Our hot water isn’t hot any more. It happened a couple of days ago but until the tank ran out we didn’t realise what was going on. Time then to reach for the well-thumbed directory of exorbitant London tradesmen. How much will it cost us this time? Somewhere between £200 and £300 if past experience is anything to go by. Just what type of person are these charges pitched at? The sort who don’t blink at spending half a million on a place to rest their heads between trips to the office I suppose. So I went to the gym to have a shower. While I was there I had a sauna too. So much more relaxing without the workout that should go before it. Gym membership is another ridiculous cost. Several hundred pounds a year to take my daughter swimming and have a shower when the boiler breaks. Mind you, compared to the cost of mending the boiler that’s quite good value.
Perhaps I should go on a DIY course. I should definitely be better at DIY with our cashflow situation as it is. I do what I can. I really do. But it's not just the DIY. There are other aspects of being a parent I just don’t seem to be able to get to grips with, no matter how much I might want to. Among these are:
It’s not so much that I forget to take my daughter's bag with us on trips and playdates, but that I don’t think of packing it in the first place.
I was recently at a friend’s house admiring the intricate tiaras made of silver foil and little stick people she had fashioned from sparkly pipecleaners with her daughter. It’s just not me.
I cook. But I don’t bake. Cupcakes are a mystery to me.
Spending half an hour choosing a fairy toothrush with my daughter like my wife does is beyond me. I just don’t have the patience. “How about this one? It’s pink.” is about my limit.
It seems to come so easily to mums. If my daughter wields the hairbrush in my direction I begin to feel a bit funny. “Great. Thanks. That’s enough!”
I kiss it better, of course. But extended sympathy for minor ailments doesn’t come easily. If she’s really sick I do leap into action though.
A bit of it is good. “Look, this is a pretend ice cream. Yes. Strawberry, Mmm.” That’s fine for a while, but eventually I just have to go on to something more…real. Like a newspaper.
I’m a shampoo man. Conditioner I don’t understand. Also, I never seem to dry my daughter’s hair enough for my wife’s tastes.
I’m forever forgetting to buy milk when only a thin meniscus remains in the two pint bottle. (And quite often I find I haven’t bought any food either. Luckily I’m quite good at creating dishes from the contents of the food cupboard.)
I tend to leave my daughter’s discarded clothes (bath, bedtime etc) where they are taken off, meaning to pick them up later. Strangely, whenever I return someone else has already removed them…
Saying “I love you”.
Isn’t it about showing not telling? No? Well, I’m working on it.