Surprisingly calm and structured day today, considering it was the first day back to school after a wonderfully exhausting holiday.
Yes, we couldn’t find Master8’s shoes or Miss6’s hat. Granted, there wasn’t so much as a carrot in the house to put in lunchboxes for fruit snack. Sure, the Red Rocket was so low on fuel that on the trip down the hill to the servo it was running on gravity.
But all things considered, there was some mental back patting going on as I pulled into work. Late.
It’s always a relief when I get to work and the worst I have to deal with are complaints. Same sort of thing awaits me at home, of course, but at least at work they’re complaints from adults who I have a chance of reasoning with.
Further pleasantly manageable disasters filled the early evening, with Miss1 sharing some pasta with the dog while Master8 had a minor meltdown and Miss3 joined in for shits and giggles, but Tracey and I held our inner zen close to our chests.
Fair to say, by bedtime the smiles on our faces were a little strained.
“They need sleep,” said Tracey. “Their eyes are hanging out of their heads.”
I looked at my wife and wondered if she hadn’t simply looked in a mirror. Or at me.
Bedtime had become a bit of a nightmare by the end of the holidays, the predictable result of too many movie nights and a lack of routine.
Miss6 was exhausted and went to sleep in the baby’s room at the same time as Miss1, which gave us an idea about how to handle the others: we decided to divide and conquer. Not us – the kids.
In the main kids’ room, the two big kids were separated and kissed goodnight threateningly and Miss3 was taken to our bed until she fell asleep.
A perfect plan with one small flaw: Miss3 doesn’t like to go to sleep.
She’d already hinted at a difficult transition to sleep when Tracey asked her to find her toothbrush.
“I can’t,” she said, in a tone which brought Tracey’s lack of common sense into sharp focus. “I using my hands to scratch my bum.”
“Well, you can scratch while you walk to the bathroom. And make sure you wash your hands first,” Tracey told her.
An hour later, much of which involved carrying Miss3 back to bed in a very Supernanny manner (no talking, no eye contact), and finally the house was quiet.
All I had to do was move Miss3 back to her bed and we were done.
I crept into our room, lifted my young daughter and drifted into the main kids’ bedroom, where I tucked her in and kissed her check.
As I stood up straight I could feel the stress cascading off my shoulders. Finally, the evening was to be ours to wile away the time doing dishes and making lunches and all that fun houseworky stuff.
“Night, dad,” said Miss9 just as Master8 sat up and pointed at Miss3.
“She’s not asleep,” he grinned, and his little sister broke into chuckles.
And we started again.
Yep, calm and structured, in much the same way the running of the bulls in Spain isn’t.
Here’s hoping day two of the new semester goes a little smoother. Although I know for a fact there’s still no fruit in the fridge and Master8 was looking for his shoes again after dinner.
But those things aside, what could go wrong?
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’