10 Apr 2010
I'd be a Terrible Parent...Thanks for Asking.
This may not come as a surprise to any of you but I have just had experience of sitting on a coach for 23 hours with 42 of the little treasures.
Currently, I've had two baths, shaved my entire body and double washed my clothes just to get the heady mix of body odor and Lynx Africa out of my system. My nostrils are saturated with the honk of feet and I doubt I'll be able to smell properly for the next three weeks. The coach was close to having a special committee formed at The Hague to see if it was in fact a basic yet effective form of biological weaponry. I'm surprised customs let us through (although I'm glad, from an animal welfare point of view, that a sniffer dog wasn't used - the poor bastard would have spontaneously combusted).
I didn't put myself into this situation for no reason. We were returning from Switzerland (home of Heidi, Chocolate and Nazi Gold) where we had taken the kids on the school ski trip. As one of the two trip leaders I was directly responsible for the well being of the kids.
For the first time in my life I felt what it was to be a parent. The kids even started calling me 'Papa Fandango'. I'll be honest with you - I hated it.
I have never been so emotionally, mentally and physically shattered in all my life. I've bandaged feet (urrghh), looked after sick kids, raced to accidents on skis (actually, that was quite fun), doled out encouragement and bollockings as required, made sure that kids were asleep on time, made sure they had all their things (what do you mean I need a hat on to go skiing on a glacier?), checked their rooms were tidy, sorted out squabbles and falling outs, cheered up grumpy kiddy-winks, dealt with homesickness, travel sickness, nut allergies and Hindu children being given veal for dinner (the hotelier said 'It's not beef, it's veal' and it took some time to convince them - in my piss poor French - that veal happens to be baby cows).
I realised that I'm okay doing this for a week. Maybe two. Possibly three, tops. Anymore and I think I'd either physically lash out when asked 'Do you know what's for dinner' for the eighteenth time or just start drinking at 11 in the morning letting the whole horrific experience wash over me in an alcoholic haze.
It has made me reach a conclusion. I'd be a rubbish parent. I like kids, a lot. Hell, I work with them on a daily basis. The crucial point however, is that I usually get to give the children back at the end of the day. I don't have to worry about where they are going or what time they will be back, who they are going with, are they being safe, are they taking drugs? God no, not drugs! It'll be a short hop from here to prostitution and then they'll be dead in a skip by the age of 23 riddled with bullet holes all because of an altercation with a dealer.
You see, I'm too emotionally immature to look after another human being. It's hard enough to look after myself. I can barely get ready in the mornings without asking the Duchess where at least three items are. My routine is like this:
It's six o'clock and you're listening to the Today Sh...
It's ten past six...
Time now is six twenty and the markets were fairly steady overnight with...
...ix thirty and the headlines again. Politicians do dirty deeds done cheap...
Arise slumber like from my duvet sarcophagus. Stumble sleepily to bathroom. Scratch balls. Run bath. Reach for shampoo.
'Hun, where is the shampoo?'
'On the side.'
'No it isn't.'
(under breath) 'Fucking retard' (aloud) 'yes it is, next to the shower gel'.
twenty minutes later
'Have you seen my brown tie?'
'Is it on the tie rack?'
'Do you really think I'm that stupid that I didn't check the tie rack first?'
'Fine, I'll check. Oh look at that - it's on the tie rack.'
'I swear it wasn't there a minute ago.'
'Must be that tie delivering eagle that I recently invested in.'
'Woah! We have a tie delivering eagle now? Sweet!'
'Were you starved of oxygen at birth?'
ten minutes later
'For fuck's sake...'
'What is it now, Duke?'
'Where the fuck are my car keys?'
'In your hand.'
Now add in having to look after a baby as well? No thanks. I'm sure I'd be the sort of parent that keeps social services on their toes. Not through malicious intent, just because of my lackadaisical approach to life. If I did have a kid the conversation would probably run like this.
'For the last time Duke, the baby's name is James - I allowed you to put three names into the running and you chose 'Ryu', 'Sub-Zero' and 'Zool' none of which are real names for real people so were laughingly discounted out of hand.
'James is a gay name.'
'So is 'Ryu'.'
'Fine. Have it your way. Where is James?'
'You had him literally thirty seconds ago.'
'Yeah, I was teaching him how to do a Haiduken.'
'And where was this?'
'In the bathroom - I was using the toaster to create the special effects...'HAIDUKEN!'
'You wha...oh fuck!'
Maybe one day I'll grow up. Maybe one day I'll say 'I want to increase the population by a few'. Maybe one day I'll stop making aeroplane noises and reenacting the space battle scene from Return of the Jedi in the bath (I use the sponge as the Star Destroyer bridge and a bar of soap for the A-Wing 'Shields Up!' BOOM!)
Will I actually change? Probably not.
I don't care really. Being immature is far too much fun.