Deep down, my wife thinks I’m an idiot. This is OK. I am. A bit.
Well, it was OK, except now, for several days a week, I’m doing something actually important. I’m in charge of both our small children, on my own, while she’s at work. It’s a test, one that she is secretly convinced that I’m going to fail.
For the first few days she was absolutely right. My children, it turns out, are tiny, terrifying psychopaths. As soon as his mother was gone my son emptied the entire contents of the house onto the floor then refused to eat or drink, have his nappy changed, or do anything at all without continuous argument and implacable physical resistance.
My daughter’s role in their plan to break me was simple. She crawled around, teeth slowly bursting through her gums, making a noise that is to the ears what being stabbed in the eyes is to the eyes.
I turned on Cbeebies and hunkered down. Confused, frightened, alone, I realised there was no escape. They were my kids. If I was going to survive I had to be stronger. I had to, in short, woman-up.
On the third day my daughter had an appointment to get her booster inoculations. I, by some miracle, had remembered to remember it. My wife hadn’t reminded me. Astonishingly, she’d forgotten.
This was my chance to show her. I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how anybody does it. I practically had to tear a hole in reality to get my kids to the doctor’s surgery in time.
Shell shocked and breathing hard, we fell against the reception desk. “She’s got jabs.” I held up my daughter.
“OK.” The receptionist said evenly. “Name?” I knew my daughter’s name.
“Date of birth?” She asked.
“Er…”. Mind. Blank.
She waited patiently, then finally said, chuckling, “You’ve really forgotten?”
“Wait.” I hissed. I named a month. “Is that right? Check the computer.”
She gave me a look.
Everyone, seriously. My wife must never, ever know of this.