Rooky Mistake

Head in Hands

I’ve only been home looking after the kids four nights of the last 28 and already, without Tracey’s guidance, I’ve reverted to making rooky mistakes.

“Dad!” yelled Master10 from the big kids’ bedroom. “I can hear beeping!”

Having Mum so unwell effects kids in different ways. With Master10 it’s brought out his anxiety. On the trip to see his mum in hospital and back he’d so far been worried I was parking too high up in the car park, the lifts were unsafe so he took the stairs, the floor Mummy was on was unnecessarily high and the rain we were driving in was part of a much bigger storm threat.

So by the time he was in bed worried about beeps I’d had it.

“There’s nothing there,” I told him. “And even if they were, what do you think they are anyway?”

“I was wanting you to tell me that,” he said weakly enough to make me realise I was being a little tough.

I shut my eyes and listened. Nothing.

“There’s nothing there,” I told him.

“There is,” he said, “but it’s not all the time.”

Great. I was hell tired from nearly eight hours of driving. Suddenly I realised I could kill two birds with one stone.

“Move over,” I said, “and let me see if I can hear them.”

I shut my eyes expecting to go to sleep, only I couldn’t. There was some sort of unexpected beeping.

“You hear it?” asked Master10.

“I do,” I said, shushing him.

Jumping (rolling) out of bed I dropped (fell) to my knees and checked under the bed (I was down there anyway so why not). Nothing.

I checked on the set of draws, on the shelves and in the cupboard. Nothing.

I put my head against the window. The beeping wasn’t in the house.

“Wait here,” I told Master10.

Like he had any intention of coming with me.

Outside the house the beeps were louder. For a moment I wondered if it was a smoke alarm nearby when suddenly it occurred to me what the noise was.

“It’s okay,” I called back into the house. I shut the doors, preparing to go to bed myself. “It’s only a toad somewhere in the neighbour’s yard getting excited by the rain.”

Nearly a quarter of a century of parenting should have forewarned me this wasn’t going to be the end of this little episode.

Suddenly the house was filled with screaming and a door slammed violently shut.

“What the hell’s going on in here?” I exclaimed, opening the bedroom door in a ‘daddy is cross’ manner and stepping through ready to give Master10 a mouthful.

But he was lying calmly with his head on his pillow looking across the room at his sister’s bed.

I followed his eyes to find Miss8 sitting hunched in her doona the far end of the bed, shaking and looking petrified.

“What’s wrong with you now? I asked.

“A toad!” she screamed at me. “You said there’s a toad out there!”

So last night I almost slept in my bed. To be clear, I was in my bed but so were two deceptively large children and a cat. None of us actually slept.

Come home as quick as you can, Tracey. I’m already over stuffing this up by myself.

~ ~ ~

Thank you again to everyone involved in keeping our Tracey alive and in with a chance. If you would like to do something wonderful please consider donating to one of the heroes of this ordeal – Care Flight who got Tracey where she needed to be quickly and safely. I gave them $100 as a thank you. This is a service we need to ensure continues because it saves live, keeping mummies around for their kids and hapless husbands.


  • Hope you all manage a decent sleep soon Bruce. You’re doing a great job 🙂 I guess the children are bound to be a bit on edge, but they will be glad to have you home for a while.

  • The 1st time you went home to the kids I think you had 5 children in your bed, so that’s improvement right there! You are not stuffing up. You drove eight hours on top off living through the hardest month of your life! You are allowed to tell the kids you got frustrated because you were tired. You really are amazing.

  • Bruce the kids are lucky you’re so perceptive … you get what’s at the root of their behaviour. I hear you though on dealing with someone else’s anxiety. It has a tendency to ratchet your own up through the roof. Sometimes it’s all you can do to hold your tongue …

    Hoping Tracey is doing better today too. I know it’s a slow road.

  • Nnaawwhhh!! I don’t think you’re stuffing it up by any means! I bet those kids loved the opportunity to be with you all night even if none of you managed good quality sleep. Probably just what they needed with all the current uncertainty, ups and downs. Keep on swimming! X

    Ps Did you figure out how to get the mortgage paid? 😉

  • Toads beep? I had no idea.

    All of you are a bit fragile at the moment. Sleeping together is not necessarily a bad thing (although more sleeping would probably be good.) Also no one manages to parent effectively and without minor stuffups when they’re exhausted. Be kind to yourself.

  • You’re doing a great job, Bruce. It was fantastic to see the difference in the kids yesterday – smiling, laughing, no longer looking lost. Tracey will be home berating you before you know it x

  • Hi Awesome parent, I can’t really imagine what you’ve all been going through but I keep trying to think how I can help and what Tracey might want to yell at you about so I’m sure you wouldn’t forget but feel I must remind you Miss G has a birthday very soon (5th November). She’s very excited about it between thinking of her mum. There are lots of kids and parents at school who would love to help her celebrate so if you need help with that just say. Thinking of you all.

  • Toads! Ick! You can try to be rational; the toad’s outside, toads can’t open doors, toads can’t reach windows, etc, but all that does is provide details to feed their nightmares. At least it should help with teaching your kids to keep doors shut in the house to keep wildlife out? I’m constantly closing doors and the house is full of mozzies, and last summer the boys left the guest room door WIDE OPEN OVERNIGHT and a couple of rats decided to use our house as a playground, pantry and toilet for 3 months until we caught the little b*stards.

  • Hey Bruce, this is some really random advice but during times of stress kids (and adults) really benefit from zinc. Low zinc often manifests as anxiety or aggression and bed wetting. You can get kids zinc supplements from supermarkets or chemists. My daughter has a zinc deficiency so I have quite a bit of experience on the subject 🙂
    Anyway I just thought I’d mention it and
    I hope you get some sleep in your own bed soon.

  • Next time tell them its a dinosaur. Ask them what should be done about it.
    I had a very anxious son as well. I started telling him tall tales to counteract his fears. Tall enough that at first he would buy into it but then so tall that he would know that his worst fears were much less of a drama than he imagined.
    If the kids know that you are prepared to slay dragons then they will trust you to take care of toads x
    Stay positive. Sleep when you can and dont be too hard on yourself.

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