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I feel awful as Patty’s woken up by the blaring of the car’s horn. She hasn’t eaten or cleaned up her kids, nor has she studied “Living with Mutations,” the text she was given at work yesterday.
Of course, I have to shell out for a babysitter for the second day in a row. Of course, I pray today’s will be better than yesterday’s Davy Linell. Of course, when the babysitter arrives, it’s Davy Linell.
The babysitter agency must offer fantastic healthcare to have him back on the job so soon, because no more than sixteen hours after suffering a mental breakdown at this very address he’s diligently feeding and changing the children. All things considered, this minimum wage mental patient is doing a better job looking after these kids than their own mother.
Not much else happens while Davy is home alone with the kids. At one point the paperboy Skip Javeed makes his rounds, leaving today’s newspaper aside yesterday’s still-uncollected delivery. I spend the next twenty real-life minutes speculating about what the paperboy might think of this. Later still, the game cheerily gives me a popup telling me that some supermarket in the greater town is currently having a sale. Don’t you see what I’m busy with here, game? Are you trying to be cute, game? Do you think this is some kind of game, game?
By 1:30 P.M., Davy has fed, cleaned and put all of the children to bed without incident. Is it possible that the stress of yesterday has actually caused his mind to splinter, and as a coping mechanism, create an alternate and distinct personality who is really, really good at child care? And more importantly, can this blend of P.T.S.D. and voodoo be successfully applied to the children’s mother?
Patty finally returns from her day of work, pays Davy his $75 for the day and stands in the corner for a while, I guess to recuperate from her day of work – if her demeanour is any indication, some sort of literal daily grind, with whips and a guy who beats a big conga drum every time you’re supposed to row your oar. But wake up, Patty, your day job may be over but now it’s time for your shift at the Annoying Child Factory (also the name of her uterus).
I address Patty’s truly dishevelled state and get her to have a shower. By the time she’s finished, Albert is crying. I’m immediately anxious that I’ll slip into what I’ve up until this point only internally been referring to as the “Tantrum Asymptote,” a parental Hell-scape in which I don’t have enough time to tend to a crying baby before more begin crying, at which point the number of crying children spirals intensely until eventually an instant in time ceases to exist under the classical definition unless it is inhabited by at least one hysterical infant.
Back in the real world (that is to say, a computer game) I tell Patty to go and tend to Albert. On the way she passes out, and before she can regain consciousness my fears are realised: Dana begins to cry. I pause the game to give myself some thinking time, rubbing my temples like I’m in a heist movie. I’m on the edge of the looking glass here. If Patty can’t stop the crying she won’t ever sleep until the big sleep. So I buy Patty a phone, acknowledging that when this inevitably goes to trial it will be Davy who will act as the prosecution’s key witness, but for now he’ll be able to get me out of this jam for $75.
When Patty makes it to the phone a pop-up appears asking me who she should call. I hungrily eye the adoption service (chirpily quoted as being “Free!”, ever-more temptingly) but I decide that adoption is not, as many parents have considered, the solution to all of my problems, but rather the reluctant conclusion to a three-strike “no eating icecream over the carpet” scenario.
I leave the kids unsupervised to just wallow in their dystopian living room as they see fit while Patty takes a breather. In the shower, waiting for Davy to arrive, she thinks only of money. Fifteen minutes later she emerges from the bathroom, clean as a whistle, to meet Davy commanding a household in repair – well, figuratively speaking, since after being used by Patty the shower is now broken. But overall Davy is doing a capable job fighting the uphill battle that is the Harper household.
I tell Patty to leave Davy feeding and cleaning the children and to instead go to straight to bed, since I suspect that were I to try to calculate how many hours of sleep Patty has enjoyed in the past three days my calculator would just output a little L.C.D. picture of a gravestone.
Not fifteen minutes later, Patty has risen, apparently well-rested. I tell her to go back to bed, where she sleeps undisturbed for the rest of the night, apart from the four more times she tries to get out of bed in the next hour. Is it possible that Patty has now learned to function with only a minimum of sleep, like a kind of modern Leonardo da Vinci (whose only invention is a broken shower)? No, of course, the medical answer is that she’s just going insane, is all.
It’s midnight and Patty is finally sleeping soundly. Two meters away in the same pitch-black room, a near-stranger is putting her children to bed as they babble affectionately to him. At the foot of her bed, Ernie sits staring at her, but thinking of Davy. It’s a perverse image, but I ponder Davy’s influence over the past two days. He and Patty have proven a capable team, the kids adore him and he’s cheap. And let’s not forget, he’s saved Patty from a fate worse than death: parenthood.
Yeah, since Davy will be sticking around, I think I’ll have Patty devote some time after work tomorrow to building a relationship with him. The kids could use a positive influence. And it couldn’t have escaped Davy that the ragged, disgusting, over-worked, bloodshot-eyed, grass-stained, starved, sleep-deprived, manic, unstable woman he’s been working for is a total babe. And wouldn’t it be just adorable if they were to fall in love and marry? Speaking as the person who has to write all of this, yes, it would.
You can click here to go to Septomom Day 4: Marred with Children.