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  • jdettmann

The Noise Was Coming From Inside The House

Last night H and I, for the first time in months, left the house together, at night, without May Blossom. When she was littler we used to manage more outings on our own but recent events have conspired against us and it had been a long time between drinks, so to speak. (Obviously so to speak, it’s never a literal long time between drinks around here.)

Three months ago I booked tickets for us to go see Eddie Izzard perform at the Sydney Opera House. I am something of an Eddie Izzard fan, to put it mildly. You know how people have a bucket list of all the things they want to do before they die? I’m not ashamed to say that Eddie Izzard pretty much is my bucket list. (H knows this: we had an agreement that last night if Eddie gave me the eye, the date was over. H thinks Eddie might prefer him. I say he’s dreaming. Anyway.)

Of course, by the time last night rolled around, May Blossom had two ear infections (still), a charmingly runny nose, and had regressed verbally to a single word: the bellowed command ‘UP!’. Mid-yesterday-afternoon, she added to this litany of woes a bloody split lip, and she had but a single hour of sleep all day.

The lucky recipient of this perfect storm of toddler misery was my dad, who had gallantly offered to babysit. He is excellent with kids. He is one of those people who expects children to understand everything that’s said to them, if you explain it properly. He thinks babies should be treated like members of the human race. He doesn’t believe in leaving babies to cry. You wouldn’t let any other member of the family lie wailing in their bed, he argues, so why would you let your child or grandchild do so? I’ve learned a lot from him about raising kids. He knows what he’s doing.

We put May Blossom to bed after he arrived and before we went out. She was fast asleep in her bed by 6.45, but I didn’t have high hopes that she’d stay that way for long. We left Dad with instructions on where the nappies and booze were. He commented that it was around May Blossom’s age that my grandmother (now a month shy of 102 years old) was regularly being left with her own grandfather for afternoon visits. They used to go for walks down to the drugstore, where her granddad would buy the baby a Coke. A 1910 Coke. With cocaine in it. That’s clearly the trick to living a long and healthy life. We agreed that downers for babies would be a better idea than uppers when you are babysitting.

We chucked a couple of glasses of champagne down our necks and ran out to the waiting cab. ‘Go, go!’ we shouted, like we’d just shoplifted a Bugaboo pram. We were pretty damn keen to get away.

The next four hours were joyous. We ate dessert on the steps of the Opera House as the sun set and then sat in amazing seats to watch one of the best comedy gigs I have ever seen (not one of the jokes from which will I butcher by attempting to retell it here because there’s nothing less funny than me trying to be all ‘And then he was pretending to skin a mammoth and the audience was flinching and he was all “I’m mimimg!” and then he pretended to attack Sydney with an invisible boulder!’ See?)

Mr Izzard was the model of professionalism and not once did he try to catch my eye and invite me backstage. I really respect him for that. Each time we called home (only at interval and straight after the show), we were assured that not a peep had been heard from May Blossom. So reassuring.

As it turned out, the lack of peeping was due to the baby monitor running out of batteries some time during the evening. By the time we pulled up outside the house we could hear a terrible caterwauling coming from May Blossom’s room, where her granddad was attempting to console her, having just realised the monitor had malfunctioned and she had been awake for some time. I’m still not sure who was more upset, May Blossom or Dad. But they both calmed down eventually, and no-one was much the worse for the experience. I was a bit upset that my child had been crying in my absence, sort of, I guess, but I have a new tote bag that says ‘Cake or Death’ on it and that really overshadowed everything else. Does that make me a bad mother?

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