BUUUUUUNNNNN!!!!” he shrieks, waking everyone in the street. Upstairs, I hear my heavily pregnant wife jolt awake, our foetus kicking wildly inside her. My eldest son doesn’t stir. He’s a heavy sleeper.
I try to placate him, palms down, as if I’m in an executive business meeting trying to calm a stressed manager.
“Look, Noah, there aren’t any. Daddy’s sorry.”
Noah doesn’t seem to care, and also doesn’t seem to realise that I can’t magic teacakes out of thin air – although that would be a good superpower.
“BUUUU-HU-HU-HU-HUUUUNNNN!!!” he continues, sobbing as he stretches a chubby hand in the direction of the kitchen. I try to make toast sound appealing.
“Noah, do you want toast? Toast and jam?”
Turns out it’s impossible to make toast sound appealing. Making a sweaty, naked Susan Boyle sound appealing would be easier. I’m trying to sell the concept of slightly burnt bread to my own son.
Eventually, after much screaming, he calms down, and sucks grumpily on a piece of toast; but the damage has been done. Everyone in the house is awake, and I hear Isaac’s footsteps on the stairs. He enters the lounge, rubbing his eyes.
“Daddy, I’m hungry,” he says. “I want a bun.”