Should I get a real Christmas tree? Obviously I’ve left the decision a bit late, but that’s a Christmas tradition in itself. Christmas arrives like a predator. You see it on the horizon, look away, then it jumps on you.
It’s pretty odd if you think about it. There are literally lots of trees outside, but we buy one, prop it up unsafely in the living room, cover it in shiny plastic and watch it slowly die. It’s sort of like a ritual tree sacrifice. It’s pretty cool. Normally I’m on board.
Your first child is challenging. Especially for me. I went from a relatively easy life, to what was for me the equivalent of being sent to a Siberian labour camp. It was bad. But we assumed that our first child was basically how all small children were. Yes he was loud and tempestuous and demanding, but we sort of got the hang of it.
Turns out, though, our first child was a pussycat. Life was just toying with us. Our daughter raised the difficulty bar considerably. She was, basically, a wild animal. In some ways she still is. Turns out, she was easy.
Our third and last child has come. He is shouting at me now as I try to hide in the kitchen, he’s rattling the child gate like a crazed ape. A moment ago he lobbed a wine glass over it which shattered on the kitchen floor. He has overcome the child locks on the sideboard. Again. As I cower, I can only think of the inventor of the atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, quoting Hindu scripture. “I have become death, destroyer of worlds.”
Which brings me to the Christmas tree question. I can’t get one this year, unfortunately, because my third child, quite literally, will eat it.