Do you remember when you were a kid? When the days were long and full of adventure, when you’d have jam butties (sandwiches) for tea (dinner/supper depending where in the world you’re from) and the school holidays seemed to take forever to come around and then passed in the blink of an eye. Do you remember?
Do you recall what it was like living in the house you grew up in? You had your bedroom which was your sanctuary, no fucker could touch you. It was your little piece of privacy which, for the lads at least, hitting puberty and wanking like chimps made it a very special place indeed. That knock on the door would give you enough time to abort mission, pull your pants up and pretend you were dusting or something before being caught cock in hand to the horror of your parent who was only braving to enter the sweat pit because they had actually run out of plates downstairs now you had piled them all up on the side in your room after a month of eating tea in the hovel/sanctuary/ wank pit).
I remember this and a thousand other happy memories (I never got caught, I had my abort procedure down to a fine art), but this was some twenty years ago for me and I guess you grow up, its either that or die young but I never did that so grow up I did. I pissed about for a few years, barely recalling my early to mid-twenties because I was in my early to mid-twenties and so I was perpetually pissed. The law of averages caught up with me and I duffed someone up the oven…no, that’s not right, but yeah she was pregnant and so my pissed up fun had to stop.
Monogamy ensued and then too, a baby neither of us had a clue what to do with. She didn’t die either so we must have done something right, and then the arguments began. A young family, her with the baby blues, me with only the frequent day dreams of sleep keeping me going, life was rubbish but it was also enchanting because of our daughter, the most beautiful little sick and shit producer you’d have ever seen.
More fights and then this tired boy was thrown out of the house, told I’d never see my daughter again, see you in court, you never loved us anyway…the usual spiel…and then I ended up back at home, mum and dads, the place I had left many moons ago so that I might wank like a chimp in whichever room takes my fancy and not have to worry about the knock of doom on the door ruining my day. There were of course other reasons for me flying the coop (baby on the way, time to grow the fuck up Rob, you’ve got responsibilities now, the usual).
Being back home was strange.
I wasn’t a child anymore.
I had a child of my own, one I wasn’t allowed to see sure, but still, I was a grown up and I had the nine-month-old little girl to prove it. And then in a shock twist of fate that little girl ended up in my care while the ex and I slogged it out in court for the next five years.
Now I was a dad living back at home with the folks, with a baby in her cot next to my bed. I relied a lot on my folks as one can imagine. I had a full-time job which still needed doing and so this single dad did his best to juggle work and time with my little princess. Fast forward six years and one more failed relationship, and I found myself back home at mum and dads once more, only now that nine month old princess was a gobby seven year old forever pushing the boundaries only seven year olds know how to do. She also enjoyed pushing her four year old brother, and my patience…well, both of them enjoyed that, still do in fact, but it’s cool, I’ll get the last laugh, when I’m old and grey I’ll be faking incontinence just so they can look after me and wipe my shitty arse. That day will come, I’ll question everything they say, demand food, constantly poo my pants at the most inconvenient of times, embarrass them in the supermarket by squealing and getting lost, and then at the end of a hard day of being a disagreeable prick I’ll not go to bed, constantly go up and down the stairs, and then maybe shit myself again just for…well…shits and giggles. It’s the least I can do.
Anyway, yeah, after three years of living in our family home we were given two months’ notice…in March…we needed to be gone by May.
In August I received another letter from the landlord asking why we hadn’t left the cheapest three bedroomed semi in the world yet. I feigned ignorance. Sorry pal, I hadn’t received any notice on the property. A few days later I received a new notice on the property, I needed to be gone by October. In November I received a phone call asking why I was still paying rent every month and hadn’t vacated the property. I promised I would be gone by the new year.
On New Years’ day I moved out of the house and with nowhere to go I headed back to the folks house.
Now moving back to your parents with a nine-month-old baby and no clue what the fuck to do next is daunting but that was in the past. Me and the princess overcame that obstacle years ago and she didn’t die so, once again, a pat on the back for Rob. Moving back in to your parents at 35 with two kids is very much a different kettle of fish (not that I’d ever put fish in a kettle in the first place, or understand why enough people have done so to make it a saying).
Gone was my pocket money, now I was expected to pay the folks pocket money (although they disguised it as ‘contributing to the household.’)
When I had my gaff, I could shout at my kids when they were being little shits, now that was not possible. Now, irrespective of whatever they’d done, I found it was me in the wrong.
‘What do you mean she’s pooed all over the rug in the carpet and decided to use the proceeds as hand paint for the walls? Where were you, you should have been watching her?’
‘I was having a shower dad, remember, I asked if I could go for a shower?’
(Oh yes, now I have to ask if I want to do anything because I should be supervising the seven-year-old faeces artist at all times).
The all too familiar look of disappointment followed by a heavy sigh and head shake. Where did dad go wrong by having a son like me?
‘You could have gone for a shower once you’d put the kids to bed.’
You can’t win…or rather I couldn’t win.
We’d be play fighting (the kids and I, my folks never wanted to join in) and one of them would get a little bit hurt which meant they were losing and I was winning. Blood curdling screams would echo down the stairs and I’d have the folks shouting up at me telling me to grow up, I’m thirty five, stop fighting with my children.
One of the little shits would then over dramatize the right hook they received, go running to grandma and grandad and I’d be grounded for beating up the kids. Rewind a couple of months when I was in a house with the kids and we’d play fight and there was never any of this tapping out and going crying to grandma and grandad shit. Back then my kids were seasoned veterans of the war arena, ready to battle to the death for the chance of receiving first prize (a handful of pringles). Back then though there was no grandma and grandad to coo and sympathize with them and to tell daddy off much to the little shit’s amusement.
‘Robert stop shouting at them, they’re crying now.’
‘They stuffed bluetac in your computer ports and emptied their drinks all over the keyboard.’
‘What? Where were you, why weren’t you supervising them. You are so selfish and irresponsible Robert.’
‘I was on the toilet dad, they’d have not enjoyed it in there with me.’
A huff, another head shake…I need to leave this place right now. I’ve the kids thinking it’s funny when daddy gets told off and they then call me naughty when I shout back at grandad, I’ve my folks sitting there waiting, judging, waiting for me to fuck up and allow the shits to fight, make too much noise or poo paint the living room so they can come down on me and remind me how irresponsible I am, and then there is my seven year old daughter who, while playing hide and seek and it is my turn to hide, goes running to grandad in tears saying I left them and they were scared.
Here we go again.
‘Why did you leave them, look at Sophie, she’s terrified,’ he says, her head stuck to his chest while he strokes her hair.
‘Dad we were playing hide and seek, it was my turn to hide!’
‘So you left them both unsupervised to go and hide?’
I laughed.
‘You think this is funny?’
I shouldn’t have laughed.
‘Dad it’s hide and seek, it was my turn to hide. I can’t supervise them if I’m hiding from them can I?’
A huff.
A further stroke of my ‘distraught’ daughter’s head.
‘Just bloody grow up will you.’
And with that I walked away feeling once again like I’d just travelled back in time twenty years or so and I was getting shouted at for coming in late from playing out and missing tea (dinner/supper depending where…oh you get the idea).
If there is any point to this little tale I’d say it’s don’t have kids because they will gang up on you with your parents. If it’s too late then don’t ever move back in with your folks with kids in tow. There already? Just don’t fucking play hide and seek with them because you’d get less of a rollicking for tying them up and leaving them locked in a cupboard for hours while you get smashed on Sambuca and then pass out in a drunken mess on your bed…or as I like to call it, Tuesday evening.