AKA - Tormented
People all around me are screaming as I run down a hospital corridor. It’s pandemonium. I reach the corner of the the corridor and skid as I change direction. A woman nearby trips over a gurney, yelping in pain as she clatters to the ground. I don’t stop to help her as it’s clear that this is an every man or woman for themselves scenario.
I dare to look behind me. It’s coming! I can’t see it, but I know it’s coming. I can hear it. We all can.
A horrific, blood curdling scream. A baby’s scream. My heart pounds as the scream gets louder. I turn and begin running again. And then…
I’m awake, lying in bed, Lola screaming through the baby monitor as though she’s on fire. I glance at the bedside clock.
A sickening realisation hits me square on the tits. It’s my turn to get up and appease the screaming banshee.
Now I’m not going to lie to you here. It’s usually Zsuzsa that gets the short end of the stick. She’s the real heroine of this story, not I. Ninety nine percent of the time it is my beloved other half who has to get up and bung a nipple in our tormenter’s mouth. But you see the thing is, she’s so very tired of late that I made a promise yesterday to tackle the nightshift all on my lonesome. My nipples may be disappointingly dormant, but by jove I can dance around naked, in the dead of night whilst singing a baby to sleep like nobody’s business. At least that’s what I thought.
It’s now 4:45 and I have been dancing around with Lola singing my little heart out for three quarters of an hour. We’ve been through an eclectic back catalogue of tunes. A collection that has included the best of U2, ‘Come as You Are’ and ‘In Bloom’ by Nirvana, ‘Where Do you Go to My Lovely’ by Peter Sarstedt, ‘Alive’ by Pearl Jam, ‘When Doves Cry’ by Prince, ‘Dirty Diana’ by Michael Jackson, ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica, ‘(Sittin’ on) The Dock of The Bay’ by Ottis Reading and ‘Live Forever’ by Oasis. I also started ‘Rockerfella Skank’ by FatBoy Slim, but it became immediately apparent that it was only energising the little shit.
I’ve tried this dance and sing technique numerous times in the recent past, with my snake hips and velvety chocolate vocals usually having the desired, soporific effect. But not tonight. Tonight she just wants to party.
It’s now just gone five in the morning and with under two hours of sleep in the bank I’m losing my tiny little mind and beginning to feel a little aggressive. Lola just will not sleep. She reaches up and smacks my mouth with her hand and it takes all my powers of restraint to valiantly fight the urge to bite her fingers off.
I distract myself from the hopelessness of this situation by thinking about an article I read the previous day about the routines of the successful. You know the sort. Ridiculous bullshit about them waking up each day at 3am to hit the gym, then cryogenically freezing themselves for 15 minutes, then an hour of Mandarin learning whilst scraping their tongues with a brass tongue scrapper, followed by an activated almond breakfast washed down with a pint of their own, gluten free piss. If this is the price of success, well success can cock-off.
I begin to daydream (nightdream?) about being interviewed by a publication about my daily routine.
“Gareth, just how on Earth have you managed to achieve all you have? What’s your secret? What’s your daily routine?”
“Well funny you should ask that Dave. Can I call you Dave?”
“My name’s Tim.”
“So Dave, on an average day…”
05:30 - Woken up by a three year old screaming “MILK!” in my face from a distance of 2 millimetres.
06:00 - Drink Coffee, soundtracked to a cacophony of baby cries and one song from the film ‘Frozen’, over and over and over and over and over and over again.
06:30 - Sneak out for a morning pooh.
06:32 - Morning pooh interrupted by three year old barging in to the bathroom, asking what I’m doing, sniffing the air and making a horrified face.
06:33 - Zsuzsa, carrying Lola and wondering where I am, joins myself and Mila in the bathroom.
“What are you doing honey?”
“Uh, trying to take a shit.”
07:00 - Start trying to dress Mila.
07:01 - Mila objects to our choice of outfit for today. She insists on wearing a ballet tutu and wellies.
07:02 - Try and prise a distraught Mila from the floor. It’s like she’s been told Piers Morgan is coming to visit..
08:30 - Finish dressing Mila. Head to nursery. She’s wearing a ballet tutu and wellies.
“Honey” says Zsuzsa, suddenly appearing from shadows. “Give her to me.”
I hand my chronically tired wife our little life sapping bundle of fun, shrug and head to bed to attempt to squeeze in a cheeky hour of sleep before morning. “At least I tried.”, I think to myself.
At a quarter to six I realise that endeavouring to sleep is futile, get up, fill my veins with caffeine and sit down to write this sleep deprived drivel.