Sunday morning, and our beautiful, fair-haired, little, three-year-old angel wakes up at 06:00.
“What does the “Oh” stand for? Oh my God it’s early!” Robin Williams – Good Morning Vietnam, 1987.
“I want to watch my programmes daddy.” Okay, our hero staggers, half-blind, into the living room. The electronic baby-sitter is switched on and the satellite-delivered, scientific miracle of Wonder Pets keeps the little angel quiet for five minutes… “I want milk daddy.”
Our hero half-falls (the half that’s still blind), downstairs to warm a beaker of milk.
Milk, Wonder Pets and a bit of help from Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and the rest of the Disney Channel, put her to sleep on the sofa by 06:30.
A little later daddy secures the living room floor with a pair of baby gates (keep kids behind bars should be a national motto), and locks the bathroom door (keep her away from Lorraine’s make-up bag at all costs – what is there about lipstick that tastes so great anyway?), and treads wearily back upstairs to the welcoming warmth of the duvet.
07:20 – “Daddy!”
07:21 – “Daddy!!!”
07:21:30 – “DADDY!!!!!”
“I have something to tell you.”
“What’s that Amelia?”
With a sense of impending doom, our hero drags himself from under the duvet and pulls a pair of jogging bottoms on. Half way down the stairs, it was the smell that first suggested something was wrong. A sort of sickly, cloying smell, chemical, a bit like… yes, oh sh!t, like a lot of nail polish…
It’s surprising just how far one, small bottle of bright, red, nail-polish go’s – it spreads evenly over polished, hardwood furniture, Laura Ashley seat fabric, sofas, beige carpet and expensive rugs.
Also, when poured over the feet, fingers and face of a three-year old, it can cover most of them.
And takes a lot of cleaning.
Lorraine gives a thumbnail (un-polished of course, there’s no polish left), estimate of the damage at about £2000.00.
It appears the nail-polish was on the top of a seven-foot tall bookcase. This is, of course, where every family keeps nail-polish and it behoves our hero to remember that.
Our hero considers the seven-foot tall bookcase and the two-foot tall monster with red teeth and claws.
It appears she was bitten by a radioactive spider back in Colchester General.
Anybody that’s seen Colchester General Hospital, will have no problem believing that there are radioactive spiders wandering around the wards.
09:30 – “Daddy!”
A quicker response this time, our hero is learning, “What darling?”
“I have something to tell you.”
Our hero is in the kitchen, making a much needed cup of coffee… and hunting through the cupboards for those migraine tablets he had the other day. He feels a cold chill run up his spine, crawl over his shoulders, scuttle across his scalp, slap him on both cheeks, constrict his throat and eventually settle as a sinking feeling in his stomach.
Toilet-training a toddler, as our hero has discovered, frequently entails one or two patches of damp carpet. The toddler however, gets to the point when they know they’ve had an accident and they want to clear it up. All they need are the appropriate tools.
It’s surprising just how far the water in the average toilet will spread, when a toddler gets hold of a sponge and, soaking up the water in the toilet, trails it through the house to the “scene of the accident” and begins to mop and scrub.
The “scene of the accident” can rapidly become the entire first floor of a three-floor town-house.
It is at this precise moment, that any sensible parent s@ds off down to the supermarket for a bumper pack of kitchen towels and the biggest bottles of nail-polish remover and single malt scotch whisky they have on the shelves.
Ladies and gentlemen, our hero has left the building.