On Saturday at around 12.30pm, for the first time I can remember since Ben was born, both our children were sleeping simultaneously at a sociable hour.
Lucy had gone down for her afternoon nap with much less of a fight than she normally puts up and Ben too had offered little resistance to sleep. Perhaps the heat had wilted their resolve.
The result was that my wife and I were treated to an unfamiliar sound - that of silence.
We were sitting out in the garden and it took a while to dawn on us that we’d got a spare minute to ourselves.
Just as our children were sleeping simultaneously, the next sentence to leave both our mouths was as close to simultaneous as you’re likely to get outside of the world of mathematical equations.
“What do we do now?” we said to the power of two.
Prior to 12.30pm on Saturday afternoon, it seemed that every waking moment when myself and Karen were together involved one or both of the children.
It’s been particularly tough for Karen who has spent two years and four months either pregnant or breastfeeding. Much as I’ve tried to sympathise, not being blessed with the relevant equipment there’s very little I can say to ease the burden of being at the beck and call of our babies.
We’d thought Lucy had been a hungry baby but Ben has blown her out of the water - or should that be milk?
Ben is a feeding machine. When he’s not feeding he’s thinking about feeding, and when he’s not feeding or thinking about feeding he’s sleeping, in which case he’s probably dreaming about feeding. His other favourite activity is breaking wind, a trait which I’m constantly reminded comes from the Cousins side of the family.
Lucy’s activity over the past few months has been concentrated at the other end. She has reached the age were not only is she able to say words, but she’s beginning to get an understanding of words too. She definitely knows the meaning of ‘No’. Unfortunately she also uses it to mean ‘Yes’.
The rule of thumb is if she says ‘No’ two or three times and shakes her head she means ‘No’, while if she uses the word just once and smiles the meaning is reversed. It’s a complicated system and I can’t see it catching on. If it did, I imagine the Man from Del Monte would resign on the spot.
Back to the dilemma at hand that Karen and I were faced with at 12.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Lucy was fast asleep. Ben was out for the count. What were the missus and I to do with this moment of respite?
We tried to cast our minds back to the time before Lucy and Ben were born. What did we do before they came along? The memories were hazy to say the least.
In the end, led by our emotions, we engaged in an act practised with ritualistic regularity by married couples throughout the ages.
We had an argument.
Traffic and travel
The Highway To Hell will be closed this weekend to allow work on the extension of Nutbush City Limits. Diversions will be in place at Ocean Drive, Thunder Road and Penny Lane.
The answer to last week’s teaser was: 7 is the only number between 1 and 10 with two syllables.