On Putting Yourself First

Calling dibs on being first is very important around here.

I guess it’s something to do with being part of such a huge tribe and wanting that moment when everyone else is a little jealous of the attention you’re getting. There are times, though, when it overrides any common sense I fleetingly glimpse in the words and actions of my darlings.

Take last night, for example…

It was all urgency as Miss5’s head popped out of her bunk and she yelled into the confined space, “I need a drink!”

Bedtime is contradictively easier and harder when you’re living in a bus.

It’s easier because you are right there, within a couple of meters, to sort out any nonsense. You know if someone hasn’t brushed their teeth because they’d have had to squeeze past you to get to the sink. You know if Child A is whispering stuff across the aisle to Child B to rile them up before the screaming starts because you can hear the little shitster. At home, you’d say goodnight to a couple of youngins and then discover, next ad break, far from falling asleep with their favourite dolly they’d broken ground on a toy NYC on the floor where the dolls, like children, never sleep.

Where it’s harder is that whenever one kid thinks of a reason to postpone closing their eyes it can spread like a pandemic.

“Me too,” said Miss9.

“Me first,” demanded Miss7.

“Me first too!” echoed Miss5.

Like sugar in a batch of home brew, when the toilet is half a paddock away water before bed must be added to small bladders with mindfulness and precision and a clear head. Otherwise it’s a time bomb set to go off at about five am.

I half filled a small plastic cup and gave everyone a small sip before closing their cubicle curtains and settling back in front of my computer to await the next delay tactic. My screen didn’t even get a chance to flare back to life.

“I need a kiss!” called out Miss5.

“I need a kiss too,” said Miss7.

“But I’m first,” said Miss9, “because I’ve already got my lips ready.”

She somehow managed to project her lips about two inches from her face. I nearly didn’t have to bend down to her bottom bunk.

Next it was hugs.

“My turn first,” yelled out Miss5.

Finally, some fifteen minutes after I’d initially sent them off to bed, I settled down to sip on my tea and write a post about gluten free weet-bix which Master11 and Miss7 had gifted me earlier that day. By now I was well and truly done with these delay tactics.

“Now that’s enough from you three,” I said in my daddy-voice. “Heads on pillows and close your mouths and your eyes, or I’ll come back there to think about stamping my hand on your bums.”

At which point they proved winning is more important than, say, thinking.

“Me first!” the three of them yelled in unison.

I don’t really mind demands for additional hugs and kisses because look at those faces.
Kids were demanding a couple of  days sitting around the bus relaxing. So we put them to work. As part of their homeschooling they’re setting up a market stall occasionally (when Tracey and I can convince ourselves it’s worth getting out of bed at stupid o’clock for) which they will run themselves.
They decided (with some encouragement from us) to sell dolls clothes. They don’t take up much space in the bus and we can use our camping equipment, like the gazebos, tables and chairs, for the stall.
They bought stock in bulk online and have spent a day repackaging. I’m talking 12 hours.
There are ball and wedding dresses as well. One of their main duties is to keep a close eye on Miss5 who keeps infuriating her siblings by saying things like, “We are going to the markets to give them to people.” Give? She’s a natural entrepreneur, that one.
The kids have to keep books for the stall, work out the individual cost of the items, packaged price, add profit, take into account expenses like the stall site cost, run the stall, exhibit a level of customer service and pleasantness I struggle seeing them accomplishing, calculate change and then divide any profit (ha) amongst the five of them. If the stall goes as well as Master11 envisions they’ll have go public on the stock exchange around mid-May.  
Hopefully they’ll make a little something each, but I think, in terms of educational benefits, we’re on a winner. Except for the 4.30am start. Wonder if she’ll be this playful then.
Took Miss9 op shopping because we only brought two dolls with us in the bus (we have no less than fifty at home) and she’s the queen. Loved the Lowood Blue Nurses op shop. Bargain city.
Earlier Miss9 and I went op shopping for dolls to showcase their stock. $2 each. Bargain.
Also found another purple unicorn and rainbow tee for Miss5. $1.50. Super bargain.
Things are still falling apart fairly regularly around here. And not just our mental states. The yellow edge fell off the bottom step. Upset both by the scruffy appearance of our entrance now, and the apparent state of the metal underneath.
Had a smell in the bus I eventually traced down to this. Found tufts of smoke coming from the red fuse, and the plastic was melting. Possibly just because one of the knobs was loose but a bit scary. We just won’t leave this charging our batteries unless I’m around and checking on it regularly until we can find somewhere to replace the fuse (we’ve tried but no luck so far but will try again today).
We will be at the Fernvale Country Markets Sunday 26th Feb 2017. If you’re in the area drop by (we don’t expect you to buy anything) and have a selfie taken for our Big Lap Selfie Wall. I’ll either be at our stall or standing in line somewhere close by for another coffee. 

Raising a family on little more than laughs

Currently reading on my Kindle: Pride & Prejudice


  • The gf weetbix are the BEST!!! Not only are they for breakfast, spread butter and vegemite (gf of course) on them for a snack. Use as the base for cheesecake; instead of breadcrumbs; the list is endless.

  • Awesome job devereaux kids!
    I find it amusing that I’m sitting here reading your blog about all the interesting things you guys are doing and all Coop and Josh are talking about on the phone is Video games! Oh, and girls! ?

  • Love the idea of the market stall for the children!! Great learning opportunity, and a fabulous way to meet the locals too. Look forward to your next blog post – really enjoy reading it.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.