“Everyone outside,” I announced to the kids. I wanted to vacuum and mop the floors before their mother came home. And anyway, they were all watching or playing things on electronic devices and not really interacting. “Kick a ball around the backyard or something.”
The good thing about kicking the kids into the backyard is having the house to myself for an hour. Well, that’s the dream.
“Will you come and kick it with us, Dad?” Master9 yelled up from the backyard several minutes later.
“Can’t,” I called back.
“Why not?” Miss10 wanted to know.
“Cleaning,” I said, coming out onto the balcony to look down on their needy little faces. “But mainly because I don’t want to.”
“Dad, this is why you’re fat,” Miss10 hollered up at me. You know, in case the neighbours had their windows shut.
“You are no longer my favourite child,” I told her.
Master9 thought this was awesome. “Yay! I’m the favourite again,” he said.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I grinned at him. “You never were.”
They ran off giggling and were immediately replaced by Miss7 and her younger siblings.
“Can we play in the mud?” asked Miss7.
“Sure,” I said.
I mean, what’s the worse that could happen?
Five minutes later…
“Dad,” Miss4’s sweet little voice was at my elbow.
“Hmmm…” I said, almost but not quite taking my eyes off my laptop screen.
After vacuuming the lounge room I’d become distracted by Facebook. It’s never happened before, I swear.
“Can I have a bath now?”
“Sure,” I mumbled, paying no attention at all to what I’d agreed to. Bath. Bath. My subconsciousness slowly worked out what the word was and I turned to Miss4 to ask her why. “Why do you want a ba-ah-ahhh-shit! Get off the carpet! Off the carpet! Out of the house!”
Miss4 had just walked mud all through the place. Fortunately, in chasing her out the door I managed to stop Miss7 and Miss2 from doing the same.
I quickly had the kids turn on the tap and fill up the shell outside to clean themselves up while I started the bath. Naturally, this evolved into water play and took up another fifteen minutes of their time.
Meanwhile, I was gathering up PJ’s when I happened to walk past the telesitter, which the kids had left on, and was drawn into a musical number. Curse Rodgers and Hammerstein’s catchy tunes and Julie Andrews’ gloriously distracting voice!
Then, over the list of Julie’s favourite things, I heard an odd sound.
And it is an odd sound, a dog lapping up a drink on your hallway floor.
“Shit!” I squawked.
I slipped and sloshed and waded my way into the bathroom and turned off the tap.
“Don’t worry, Dad,” Master9 chuckled from the door. “We’ve always wanted a pool.”
On the bright side, I hadn’t got around to mopping the floors yet and now I didn’t need to fill the bucket.
On the not as bright side, I had an ‘interesting’ story to tell Tracey when she came home.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”