Your relationship with your children is special. They are so comfortable and secure around you, they save certain aspects of their personality for you, and you alone. It’s lovely. In a way.
We’re off to see Grandma and Grandpa. A few minutes into the journey my son starts to demand a wee stop. He’s obsessed with weeing on grass. We’re late already, but not late, late.
We stand on the grass verge of the layby, my son’s pants around his ankles, lorries roaring by. Turns out it’s a false alarm.
Trousers up. Back in car. Drive away. He decides that he definitely needs a wee now that we’re stuck in traffic. Tension rises. He starts pleading, wriggling around in his seat and whimpering. I wonder desperately whether he could do it out of the window? Luckily the traffic clears and I pull over.
It’s not the nicest spot, but it’s an emergency. I notice several spent shotgun cartridges strewn amongst the litter and brambles. Should I let my son wee on a possible crime scene? Never mind. It’s another false alarm.
Trousers up. Back in car. Within seconds of pulling away he wants to wee again. We are now seriously late. Incompetent daddy late. Government computerisation project late. But he has me over a barrel. He might really need a wee. He revels in the power.
At the service station he wants to wee outside on the grass. We stand poised, passers by passing by, for about a year, to make sure. Nothing.
Wrestle trousers up. Wrestle back into car. The rest of the journey is hell. My daughter is enraged at being woken by the constant stopping and starting. My son is enraged that I won’t stop for another futile grass wee attempt. I’m broken. Finally they shout themselves to sleep. We arrive and Grandma and Grandpa’s.
They transform. They skip around like happy, polite little elves, grinning and being delightful.
“Do you need a wee-wee?” Grandma asks.
“No thank you Grandma.” My son answers, smiling sweetly.