I wasn’t going to write about it (and I certainly wasn’t going to use that title, so obvious), yet here I am.
I think it was going back that made me do it.
Last year, I went to band camp as a “parent yelper” (this is what I always call parent helpers, for obvious reasons). There seemed no choice at the time because Max refused to stay overnight without yelp and I didn’t want him to miss out on the experience. Is that dedicated-mum or eyeroll-mum material? I’m still not certain.
Well, last year I shared a cabin with 12 eight year old boys and a parent yelper dad. A friendly, lovely dad who I know socially and who is good value and an all-round nice dude. At least, that’s Dad During Daylight Hours. After dark, Dad During Daylight Hours morphed into Heavy Sleeping Chainsaw Dad and he snored so very, very loudly that I swear the only thing keeping him alive that night was the fact that I was too busy reassuring the irritated, sleepless boys to kill him. He was thiiiiiiis close.
“Bron, Brooooon!” I must have dosed off at one point because I was awoken by a small boy holding a large glass of water.
“I thought we could throw this in his face,” he said. You could tell he’d given this a lot of thought.
“We can’t throw water in John’s Dad’s face!” I spluttered. “We’ll have to think of some other way to drown him…”
As the night rattled on, even his own son was beseeching him, “That’s enough, Dad, that’s ENOUGH.” One of the other boys was screaming, “Make it stop, make it STOP.” But Heavy Sleeping Chainsaw Dad did not stop. He did not think it was enough.
Three o’clock in the morning I had one boy threatening to sleep outside on the verandah if I didn’t “do something about John’s Dad”.
“Why does it have to be ME doing something about John’s Dad?” I moaned. “Why don’t you talk to John’s Dad?”
“Because he CAN’T HEAR US OVER HIS OWN NOISE,” the kid cried in anguish.
So I raced over to John’s Dad and tentatively poked him in the head. You have no idea how embarrassing it is to wake up a school dad in the middle of the night who you sort of know but don’t really know until you’ve tried it. Despite the ongoing racket, wailing children and approaching dawn, I found myself too shy to give him the hiding he so richly deserved. Instead, I poked the top of his head until he momentarily stopped snoring.
“Look, you… YOU,” I hissed. “Either stop snoring or, or… get out. GET OUT! Go sleep somewhere else…”
“But where would I go?” He said loudly, making everyone in the room jump – the beast is awake! But he was actually still snoring. We were all confused.
“Anywhere,” I said. “You go anywhere but here. Go and sleep in your car for all we care. Just LEAVE!”
He didn’t leave. He rolled over (this seemed to be key) and at 3.37am he stopped. Just like that.
Morning dawned and the boys were up with the larks, despite their restless night. One of the kids insisted on blaming me for his rough night – “you didn’t do anything to stop John’s Dad until too late” – which made me feel right at home. Mums always cop the blame, regardless of circumstance.
Newly-formed and chipper Dad During Daylight Hours bounded out of the cabin and declared the night a resounding success. “The boys didn’t utter a peep!” he exclaimed, amazed and triumphant.
“I beg your pardon, what? Hello? WTF?” I answered. “Are you completely unaware of the night we’ve all just had?”
I could tell by his face that he’d slept right through and had no recollection whatsoever of being told to get out and sleep in his car. Which is probably just as well… but isn’t it always the way? I was having flashbacks to newborn nights where I’d nudge the hubster after the baby hit the high notes in the middle of the night and he’d be all, like, wazzup? Never heard the baby.
I think men really are wired differently to women.
Tune in tomoz for part 2 of This one time, at band camp… only it’s not really one time now, is it? It’ll be two times…