Am I right in thinking the kids don’t go back to school for two weeks? It’s only the kids seem to have been on holidays for a very long time. I mean, I’m only asking because I’d hate for them to miss the start of the school year and fall behind.
“Hey!” I yelled out tonight. “Who’s left all these pistachio shells on the floor?”
I knew who it was but I like to give my kids a chance to own up. And I hold great hopes that one day one of them will surprise me and do that.
“Get in here,” I said to Miss3 a few moments later.
“What wrong, Daddy?” she asked me innocently.
“This is,” I told her, pointing to the mess. “What do you say about that?”
“Sorry,” she said, head bowed. She’s very good at saying sorry because she gets to practice saying it a lot. “I fix it.”
So here I am living the dream as a stay at home dad.
Finally, and it’s currently more like a nightmare – which is why I haven’t written anything for a couple of days.
Not only are we having some teething issues with the washing – I still can’t work out which pink bit of cloth belongs to which daughter – I’m also exhausted from the kids being on holidays and wrecking the place all day and then coming into our room all night.
I’m so very sick and tired of being woken up throughout the night I gathered the kids together on our bed for a chat before their bedtime tonight.
Who am I kidding? These days I’m lucky if they’re fed and showered by their bedtime. It was 9pm and Tracey was up me because I didn’t remember to shampoo their hair. I did, But I also made an executive decision to not give a toss about it. I chose sanity instead. I’ve spent considerable time tonight trying to come up with a word to convey my current emotional and mental state, and I’ve settled on ‘ARRRRGH!’ It seems so odd to me I managed to hold things together internally relatively well while Tracey was on Death’s doorstep, but now she’s home I’m struggling with panic attacks and simple parenting tasks. I was warned about this, but being so positive and thankful to still have my wife with me I didn’t expect it.
Am I sounding a little manic? Then I’ve managed to express things rather perfectly.
“Look around guys,” I told the kids as they mock-wrestled on the bed, leading to the inevitable ‘it was an accident’ injury. “This isn’t your bedroom. You don’t sleep here. There’s nothing for you here between the hours of goodnight and good morning. You walk into this room again,” I continued, getting to my point, “you won’t be walking out – they’ll be carrying you out in a box.”
Don’t judge me. I’ve tried to be more subtle but it hasn’t sunk in.
Of course, Tracey seems to be enjoying watching my efforts.
“You’re sounding more and more like me,” she’ll point out while I’m struggling to remove the cuss words from my sentences as I give further instructions to the kids on how to put things back into their rooms. I swear they don’t know the purpose of wardrobes.
And that’s just the start of it.
So much Nerf and Barbie lies scattered throughout the yard it’s like a toy store exploded nearby. Plus there’s more makeup ground into the carpet than Miss12’s face and something like two reams of A4 paper lie doodled on or sticky taped together and scattered throughout the house.
Miss3 has even started a rock collection in her bedroom. Not especially rare rocks, I might add, just the ones from around the stepping stones which lead from our front gate to the front door. There’s maybe ten or twenty thousand of them out there.
“Mum!” called out Miss5 from the other end of the house this afternoon. “Mum, I need you!”
“No, you don’t!” Tracey happily called back. She didn’t even take her eyes off her iPhone and her Hay Day efforts. “You need Daddy!” Then she nudged me because I was at that moment lying beside her pretending to be asleep. “Bruce,” she said, grinning (I know she was grinning because she’s doing it a lot lately – plus I could hear it in her voice), “your daughter needs you. I’d go myself, but…”
…but she’s milking her recovery worse than a professional wrestler entering an arena.
She’s not really. She just gets tired easily and needs to spend stupid amounts of time tending to her drains. In fact, she’s so determined to get back to normal I keep having to tell her to stop doing stuff. If she’s going to tire herself out I have my own ideas about the method she should employ.
“And Bruce,” she said just as I wearily exited the room.
I stuck my head back through the doorway and muttered the only thing I had the energy for.
“Hmmm?” I asked her.
“Would you mind putting the kettle on for me on your way through?” she smiled.
Which is code for ‘make me a tea’.
I left again, but she wasn’t quite done.
“And maybe nuke me up some mac and cheese? I love you!”
I love her too. I love having her back. I love how well she’s handling all the crap with her bags. I love the kids still get to call out for their Mum to help them change the channel so they can watch a movie through the Xbox, even if they get their techtard Dad instead.
But, and this is something I never thought I’d say, I think, at least for the initial teething period of me being home doing the day to day stuff instead of running away to the sanity of a workplace, I’ll love this all a whole lot better when they’re back at school.
As a sort of bonus, even Miss3 will be going to pre-prep for two and a half days a week this year. I pity them.
“And what do you do with those shells now?” I asked Miss3 once she’d picked them up. I could have told her but I’m trying to do what I think good parents do and encourage her to make decisions and find solutions.
“I put them mmenna mah buudhuun,” she mumbled. I didn’t hear what she said, but assumed it wasn’t ‘in the bin’ because suddenly she was running past me.
“Hey!” I yelled after Miss3. “Where are you going?”
“I put them in my bedroom!” she yelled over her shoulder.
Sure enough, when I got there, the shells were all over the carpet in her bedroom, scattered amongst the rocks.
“Why would you do this?” I asked her. “Why didn’t you put them in the bin?”
And she looked at me like I’d lost my mind. I’m not saying she’s wrong.
“But they’re my shells. I love them.”
Of course they are. Of course she does.
And they’re my kids. Which is what makes them super special and forever grants them a place in my heart, no matter how much dumb they do. I just don’t know why they feel the need to test those limits like a Raptor trying to find the weaknesses of his enclosure.
But anyway, on a not entirely unrelated matter, while I have your attention can I just check it’s the 27th still, yeah? A Wednesday? It’s just since I’ve become a stay at home Dad I’ve realised how very, very important education is.
Can I also ask, how early am I allowed to drop the little darlings off to school? I’d hate for them to miss a moment.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”