I love eating chocolate. I don’t know what it is about chocolate that makes me so happy, but I’ve found that a liberal dose of chocolate cures most ills and soothes almost any savage beast in my house. I don’t have a favourite brand or type, although I am partial to chocolate with caramel and am quite pleased that salted caramel seems to be the “it” ingredient of the moment. I can definitely taste the difference between the higher-quality brands, and for that reason, I struggle to share my chocolate with my children, who simply do not appreciate the not-so-subtle differences between the cheap horrible stuff and the smooth creamy stuff that costs more.
Which leads me to last night, when I admit that I sat in the dark in my wardrobe furtively eating chocolate (it was a very small chocolate bar, but still), avoiding my children at all costs. A friend had given me the slim bar of fair-trade chocolate earlier in the day and I’d been thinking about it ever since, rationalising that I could probably have it for dessert after dinner, but not giving enough consideration to the fact that after dinner is the second-worst time of day in my house, following close on the heels of the pre-dinner witching hour which actually lasts from school pickup until mid-meal, when the kids are finally worn out enough to finally swap whinging for eating. But after dinner, when pyjamas and toothbrushing and storytime and belated cries of, “I forgot that I have a poster due tomorrow and I’ve known about it for three weeks but only thought to start it tonight” are on the agenda, is not quite the right time to attempt to eat one’s gourmet chocolate bar.
So I hid in my wardrobe. In the dark. Just me and the chocolate, sitting on the floor, shoulders brushed by the dresses hanging on the rack above me, vague sounds of children shouting for help with toothbrushing and pyjama-buttoning muffled by the closed door. It was heavenly. I wanted to stay in there all night. I crinkled the wrapper in my hand and breathed deeply. This, I thought, is the life. They’ll never think to look for me in here. Peace! Quiet! Chocolate!
I was startled a moment later when there was a knock on the wardrobe door, and the voice of my six-year-old son. “Mum, can you help me find the toothpaste?” he asked from somewhere next to the doorknob. “I can only find the one I don’t like, not the one I do like.”
I opened the door. “How did you know I was in here?” I asked, still kneeling on the wardrobe floor. He shrugged. “You weren’t anywhere else, so I guessed you were in here eating chocolate.”
Apparently nothing gets past my children, especially if there’s chocolate involved.