I waved Tracey off and turned back to where my kids had all been lying on the trampoline only moments earlier. Now they were standing in the yard, staring at our house and mumbling to each other.
Mumbling is fine with me. I usually don’t get involved until the yelling starts.
So it’s odd, and fortunate, that I overheard their conversation as I walked back up to the lounge room to watch some Firefly.
“I’ve got an even better way to get up there,” Miss8 was saying. Master10, Miss5 and Miss3 were listening in an attentive way I never seem to elicit from them when I’m handing out instructions before school. “If we climb up there,” she said, pointing to part of the balcony and then another, “we can grab onto that.”
Now I confess my first thought was, Isn’t that great, the kids are using their heads to find a solution to a problem. Like a think tank. What a fun game. How very creative of them.
Then I realized my kids have never, ever done that sort of thing so I stopped, frowned a little and reviewed the sentence looking for a way it made some sort of harmless sense. With a sigh I realized it probably didn’t.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“We’re trying to work out the best way to climb up onto the roof,” said Master10 without even taking his eyes off the house.
I was afraid of that.
Then, as if to prove once and for all this wasn’t just some sort of mental exercise they started climbing all over our balcony.
Seriously, Tracey had been gone less than a minute! My wife probably wasn’t at the lights down the road yet and already my kids are trying to kill themselves in a way they never seem to do when she’s around. It’s like she’s the bung which keeps all the smarts in their brains and when she goes away it all leaks out and the cavity fills up with dumb.
“You are NOT climbing onto the roof,” I told them. Obviously. “You could fall off and hurt my relationship with your mother.”
“But Da-aad,” they whined, like I’d just taken away their iPods and sent them to bed early.
“I mean it,” I said, bringing out my Daddy voice. “Seriously, this isn’t a game.” Turns out I was a little wrong about that. “And anyway, why would you want to climb on the roof?”
“So we can jump onto the trampoline!” they all shouted.
It might not surprise you to learn I didn’t watch any telly this afternoon and instead sat on the balcony until Tracey returned and put the bungs back in their empty noggins.
Raising a family on little more than laughs.
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