Part 3 of Daddy’s Bedtime Adventure, the final chapter (you can read Part 1 Here & Part 2 Here)

This story is based on actual events …

It was 9am, on a sunny Saturday morning; four hours after I had been dragged unceremoniously from my bed by Fidget & Little Man. I had risen at the same time as the sun, but with decidedly less enthusiasm. Friday evening had been a trial, but the 5am wake-up with the kids had topped everything. I should be used to it by now. But … No, there’s no but; it’s a dreadful time of the day to be roused by the kids, even on a beautiful June day such as this.

The day was getting hotter by the hour. But I had a plan to help my over-tired mind and body from taking the brunt of the kids today. I had arranged to take the kids to my sister’s place. She had a new puppy and the kids, Fidget & Little Man, were overheating with excitement at the thought of meeting him. I was looking to getting the kids sorted out with breakfast and heading up quite early, but something was nagging at my sleep deprived mind. I was sure I was missing something.
My inner voice started dropping hints through my sleep deprived mind.
It’s to do with Fidget! … No? … Saturday mornings?
‘Shit! We’ve got her class first!’
Well done, dozy!

So before we could head up to my sister’s place and the respite I was so looking forward to, we had to head off to Fidget’s smorgasbord of an arts class, consisting of dancing, singing and acting all rolled into two hours of five-year-old fun every Saturday morning. Mind you, it’s always fun when I pick her up, because I never quite know who I will be collecting: Margot Fonteyn, Adele or some soap opera Z-lister of an actor! In truth it’s normally a confusing combination of all three, as she pirouettes and sings her way home; her chosen moves coming straight from the school of hyperbolic arts. When Fidget sings, dances and acts exaggeration is king. It’s a wonder to behold.

Daddy's Bedtime Adventure Part Three There and Back Again

So Little Man and I dropped Fidget to class and headed off for a walk to kill some time. Two hours, a couple of lattes for me and a sandwich each later we returned to pick her up. As usual she danced her way out of class, singing her way into my arms. But it didn’t matter what she sang today because I already had an annoying little tune on replay, cavorting through my tired mind courtesy of Little Man’s current obsession and an ear worm that wouldn’t quit.
Raa Raa, you are / a noisy little lion / Raa Raa, you are / louder than them all.
We strolled home and just as I was packing the kids in the car, Fidget asked a question that made me stagger.
“Daddy, can we eat the pizza for lunch?”
The pizza had been leftovers from the previous evening. I had left it on the coffee table overnight. I smiled as best I could, my lips tight.
“We can have it later. You know daddy doesn’t like you eating in the car.”
“But we can eat it on the way to Aunty Susan’s house. We won’t make a mess, daddy.” Fidget smiled, innocently.

Now I’m not a total ogre, I’ve let them have travel sweets in the car before, but never pizza. Pizza would be a no-no, belonging on the same list as chocolate, ice cream and anything jammy. The thought of the mess in my car makes me shudder. Okay, so I’m a little car proud. Well, maybe more than a little, as my inner voice was happy to remind me.
Let’s face it, you’re completely anal about your car! It goes beyond pride; it’s borderline obsessive.
Okay, so he had me there. But today, I just needed to drive to my sister’s and chill out whilst the family coddled the kids. Maybe today was the day to make an exception to the no-food-in-the-car rule. I bit the bullet and dived back into the house, the kids in tow. Five minutes later we were back at the car, the kids happily grasping their sandwiches.

Daddy's Bedtime Adventure Part Three There and Back Again

The drive to my sister’s place was as smooth as the peanut butter I had spread on the kids’ sandwiches. The car and I settled into a rhythm which ate miles, whilst the kids settled back to eat with the enthusiasm and grace of a pack of half-starved velociraptors. I turned on the CD player and let loose Adele; it didn’t even bother me when Fidget demanded that Hello be played back-to-back. My sleep deprived mood was improving. I would put up with any song, just so long as it drove the Raa Raa theme tune out of my fatigued mind. The miles passed, salvation drawing near with every passing minute.

Then, just as I pulled onto my sister’s driveway, that inner voice started in again.
Sandwiches in the back of the car. That was a first!
‘But it kept them quiet. That’s the main thing.’
Are you sure quiet is good?
I tilted the rear view mirror to get a closer look. What I saw nearly broke my heart. The passenger windows were a washed-out sepia smear of little hand prints and buttery scrawled attempts at juvenile portraiture. It looked for all the world like someone had given Edvard Munch a jar of peanut butter and he’d done his best to impress. I was doing my best not to imitate one of his more famous paintings, but the slack-jawed, wide-eyed look on my face in the mirror, combined with the anguished wail rising from within belied any chance of confusion as to which painting my reflection echoed. The scream building inside exited through tight lips as a broken, blubbering sigh of resignation.

Fidget & Little Man, smiled back at me, their angelic peanut butter faces beaming, whilst their buttery hands left tell-tale prints on the upholstery. Their car seats were as plastered as the windows. Where did they get that much sandwich filling from, anyway?
“We’re here, daddy! Can we get out now?” Fidget asked innocently.
I sat gripping the steering wheel with white-knuckled enthusiasm at the thought of the day ahead.

My sister, smiling ruefully at me, tapped the driver’s side window. I opened the car door and stepped into a gale of laughter.
“Having a good weekend?” she asked, letting the kids out of the car. “You clean up that; I’ll clean the kids. I’ve set up a lounger for you. We’ll have a houseful, shortly. We’ll barbeque later. If you’re awake …”
“I’ll be fine.”
Tell her the truth, old man. You’ll be asleep in five!
As Fidget & Little Man sprinted for the garden to meet the puppy, I assessed the mess in the back of the car and reached for the wipes. My sister patted me on the back and left me to it.

Daddy's Bedtime Adventure Part Three There and Back Again

The rest of the day went fine. The kids had a great day playing with their cousins and meeting the new puppy. A chill with family was exactly what I needed to regenerate the inner mental bruising brought on by sleep deprivation. I keep telling myself that I wouldn’t have it any other way. But he always answers with the inevitable: wouldn’t you?

The drive home was uneventful; the kids sleeping peacefully in the back. As soon as we arrived home, I got them settled in to bed and dropped onto the settee.
Survived, hey?
‘Just about. Mum will be home shortly.’
What are you going to tell her?
‘I’ll just tell her we went to my sister’s … Then I’ll deflect and ask her about her trip with the girls.’
It was at that point I heard the key in the door.
By the way, you didn’t do that massive pile of ironing she asked you to get sorted …
“Bugger …”

 

(Thanks for reading Part 3 of Daddy’s Bedtime Adventure. Just in case you missed them, you can read Part 1 Here & Part 2 Here)

 

 

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