I’ve been told a thousand times, ‘Write about what you know, if you think something’s funny I’m sure plenty of other people will.’
Although sound advice, that’s not strictly true. I have quite a dark sense of humour and what I think is funny can sometimes resonate with people who have had a similar experience blah, blah blah, they get offended and then shout at me because they don’t see the funny side.
But I do tend to write about things I think are funny. I enjoy to laugh, I enjoy making other people laugh. You can’t please all of the people all of the time they say. Well, again, that’s not strictly true. You can. You can write middle of the road, politically correct vanilla prose which will keep all of your readers indifferent. Not mad, or offended, and neither bursting out laughing on a packed train first thing in the morning on the way to work. I have had both such readers of my scribbles, and if you are one of them then I’m guessing you’re the latter as you are still here.
I do enjoy writing about things which tickle me because it entertains me. The fact I can then pass these little stories on to you makes it all the more worthwhile. Having people to share the joke is infinitely more rewarding than cackling in a dark room to myself.
There are many things which happen in my life that, at the time, are not funny at all (the kids…it’s always the kids) but when I look back on these fun little parental skirmishes, I do see the funny side and I then begin typing.
The missus and I are both approaching forty…no, I’ll try that again. I am approaching forty. The beloved hit that number last October and despite me always teasing her, she still manages to look ten years younger than me without even trying. Unless I shave (which I rarely do), then when we go out she appears to be grooming a child. She is well aware of this too and often scolds me (like only an elder can) for getting rid of the face fuzz.
The term ‘Baby-faced bullshit,’ is often uttered when I come downstairs from my de-hairing. She’s pissed off because she has to book me into nursery for the following week, the youngest cries because she can sense something is amiss, but can’t quite put her finger on it, the eldest scoffs, rolls her eyes and tells me I look weird, and the cat shits itself because there’s a stranger in the house. All in all, it’s quite the affair in our household, which is one of the reasons why I don’t practice this ritual very much, the other is I like getting served for beer at the pub.
My hairlessness grows on the missus though.
Once all the horribles are asleep, she’ll run her fingers across my ridiculously smooth face, perhaps bite her bottom lip, maybe make a sound which tells me actually, she quite likes the feel of the grufflessness, we should have an early night so that she can make the most of kissing me without looking like she’s been hopping out of the shower and drying her face with sandpaper.
One such evening arose a few nights ago.
I’d had a shave and we’d gone out for our usual Sunday evening booze up and karaoke singing extravaganza. It is the one evening of the week when we aren’t plagued by little people constantly wanting a drink, something to eat, or nothing, they just want to stand next to you in the kitchen and watch as you write on your laptop about how disgusting they are.
Sunday is king. It makes the other six days of the week almost bearable, and most importantly, it is the one day when we don’t have to plan sex like it is a military operation.
‘Are the kids asleep yet?’ I’ll ask, checking the time. It’s 11 pm, which means it’s late but also means nothing.
She turns the TV down and then squints, staring at the ceiling which makes me secretly believe that she believes she can see through ceiling. After the longest twenty seconds of my life (while she tries to focus past the swirly ceiling design but not making it), she turns to me, ‘I don’t know.’
I tiptoe up the stairs, somehow managing to stand on every squeaky step, and make it to the landing. I pop my head in the boy’s room. Two sleeping souls there, bless them, they’re always better when they’re asleep. The youngest is undoubtedly asleep too..she doesn’t do quiet…ever. I then check in the girl’s room. One snoring softly, but it isn’t that one I’m worried about, it’s my bat-eared eldest who will wake up to the mere thought of heavy breathing.
She’s…She’s…She’s asleep! Fantastic. I do a silent mimed celebration and head back out of the room, closing the door but not so that it clicks. That click would have her up for the day. She’d want a drink, she’d be hungry, she’d check her phone and then maybe start pissing about on YouTube until god knows what hour. That door clicking would ruin my life and this baby face ain’t going to stay that way forever.
I squeak my way back downstairs and give the beloved a thumbs up. We are all clear for the sex. Which is then the quietest sex you’ve ever not heard (because it’s quiet…keep up). Pillow in-between the headboard and the wall to stop any banging, movement slow and deliberate…what am I talking about, we’re hardly moving at all. We simply can’t afford the ruffling of the duvet to alert bat ears and ruin everything. It’s a practiced and hardly performed sequence which is as much frustrating as it is relieving. This is the game though. When you live in a house with a two-year-old, four-year-old, two seven-year-olds and a bat-eared ten-year-old, you’ve got to get what you can when you can, quietly.
This is why Sunday is king. We get to go out, enjoy ourselves, have a few drinks, have a wee sing-song, be us for a few hours instead of parents stuck in the middle of the carnage.
There is always a drama.
The two-year-old has smacked the four-year-old, two-year-old gets told off so now two of them are crying. The seven-year-olds shout at the two and four-year-olds because they’re making too much noise and no one can hear the TV. Four-year-old starts arguing with seven-year-olds, and ten-year-old, sensing shit’s going down with her bat ears picking it all up from her bedroom, comes down to be part of the drama. And in the middle of all the tears, the squashed sausage rolls in the couch, the banged heads, the spilled juice, the random dirty nappy two-year-old had decided to take off, the wall doddles, the tantrums, and the arguments about literally fuck all, is the beloved and I, counting down the minutes until Sunday night happens again.
Another perk about Sunday nights is there is no one in the house when we get back from the pub, which means no need for stealth sex.
‘Come on, let’s go to bed,’ the beloved slurs, staggering out of the room, almost tripping over her own feet.
We head upstairs, excited because there’s no one here. For a few more hours we can pretend they don’t exist, the horribles. We can have A LIE IN, in the morning…it’s amazing, trust me on this.
Now, despite us living with five little people, the beloved sometimes has these wild and crazy ideas on Sundays. Pissed up, she believes it would be fun to have a baby. Because five just isn’t enough is it? It’s an odd number, one of them will always be on its own.
‘Please, Rob,’ she’ll say.
‘No. Are you a little insane? Have you forgotten the past six days? This isn’t the same as claiming you can see through ceiling, this is another human horrible.’
‘Don’t call our little boy that.’
‘Little what now? How do you…’
‘Of course, it’d be a boy. He’d look just like you, so cute.’
Because I’ve had a shave I give her that last comment and then lean in for another kiss. Oh yes, this conversation is happening while we’re shagging. Talk about talking dirty, this is the filthiest thing I’ve ever heard. Another child indeed. I only just manage to tolerate the five…fucking five…we already have.
She moves her head away. How rude of me, trying to kiss her when she’s mid-chat. ‘Come on, what’s the problem?’
She always does this when she’s pissed. Her broodiness genes kick into overdrive. Sober, amidst the carnage she is a rational thinking woman. A couple of hours without the kids and with a belly full of vodka and cokes and she thinks making another one will be the answer to all of our troubles. No, them growing up and fucking off will be the answer to all our troubles, but try telling that to someone who starts running through baby names when you’re trying to do your thaaang.
‘He’d have lovey blonde locks like his daddy.’
Blonde? Err, hello, this mop of hair is greying to fuck because of these little people. Why would I want another to finish the job off?
‘We’d call him James.’
‘Yes, of course,’ she says, getting excited because her pissed up mind believes me humouring her is a thumbs up to cooking another horrible.
‘Just imagine him in his little dungarees. He’d be adorable.’
How can I argue my point across?
Why does this conversation have to happen now, the one night of the week when I’m allowed to breathe while engaging in the grownup horizontal shuffle?
Maybe the stealth sex isn’t that bad after all, at least it keeps her quiet.