Saturday, 5.40am. I’ve been up all night with Sienna (2.5) puking. I crawl back into bed. Just a few hours sleep, please lord. And that’s when I hear a strange and distant moaning.
OMG, it’s Granny, I think jumping up. She IS concussed, I said she was. We couldn’t work out where the blood was coming from after her dramatic dethroning, ornament breaking scene at the Smith’s last night. She was covered in compost and lay on the kitchen floor bleeding like a nicked hosepipe because of her blood thinners (Ipixaban) Doctor Nick administered painkillers, bandaged her head (badly) and we carried her up the stairs to bed, trying not to bang her bottom on the baby gates.
I stand outside Granny’s bedroom door listening to her rhythmic snoring, like a Glaswegian after a skinful of ‘Bucky’. She’s okay. Then I check on Sienna, her room reeks of vomit, but she is sleeping soundly. I close her door and creep into baby Vita’s room.
Oh Jesus. NO.
She is asleep, but by her head is a pool of sick. She wakes up, pukes again and starts to cry. “Shhh. Don’t wake Sienna, please God don’t wake Sienna.” I take her out of her bed, carrying her at arms length like a puppy covered in fox poo and plonk her in the empty bath, giving her a few toys to play with. She chunders on Sienna’s mermaid.
And then the image of my husband sleeping like a contented bush pig slides into my mind; the rage surges upwards like a twister. Why. The. Hell. Am. I. Dealing. With. This. AGAIN? Yes, he was up in the night to get a warm flannel and a sippy cup of water, but I’ve been up on the hour, every hour.
I am about to wake him, when I hear the strange groans again accompanied by a banging sound. It’s coming from downstairs.
“Simon!” I say in a loud whisper over his head. He comes to, shouting “UH”, takes a massive inhalation and sits up slowly as if being raised from the dead. “Jesus? What?”
“Get up. Vita’s in the bath. I need to go downstairs.”
He jumps to attention and runs to the bathroom, shouting. “You’ve left the bloody baby in the bath?!!”
I thunder down the stairs, open the sitting room door and find my father, Roge, thrashing around on a deflating blowup mattress which is eating him alive like a venus fly trap. The sides are coming in on him and he is fighting to get them off his face.
“Use your legs, Dad,” I say.
I pull back the duvet to reveal he is zipped into a sleeping bag. “I was cold, Simon said the sleeping bags were under the stairs,” he says still beating off the inflatable corners.
“But this is Sienna’s sleeping bag. She hasn’t even used it.” I say pulling him by the ankles clear of the mattress.
“Slow puncture.” He says, sitting on the floor like an elderly merman with a neon pink tail.
“You or the bed?” I say trying to unzip him but his sausage fingers have bust the pull tab. He is well and truly stuck.
Si shouts down. “I need back up. Sienna’s being sick!”
“Wriggle free, Dad,” I say as I leg it upstairs. I open Sienna’s door and bump into Granny whose head is still wrapped in the biggest bandage I have ever seen. Was Doctor Nick hammered last night or is he just terrible at bandages? Looking at it, I am beginning to doubt he’s even a real Doctor.
Granny is worried about Sienna. And I am worried about Granny, she is very bruised and pale. “I just sat down. I didn’t do anything wrong. It was rotten, woodworm riddled. Burmese Throne. What utter nonsense. (Pause) I really hope I don’t get Sienna’s bug. It will finish me off. I just don’t have any immunity and I’ve really hurt my back again; just as it was getting stronger.”
I ask her to go back to bed so I can clean everyone up but she wants to help. “Please don’t, Granny,” I say as she starts stripping Sienna’s bed. “I was covered in sick last night, so if I’m going to get it I’ve got it already.”
“That’s logical.” Exasperated, I take poor Sienna to the bathroom. Si has got Vita clean and wrapped in a towel. Ah, she is such a little munchkin in her little mauve lambby towel. Such an edible pickle. And then she vomits over Si’s shoulder and all down his back. “FFS,” he says throwing Vita at me so he can jump out of his pukey dressing gown.
I run a bath and now I have three of them standing naked in the bathroom smelling of puke with another massive pile of clothes mocking me. I tell Si they can all get in the bath together and I start scooping up Vita’s puke with bog roll, before spraying the bathroom floor with unsafe amounts of chemicals. I do not want to get this.
Simon’s barely been in the bath two minutes when he wants to get out. He needs a morning poo. “Right now. It’s a big one and it’s coming.”
“What the hell is wrong with your bottom?” I snipe. “I never get to have a poo or a pee or a shower or anything. This time you can hold it in and help me with YOUR children!!”
He hands me the baby, but I won’t take her so he puts her on the bloody floor, ties a towel around his waist and rushes to the downstairs loo, charmingly positioned by the front door ready for a full nasal assault on any unsuspecting deliveryman or visitor.
“I hope you fall down it.” I say out loud.
“Daddy down the loo?” says Sienna laughing and gaining some much needed colour in her cheeks.
“Yes,” I say. “Sometimes I want to flush Daddy all the way out to the sea.”
As I get the children dressed there is an almighty crash downstairs. What now?! I shove Vita in her cot, run to the stairs to see Roger, having taken out a hall lamp, hopping towards the front door. He yanks the downstairs loo handle down several times, he needs to get in NOW. And then he is overcome by the noxious fumes from within and, as if trying to escape a Russian nerve agent, starts frantically scratching at the door, trying to unlock it but his fingers aren’t working and he’s running out of breath, out of time….. He flings the door open, takes a breath, jumps out and projectile vomits on the lawn, just as Fiona and The General are getting into their silver BMW opposite.
I rush to the door, Vita screaming full volume upstairs, Sienna shouting “Mama, Mama, Mama”, Granny: “What’s happening?!” Si’s stench hits me in the face like a boxing glove.
And then I see my forlorn father standing in one of Si’s camo T-shirts and the pink My Little Pony sleeping bag, ashen and ashamed. He looks at Granny standing on the stairs with a massive white bandage on her head and me still in my tartan pajamas, hair like a haystack, and we all start chuckling inanely. Sienna rattles the stair gate laughing, too.
I can see Fiona looking over with a mixture of fury and contempt. Miss Julie’s Vauxhall has blocked their car in. Roger waves at them, before I bundle him back in and bolt the door. We need to barricade it. We need a plan. She is about to ‘surge’ on the house.
And this is the moment the downstairs loo door clicks open (we all instinctively get as far away as possible) and Si clatters out in cycling shoes and vivid blue lycra, muttering, “It’s nearly 10. I’ve got to go, the Fun Ride starts at half past.”
WTAF?! Tell me you are joking.
He grabs his helmet and water bottle, escaping through the garage. And through the open kitchen window I hear the words of Judas spill from his mouth as he says to Fiona: “You’ll have to talk to Nessa, I know nothing about the parking arrangements.”
There will be blood.