“I got this,” I said to my wife, in what I soon came to believe was the dumbest statement of the day. “You sit in your office and do your editing, and the girls and I will clean the house.”
But it wasn’t the dumbest statement of the day. It came in a close second.
I’m home for the week and have been loving doing the little things I never get a chance to do – walking the kids into school: taking the littler kids to pre-prep and daycare: going for a beer at the golf club with a mate. It’s been great.
Today I decided I’d try my hand at housework.
Which, before anyone feels compelled to season a sentence in the comments section with derogatory words like typical, lazy and bastard, isn’t because I never do any. Rather, it’s because the majority of the housework – beds, laundry, floors, shopping – tends to get done during the day while I’m at work.
“Come on,” I said to Miss4 and Miss2, “let’s go tidy the bedrooms.”
Clearly my girls don’t have the foggiest idea what the word tidy means. Or what the phrases ‘pick those up’ or ‘put those away’ or even, it turns out, ‘for Pete’s sake just sit in front of the telly and watch Peppa Pig while I get this done’ mean either.
I believe I now have an inkling of an understanding how Batman feels trying to keep Gotham safe from The Joker and Twoface.
I first suspected I was in trouble just as soon as I made the first bed, and before I’d even thrown a cushion onto the pillow Miss4 started using it as a trampoline.
“You right in there?” my wife called from her office. I couldn’t see her face but it’s true what they say, you can hear a smile in someone’s voice. A grin more-so.
My second clue this wasn’t destined to end well was that while I chased Miss4 into the other bedroom, stressing the importance of the shoe pairing mission I’d just given her, Miss2 jumped into the newly made, if slightly disheveled bed, for the nap she’s usually so at pains to avoid.
Unfortunately it wasn’t a real nap, but rather a pretend nap which lasted only as long as it took me to make the second bed, which she then decided, Goldilocks like, to try out.
In the end I chased them both into the lounge room and turned on the tellysitter.
Tracey, meanwhile, had gone out to deliver some photos to a client, and perhaps compose herself so as not to hurt my feelings.
Leaving the girls watching Peppa Pig I returned to the task at hand, this time with more satisfying, less stressful and much longer lasting results. None of which was destined to see the day out.
“Now we can start on the washin…” I began as I entered the lounge room. The room was empty, save for the musings of the Pig family.
And then I heard it – the sound of water hitting the floor.
I raced towards the hall in time to see the last of a cup of water hit the floorboards under the supervision of Miss2’s gleeful face. A second gleeful face appeared and began to lick it off the floor. Not Miss4, thankfully, but Jazz, our dog. Miss2 had apparently decided to give the dog a drink.
Miss2 sensibly ran off with her cup before I had a chance to chastise or keelhaul her. I snatched up a tea towel from the folding pile in the lounge room and tossed it onto the puddle before looking into the kitchen.
I was going to need a bigger towel.
As I gaped at the newly formed Lake Kitchen Miss2 pulled her cup away from the water dispenser in our fridge, walked to the dog and again dumped the whole thing onto the floor.
Jazz obediently took a sip of the latest offering.
I resettled Miss2 in front of the tellysitter and grabbed a couple more towels. I know this sounds a very calm response to the installation of a pool in my house but I confess there’s a gap in the timeline between the last two events, only the language is unsuitable for a family based blog.
As I mopped up the water Miss4 came in from the balcony and I instructed her, using a colourful string of threats, to sit beside her sister and not move.
“That’s better,” I mumbled to myself when I had the last of the water soaked up. As I didn’t want to blow the idea I was a responsible, watchful parent, I decided to tell Tracey I’d mopped the floor and leave out the reason why.
Which was why I was surprised by the first thing out of Tracey’s mouth when she arrived home.
“The girls have been looking after Jazz for you, have they?” she asked me with much the same grin she’d left the house with.
“How do you…?” I stammered.
She’s amazing, my wife. She just knows stuff. Although in this case the kids did leave a little hint.
She took me out onto the balcony where, it turns out, while Miss2 was quenching the dog’s thirst, Miss4 was making sure Jazz didn’t starve. Ever again.
“They’ve been very helpful,” I lied as we walked back into the house. Then I said my number one dumbest statement of the day. “But we’ve finished the housework now and they’re watching Peppa Pig.”
No, they weren’t.
They were in the bedrooms dragging all the sheets, blankets and pillows off the beds.
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