BRUCE Devereaux updates us on life in his household as his wife Tracey continues her recovery in Royal Brisbane Hospital
I've only been home looking after the kids four nights of the last 28 and already, without Tracey's guidance, I've reverted to making rookie mistakes.
"Dad!" yelled Master10 from the big kids' bedroom. "I can hear beeping!"
Having mum so unwell effects kids in different ways. With Master10 it's brought out his anxiety. On the trip to see his mum in hospital and back he'd so far been worried I was parking too high up in the car park, the lifts were unsafe so he took the stairs, the floor mummy was on was unnecessarily high and the rain we were driving in was part of a much bigger storm threat.
So by the time he was in bed worried about beeps I'd had it.
"There's nothing there," I told him. "And even if they were, what do you think they are anyway?"
"I was wanting you to tell me that," he said weakly enough to make me realise I was being a little tough.
I shut my eyes and listened. Nothing.
"There's nothing there," I told him.
"There is," he said, "but it's not all the time."
Great. I was hell tired from nearly eight hours of driving. Suddenly I realised I could kill two birds with one stone.
"Move over," I said, "and let me see if I can hear them."
I shut my eyes expecting to go to sleep, only I couldn't. There was some sort of unexpected beeping.
"You hear it?" asked Master10.
"I do," I said, shushing him.
Jumping (rolling) out of bed I dropped (fell) to my knees and checked under the bed (I was down there anyway so why not). Nothing.
I checked on the set of draws, on the shelves and in the cupboard. Nothing.
I put my head against the window. The beeping wasn't in the house.
"Wait here," I told Master10.
Like he had any intention of coming with me.
Outside the house the beeps were louder. For a moment I wondered if it was a smoke alarm nearby when suddenly it occurred to me what the noise was.
"It's okay," I called back into the house. I shut the doors, preparing to go to bed myself. "It's only a toad somewhere in the neighbour's yard getting excited by the rain."
Nearly a quarter of a century of parenting should have forewarned me this wasn't going to be the end of this little episode.
Suddenly the house was filled with screaming and a door slammed violently shut.
"What the hell's going on in here?" I exclaimed, opening the bedroom door in a "daddy is cross" manner and stepping through ready to give Master10 a mouthful.
But he was lying calmly with his head on his pillow looking across the room at his sister's bed.
I followed his eyes to find Miss8 sitting hunched in her doona the far end of the bed, shaking and looking petrified.
"What's wrong with you now? I asked.
"A toad!" she screamed at me. "You said there's a toad out there!"
So last night I almost slept in my bed. To be clear, I was in my bed but so were two deceptively large children and a cat. None of us actually slept.
Come home as quick as you can, Tracey. I'm already over stuffing this up by myself.
To keep up to date with all of Bruce's blogs visit his website bigfamilylittleincome.com.