“Knee butter!” screamed Miss2 for the umpteenth time. She was so frustrated she slapped the side of her head with her hand and then started bashing on the fridge door, not merely pointing at it.
It was 5.00am and we’d been at this for nearly half an hour. I was seriously regretting not pretending to be asleep when Miss2 stumbled into our room so Tracey could have got up and sorted this out.
“What do you want?” I asked my daughter again. I must have looked a bit odd – I still had one eye firmly shut in the hope I could sort her out and get back to sleep before the 10 month old alarm next to our bed went off.
I have this ‘thing’ (Tracey calls it a ‘stupid thing’) where if I wake up in the middle of the night and open both eyes my body and brain thinks we’re done sleeping. Alternatively, if I keep one eye shut I can do whatever I like around the house, flop back into bed and fall instantly back to sleep.
I can even swap eyes if I accidentally open the one which doesn’t work so well (I’m basically blind in my left eye but I prefer to think of this eye as having my ‘soft filter lens’ for looking at Tracey when she’s a bit haggard).
“Knee butter! Knee butter! Knee butter!” continued Miss2. For the fifth time I opened the fridge and pulled out the butter. “NO!!!” she cooed so sweetly I thought my eardrum was going to burst.
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand,” I explained to her. “Do you want a sandwich? How about a glass of milk? What about a lolly?”
I would have offered to whip her up a pavlova if I thought it would shut her up.
“Knee butter!” she yelled, slapping her head again. We were going round in circles.
Only this time it occurred to me she doesn’t normally slap the side of her head when she’s frustrated. She normally slaps mine.
“Is your ear sore?” I asked. I started ferreting around in the baskets above the fridge, looking for the thermometer.
“Yes! Knee butter!” But this time it was a happier yell.
Eventually I found the thing and took her temperature, which was fine. The change in my little daughter was instantaneous.
“Night, Daddy,” she said, and went back to her bed, leaving me free to stumble back to my own bed, close my eye and go to sleep.
When I started explaining the scenario to Tracey this morning, with much emphasis on my lack of sleep and the chivalrous nature of my having jumped out of bed, I expected sympathy, praise and the promise of sex, but instead she served me up a big, fat slice of ‘I’m so much better at this than you’.
“I just couldn’t work out what she wanted,” I told her. “I still don’t know what the hell ‘knee butter’ is.”
“Knee butter? Oh, she wanted you to make ‘me better’,” said Tracey. “You just needed to take her temperature.”
At least I’ll know for next time. By which I mean I’ll be keeping both eyes firmly shut and letting Tracey get up.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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