Now I can’t tell you exactly what I said to my kids yesterday because some people find swearing offensive, but I fear Tracey might be called into the office at pre-prep next week if any of it sticks with Miss4.
“Kids!” I called out. “I need you in the kitchen!”
With five kids and wooden floors, you might imagine the ensuing stampede sounded like several bowling balls being rolled down stairs.
You’d be wrong.
Not one child entered the kitchen. I tried again.
“Kids!” I yelled. “It’s time to give me all your electronics!”
They heard that.
“Whaa-aaat?” they screamed, almost drowning out their imitation of thunderous, bounceless, stair-damaging bowling balls. “Dad, why?!”
You’d think I’d demanded blood samples.
“It’s okay,” I grinned at my assembled mini me’s, handing them a plastic bag each. “It’ll only be for a couple of minutes. Head into the backyard and fill your bag with whatever rubbish you find there. Cardboard, sticks, dog poo-”
“Okay, not dog poo. But bits of toys or whatever? Fill your bag up and you can get back to killing your creativity until dinner.”
Our newish little dog, Winter, is just about the most gorgeous puppy I’ve ever seen in my life. But there are times I want to hold her down so our two cats can get a better swipe at her face. She’s taken to dragging anything she can into the back yard and tearing it to pieces. Maybe she’s bored. In a house with five kids, I find that an absurd proposition. And also, I’m a little jealous.
“There you go,” said Master11 a few minutes later, scooting past me to reacquaint himself with his Gameboy.
“Thanks for doing that, mate,” I said, almost taking my eyes off my own screen.
“Finished,” said Miss9 a few seconds later.
“Ta,” I said.
“We’re done,” Miss6 announced in a chipper manner as she and Miss4 trotted past me.
“You’re the bestest.”
“Now I need to wash my hands,” mumbled Miss12 as she stomped through the kitchen.
“I appreciate your effor-” I started to say. I would have got the entire sentence out except I happened to look away from my screen at this point and my eyes spotted something which shouldn’t have been where it was. “GET BACK HERE! Everyone, back in the kitchen!”
Five faces, displaying a range of emotions including confusion, frustration and the angry glow of screens, appeared and waited.
“What?” said Master11 impatiently. All these interruptions were interfering with his Pokemon training schedule.
What? Really? The five plastic bags of shit from our back yard – not actual shit, of course, because only Dads are allowed anywhere near that stuff – had been dumped on our dinning table.
I couldn’t talk at first, so I just pointed. Fortunately, Miss12 helped me find my voice.
“We did what you said,” she assured me in a tone she’s been trying out in anticipation of becoming a teenager.
Insert cussing here.
To be honest, in preparation for my gallbladder removal my doctor has me halving my anti-depresants and on a low GI diet, which includes being off sugar, beer and anything resembling tasty food. Suffice to say, in the same way Tracey’s farts are a little bit stinky, as week two comes to a close at times I’ve been a little bit cranky.
A short time later, most of which was me marching around the table paraphrasing my instructions with increasingly unrealistic threats (like I’d ever turn off the wifi for a whole day), they’d taken the rubbish out to the bins and wiped clean the table.
Or so I thought.
This morning, after delivering the family to various sporting and social events, I arrived home with twenty minutes to spare until the next pickup and a hankering for coffee, despite it being
bland and tasteless sugarless.
I didn’t get my coffee.
The yard was once again thick with torn up bits of palm tree fronds, toy bits, cardboard and….
I shut my eyes.
I took a deep breath.
I opened my eyes again and nothing had changed. It was my worst case of dejavu ever. Because when I say nothing has changed, I mean from yesterday. The exact same crap the kids had picked up for me was scattered everywhere.
Actually, that’s not quite true. There was one glaring difference from the day before. Well, five differences, to be more precise. Those being the five plastic bags the kids had shoved everything into were scattered amongst the flotsam and jetsam as well. If Pro Hart had ever made an ad for a mulcher, this is how he’d have started the project.
When my kids took the bags to the bins they’d obviously just plonked them, with much the same lack of thought processes they’d applied to putting them on the dinning table, beside the bin and not in it. Meaning Winter, who I must remember to help the cats with, was able to reunite herself with all her pretties.
And the worst thing about this? Yes, worse than me not getting a
bland and tasteless sugarless coffee.
This time none of those self same kids were home for me to hollersplain how to clean the wretched mess up properly. Instead, I had to do it myself while Winter bounced around me trying to take it all back out of my hands. She was having a ball. Me?
Let’s just say, we’re starting her in puppy preschool in a couple of weeks. If Tracey gets called into the office there to discuss Winter’s bad language, I’ll know where she got that from too.
“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
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