The Nocturnal Dad | Episode 3 | Born Slippy
The Nocturnal Dad | Episode 3 | Born Slippy
Warning: This episode contains disappointment from the start and stomach-churning self-pity. Look away now.
I had big expectations for this month’s column. Big expectations. This was going to be brilliant. A review of the ultimate Dad n’ Lad’s Bank Holiday Weekend; a base building adventure in the woods, a beachcombing sequel with pre-written mission plans, the filling of a new paddling pool and DIY water-based assault course and the grand finale – a trip to see the new Solo movie. As a reward for being such a fun and modern father, I would then receive a day out on my own, complete with journalist accreditation to bring back a review just for you from the All Points East festival. Oh, what a line-up that was (and I’m sure my press pass would have been waiting even though the PR never responded to my begging email).
These activities held golden nuggets of cultural importance for me and my sons, each with a lot of pre-planning, some domestic negotiation, and achieving of stars on star charts and subsequent hyperbole lead-up behind them. The scene was set and the incredible weather was forecast. The experiences would provide us with some memorable moments to enjoy together as a unit, a crew, blood brothers, as father and sons. Cherished times to discuss and look back on later. Not since Ibiza ‘95 (featuring a poignant soundtrack that I’ll return to later) had I been as primed as this for a weekend.
Oh yes, while mum is away the boys were going to play and we were going to play hard. The planning, effort, and execution of our Boy’s Bank Holiday would simultaneously re-brand me as the Han Solo of dads and provide me with abundant fuel for my here pen.
Friday morning to Sunday evening can be a long time home alone with two small sons in a household that is run by Wonder Woman. My wife is the calmest, most organised and level headed person that I know. She has a Jedi like aura at times that can defuse a fight and quickly have the aggressor apologising.
Things come together when she’s on duty. Take her out of the mix and you are left with three emotionally charged alfa males. But this bank holiday weekend was buttoned down. While WW was away on her business trip I had this so planned out with cool stuff to do that we wouldn’t even realise she was gone. Harsh but true.
This was our weekend and we could not wait for the fun to begin. To tee things off, a movie night of Zootropolis and popcorn (one of the finest films of 2016, for non-parents alike. Sloth is comedy genius) saw both Rib Kicker and Drama fall asleep early on the sofa halfway through.
And then, literally on the stroke of midnight, it happened. First, it was a muffled moan. This was followed by a truly strange and terrifying sound that triggered a dream-like image of Mogwai’s eating popcorn after midnight and turning into Gremlins.
This half-dream quickly dissipated and my eyes popped wide open as the sound intensified to every lone-fathers worst nightmare – the mechanical tones of the child gip. I sprung from the bed and bolted for the boy’s room. And here the nightmare began.
Drama was sat up projectile vomiting in an almost perfect orange half rainbow from the top bunk out across the bedroom. My first reaction was not to reach for my son but instead to shield the plastic stew of toys and toy pieces below him from this vilest attack, for amongst the mangle of toy mess sat my original Millennium Falcon.
In one smooth motion, I grabbed the duvet off of the younger Rib Kickers bottom bunk, and skilfully flicked it across the putrid liquids landing zone, over the Falcon and thereby protecting its precious vintage shell from further putrid coverage. So far, so Solo. The following hours were disturbing beyond words. Holding my little boy over the toilet and trying to comfort him while he endlessly vomited was not the start of our magical weekend that we had envisaged. He wanted his mum. I wanted his mum. Mum was gone. Time for me to stand up and be a Manmum.
Unlike most bank holidays, it was indeed delivering a scorcher outside the next morning. Drama was on the sofa, sick bowl by chin. Thankfully, Rib Kicker was fine and in good spirits, after the best night’s sleep, he’d ever had. One brother’s plight is another brothers bliss.
We’d lost half a day and a trip to the woods but by lunchtime, Drama had stopped being sick and was feeling a little better. While the full-scale beachcombing might need to be revised down we could at least get a bit of fresh air, so we headed out to the seafront.
Crossing the busy road requires concentration with a boy on each arm and a bag of beach kit. So it wasn’t until we had reached the other side that I realised what was going on. The fresh air had not gone down so well with Drama and he’d been sick again. In unison, his brother had also, shockingly, chundered his guts up. As I looked down to either side in quick repetitive succession I tried to evaluate which little mess to tend to first.
I frantically pulled open the beach bag and quickly realised there was not a wet wipe or tissue in site. Clutching a heavy white bath towel (great packing skills), I dabbed at the bright orange, quickly warming, glistening chunks. Both boys were crying. I scooped them up in heroic fashion and turned back to the road. A kind driver saw my plight and slowed to wave us across.
I looked up to acknowledge her and the second our eyes met I was overwhelmed with an instant, terrible sensation. Looking her dead in the eye, I projectile vomited straight at her car, covering the bumper and the license plate. As my eyes closed in embarrassment and disbelief I could hear my two fellow pukers on each arm follow suit. All I could think about was the pie eating contest in Stand By Me.
Now both boys wanted their mum. I wanted their mum. Now I wanted my mum too. It was time to call in the cavalry. Wonder Woman was summoned. So much for my second coming as the Han Solo dad.
We lay there feeling very sorry for ourselves in a Junior Train Spotting scene, hoping that WW would soon cut her trip short and return to our aid. My mind flashed back to our great plan for this weekend. How cruel our fate. How sick we had fallen. That poignant soundtrack to my Ibiza 95 trip spun around in my poor dizzy head. Underworld’s Born Slippy now providing a fitting finale to the bank holiday weekend from hell, sponsored by norovirus.
All images Dominic Murray @no_subs_blog