I remember 8 years ago when I lived in my best friend’s pocket, and he in mine. I would wake up on his couch on a Saturday morning and the hardest decision we had to make that day was if beer was a breakfast food or not. Now I have a 3 year old that lives in my pocket and I in turn in hers…and these days breakfast almost never involves beer. Sure there is a 12 year old getting around here too but she is way too cool to be living in anyone’s pocket…why do I keep talking about pockets? What I’m trying to get at is now that I’m home all the time, my best mate is a 3 year old. I know what you’re thinking; “Steven you’re supposed to be her parent not her best friend.”, please…I’m not trying to take her to a nightclub, slamming tequila shots and trying to help her pick up, I just mean we spend the majority of our week together. What I struggle with most is activities that keep her entertained and happy, but aren’t so boring that I can’t stay awake.
What I would like to do is give you a run down of a standard day in our house. Ok so it’s likely a mash up of a few days into one to make for a better story, but I can never actually remember what day it is anymore anyway…what is it like Sunday? February?
So it begins…
2.30am: Iggy wakes because she hates me…or is thirsty. Sure, there is a bottle of water next to her bed that has been in the same spot since she was 18 months old, but she’ll wake me anyway because it obviously tastes better if it’s fed to her by a crying 30 year old man. Once I’m there she decides…no demands that I climb into her single bed with her as going back to my beautiful king bed is selfish. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the cuddles, but I’m just counting the seconds until she falls asleep so that I can climb out and go back to my bed.
2.41am: She is asleep so I wriggle myself out of her bed. The bed is clearly made of trumpets and tin whistles as it’s the loudest fucking attempt at removing myself from a bed that has ever existed. She of course wakes and laughs that I even thought about escaping. I give up and fall asleep while Iggy tickles my lower back with her toenails. She develops a cough just to rub salt into my toenail wounds and makes sure I never actually fall into a deep sleep.
5.01am: Sun blasts through the blinds and combined with the 15kg hot water bottle wrapped around me I wake covered in sweat. I successfully sneak my way out and back to my own delicious bed, it has never felt so good. The sheets are half off Kristina and I can see some of her underwear…I briefly consider waking her as this is clearly her subconscious telling me she is keen…but I have been wrong before. I choose sleep but tuck my legs into hers just so that if she wakes she knows I was reciprocating the application for fornication.
6.30am: Iggy opens our door and informs us it is morning. I inform her she is wrong. “Get your pillow and come have a rest with us” I say, she obliges. These are some of my favourite cuddles. It is important though that I now remove my legs from Kristina’s side of the bed to let her know it’s off for now, I feel her sadness radiate through the room.
7.30am: My alarm goes off. I spend the first 10 minutes of the day on my phone while Iggy snores next to me.
7.40am: I attempt to wake Iggy but instead she wants to call me a bunch of horrible names I can’t repeat that she clearly learnt from her mother. Not wanting to wake Kristina or continue being called a plethora of unsubstantiated homophobic slurs, I wipe my tears and leave her to keep sleeping and get myself ready for the day.
7.55am: I’m just about the leave to take Juliet to school when Iggy wakes up and runs out looking for cuddles. She is happy now and assures me that she doesn’t even remember saying what she said when she was tired. I forgive her, and we get her dressed for the day. Taking off her nappy we check for wee as soon she’s hoping to be a big girl and sleep in her undies. There has a melt down because she swears it is dry but she can barely pick the thing up it’s so heavy with piss. Realising I’m armed with facts and knowing she’s used up her free pass for abusing me today, we agree it’s no big deal and she’ll try again tonight. All smiles again; smash some toast, brush her teeth.
8.13am: Iggy makes her first run of toys from her bedroom out into the lounge room for the day. There is no intent to play with them, she’s just making sure her territory is marked and that I know my place at the bottom of the pack.
8.15am: Finally leave to drop Juliet at school.
8.35am: Sitting at local coffee shop taking my first sip of what will inevitably be my breakfast, wondering how I actually ended up in here. Who drove here? Where is Juliet? What year is it? I love coffee.
9.00am: We arrive home and deliver coffee to the wife. I give her a wink and let her know I heard her message loud and clear last night, she has NO idea what I am talking about.
9.05am: Iggy and I drag some blocks out onto the lounge room floor and I put on Mythbusters in the background because I can and it’s awesome. Iggy notices that she has a small portion of my attention so starts requesting really intricate block designs that require my full attention. Make me a drum set. A cake with candles that light up. Now a working replica of a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air…before I know it I’m missing Mythbusters to make the requested pair of size 22 boots out of mega blocks. 22 minutes later I realise she’s been sitting on the couch for 15 minutes watching Jamie and Adam blow shit up and here I am walking around the house in mega block boots.
9.47am: I inform Iggy it’s time to pack up the blocks and she proceeds to tell me “What? I can’t hear you.” and continues to do so until the inner hypochondriac in me starts thinking she has spontaneous hearing loss and I begin Googling local audiologists. Once I’ve put away all but 3 blocks her hearing miraculously returns and she helps.
10.00am: We share some fruit salad while picking some colouring in sheets to print from the internet. After retrieving the 2 pages from the printer Iggy sits down with her pencils and proceeds to colour one page black, and the other purple. Finished.
10.02am: Swearing that’s the last time we ever colour in, I pack up Iggy’s kite and we jump into the car for a local sports field 5 minutes away.
10.10am: At the sports field we spend 15 minutes trying to fly what is the worlds biggest piece of shit kite purchased in Bali 2 weeks ago. It doesn’t fly, and I start looking up flights to Bali on my phone in order to fly back and give the salesman a mouthful…then I remember the kite cost $6.50. At this point Iggy starts to hold herself and tells me she needs to wee. Thanks to the wonderful Australian nature that causes bogan dickheads to consider vandalising public toilets a hobby, they lock these ones when the sports field isn’t in use…so back home we go.
10.35am: At home Iggy goes into the toilet by herself like she has 700 times before but this time starts yelling for help after 1 minute. Somehow she got completely undressed, put her clothes in a pile on the floor and then stood on top of them and unleashed the flood…never done that trick before. All clothes AND shoes into Napisan, outfit number 2 on for the day, other kite packed (that we know works) and back to sports field.
10.55am: Launch kite, it is magic, I love kites. It’s in the air for 35 seconds when Iggy spies a playground at the other end of the field and her interest in kites evaporates. We are of course now going to the playground. I spend the following hour at the playground listening to the magpies sing in the trees and waiting nervously for one to come down and take one of my eyes as a trophy. I spend 13 minutes trying to teach Iggy how to play tic-tac-toe with some of the equipment but her inability to comprehend what 3-in-a-row means and my frustration with her constantly thinking she was winning caused some tension in our usually harmonious relationship. Eventually the stress of magpies and losing became too much for me and we headed home for lunch.
12.00pm: Lunch and Sesame Street.
12.30pm: Play School. Yep, there is no point lying, thanks to ABCKIDS 12-1 is my hour to either get shit done or more likely fall asleep on the couch. I just have to hope the episodes excite her enough though because if Iggy loses interest and notices I am asleep she’ll start banging tambourines in my ear or yelling “FIRE!”
1.00pm: This is usually the time I come up with some sort of craft activity that will take us through to the school pick-up. Sometimes painting, sometimes glue is involved, or lately it’s been sewing. All of which I plan forgetting that Iggy is 3 and that I am super anal about how things should look when completed. Of late I have started to think she is actually super talented and just does a poor job to push my buttons. The other day we were painting pots for the garden and I told her that we were filling them with dirt so not to worry about the inside. She proceeded to paint ONLY the inside, mixing any colour she could find so that by the end the inside was just brown. When I turned it over and said to paint the outside, she looked me dead in the eyes and without breaking that eye contact brushed on one stroke of red and said “finished.” Later I filled it with dirt and she was all pissed because I was covering up her brown masterpiece.
2.55pm: School run. This is where I yell at people in other cars who can’t hear me because I’m obviously a more advanced driver than them. I like the way they don’t indicate when pulling out, the way they park and leave their car in the stop-drop-go zone or get out to have a chat with Jill from down the road. Don’t stress, there is only 415 other cars trying to pick up their kids. Iggy always asks me who I’m being mean to and I just tell her I am talking to myself…I wonder how long until she starts thinking I’m schizophrenic?
3.20pm: Home from school run. I look at the clock and notice it’s an hour and 40 minutes until I can open a bottle of wine and not feel like an alcoholic.
3.25pm: Iggy realises she can bring 10 times the amount of toys into the lounge room if she uses her little red pull-cart. *note to self: burn little red pull-cart. Could throw away but that option offers little satisfaction.
3.30pm: Homework and Play School are underway while I do the washing up that I have likely been trying to ignore for 48 hours and a saucepan I’ve been soaking since I burned some onions…17 weeks ago. I seriously hate washing up, almost as much as I hate watching the kids get a new cup for every glass of water they drink or a clean plate out to eat a single rice cracker…I need a fucking dishwasher.
4.00pm: Start dinner. Iggy loves to help with dinner, whether peeling onions or eating all of the cheese I have grated, she’s always there. Some of my favourite things are when she puts her hand on something at the same time as asking “is this hot Dad?”, or just putting her finger on a knife handle because “it’s sharp Dad so I’ll just touch this bit.”
4.30pm: Homework is finished and dinner is in the oven or simmering so we try to head out into the backyard for the last of the sunlight. Easily my favourite time of the day when the sprinklers are watering the vegetable garden, and I remember that I’m old when getting on the swing makes me dizzy, sitting down on the floor of the cubby is uncomfortable for my lower back and jumping on the trampoline means I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.
5.15pm: Woah…I could have opened a bottle of wine 15 minutes ago.
5.30pm: Iggy want’s a bath.
5.35pm: Iggy want’s to get out of the bath because she needs to wee.
5.36pm: Iggy gets back in the bath.
5.40pm: Iggy gets out of the bath…needs to poop. Again these days she has to do it alone so in she goes and closes the door behind her. Usually calling out when she is finished, this time she seems to be taking a while. I open the door in time to watch her slide her still-wet-from-the-bath butt off the seat and leave behind her a trail of brownish/green destruction thanks to her inability to wipe. The seat, her butt and back and the residual water from the bath is making the whole ordeal into a big soup like mess. Wipe. Wipe. Wipe. Wet wipe.
5.45pm: Back in the bath…whoops missed a bit, wipe.
6.00pm: Bath time is over and time for dinner. Please note, it is almost never ready at this time. In my head I plan it all to be ready and most of the time we end up eating closer to midnight. It’s a real talent that was my passed on from my father.
6.30pm: Post dinner shower with Iggy because she decided she wanted to wear some spaghetti as a hat part way through. Every shower the same question, “Daddy, why do you have a penis?” and everyday with a frown I give the same answer…”just for wee wee’s these days kid, just for wee wee’s.”
6.45pm-8pm: This is usually just quality family hanging out…ok TV time. Also usually the time of Iggy’s 3rd and final toy run. Once complete she rips up a bunch of tissues and old colouring in pages to mix in then looks at me with a stupid grin like she’s finished something super important.
8.00pm: Bed for both kids. Juliet will likely stay up and read for a while but Iggy gets her 2-3 books and is off to sleep. We put Iggy in a nappy and discuss that she is going to make it through the night like a big girl, to which she obliges and then skulls an entire glass of water…there’s no way this can fail. Night kids x
8.15pm-bed: Steven time. This can consist of replying to emails or learning songs, but more often than not it’s just me watching terrible TV shows that Kristina likes because if I lay down next to her while they are on there is a 45% chance she’ll scratch my hair or back. At bedtime I kiss Kristina goodnight and she’s all like “oh, I’m coming to bed too.”…and I know exactly what she means.**
**She means that she’ll wait on the couch until I have fallen asleep in bed so that she can come to bed without getting harassed.