Tumbleweeds and tears – Monday mornings with DadMan
12:37am – My one-year old daughter Jasmine wakes up crying. I pretend I haven’t heard. My wife Nicola gets up and takes Jasmine to the spare bedroom and calms her down.
3:04am – My three-year old son Cohen stumbles into my bedroom. I pretend I haven’t heard. I then realise that Nic is still in the spare bedroom with Jasmine. Damn.
3:05am – Cohen rather loudly announces that he needs the toilet. I tell him to use the en suite one and secretly hope he’ll head back to bed when he’s finished. #nochance. Despite being perfectly capable of washing his hands during the day Cohen has a mysterious ailment that renders him incapable of doing so at night. So, of course I have to get out of bed and wash his hands for him.
3:07am – I walk Cohen back to his bedroom, we get to the door and he loudly protests that he’s lonely and “too shy for his bed”. I think about protesting but don’t want to wake up Jasmine and Nic. I take him back to the queen-sized bed in the master bedroom, it sure beats both of us trying to sleep in his single bed. I’ve learnt that the hard way. As a superhero, I’m all for sidekicks, just not side kicks. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
3:12am – Despite telling Cohen repeatedly that he’ll have to go back to his bed if he talks, we have the following conversation:
Cohen: Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad…
Me: What?
Cohen: Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm *thinking of anything possible to say*
Cohen: Dad are you going to work today?
Me: Yes.
Cohen: Well can you please ask them to give you a haircut.
Me: Cohen.
Cohen: Yes.
Me: Go to sleep.
3:31am – Just as I’m about to drift off to sleep Cohen sits bolt upright, puts his face an inch from mine, and whispers “Hey Dad, there’s a shadow over there that looks like my foot”.
3:33am – I finish sobbing.
6:55am – After snoozing my alarm for the last thirty minutes, Nicola shakes me awake. Cohen gets to sleep in while I get myself ready for the day, lucky punk. I have a cold shower to maximise my ability to stay awake for as much of the day as possible.
7:23am – I walk into the kitchen to see Nic and two super-excited kids, this is the best part of the day. It’s all downhill from here.
7:24am – Nic leaves for work. Jasmine refuses to eat. Cohen has escaped the table and is hiding, no doubt behind the curtains inadvertently smearing food absolutely everywhere.
7:30am – I get Jasmine out of her highchair to sit with me as I eat. She finally decides she’s hungry and picks all the raisins out of my cereal. She spills yogurt on both my shirt and pants. I make a mental note to change my clothes before I leave.
7:32am – Cohen has emerged from his hiding spot and is asking me to watch him dance. This consists of him doing the downward dog and then kicking one leg in the air. It’s definitely unique.
7:36am – Cohen is now performing his stand up comedy routine for Jasmine which is typically a variant of “Hey Jasmine, want to come to my chocolate raisin house?” Jasmine wails with laughter. Best audience ever.
7:37am – I try my luck with a joke and get nothing from Jasmine… I’m talking absolute tumbleweeds.
7:41am – I tell the kids it’s time to brush their teeth. Cohen runs off and hides again. Jasmine clamps her teeth down so hard that a pair of pliers would barely open them. She also manages to make her neck disappear, and can weave her head like Muhammed Ali in his prime thus rendering it damn-near impossible to brush her teeth. The only solution is some YouTube-based blackmail. They stare with mouths agape and I’m able to catch them off guard.
7:45am – I think to myself “Sweet, we’re running on time, I might not be late to work today”.
7:46am – I think to myself “Why the hell did I just think that? That’s going to jinx me”.
7:47am – I go and get Jasmine changed. Cohen dresses himself.
7:55am – I tell the kids that it’s time to go. I get their school bags down and try to keep Jasmine away from hers as I know she’ll rifle through it and get out her naptime-only snuggly. We get to the door. Cohen announces he needs the toilet. I ask him ones or twos, but deep down I already know the answer.
8:06am – Cohen finally finishes his business. In the meantime Jasmine has got her snuggly and is looking like the cat that got the cream. I curse myself again for thinking that somehow this day would be different and that we’d be on time.
8:10am – We get into the car. Cohen complains he doesn’t have a toy. I look in the car and find nothing. I give him a calculator from off the garage bench. He looks less than impressed.
8:27am – We arrive at daycare. Cohen and I take Jasmine into the nursery first, she used to be sad when we left. Then she realised that they make toast in the mornings and has never looked back. Literally. Cohen and I both give her a kiss on the back of the head as she plows into vegemite toast.
8:33am – I take Cohen through to the big preschool. He finds his name tag and then painstakingly chooses which hook he wants to hang his bag on. This is based on geometry and an elaborate algorithm of where his friends’ bags are. I knew I shouldn’t have given him that calculator.
8:35am – We say hi to Cohen’s mates, today one of them is crawling and roaring loudly that he’s a mouse-eating dinosaur.
8:40am – Cohen hops up on the ledge and waves to me as I drive off to work. This has certainly gotten easier over the years. There used to be a lot of tears. Some of them were even Cohens.
9:07am – I arrive at work. Late. Again.
9:08am – I realise I didn’t change my yogurt-stained shirt or pants.

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