One Saturday evening, a few weeks after the boy was born, the better-half went out for the evening without her baby. This was the first time in almost ten months that she had been out, free o’child, in any conceivable incarnation, and she’d left me in charge. Irrespective of my maturing years this was a daunting task. I may be of a certain middling age but in terms of being a responsible adult I’m in my infancy. I called on the services of my bro, more for moral support than anything else, he’s no more known as the side-parted side-warden than I.
The evening had been optimistically billed as our very first ‘boys’ night in’ featuring the newly realised son/nephew. I’d made some pizza base, cut some toppings and stocked up on fresh chicken; the idea was to cook off some tucker and watch a horror-based movie whilst stuffing our gobs and enjoying a few gentle glasses of beer. The missus, in readiness for her short night on the tiles, had spent the previous couple of days hooked up to the tit pump like a lovely Shorthorn cow in order to supply a necessary range of milks in case his Lordship required an additional evening meal following his mother departure. We’d decided that if the little fella was inconsolable at the time she was due to leave she’d cancel her plans and just stay in, as it happens he was fast asleep at the appropriate hour so she slipped off leaving my bro and I with a tiny baby.
If this sounds like the start of some ‘what could possibly go wrong!! LOL!’ scenario (starring Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, or something) then you’re going to be very disappointed. What actually happened was inevitable, less than a minute after she’d shut the door the boy awoke, first to a mewl, progressing to a full-on please-make-it-stop scream.
I’m not sure how I’d have coped if it wasn’t for the patience of my bro, who seemed quite happy attempting to soothe a gaping mouth with all yells coming off it. I, on the other hand, sort of turned all houswifey and went about cleaning pots and preparing the dough and sauce for the promised pizza as if all was jolly and whatnot. ‘Whatshallwewatchbro?’ I cried cheerfully across the room, it was like trying to whisper over Napalm Death. We got as far as the menu of Netflix and that was it. My limited methods of (newly) tried/tested methods of ‘calming down a baby’ were coming to an end, to make matters worse the little sod had managed to actually piss himself off and had entered into a never ending cycle of ‘whose making that noise? Make it stop! Waahhhh!’ Factor in his lack of sleep and you’ve the worst possible recipe for any form of peace.
As his crying took on a more agonised hue, I seriously considered ringing the missus on her electronic mobile telephone -enjoying a gothic concert if you please- as she’d be the one to calm him down. My bro, still quietly attempting to comfort The Somme, suggested otherwise, ‘dontcallheryoudaftcunt’, he proffered over the din. But what to do? The kid was on the last bottle of milk after suddenly shouting down the previous one, the single can of beer that I’d been consuming was by now warm and I took time to note that I was stressed in a way that I’d not encountered in any previous form. How on earth had time to muse on this -let on earth make a quick note of it- is beyond me. The basic essence of this fortified stress was basic i.e. my kid is distressed, but sitting darkly beneath that an unknown danger, an inkling of something catastrophic, which continued to wind itself up the longer it took to calm him down. It was highly unpleasant.
Then all of a sudden, silence. He lay stretched out, half asleep, in his uncle’s arms, nonchalantly sucking away on the dwindling contents of his little bottle as if nothing had happened at all, the little shit.
Merciful peace and tranquility, and I could have a fresh beer… And now he’s completely fallen asleep! The missus walked into the room about thirty seconds later, into a completely artificial state of calm.
‘Its good he slept,’ she said.