A Little Bit Broken

We’re supposed to be in the middle of our long, foggy summer by now but the rain won’t stop. And whether it’s down to that or the fact that my coffee maker isn’t working, I don’t know, but things are a bit melancholy around here today.

Fern is a playdate junkie. Every night before bed, she’ll ask what’s on the agenda for the next day — or rather, who is on the agenda, because if all I’ve got planned is a day baking pink-and-purple wacky sugar bomb cakes and a ride on some flying unicorn ponies, she’ll be disappointed –because no friend is coming over.

So we had a playdate planned for today, but I got a post-bedtime e-mail switching the direction: instead of friend over here, Fern went to friend’s house. No biggie, right? Except that when I told her about the switch this morning, Fern rebelled with the frenzy of a cartoon rodent.

“Dramatic” has its good sides and bad sides, doesn’t it now? And the difference often seems to be made according to how much caffeine is in my system. (Did I mention that the coffee maker is broken?)

So, the cycle started. Upset Fern can’t manage much breakfast, so she gets more upset in a low-blood-sugary kind of way. Hungry Fern can’t pick out her own clothes — you know the “PINK SKORT FROM GRANDMA ISN’T ANYWHERE!” story? — so I bribe some alternative outfit on her. And this misdressed, hungry, daddy-missing little girl is what I drop off at her fun Fun FUN playdate!


My job is to fix things. I hope I fixed Fern’s broken heart this morning — she got a prize promise, and got to eat soy crisps in the car as a treat, and I let her drink full-fat milk. (These are big deals to a four-year old, trust me.)

But sitting here at home, ever-so-slightly weepy as I disassemble the coffee maker to see if I can fix it, too, I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever get things completely fixed, or if something — coffee machine, Fern’s sense of safety — will always be just a little bit on the blink.