FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME: The Devereaux clan with Weekend Today co-hosts Deb Knight (left) and Tom Steinfort.
FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME: The Devereaux clan with Weekend Today co-hosts Deb Knight (left) and Tom Steinfort.

Nothing like sucking thumbs on national television

WE FINALLY managed to get in front of a camera last weekend at the Channel Nine studios, Willoughby, after our spot was cancelled the week before at the last minute.

I wouldn't say ours was the most hard-hitting segment Weekend Today has ever done, but for us it was more about the experience and getting the kids a look inside the workings of telly and being able to clock it up as a home schooling excursion.

Some people have suggested, after, umm, watching me, umm, answer questions, umm, that I seemed a little nervous.

Not nervous.

Stressed.

The bit where I stood in front of our bus talking was fine because I've done a couple of radio interviews now and I'm slowly getting used to just going with the flow and expecting to flounder.

It's sort of my thing.

Not saying I enjoy the added element of cameras particularly, but how many people get the opportunity to do something like this? I consider myself very lucky to even be asked.

The stressy bit didn't really start until we got inside the studio.

Even then, it wasn't the bit where we had our faces done and I had to protect the table full of make-up from desperate-to-experiment little fingers.

Or when they trotted the kids through and around expensive equipment backstage and an awesome working control room.

Or when my kids started to rearrange the furniture in the green room.

All that is par for the course in a family where there's more children than available hands to restrain them.

The stressy bit for me was when we were standing behind the cameras, prior to our segment, as they filmed the show live to air.

Specifically, it was stressful because Miss5 was with us.

From my past posts you may or may not have picked up that Miss5 is a bit of a wildcard, and, once again, she didn't disappoint.

As we watched I could feel my anxiety start to creep up as Miss5 stole a strawberry off someone's breakfast plate and started to touch stuff we couldn't afford to replace.

"Stand with me," I hissed at her and put a hand on each of her shoulders to try slow her down.

At which point she took up a new annoying habit and I had to lean down and whisper four words I'm pretty sure I've never used in this particular order. "Stop. Sucking. My thumb".

I wiped it on my pants and the little bugger went for my other one.

At this point we indicated to the lovely young lady showing us around that maybe it might be wise if we went back outside to the bus to wait for our bit.

She agreed so quickly I suspect she might have noticed Miss5's erratic behaviour and perhaps also been having doubts we had the readies to replace so much as a bulb in one of their big, mobile spotlights.

We climbed out of the studio through a little door in a huge door - something which gave me a bit of a thrill to do because you see that sort of thing in movies.

But I couldn't savour the experience because I had some parenting to do: Miss5 was insisting.

"Leave my thumbs alone," I had to repeat to her several times as we made our way back through the storage area of the studio and outside to our bus.

Suddenly, worryingly, predictably, it had become a game.

And then all too soon we were lined up in front of our old bus and the lights were on and the camera guys were counting down on their fingers.

I took a moment to turn and look across my beautiful family, willing them to enjoy themselves and simultaneously not embarrass me, when ...

"Hey!" I said, noticing all our littlest kids were standing in front of Tracey. "Where's my kid to hide my belly?"

I reached out and snatched the first one I could get a hand to.

And that's how I ended up with my hands on Miss5's shoulders attempting to answer questions but mostly just hoping in front of the entire country she wasn't about to turn her head and start sucking my bloody thumb.

Learn more about Bruce's efforts to raise his family on little more than laughs at bigfamilylittleincome.com

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