“I’ve started the bath,” I called out to Tracey earlier this week as I took the potatoes off the stove.
There was a grumbled response from the next room.
I like to let my wife know when I do something to help around here, otherwise she might miss it. Today I was being exceptionally helpful because she wanted to have a lie down – she’d been up late the last couple of nights putting things together for her relaunching of her photography business. Now her tummy is looking good again, she’s itching to get back into it.
“So I’ll bath the kids after dinner,” I continued as I rummaged through the drawers for the masher. “I’m just about to plate up.”
Phrases like ‘plate up’ trip off my tongue these days in place of say ‘dish up’, because I’m very hip. She hasn’t said as much, but I’m pretty sure Tracey loves this about me.
Actually, I was about to add this to my running commentary when her sweet voice drifted out of our bedroom.
“Would you shut up and let me sleep,” she squawked gratefully. Bless.
Just as I was running the numbers on whether I should mention I also put a load of washing on when I started running the bath, a little person appeared, stealth like, at my side.
“Dad, I’m hungry,” said Miss6.
“Dinner will be ready soon,” I assured her. “I’m plating up in a minute.”
You got to start saying it. You feel so Jamie, so Preston, so Nigella.
“But I’m hungry.”
“It won’t be long.”
“But I’m hungry.”
“Can you see me mashing the potatoes here?”
“But I’m hungry now.”
The phone saved her.
“Your daughter is a bit upset,” said a woman’s voice.
“She is,” I confirmed into the phone, at first thinking she meant Miss6 before remembering this wasn’t 1984 so she couldn’t possibly know that. But really, she was going to have to be a little more specific – I’ve got five princesses in the house.
“She’s here at school,” the woman continued, “and she thinks you’ve forgotten about her.”
Oh, that daughter. Shit!
“Shit!” I said, turning off the stove and lunging for my keys. “Be right there.”
Miss9 had stayed after school for drama which finished, I looked at my watch, forty five minutes earlier. Shit!
“Daddy, where were you?” Miss9 wanted to know after I’d gushed an apology at her teacher and we were driving home.
“I’m sorry, honey,” I said. Her facial expression demanded I come up with something better than a stupid apology. “Mum’s asleep,” I added, trying to shift blame, “so I’m doing everything at home at the moment. I was a bit overwhelmed.”
“But you forgot me,” she said.
Ahhh, guilt, my old friend.
Interestingly, Tracey and I always referred to Miss9 as The Forgotten Child when she was younger. She basically self-raised.
“I didn’t forget you,” I lied. “I forgot the time. I was busy getting everything done. If I wasn’t there,” I added, “you’d have no dinner tonight. Seriously, the whole place would have fallen apart.”
Which I was able to prove to her the moment we arrived home…
…because without me the potato had gone cold and, of yeah, the bath had flooded the bathroom. I don’t care what the poetry is on this, cascading water is not always calming.
Of course, no one in the house had noticed.
“OMG!” squeaked Miss9 when we walked in the house. “Dad, what have you-”
“Shhh!” I hissed at her. “Go in there and watch tv with the others. Say nothing. You hear me? Say nothing.”
“But I’m hungry. When’s dinner?”
“Yeah, Dad,” said Miss6, appearing ninja-like next to me again. “When’s dinnERWATERWATERWATER!”
“Shhh,” I hissed again, suddenly very concerned about interrupting my wife’s nap, and trying to convey, ironically through the use of a watery sound much like the ocean or steam from an iron, how she deserved a chance to catch up and we should respect her enough to let her. “Shhhh.”
“WATER! WHY IS THERE WATER EVERYWHERE?!”
And it didn’t become any quieter when the other three arrived for a gander.
Which is why I have to let Tracey know when I’m helping out around here, because my shits of children make no secret of telling her when I’m stuffing things up.
Raising a family on little more than laughs