The problem with having two kids, apart from it being a living nightmare, is that by the end of the day you need to get drunk to forget all the pain you’ve been through since 6am, but if in the night either of the kids becomes ill you have to be sober enough to drive them to hospital. Maybe just one of you can get blotto, but what kind of fun is that for anyone? And it just makes the other one realise what a deep Hell they have dug for themselves (and the tunnel to Hell was dug out with their genitalia which is quite a feat). So usually you just cross your fingers that all will be well, get pissed and then thank God you’ve got two kids, so if you can’t get to the hospital for one of them, you have a spare.
Last night, by pure luck, I had only had two beers. It was mainly because my wife had been away all day and then my son had fallen asleep on me during the first beer and it wasn’t worth risking waking him to go to the fridge. So at about 11 when my daughter woke up, finding it hard to breath and making a really weird sound with a high temperature, I was actually in a position to legally drive a car. We were lucky this time. Bacteria only have to lucky once.
I mean, I was so tired that driving was still incredibly dangerous (and it’s hard to balance up the danger from illness versus the danger of crashing the car due to never having any sleep), but luckily we got to the hospital and back, having been seen just after midnight by a very nice doctor and given some antibiotics. By now, of course, Phoebe was breathing pretty normally and playing happily, but we’d done the right thing coming in. And on this occasion would have had time to call a cab had this been the normal kind of night when I had drunk all the booze in the house and was now sucking on the hand sanitiser. Tonight for once I had had about the number of units that I’d told my dentist I drank. Well, maybe one more.
But this meant that we were extra tired today. Which should have been technically impossible. Due to me being the most exhausted man who has ever lived. And yes, I am including that chump from Touching the Void. If he’d had to get two kids down that mountain, then he would have known what it was to push himself.
We were going to integrate ourselves into village life and go to the Christmas fete at the local primary school. Phoebe wasn’t very well but it didn’t seem fair that she would be denied the chance to meet the actual Santa Claus. Last time she’d encountered him at the Kung Fu Panda 3 themed grotto in Shepherd’s Bush, she had not been impressed. Would he get a fairer viewing this time?
It was good to be in a bright room with dozens of other people who had been stupid enough to a) breed and b) live in the countryside. We were a tragic assembly of idiots, trying to force ourselves to be enthused for the sake of our progeny. But why? One day they themselves will be in the same position with their own sexcrement and wondering why we didn’t blow the world to pieces to save them. Unless we have by then, in which case they can only be grateful to us.
We made some Rudolphs out of dough and cranberries (I went for Rudolph Hess, which didn’t seem to go down that well) and Phoebe got her face painted (it’s hardly ever not painted these days) and my mother-in-law spilt a cup of tea, which was the most exciting thing to happen in the village since World War II. But everyone had put in a lot of effort (apart from us) and there was loads to do and it was actually quite a lot of fun.
Phoebe queued patiently to see Father and Mother Christmas. Father Christmas was a lot less of a corporate-sponsored cunt than he had been last year, but Phoebe was still terrified of him and bawled her eyes out for the entire meet and greet. Santa didn’t hold it against her and we got another photo of Phoebe in tears and a Paw Patrol book.
Ernie didn’t make it in, but hopefully he will be just as scared next year. It’s a rite of passage.