It’s been twenty years and seven kids in the making, but I’ve finally done it - I’ve worked out a way to sleep in!
Last night my awesome sister-in-law and her nearly as awesome husband took three of our kids for a sleepover. THREE!
With Master20 still in Brisbane, this left us with only Miss17, Miss2 and Miss 0. But not for long.
“Hey, darling,” Tracey said into the phone to our oldest daughter, “we were wondering if you’d like to stay at your friend’s place tonight.”
“No, I’m fine. I’ll be home in half an hour or so,” said Miss17.
“You don’t have to,” said Tracey.
“Thanks, but I’m good,” insisted Miss17. “There’s nothing happening tonight.”
“You really can stay out if you’d like,” repeated Tracey.
Pause. ”What’s going on?”
Pause. “Nothing. We just thought you’d like to stay away from here for the night.”
Pause. “Because we only have the two little ones home tonight…” There was more pausing in this call than with me watching a dvd, which is saying something because during any movie I need a couple of toilet breaks, a few snack breaks and the odd beer break. Plus I’ll need to look up IMDB every time a new character walks on screen so I can work out what the hell I’ve seen that actor in before. Not to mention I have seven kids, meaning there will be meals, baths, bed, discipline, arguments, phone calls and nappies to sort out. It can take me five hours to watch a single movie: we basically make our own ad breaks. After another significant pause, Tracey added, “…and I thought it might be nice to have some alone time with your dad.”
“Ahh…Ohhh…Ewww,” said Miss17, going from revelation to realization to revulsion in quick succession. “You know what?” she said. “I think I will stay here afterall. Now if you don’t mind, I need to go wash my brain out with soap.”
“Mish isn’t coming home tonight,” Tracey called out to me when she’d hung up the phone. “You know what that means?”
I sure do: Alone Time.
Alone time is our secret code for something we both love to do, but can’t when the kids are around – eating KFC. The Colonel Sander’s finest is too expensive to feed to everyone.
Once our two littlest were in bed Tracey snuck out and returned with enough burgers, chips and extras to feed the masses, then we hunkered down (ever so quietly, so Miss2 wouldn’t be woken) in front of the telly and took ourselves to heaven.
Later, as we crawled between the sheets, bloated like a couple of foie gras ducks, our attention naturally turned to that night’s presumed bed room antics.
“You realize in the morning all four of us will be in this room,” said Tracey.
She was right. Miss0′s cot is still in our room and every morning Miss2 inevitably jumps in with us between 4 and 6am. And unfortunately Miss2 jolts and jerks, meaning on top of being squashed between Miss2 and myself, Tracey is kicked fairly rhythmically until dawn.
But this morning I had myself an epiphany – if everyone was in our room then no-one was in the beds in the other rooms! So when I heard Tracey grunt from a jab to her kidneys I slipped out of our bed and hopped into Miss8′s – which just happens to be the most comfortable of all the singles. I figured Tracey could slide over to my side, shove a pillow between her and our kickboxing daughter and drift back to sleep.
When I woke up at 9am this morning I was thrilled. Success! I rolled over and gave myself another 15 minutes by way of a victory lap.
This time when I woke up I noticed there was an odd sound – eventually I worked out it was the washing machine. Tracey must finally be up, I decided. Time to accept my accolades.
“I’m a genius! How good was that sleep in?!” I declared, walking into the kitchen.
Turns out things weren’t quite so fantastic for my good wife.
Apparently, after I left, Miss0 woke up and needed a feed. Miss2 wasn’t at all into having nothing to kick in bed and moved across until she could once again stick the boot into mum. Then Miss0 poo’d. Then Miss2 wanted breakfast. Then Miss2 poo’d, which she announced by taking off her nappy and shoving it under mum’s nose so she could enjoy the moment too. Then Miss0 wanted more boob while Miss2 attempted to pour herself another bowl of cereal, but missed the bowl entirely. And finally, I skipped into the kitchen and announced what a lovely sleep I’d had last night.
Still, I don’t understand why Tracey can’t just be happy for me.
Bruce started his blog because friends and family kept wanting to know how he managed to feed and clothe such a large family while still having fun and being able to afford holidays and beer. He had no idea, but thought if he started writing things down some sort of pattern might emerge. When not at work Bruce enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies. He’s recently taken up the cycling challenge with a view to surviving long enough to see all his kids out the door so he can finally sleep in.