Pardon by Jo

[advert:mpu]However for the past three years the one time you could guarantee some peace and quiet was at night. That was until my Dad came to stay.

Sabba (as he is known) lives abroad, and is a lovely old man, who adores his grandchildren and tries to be as helpful as he can when he comes to visit. Unfortunately he is deaf as a door post, and snores like a bear with sinus problems.

When Sabba comes to stay we always have a debate where he should sleep. He used to share a room with Dan. But Dan, whilst liking the company, has now vetoed this. Even he has admitted that he could do with a night of unbroken sleep (bloody cheek! This is the child that wakes us up at least twice a night, and who calls out at 6am  - if we are lucky - every day “is it morning time yet?”). This only leaves sharing a room with Gabriel. Until now this has worked well.

As child number three, Gabriel just presumes anything thrown at him is normal. Even having nasal cacophony played in his room every night is okay. What a dude.

The other interesting effect of Sabba is that the volume control on the television set seems to have no limits. Normally when putting the kids to bed, we try and keep the house calm and quiet. But since Sabba came to stay, the walls have been shaking to the sound of Jon Snow as he listens to the TV at 20 decibels above normal. Even the children (who like LOUD) have commented, “Is Sabba having a party downstairs?” The best is when he is talking to his sister on the phone (whose hearing is even worse than his – if that’s possible?). Their conversation is so loud, they probably could do away with the telephone and shout their message across from East Finchley to Golders Green. I don’t know why I’m laughing. I’m sure I’ve got the Rynhold hearing deficit gene.

Even the children have learnt the way to talk to Sabba. I caught Barney explaining earnestly to Dan that Mummy said “it was really, really okay to shout loudly so that Sabba could hear” – shouting was not just permitted; it was actively encouraged.

Dan screwed up his little nose, and looked at Barney, trying to work out if this was one of his usual tricks to get him into trouble. He decided it was just too good an opportunity to miss, punishment not withstanding, and stood with Barney practising how loudly they could shout “ Sabba, please can you turn on CBeebies.”

But despite this the boys are impressed by Sabba. They are enthralled by Sabba’s stories of the war, impressed by his ability to fix anything, and they simply can’t wait to see his collection of power tools. Sabba may be deaf, but he is invincible.

Sabba has now returned home. All is quiet on the Western Front, although there have been some interesting consequences. Dan has stopped calling out at night, possibly realising the mental torture he has put us through. The television has returned to normal volume control, our neighbours seem chattier than usual, and Gabriel has learnt a new trick. Last night as my husband and I went into check on him, we found him asleep in this cot, snoring like a true trooper at a volume not even found on our television remote control!!

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