In days gone by—the days I like to refer to as BC (Before Children)—a hot drink was a simple matter, easily prepared and quaffed at leisure. Whether it was Columbian roast or the more subtle undertones of Darjeeling, little fuss surrounded the enjoyment of your preferred hot tipple. What is more, chances are that the consumption of each drink occurred in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. Whether you were sipping from your mug whilst curled up on the sofa or enjoying a hot chocolate beneath the duvet before bedtime, each drink afforded the opportunity of calm, relaxation, and often time for reflection.
After any banter, encouragement, prodding, or even pleading about whose turn it was to prepare the drinks, the brewing process was routine and generally passed without incident. Guaranteed were a relaxing drink and a warm feeling in your gut. Now that we have entered post-BC territory, this, as you too will discover, is unfortunately no longer the case. The days of simple pleasures have long since sailed away. This happened right about the time you, like us, decided that the addition of tiny feet to the household was an idea to behold.
Now the only similarity that remains between your current hot drink of choice and those you enjoyed in BC times is the brewing process. The reasons for this change are twofold. First, the preparation, which involves boiling the kettle and readying mugs, has not varied greatly from one generation to the next, and thus it is unlikely to have altered in your home too. Second, the time that you will have to enjoy your beverage is now a complete lottery. With only one hungry, attention-craving voice filling the room, it is probable one of you might grab the chance to slurp your brew in its intended form, but alas, the odds on both of you sampling this simple luxury are slim to non-existent. Throw a second helpless being into the mix, and your chances dwindle still further.
There exists an interesting set of facts about babies, which, unfortunately, for your peril and mine, remain the property of but a privileged few. These gems of information are not widespread, as a belief holds that such secrets benefit the seeker greatly through learning, and simply passing them on would not only devalue their worth but also provide an easier path for those less privileged. I will share one of these insights with you now. That is the knowledge that all babies are born with a subconscious instinct to detect serving times of any food or beverage at any time of the day or night.
Stop and observe your baby. It matters not if they are asleep or fixated by their latest toy. Simply boil the kettle or set the oven timer and wait. When the kettle boils and the drinks are brewed, whether or not they are within hearing distance, a trigger will sound within their tiny minds, and attention will begin to shift elsewhere. The focal point of their universe will now dramatically switch from whatever it was to any task that requires your or your partner’s immediate intervention. Thus, right at the point you bring freshly filled cups into the room spouting their wonderful aromas, little junior will decide the time is ripe for some full-on attention. This might take the form of a nappy change, a bottle request, or just a change of scenery. Either way, this change in focus guarantees that at least one of you, if not both, will be distracted from drinking. When finally you are able to divert focus to your drink, all that awaits you is a cold impersonation of your intended brew. Without stating the obvious, your tea, coffee, or hot chocolate is no longer quite as enjoyable as the manufacturer’s intentions.
Please do not be too disheartened if a nice hot cuppa rates as one of your favourite pastimes. There are numerous options available to you. First, you can bravely battle on, determined to consume your drink the way the manufacturer intended and thus attempt to dispel the myth I have just laid out before you. Another choice is to accept that times will change, life will settle, and a routine will unfold, triggering the notion inside you that for the present the best option is a cold drink. Next on the list is to take advantage of the wonders of modern technology and invest in a microwave to reheat all drinks that have gone cold in waiting. Finally, a simple and often overlooked choice is to agree on a drink you both enjoy and not waste the time making a second cup. This way you each may enjoy a mouthful or two together whilst the steam is still rising.