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

This story is based on actual events …

 

 It’s very early Saturday morning, the sun had risen, and according to yesterday’s forecast today was going to be hot. Mum was away with her friends for a spa break and I’d been woken by the kids to realise that I’d survived the trauma of Friday night bedtime on my own with the kids.

They’d woken me at 5am, however, and dragged me from the comfort of my bed; a bed that on this night in particular I’d had the briefest of relationships with; three short hours to be precise, due to me falling asleep on the sofa until 2am having flaked after a battle of wills with Fidget & Little Man.

So Saturday 5am had arrived. With a defeatist sigh, and to delighted cries from the kids from hell, my unenthusiastic body was hauled from my bed. I found my feet and stood teetering on the edge of collapse. You need to come up with something fun for them, otherwise today is going to be harsh, my inner voice said, stating the obvious, whilst I rubbed sleep from my eyes.

The 5am Show Hosted by Fidget and Little Man

‘Give me a minute. I need to wake up,’ I replied. Not a lot was coming to mind as I staggered to the kitchen and flicked the switch on the kettle, whilst trying to see through half-closed eyes and blurred vision if there was enough water to make my morning coffee. I knuckled my eyes again and peered closer just to make sure. Satisfied, I dragged a mug from the cupboard. Today called for two spoons of our strongest brown powder and very little milk.
What are you going to do?
‘I’m going to have a coffee.’
Not right now. Later. What are you going to do with the kids today?
‘I could take them to the seaside.’
What, and fall asleep on the beach, whilst they head off to France!
‘I could take them to the park.’
And end up chasing Little Man around whilst he has a meltdown because he can’t go on the big swings alone!
‘Maybe a trip to the soft play centre?’
Lousy idea. They’ll want you to join them and your tired, old body has no desire to jump in and out of the ball pit today. It makes me wince just thinking about it!
My mind was downloading shite. I needed that coffee, and I needed it strong enough to stand a spoon in. As I leaned on the kitchen counter trying to think of something to do with them, the kettle came to life just as the kids started calling for the TV and breakfast. It was 5.04am.
Here you go! Are you awake yet?

I tried to block out the noise of the kids and the inner-voice and just stared at the kettle. At that moment, I was a little jealous of our kettle as it kicked itself into gear and got on with its life. It was confident in its role this morning. It knew just what to do. My present and imminent future was far from known and conspicuously hazy. My ability to plan was decidedly absent this morning, as was my reason for being.
‘Oh well, here we go.’
I did warn you. They’ve got you up now, so stop feeling sorry for yourself, and got on with the day.

I was in freefall as I found my way into the front room and reached for the remote to turn on the TV. Laughing, Little Man shouted for Raa Raa the Noisy Lion. Fidget called for breakfast. Then it hit me like a cold, refreshing bucket of water: ‘I’ll take them to my sister’s, there’s strength in numbers! I’ll pack the kids in the car, leave London and head up to Hertfordshire to see the family’. After all, my sister had recently bought a new puppy and Fidget & Little Man were desperate to be introduced to the little guy.
Nice idea, old man. You can dump the kids on your unsuspecting sister and kick back!
I didn’t quite see it that way, but I returned to the kitchen with a half-smile playing across my face and soul, just as the kettle came to a whistling climax.

Daddy’s Bedtime Adventure Part Two: The Morning After

Coffee and breakfast made, Fidget & Little Man settled down to Weetabix with an episode of Raa Raa the Noisy Lion playing on the TV, its infectious theme tune creating an ear worm that would lodge itself in my brain for the rest of the day, which my inner-voice totally adored as he sang along knowing how much it would plague me. Raa Raa, you are / a noisy little lion / Raa Raa, you are / louder than them all!

I tried to ignore him as I pulled the curtains in the front room to let the sunshine pour in. The day ahead started to look promising. ‘If Fidget & Little Man play with the puppy in the back garden, I can chill in the sun.’ A fiendish, Hammer House-style laugh echoed through my head.
There’s a trampoline and everything! You’re sorted. Meeting the puppy will give the kids something to focus on other than sapping your will to live. And let’s face it, your will is almost tapped dry.

I was sure the visit to my sister’s place was the perfect answer. I smiled inwardly as I sipped on my coffee, then gagged as I realised how strong I had made it. Unconsciously, I flipped the lid on the large flat brown box sitting on the coffee table and grabbed a slice of cold pizza left over from Friday. As I raised it to my mouth, I noticed that Fidget & Little Man had stopped eating and were eyeing me questioningly.
“Can we have pizza for breakfast, daddy?” asked Fidget.
Didn’t you see that coming? You muppet!
‘Damn!’ I dropped the pizza back in the box and closed the lid. “No one has pizza for breakfast,” I smiled. I went into deflection mode. “Right, who wants to go to Auntie Susan’s to see the new puppy?”
Fidget & Little Man forgot the pizza and danced around the room.
I’d take that as a yes, if I were you.
05.30. The kids were still dancing with glee: Fidget running in circles trying to decide what she was going to wear; Little Man just running in circles, falling over; getting up only to tilt again. He had no idea what was going on, but the joy etched on his two-year-old face was a pleasure to see. He was feeding off Fidget, whose excited chatter and cavorting made Little Man’s world a wonderfully exciting place to be.

Once again that sardonic laughter echoed through my head. Perhaps you should call your sister and see if she is at home today. Perhaps you should have done that before promising the kids.
‘Shit.’ I grabbed my mobile, flicked to her number and dialled. I sat back and waited for her to pick up. I was greeted with a voice that was hovering on the edge of loathing. “This had better be an emergency …” It was 5.35am.
Like I said: Muppet!
I apologised to my sister for the early call and arranged the day; then, hanging up, I settled back smugly and watched my plan come alive whilst the kids danced their little hearts out. In a couple of hours we would be in the car heading to my sister’s.

Raa Raa, you are / a noisy little lion / Raa Raa, you are / louder than them all …

 

Thanks for reading Part 2 of Daddy’s Bedtime Adventure (To get the full story, you can read Part 1 Here & Part 3 Here)

 

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