In Hot Water

“If you all get ready quickly I’ll give you some money for a hot chocolate for when mum takes you to school,” I told my kids this morning by way of encouragement to get them moving. I am not beyond the odd bribe, especially when I’m trying to do something nice for my wife. Tracey has been shouldering the bulk of the household duties since my shoulder went, and now it’s back to good I thought it only fair I give a little back.

Besides, she let me sleep in until 10am yesterday.

“I got it,” I’d said to her when the sound of Miss1 stirring waffled into our bedroom like an air raid siren. “You sleep in.”

“You mean it,” she’d asked, her eyes not even opening.

Of course I did.

“Wake me to take the kids to school,” she said before rolling over and snuggling back into the pillows. “You’re still not allowed to drive until the doc gives you the okay.”

I agreed and headed out the door, shutting it gently behind me, to get the morning started. Less than a minute later I was back in the room.

“Sorry,” I whispered. “Forgot my dressing gown.”

Another thirty seconds.

“Glasses. Sorry.”

It was 7.15 so I knew two things: I had heaps of time to get everyone ready, but too much time to try keep these kids quiet enough for Tracey to sleep.

“Come on, guys,” I hissed enthusiastically into the bedrooms. “Breakfast.”

Master8 has hit his teens early. This morning he refused to get out of bed, insisting he was still tired and asleep and couldn’t hear me pulling the pillow out from under his head. Still, even with the sluggish start, he’s always the first fed, dressed and ready to roll. Once he’s up, he’s focused. Meanwhile, Miss9 saw her reflection on the blank television screen and had frozen mid-stride to admire herself. It’s like she’s some sort of faulty Medusa who can only turn herself into stone.

Therefore it was the younger three who beat them to the kitchen.

“Dad,” said Miss9, breaking free of her spell and joining us. “I can’t find a shirt.”

I went outside and checked the line. Metaphorically patting myself on the back for thinking-aheadness, I brought in one for Master8 and Miss9 as well and threw them all in the dryer.

Despite my foresight, five minutes later I was back out there checking for shorts and skirts.

The rest of the uniforms have been washed and dried, but they were in a pile at the end of our bed, and I swore to myself I was not going in there for anything. It was truer to say I was not going in there for another couple of minutes.

I’d started making lunches when I suddenly realized I could only see four of my kids.

Miss3 was missing.

With dread I turned around to look at our bedroom door. It was slightly ajar. If this was a movie there would have been a dramatic sting at this point with string and brass instruments.

“Sorry,” I whispered, stepping into our bedroom to remove Miss3 from our bed.

“Just leave her,” Tracey said back.

“It would be a shame to move her. She’s gone to sleep again,” I whisper.

“Makes one of us,” said Tracey, and I take that as my signal to leave the room.

I don’t even close the door before I’m stepping back in.

“Socks,” I whisper apologetically to Tracey. Miss6 had already been complaining she couldn’t find any and I didn’t remember seeing them on the line.

Ten minutes later I’m the girls’ bedroom trying to find some clothes for Miss1, and wondering if there might be some on the line, when I hear Tracey.

“Come on! Out to the car! Move!” she was snapping out. “Bruce! I’ll leave the other two with you! I’ve got to go!”

She was sounding shrill.

“Why the sudden rush?” I asked her.

Her face said I was a lot stupid for asking. “Because,” she said, “the kids need to get to class before the bell and it is already…” she looked at the clock and her tone changed, “…7.45? Not a quarter to nine?”

At least I can’t be blamed for this one, I thought to myself. I was wrong.

The three school age kids were fed, dressed and bags packed so they’d woken their mum up so she could drive them to school. Why?

“Dad promised us a hot chocolate at school,” Master8 told his mum. “So we have to get there early or the tuck-shop will be closed.”

Apparently, I don’t get sleep-ins anymore either.



When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little inco

me’  Facebook Page.

 ’raising a family on little more than laughs’

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