“Morning!” I exclaimed cheerfully when Tracey finally got out of bed this morning.
Most of the cheer, it must be said, was because I figured with her awake I could crawl back into bed for a nap myself.
Tracey said something back to me at this point but I couldn’t hear it. She must have realised because she reached over and yanked off my headphones before repeating herself.
“You suck,” she said.
This was pretty much the exact opposite of the thanks I was expecting. I mean, I’d been up for the last couple of hours putting out fires with our young ones.
“Daddy, you ate all the chocolate,” said Miss5 accusingly as she pointed to the empty wrapper beside my keyboard. The large plain milk chocolate block had been an after dinner treat for Mothers Day and when they went off to bed there’d been two rows left. It was silly of me, really, to think this was going to go unnoticed.
“No, I didn’t,” I lied. “Your mother did. But that’s okay,” I went on, throwing in a little bit of truth, “because it was still Mothers Day last night when she ate it. You think it’s okay for Mum to eat her own chocolate on Mothers Day, don’t you?”
She seemed to agree it was perfectly acceptable so I put my headphones back on and continued to listen to the latest news (read as, Last Week Tonight on Youtube).
I’d been a total friggin’ sweetheart from the moment the littlest voice on the bus leaned into our bunk at stupid o’clock and almost whispered, “I need to pee!”
“It’s okay,” I said. “I’ll get up. You need to catch up.”
She really did. She was out for ten hours working yesterday, coming home at 7pm. And that was Mothers Day! So I did the right thing and jumped up.
Because our bed is the top bunk and there’s only 57cm from the mattress to the ceiling, and furthermore, because it’s positioned across the bus and I sleep closest to the back window, I have to ‘walk’ on my hands and knees through my sleeping wife’s legs, looking much like you’d expect Mr Snuffleupagus to appear if he were turning around in a chicken hatchery.
And that’s the easy bit.
Even without Tracey lying across the thin exit from our bed into the hallway, the dismount is fraught with danger. With her there it’s just harder.
I’ve attempted to come out feet first, which I can only imagine from up the front of the bus, with me in my undies, must look like some horrid leviathan calfing. Trouble is the curtain rings which hold up Master12’s privacy curtain under us tends to behave like a Bengal Tiger and leave claw marks in my thighs and belly.
Which means I have to come out head first. Much like Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, this involves a leap of faith.
I have to lean out as far as I can without toppling, grab the side bars of the top bunks on either side of the aisle and throw myself out – trusting I have the grip and the angle and the pre-coffee/still-groggy/half-asleep upper body strength to stop me plunging head first into the floor some meter and a half below, which includes, I nervously add, a rather sharp edged step which I suspect is going to imprint itself on my forehead one day.
So after all this effort I expected a little more loving.
“I think you mean, ‘Thank you, darling’,” I told Tracey.
She ignored me.
“You’ve had those bloody headphones on all morning, haven’t you?” she accused.
“Only because my ears were cold,” I lied. I really am starting to think it’s becoming a habit. I took a breath, determined to prove how much of a sweetheart I’d been. “They’re not even on. Anyway, it’s not like I wasn’t looking after the kids. They’ve been quietly watching a documentary on ABBA up the front. They’re fed. Dressed.” Actually, the youngest two still had their pj’s on and I suspected Master12 was wearing the same clothes as yesterday. “-ish,” I added, determined to be more honest with my lies.
“I’ve had kids crawling over me all morning,” said Tracey.
Now who was telling furphies?
The kids had been loving the doco nearly as much as I was loving watching John Oliver lampoon Trump. There were bowls and boxes of milk all over the place from breakfast cereal, and I’d been doing a constant run to the toilet with one or the other of them all morning. Maybe that was it?
“Have they been coming in while I’ve been doing toilet runs?” I asked.
“All. Morning. The whole time. She,” Tracey went on, pointing at the back of Miss5’s head as our youngest watched ABBA sing Dancing Queen or something, “was just in bed a second ago, yelling at me.”
“I’d have heard that,” I said. By way of rebuttal, Tracey handed me my headphones. “They weren’t on,” I reminded her. Not a lie this time. They really weren’t because Last Week Tonight had finished and I hadn’t started the next vid yet. “I was wearing them like muffs because my ears were cold.” Okay, that bit wasn’t as true.
“I’m telling you,” said Tracey, “she was in bed – on me – and yelling.”
And up until this point I genuinely didn’t believe her, but then she went on.
“She was accusing me of eating all the chocolate or something?”
“Well, whattaya know?” I said. “I really do suck. Who knew?”
Tracey says she did.
Raising a family on little more than laughs