I am always looking for ways to wind people up. It is fair to say I am a wind-up merchant. However it is also fair to say that I can, and do, take as much as I give, so therefore I feel no shame about my penchant for teasing. My wife told me very early on in our relationship that she hates being wound up, which to be honest is probably the stupidest thing she has ever done (apart from maybe marrying me). She realises this now. There is nothing more delicious than gently teasing somebody who gets very easily irritated. I am a bad man. I find all of this very funny. This morning was not funny….
I have been inducting my son in gentle teasing and can see his tongue-in-cheek developing nicely. I thought we were making good progress. That was until this morning, when I pre-opened his advent calendar, hid the chocolate leaving an empty Christmas tree shaped hole, and announced on second opening that the squirrel from the garden must have sneaked in during the night and stolen it.
Holy ***** that did not go down well. I realised my mistake the second I had offered him the explanation for the empty evergreen. He dropped to the floor, as if all his bones had been dissolved by my ‘joke’ and went completely insane. It was one of those instances when you panic to your core, instantly feel the cold sweat of reality and fear intensely that your wife is going to properly tell you off.
I was scared. This was not how it was supposed to go. He was supposed to look perplexed and amazed. Maybe we’d go to the door and look for the squirrel. Maybe we’d talk about hibernation and hedgehogs. Yes he might get a bit grumpy, but in my head my superb acting skills and child management would bring the whole affair to an hilarious and slightly educational end.
But no. I did not have a chance to inhale before my child went bad. Super bad
I desperately tried to reassure him that I was kidding and pleaded with him to be quiet before Mummy heard. I even handed him the mini chocolate tree to prove that a) I was a prat and b) the squirrel was innocent, but in a snotty fury he launched it to the other side of the kitchen.
Fifteen minutes later I had managed to silence the boy by opening doors No2 to No15 to see what was behind. And of course, each one was grumpily consumed. Tomorrow I have promised we can open the last 9 doors by way of apology. So today I have to go out on crutches and buy another advent calendar.
My wife came down stairs some time after the commotion to find out what had gone on, but I lied. I was embarrassed. I told her that there was a chocolate missing from the advent calendar (which is kinda true) and how I might write a letter of complaint as it was a shocking state of affairs. She offered to take it back to Asda, at which point I blustered and back tracked and waffled about how it was easier to simply buy another at the self-check out, rather than queue at Customer Services on a Saturday.
I am a man who enjoys a joke but feels the intense spotlight of shame when it all goes too far. And such is the life of the wind-up man. A dangerous existence between comedy and tragedy.
My New Year’s resolution should be to be less of a nobhead. But we all know about New Year resolutions, not worth the paper they are printed on. My boy is now happily playing and hopefully will not remember when he is older that his father mentally tortured him by mistake.
Memo to self – ensure children never find out the URL of daddy’s blog.