The Big Bedtime Stink

“Daaaaa-aaaaaad,” came the mournful moan from Master8’s room. “Daaaaaaa-aaaaaaad!”

I was busy doing important Facebook stuff so I looked at Tracey. She stared back, cocking an eyebrow in a superior way I’ve never managed to copy.

“Seriously?” she asked me.

“I was going,” I scoffed at her as I stood up from in front of my laptop. Damn.

“What’s up, buddy?” I asked my number two son. By now he was lying on his stomach with his head buried in his pillow.

Actually, quite aside from the fact he was calling my name, it was only right I took this one. The moaning, the crying, the whinging, the arguing – it was all my fault. I mean even more than usual. I was the one who broke up the week long sleepover in the girls’ room and demanded everyone sleep in their own beds tonight.

“Why can’t I sleep in the other room?” Master8 wanted to know.

“Because you all need some catch up sleep,” I told him. He knew this. I’d explained it to all the kids when I settled them all into their beds. But this was just a precursor to the real issue which was bothering him.

“Why am I the only one who has to sleep alone?”

He’s absolutely right, of course. Everyone else in the house has to share – me with Tracey, Miss1 & Miss3, Miss5 & Miss9. He’s the only person with a room of his own.

“I don’t understand what your fuss is about,” I told him. “When I was a kid we all wanted our own room.”

This is what’s known in parenting circles as a big, fat lie. We had our own rooms.

What inevitably happened was my little brother would sneak into my room and sleep in the spare bed. And I loved it. It wasn’t until the teenage years you really want your own space. Fact is, kids don’t want their own rooms – parents want to separate the little blighters so they stop talking and go to sleep!

And it wasn’t just him carrying on. The girls in the next room were just as upset we’d broken up their slumber party.

“I can’t sleep,” Miss5 had insisted before rolling over and doing exactly that.

“You want to share a room?” I asked Master8. “Fine. Move over,” I told him, and I lay down with my boy and managed to take up most the bed and squash him up against the wall. “This is a great idea. Your mother hates sharing a bed with me because I fart all night.”


“It’s true!” came Tracey’s voice from the lounge room. Nice to know she’s got my back.

“Yep. Got one ready to go now too. Pull the edges of the doona down, mate. You’ve got to plug the holes or it gets out. That’s the mistake your mother makes – she lets them get away. You bring the doona up to your face like this-”

“I think I’m fine now, Dad.”

“-and when you want a whiff you just lift it-”

“You can leave now.”

“-and suck it in.” I made a show of sucking in a lungful through my nose.

“Dad, get out!”

That should cure him for a couple of days at least.

Tracey and I have promised to reconsider adding the bunk back into the girls’ room so the three of them can share. This’ll at least stop them having to top and tail and kick the hell out of each other through the night.

Plus now he’ll have a nice moment to recall for when his psychiatrist tries to work out why he refuses to share a bed with his partner.

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.


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