‘I’m not grumpy,’ she hisses.
‘My mistake,’ I say.
I am astride the porcelain throne flipping idly through apps on my phone. All was quiet when I began but now I can hear something. In truth, I finished my business a while ago but I have decided to take a few moments of me time that I’m sure I must deserve.
The noise levels outside increase as the original sound is joined by a new one. I get up and wash my hands and have a long look at my creased face in the bathroom mirror. Who are you? I wonder but it doesn’t matter a jot anymore as the answer is simply: daddyhusbandperson. I take a breath, then another. I open the door and step into the beyond.
Now I have never jumped out of an aeroplane – but that is hardly important as I have watched Point Break (the original obvs.) many, many times – yet straight away I am struck by how similar my current situation is to that activity: the pre-surge of adrenalin, the feeling of the ground rushing up towards you and noise, lots of noise.
Shit is going down.
I freeze for what feels like hours but in reality is probably only three or four minutes. A little voice whispers to me on the wind, get the fuck in there bra, they need you.
I am. I breathe deeply. Although my feet are quite cold. I’ll put my slippers on first because having cold feet can seriously impair one’s ability to solve parental challenges.
Pussy, the voice whispers.
Slippers on, I step into the room. Shit is still going down.
Quick as a flash and with an expert eye I assess the situation. I scan the room like Robocop (never actually seen the film but I can really imagine this bit). Luckily, I have been thoroughly trained as a husband. and so taking in every detail, I perform triage.
The baby is screaming. The toddler is howling. The wife looks pissed off.
Stepping over the toddler, I heroically head straight to where my wife is breast-wrestling the baby. Interestingly, I am a bit thirsty and so knowing as I do that these situations can eat up one’s days like popcorn, I sensibly move my own needs to the top of the pile.
I fix her with a babyIamhereandshitisallgoingtobefinenowdon’tworryIloveyou look then I take her glass of water from the table (where I might add it has sat for absolutely hours, untouched) and drain it empty.
Now you may be thinking that here is another typically selfish man, selfishly acting in his own selfish best interests. Well, let me answer that charge (that I have just invented) by stating that if my selfish best interests are simply to have a happy and healthy family, then I am certainly guilty as charged. To explain – I see it as a bit like with the oxygen masks on aeroplanes and how you are advised to secure your own mask before those of your children. My belief (for the duration of this post only) is that in order to properly care for your loved ones, you yourself must be alive and breathing. The same is true of these home/family/shitfanhit situations. How am I possibly able to fully assist my lovely wife if I am too thirsty or if my feet are cold and unwieldily?
The [non-proverbial] glass, ie. the real one, is empty, my feet are toasty and warm thank you very much indeed and so I spring into action. I tear M from E’s left breast, taking a moment to appreciate with my eyes its fine form. M screams ever louder but I do not hear him as my mind is skimming through the clouds and I am fucking zen as I spin him onto my left shoulder and squeeze (not too much obvs.). He belches very loudly and a moment later there is a splash from behind me as a boob-and-a-half-full of milk lands on the cold parquet floor. M stops crying and is now hungry again so I drop him back on E who gives me a stern look of both love and affection.
S is still howling. And I head towards him through a storm of flying plastic bricks. The Duplo digger we just got him has a very tricky backhoe joining mechanism that does frustrate him so – I myself have repaired it countless times since last Tuesday when it first joined our family. Taking this into account I change course, pick up the computer and open Netflix.
‘S,’ I say relishing the salve that I am about to deliver, ‘shall we watch Peppa?’
‘Ye-es,’ says S slinging the final bits of Lego across the room (all made from terrible plastic anyway) and immediately ceasing to cry. He jumps up on the sofa and cuddles into his mummy (who of course melts like butter) and his baby brother, transfixes upon the screen and idly drops a hand between E’s boobs.
‘Cup of tea, Love?’ I say flashing E the best of my lady-killing grins. Before she has a chance to react I am already *on my way to the kettle, mentally problem solving and grabbing cups and tea bags and pouring water and milk all in perfect harmonious sequence. The first thing, then the next, then the next…
*Stopping briefly to have a look in the mirror where I am not disappointed by what I see.
4 Replies to “Priorities of Care”
Brilliant! Now I remember!
(signed) non [aka never] surfing dad
Love it !! Brings back memories (still recovering 20 years later) ……..
Brilliant! It’s like ‘This is Going to Hurt’ meets Steve Martin. Love your honesty and I must remember the grenade metaphor for my next literacy lesson.
Take it, it’s yours!