Rummaging through the gems on an old USB, I found this fun article I had written for a Parenting Magazine. Now my children are 10 and 8 … but it delivered some happy memories of CRAZY nights!
I have just driven into my driveway. My wife asked me to pick up some broccoli, mushrooms, milk, bread and bum wipes from the local shop on the way home. It was a murderous day at work. I’m tired, she’s tired. It’s 42 degrees today and in WA they are trialing daylight saving – I hate them.
My 2 ½ year old trots out with a card she has made for me with Mum today, she has no shoes on her feet and seems oblivious to the heat of the pavement – my arms are filled with shopping bags as I bought more than requested (I purchased watermelon after I had browsed through a magazine article that suggested that offering your kids a variety of colour on their plate is a “sure way” to get them to eat a more healthy diet – I bought the magazine too).
My daughter says nothing – she just hands me the folded cardboard that is glued with glitter, animal shapes, paint strokes and bits of recycled shredded paper. I love it – maybe she remembers telling me that she didn’t want a hug this morning because … “I only want Mummy cuddles” – I’m secretly bitter but know how totally irrational it is to entertain such a foolish grudge. Later, I make sure she gets a little less ice-cream with her watermelon … to ward off type-2-diabetes, of course!
I carry the shopping bags over the head of our son, a puppy dog at the door to greet me. He positions himself so he can move outside as I move inside. My wife carries our daughter in after checking the mail; I throw the shopping on the counter and then retreat to scoop up my 1 year old who is acting as an unwilling door stop.
I peck my beloved on the cheek as she rummages through my shopping bags and scurries off with the final ingredients to prepare a feast for her prodigal hunter.
I roll around the floor, play Superman, Hide and Seek, Block Builder and Pack-Away-Man like a Pro. I know all the “Wiggles” characters and can recite most of the “Hi-5” repertoire. I even have favourites – I catch myself singing them at work.
I mix drinks, change an obligatory nappy (tonight it smells like mustard but that could be dinner), re-stick the sticky thingy that is supposed to maintain cupboard security (it does NOT stick to the door like the picture on the box – it’s phony security I remind myself, “I’ll do it tonight – Oh GOD, I’m a bad Daddy”) and try to catch up on a few snippets of my wife’s day.
Dinner is delicious. Chicken, Brown Rice and Vegetables (with a honey sauce and a peppering of purple glitter that somehow made its way into the mix). My son selects some choice morsels that he throws to the floor with supportive cheers from our Maltese who knows EXACTLY where to sit at meal times.
My daughter has had the same mouthful of food in her mouth for 9 minutes. “Chew, Chew, Swallow” we encourage… “Come on, baby” …“Naughty Spot” …. “Timer’s On”…. “Miss out on Ice Cream”…. “Good Girl”.
My wife bravely faces bath time and I clean up. I find another potato at the back of the sofa (that explains the smell… I hope) and am now resolute to fix the bloody sticky thing on the pantry.
Youngest is teething so he has some medicine to help him sleep and we dispense pretend medicine for “Miss 2 ½” – an orange juice placebo (she can’t possibly miss out!!!).
It’s close now… the sanity …
Story-time, Guitar-time, Bed-time… “But Daddy – It’s still light outside” (I hate daylight saving, I hate daylight saving!). Cuddles, potty, cuddles, kiss, kiss, drink of water, “silly story”, potty run, wash hands, kiss for Quack-Quack, Brown Bear and Bongo, recycle bath water, tidy bench, wash dishes, re-replace sticky thingy, coffee percolator ON … 5 minutes peace… I can’t wait for tomorrow!