Warm and runny on the inside, with a slight crisp on the outside, my husband makes The. Best. Fried. Eggs. Whenever he’s on breakfast duty my request is the same: fried eggs on toast with baked beans. Upon being served my plate of goodies, I immediately push down on the eggs with my fork - allowing the yolk to escape and ooze into the bread, mingling with the bean sauce on its way down.
Not only are my husband’s eggs delicious. They are consistently delicious. They are always gooey. Always slightly crispy on the outside. I know exactly what to expect each time.
One morning when my daughter was napping, I set about to replicate his infamous dish. I failed. The yolks cooked through and the magic left the building. The next time I tried, I got it right and I savoured every last, oozy bite. On the third occasion I didn’t cook the eggs enough and the whites surrounding the yolks were slightly runny. That particular experience put me off eggs for a little while.
“How do you do it?’ I asked him one day. “How do you get your eggs perfect every time?”
“One thing at a time,” he responded simply.
I frowned a little as I considered his response and then tried to picture how I do it. I thought about the last time I attempted his dish and remembered how frantically I moved between the sizzling pan, microwave, and toaster. I remembered how, when I was trying to cook the eggs, the microwave would start beeping loudly – and the way I whipped my head towards the sound wondering whether to leave the beans where they were, or take them out. I recalled how, just as I decided to take them out, the toast popped out enthusiastically. I remembered the bead of sweat primed and ready to roll down my back…
That day, I came to the realisation that my modus operandi involves panicked rushing to complete each task simultaneously.
My egg-shake brings all the boys to the yard. Ok ew. I do not know what an egg-shake is. And there are no boys in my yard. Just birds and one reallllyyyy lazy cat who meows at them all day long. Image via @themarinesss
On the other hand, my husband goooeesss sloooooow. Firstly, he puts the pan on to heat. Then he puts the baked beans in the microwave, and thirdly, he starts toasting the bread. Then he waits – that’s right, he does nothing – just waits. When the toast pops up, he butters it and puts it aside. He allows the baked beans to sit in the microwave until they are required. THEN, he cracks the eggs. He doesn’t take his eyes off them, rather, waits until they are ready to be flipped, flips them, gives them 10 more seconds and puts them straight on top of the buttered toast. He retrieves the baked beans and pours their saucy goodness over the top. Not only does he go slow, he has a system dammit!
I know what you’re thinking: the toast – it wouldn’t be hot anymore! And you’d be right. It’s not – it’s lukewarm. And this is where my husband and I differ. Not only do I try to get everything done at the same time, I also try to make sure it’s all perfect. He, on the other hand, keeps his eye on the prize. He knows if the toast is not piping hot, that it’s not a big deal – it won’t ruin the dish. The most important element is the egg, so everything else takes a back seat to ensure it is what it needs to be.
My husband’s steady approach is not limited to the kitchen. This is the way he is with everything. While I’m constantly thinking of ways to cram more tasks into my day – which regularly involves multi-tasking – he’ll come home from work, greet me and my daughter, and then unless I am desperate for him to take her, close himself off in our bedroom for ten minutes to get changed.
Once he’s in more comfortable clothing he’ll re-enter the family room to play and bond with our daughter. When it’s time, he will give her a bath, and after that it’s milk, cuddles and sleep. He waits until she’s sound asleep before he begins eating dinner – even if dinner is slightly cold by the time he starts. He prefers the knowledge that he is free to relax combined with a lukewarm dinner, to a hot dinner eaten to the joyous sounds of an unsettled baby. His actions are measured and methodical, whereas mine are breathless and chaotic. This could be why we complement (read: annoy) one another so well. It could also be why I won’t ever make eggs as good as his.
He completes me. And annoys me. Immensely. Image via @themarinesss
The eggs don’t matter so much: I can just scramble them after all, but I do worry about the way I spend time with my daughter. I often plonk her in front of a cartoon with lunch, so that I can jump on my computer to write 'just one more paragraph'. Sometimes I worry that she will hear the pitter-patter of my keyboard everywhere she goes for the rest of her life. I also worry that I seem distracted and distant to her – and that this will affect our bond.
While I can’t morph into a different person with a different personality, I can make a point to put aside some time each day to stop, drop what I’m doing, push everything else out of my mind, and spend quality time with her. Whether we decide to read a book over and over, cuddle up the couch, blow some bubbles – it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I’m fully present in that moment. This in itself is a challenge – I’m the kind of person always thinking of my ‘next task’.
But what happens on those days? You know - the ones where I barely have time to sneeze let alone carve out quality time? Well, I think our little girl will be a-OK. From her father she gets lazy, one-on-one days at home. TV, drawing, and YouTube reign supreme as they forget about the world outside them and tackle the day at their own unhurried pace. When she’s with mum, she gets jam-packed days – play-dates with our mother’s group, visits to grandma’s house, singing and dancing at music classes, fun at the park, errand running, and anything else we decide to do.
From both of us she receives endless love – and isn’t that enough to each enjoy a strong bond with our daughter? We might not get it perfect every single day, but for the most part we have our eye on the prize – and I think our little egg is coming along very nicely indeed.
Our little egg and my favourite egg-maker. There is nowhere in the whole entire fabric of space-time I'd rather be. The end.