I'm bringing up the rear
"DADDY, my bum is smelly,” Miss4 announced, although from the way her arm stretched behind her back was working, I was sure she meant itchy.
Suffice to say, this isn't my first rodeo so I knew exactly how to handle the situation.
"Have you told your Mummy?” I asked her quietly.
"Mummy said to tell you.”
Near as I can ascertain, this is the only downside with the kids always going to their mother first - she gets dibs on offloading the really crappy jobs.
By now, the hand behind Miss4's back was going at it furiously.
"Jeez, Tracey!” I yelled out to my wife. "I think we might have a problem here. Do we have any bum chocolate in the house?”
"She doesn't need it,” Tracey called back.
"Have you seen what she's doing?”
Well, yes, she was right in front of me!
Using friction to rub the skin off the crack of her butt cheeks!
And I was going to argue strongly it was a direct result of Tracey's lack of action which lead to so much damage being done, meaning I'd hopefully stand a chance of getting out of rubbing in the paw paw cream and changing the bandages.
"Why do you think I'm so worried?” I said, as Tracey entered the room.
"If we don't have any I'll race down to the chemist before they shut. We don't want this to go through the lot of us. These worms must be bait-sized.”
"Ask to see her hands,” Tracey suggested.
"What am I checking for?” Tracey was so keen for me to get involved in this I assumed poo.
"Just do it.”
I didn't have to. Miss4 took her cue and held her hands out to me.
As expected, they were not empty. But the thing in them wasn't the baby brown I expected. It was bright yellow.
"Where did you get that?” I asked her.
Then I realised that was the wrong question.
"Why are you rubbing a little tree on your bum?”
The outside of her pants too, which surprised me pleasantly.
It was one of those air fresheners people hang from the rear vision mirror in their cars.
"Because my bum is smelly,” she said. "And now it smells beautiful.”
She turned around so I could sample sniff her hard work, but I declined and sent both her and her mum on their giggly way.
And that, I thought, was the end of it.
I was wrong.
Working diligently away on my computer (watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine) I became abruptly aware of a hand trying to plunge into the back of my jeans - unlike a kid appearing next to you, it's the sort of thing you notice even if you're very focused.
"OMG! What are you doing?!” I exclaimed.
I was out of my chair in a flash, clutching at my pants to yank them up good and proper.
Standing beside my chair, Miss4 looked totally surprised by my reaction.
"I was helping you. Mummy says you need this more than I do, Daddy,” said Miss4, the smelly tree dangling less than pristinely from her hand.
Still yellow, but I'm sure that was a close thing.
Read more of the Devereaux's adventures at bigfamilylittleincome.com