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Thursday, 5 January 2017

#28 On Being Drunk and/or Hungover With Children. Especially at Christmas.

Tots, tinsel and Aldi. Pretty much sums my Xmas up.  Oh, and the boozing.

Drinking, drinking, drinking. God, it’s great. Every time I do it, for the first few drinks I think ‘why don’t I do this more often? Why do I deny myself this so regularly?’ I’m cleverer and funnier. You’re cleverer and funnier. Everyone has a lovely time.

What’s more, your kids love you more. On Christmas Day - a shining example of day drinking at its best, beginning at, ooh, I reckon 10am with a bucks fizz - you may have awoken tired and even hungover, but this morning it’s all very different from normal. Yes, you have that queasy little feeling of exhaustion+booze sloshing around an empty stomach as you unwrap presents with the kids. Somehow, though, with all the general festive atmos and hearing little ones squeal with glee with each RRRRRIIIP of wrapping paper, it all turns into one big fog of joy. Normal, knackered you is nowhere to be seen.

But it gets better still. As the day goes on and guests arrive, more drinks of various types and strengths are consumed and you feel even fuzzier and happier. Your toddler responds to you better because you’re so cheerful and pretty much let him do what he likes as long as he doesn’t a) die b) kill his baby sister or c) interrupt your mass consumption of cheese or roast potatoes. Or your conversation. In fact, you may even get to ‘drunken-show-off’ stage and try and get him to do a merry jig for everyone, or that funny thing he does, even if he doesn’t feel like doing it. You laugh at some of his other idiocy instead of scowling at it. You are Fun Parent in the extreme. Hell, you are Christmas.

When night falls, your tots (or at least your toddler) will no doubt have been allowed to stay up later than usual, sprawling slack-jawed on the sofa and eating crisps, teenager-like. When finally you do a single bit of responsible parenting by putting them to bed, you simply chuckle once again at any misbehaviour as you are truly battered. You are now not just fun, or Christmas, you are invincible.

Eventually, your own bedtime rolls around. Or rather, you and your husband can no longer remain in denial that you both keep rolling in and out of consciousness on the sofa. All good things must come to an end, and so you sway up the stairs. But as you do, you remember that you are still invincible and so you do that thing that you daren’t ever do: you pop into Sleeping Baby Daughter’s room to remind yourself of how lovely she is. And with a heart full of booze and emotion you coo and point at her sleeping caterpillar body with her bum in the air. You have totally forgotten why you never do this. You have missed the fact that she is twitching like a rattlesnake.

All good things must come to an end.

And so, having slumped into bed, you wake up seemingly moments later. It may well be just moments if Daughter has fully awoken soon after you disturbed her. It may well be hours since it is now morning and time to get up. In any case, the amount of sleep you have had feels the same either way: paltry. Utterly.

All good things have come to an end.

Coming to to the sound of her cries, you lift your concrete head. Sunlight stabs your eyes. You hear Son, also awake somewhere, shuffling about cheerfully on his way to you.  There is no way out now. You must get up as between you and Husband it is Your Turn. You look at your phone, desperately trying to calculate in your fat, woolly brain when Daughter can be put back for her nap and thus so can you.

Just a couple of hours to see out.

You can do this.

With eyes that burn and skin that aches stretched over your body, you thump down the stairs to get them some breakfast then seek to be horizontal as soon as possible. Your pathetic form on the couch does not go unnoticed by the children, perceptive little scamps that they are, as they seek to squabble, cry and climb on your stomach. Each time you check your phone only three minutes have passed. It is no good: chaos and all hell have come again.

Or so I’ve been told by some parents who drink. Me? It just makes me invincible.

Happy New Year.


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