There are some things in life that are absolutely inevitable, like seagulls crapping on your car the second you finish the expensive detailing work, or former Page 3 star Jordan getting married and subsequently divorcing another vapid reality star wannabe.
There’s also some facts about dealing with a toddler that can’t be escaped, like how they’ll sing a minimum of fourteen verses from ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ before they decide to go to sleep, and how they’ll wait until everyone in the house is clear of flu and colds before waddling home from the Toddler group like Patient Zero, all covered in a film of snotters and suspect looking eye bogies.
It was because of this never ending circle of reinfection that The Roobs and I have found ourselves taking turns to see who can go through the most kitchen roll as we drag buckets of snot out of our noses, whilst also doing our best not to cough germs into the boy’s face while he’s headbutting us in time to the beat of the ‘Teletubbies’ theme tune.
Of course the more you suffer is proportional to how much your little one’s energy levels go through the bloody roof, almost like your coughs and misery are feeding him more power until eventually he’s the last immortal standing over a pile of his headless enemies, alongside a thumping Queen soundtrack and a ponytail sporting Sean Connery with a dodgy Spanish accent. (I understand that many of you ‘Millennials’ won’t get that reference to the 1986 cinematic masterpiece that is ‘Highlander’, since you’ve been raised on a drip feed of iPads, YouTube videos of people showing off their bloody shopping and reality TV shows full of more plastic people than a Lego box. But trust me, go and watch Highlander, then afterward wipe away your tears of joy and buy me a beer as way of thanks.)
So imagine Roobs and myself both full of the Man Flu, doing our best to get the hyperactive wee man into his pyjamas and ready for bed. Not only is he thrashing like I’m trying to put a tights on an octopus, but he’s also going into bullet time like Neo from the Matrix to dodge the snot globules falling out of my face as I’m leaning over him trying to fasten the poppers on his vest.
Finally we get him changed and with a combination of brute force, distraction and sleight of hand we get his teeth brushed before getting him through to bed for his story before sleepy time.
“Don’t worry love, I’ll do the bedtime duties” I say as I wrestle the Destroyer into his digger shaped bed, “You go and get a rest on the sofa.”
Now normally you’d expect a bit of too and fro, as you both try and be the good guy and let the other one off with the nightly duties, but not this time.
Before the word ‘Sofa’ had finished leaving my face, she took off like an Olympic sprinter, cartwheeling down the stairs and whooping like a howler monkey before crashing through the door into the living room and slamming it securely shut behind her. Taking that as a hint that I was on my own with this one, we read a book and then it was lights out time.
So I don’t know about you, but here’s how things normally play out in the Taylor Household:
1: As many handstands as possible before one goes wrong and he cracks his knee off the side of the digger bed. This of course leads to even more handstands to prove that he won’t be put off by the Digger Bed being a prick.
2: Upwards of thirteen Peppa Pig impersonations, ranging from the basic snort to Peppa calling Daddy Pig a bit of a knob.
3: Roly poly’s with the duvet until he’s tangled up like a sausage roll, panics and then has you hurriedly dig him out before he starts chewing through a shoulder joint to set himself free.
4: Launching his stuffed bed toys across the room, (Mr Dog, Pinky the Rabbit and Makka Pakka) then freaking out because somehow they’re across the room and I NEED THEM BACK IN THE BED RIGHT NOW PLEASE THANK YOU AAAAAAAGGGHHH
5: Demanding the water bottle and taking the tiniest sip before casting it aside, laying himself back down and pretending that he’s falling asleep for as long as it takes you to relax before demanding the water bottle again URGENTLY OH MY GOD I’M AS SHRIVELLED AS A PRUNE HERE WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME DIE OF THIRST?!?
6: A brief operatic interlude of made up songs, incorporating different elements of his day all jumbled together into a melting pot of musical torture. One of my personal favourites went along the lines of, “Eee aye Eee aye badger got a tractor, swimming and daddy’s got a toodle and mum’s not got a toodle and row row your boat Grandma’s coming to get ya”.
Finally we get to the point of exhaustion and it’s time to sleep. But just as he’s about to nod off we hear the living room door quietly open, and his mum slowly sneak up the stairs to go to the bathroom, since birthing his massive head has left her ability to hold her pish seriously compromised. Luckily the white noise we play in his room covers most of what sounds like someone’s powder-coating a car in the bathroom, before she sneaks back to the stairs and starts the trusted slow crab-walk back down.
Here’s the problem though. My wonderful and beautiful wife isn’t known for her patience, and tends to get a little excited with herself prematurely. She’ll get three quarters of the way down the stairs and be super chuffed that she’s been as quiet as a mouse the whole way. Then to reward herself for being super stealthy, she’ll crash down the remaining four steps and smash her way into the living room like a distance runner leaning forward to break the finish line tape.. Slamming the door shut behind her before doing a victory lap around the living room, accidentally booting the dog into the flat screen telly in the process.
Meanwhile upstairs, The Destroyer and I have re-calmed our nerves and are slowly settling back down. We’ve been up there now for over an hour and my spine is killing me from leaning over his bed to stroke his back to help him settle, and I’m trying hard not to fall asleep myself and accidently bodysplash the little dude in his tiny bed. Just as my resolve is about to break and I decide that fuck this, I’m tapping out and letting the missus have a turn, a little voice pipes up quietly from the bed below..
“I love my Mummy and Daddy.. And my Grandma and Grandad.”
And with that, he was fast asleep. I stood there with my aching back, my sore knees and snottery nose, with the biggest smile on my face and my heart melting in my chest.
Yep, he knows how to play me.