It’s 2008 and I’m rushing to Margate’s QEQM Hospital in an ambulance with sirens blaring.
My son’s birth was quite a traumatic event. It shouldn’t have been, but we’d decided on a home-birth, something I would strongly discourage all first time parents from doing. It was a split decision: I’m vasovagal and almost pathologically phobic about hospitals and my wife thought we would get better, more personal (1 on 1) care in the safety of our own home. The resulting disaster turned what should have been the happiest day of our lives into a situation that would have found a better fit in a horror movie.
It’s lunchtime and we’re just settling into a booth at Frankie & Benny’s when I make the mistake of the decade.
I say: ‘Okay, while we’re waiting for the lady to take our orders, why don’t we play….FAVOURITES! Right, kids: who are your favourite….er….Disney Princesses!’
My son (7) rolls his eyes and says: ‘Booooring, but I guess I’d go for Aurora, because she was cool in that film where the evil queen had the horn.’
I smile a bit awkwardly, as I know what he means but can’t help focus on what he’s actually saying. Then, the screechy voice of my daughter (3) interrupts my train of thought.
She says, quite loudly: ‘I love Supunzel because her hair is full of shit.’
I’m at Center Parcs in Woburn Forest, and I’m in Smug Parent mode. I always get like this on those rare occasions when my kids are behaving like angels while everyone else’s are wrecking the place. Despite the fact that we’ve only been on site for an hour and they’re practically bursting with excitement about us all being on holiday in such an incredible place, Sebastian and Evie are acting like proper little grown-ups.
I’d only been working as a shift runner at Blockbuster Video for a few days when the incident happened, and I remember thinking that it was a perfect reflection of my luck that had it happened just a week before none of it – none of it – would have been my responsibility. I could just have continued to do stock rotation and left the entire messy business to somebody else.
This is my son, Sebastian. He’s on the floor of Boots in Ramsgate, throwing a major strop and blowing raspberries at me. He’s also refusing to move, and I’m threatening him with all sorts of punishments to disguise the fact that I have a bad back and can’t physically drag him outside.
Look at the Disney Princess in the picture above. Actually LOOK at her face. Do you know why she has that frozen, slightly startled and not entirely positive expression?
I must have been reasonably self-aware as a kid, because I’m pretty sure I was in the early stages of primary school when I figured out that I couldn’t make friends.
When I finally decided that my dog had some sort of mental health issue, I didn’t mess around. I immediately splashed the cash and called in the professional: a £50 per day dog whisperer called Anita who lived on the borders of Kent and claimed to offer a life-changing service for pets AND their owners. This is the email I sent her…
‘Anyone can play the drum: you just hit it.’ This seemed like a really stupid argument, especially if you were talking about a drummer in a band….but the guy in question was talking about ME and the band in question was the 1st Ramsgate Boys Brigade.
I’ve only been at Costa for ten minutes, and I’m just about to write a really scathing attack on a well-known supermarket when I suddenly overhear: “So, you wait until we’ve got four kids before you decide it’s her you want and not me.” I don’t turn around. I sit back in my chair, very slowly, and…