‘Absolutely no time for dragons,’ I yelled this morning as I wrestled my middle child into his car seat. Absolutely no time for dragons, I snapped again, running back from the car and into the house to grab coats, bags, books and lots of other random stuff I needed for the order of the day.
I was still on the dragon rant five minutes later, after I’d hauled everything in the car, checked all children were there, picked my glasses off the dirty floor and wiped them on my scratchy top. Dragons! The cheek of him, thinking I’ve got time to crawl in behind the couch at 7.50am on a school day to find his teeny tiny purple-with-darker-purple-wings plastic dragon that was his latest toy du jour.
All the boys fell silent as I adjusted the radio to a moody concerto from Lyric FM and got on my way in the bleak morning June rain. No time for dragons! June rain! echoed in my head on the short drive to drop my eldest son to school, and my middle son to preschool. But by the time I’d helped my five year old with his rucksack, and he’d stroked me on the hand to tell me two important things 1) He loved me and 2) Which Lego he wanted both for his birthday and his friend’s birthday, all my creaky morning edges had softened out and I got to thinking – ah now, does there really have to be such absolute no time for dragons?
That is obviously what childhood is all about. I looked at my remaining two sons in the rear view mirror. The dragon whisperer was subdued, the baby too. Perhaps he thought I’d really hammed up the dragon thing, like, had it really been too monumental a request to carry out for his beloved older brother, who shows him important things like how to jump off the windowsill and onto the couch without smashing his head off the floor, and how to choose a piece of Lego to put in his mouth that is large enough not to choke on?
I drop my second son off, and as I help him wriggle out of his coat I ask, where’s the dragon again? I say it with a serious enough tone that he knows I will make it a top priority when I get home, over picking cement-like Cheerios off the floor, over folding the laundry, and tackling the messy living-room. I want him to know that, despite my quick temper and dire organisational abilities in the morning, there will always be time for dragons in these glistening first years of his life.