They say that Friday is the best day of the week. Of course, “they” say a lot of things which are untrue, poorly thought-out or just plain silly:
“This won’t hurt a bit”, “Let’s play cricket in Pakistan” or “Jacob Zuma – now there’s a bloke I’d trust”.
In all honesty, Friday started badly.
It’s not that I don’t like to hear from my kids – of course I do. I just don’t want to hear from them at 3:15am. Unless it’s really urgent. And little 7-month old K-pu – who last week looked as cute as a button with her rusk – demonstrating her new found ability to “sing” doesn’t quite make it into the really urgent bracket.
I tried to break this fact to her gently and without swearing, but she refused to listen and broke into something that sounded concerningly like Lily Allen. It was at that point that I realised that the use verbal force in order to halt the noise was entirely justified. So I used it, in a kind of hushed, trying-not-to-wake-the-rest-of-the-family way. That sort of verbal force takes a lot of practice and tightly gritted teeth. Fortunately, I have plenty of teeth to grit and have had the opportunity to practice at great length on many occasions and thus I am an expert at being loud, softly.
The Lily Allen stopped.
And then began with her vintage Coldplay selection…
I was momentarily caught off guard by Yellow.
“That’s actually pretty good,” I remember thinking, before the realisation hit me that it was twenty past three and I wanted to be back asleep in the arms of Claudia Schiffer my wife.
And here I must pause to tell the world what a great wife I have. A wife who brings football boots to important football matches when her half-crazed husband leaves home without them and then flies into a flat panic 20 minutes before kick off. That’s quite cool.
OK, she’s gone now. Grovelling sycophancy completed and I’ll remind you that I am in the nursery in the early hours listening to Chris Martin Jnr belting out the classics while not wandering along a wet beach in an anorak.
In Science, if you want to know what effect something has, you change that something. For example, if I want to know what effect oxygen has on a hamster, I take two hamsters and I remove oxygen from one of them.
Mr Oxygen Hamster wees in the corner of his cage. Mr NoOxygen Hamster is still and stiff in the corner of his.
Thus, having considered the results and put almost 20 years of education, training and experience to use, I conclude that oxygen makes floppy hamsters wee.
It would be nice to know why K-pu wakes up in the middle of the night and launches into Britpop. That way, we could perhaps prevent it happening. The trouble is, there are just too many variables (oxygen is not one of the ones I am willing to try). Is she too hot, too cold (not likely), hungry, thirsty, does she have tummy ache, earache (maybe due to the Lily Allen), is it a dirty nappy, a bad dream, was there a noise that woke her or does she maybe just like Coldplay?
But changing one of these variables each night is virtually impossible. And even if it were possible, you know that it would be the last one that you try which will make the difference. And that’s two sleepless weeks. Try it. You might like it. Not.
Fortunately, there is a little-known company called Nestlé out there that makes something called formula. Formula is a cure-all when it comes to halting episodes of Baby Idols in the early hours. Sure – it doesn’t sort out smelly nappies or earache, but it does make baby forget about them for a few hours. Much like the effect of brandy on an adult.
Two minutes of contented sucking later (and no, this isn’t a reference to the Joost video) – beautiful silence.
Gently place happy child back in her cot.
Leave room quietly humming Trouble and climb back into bed next to wonderful boot-bringing wife.
Until, about a minute later, a remarkably accurate version of Travis’ 1999 hit Driftwood pipes up from K-pu’s room…