It had been a few minutes, three maybe. I looked at him, as encouragingly as I could, and spoke. “OK, that’s good. It’s easy, just one, two, three and push.” I’d tried to hide any stress (rapidly growing within me) from my voice. My son looked back at me, seemingly unconvinced. “Cuddle?” “We can have a cuddle when you come down the slide.” “Cuddle now?” “Just go down!” chimed in a boy, about twice the age of my son - part of the growing queue for the slide forming behind my little one. “He’ll go when he’s ready,” I said, once again trying to appear calm - reminding myself that empathy isn’t a skill kids are born with. “Just one, two, three and push!” Still nothing. It was going to be a long day.
Nobody, and I really mean NOBODY is interested in other people's holiday snaps. They are the photographic equivalent of watching Songs Of Praise at your nan's house or uncomfortable chats with taxi drivers - something to be endured and got over with, as quickly as is humanly possible. I'm sorry to say it, but it's the same with other people's kids. We all love our own offspring, we find what they do absolutely fascinating. We talk about them endlessly. We rearrange our entire lives for them. Yet, despite all this, our kids are ONLY of interest to US. For everyone else they are (at best) dull and (at worst) actively irritating.
I feel like one of those highly painted ornamental figures that you see in Bavarian clocks - going round and around in circles on a pre-allotted path every morning. Some day soon I'll find myself clanging a bell and singing some indistinguishable ditty as each quarter hour strikes. Why am I wearing out the pavements? It all comes down to the time of day. Between 10 and 11 EVERY morning, I walk in circles with my son in his buggy. Why? Because this is his 'Nap-time'.
I briefly considered trying to wrestle the pouch from the woman, but quickly dismissed the idea. One of the issues of being a large man is that, if discovered fighting with a Miss Marple look-a-like in the Co-op, few people are likely to believe that you didn’t start it.
I Have Poo Tinnitus. It's true. Everywhere I go I can smell a gentle whiff of poo. Where it's coming from I can't tell you. It may be that changing a multitude of nappies has made me especially sensitive to the aroma of fecal matter?
"It is a truth universally acknowledged..."