+++ PARENTING POST ALERT +++
This is my final day nursing Tom through his chickenpox before Karen takes over tomorrow and I have to say, as tiring as it's been, I have loved every minute of it. To spend so much quality time with a child is difficult for any parent these days but especially, I think, for a father. Tom has been great company - very affectionate and always ready for a giggle - and I shall really miss him when I return to work tomorrow.
One thing I have noticed during this period of close, sustained contact is how protective I am of him. I can recall one of my friends telling me years ago that it matters not if you're a shrinking violet - as soon as you have kids you become a lioness (or a lion in my case) on their behalf. And it's bloody true, I can tell you.
But while taking him out for walks in his pushchair over the last few days I've been amazed at the strength of my own reactions. I'm not entirely sure if they've been the result of fiercely proud lion-like protectiveness or just down and out paranoia.
I find myself constantly on the look-out for dangers.
When we pass one of Leamington's many meandering drunks I am instantly at the ready to whip the pushchair out of his reach and hoof his gonads to the other side of the road should he ever attempt to lay a single beer stained finger on my son. In fact just slurring the words "I fugin luv you, I do" would do it.
Idiots riding their bicycles on the pavement make my hackles rise. Especially when they pass so close you can barely fit an empty envelope between us. What if they mis-timed it? Had an accident? Careered into the pushchair? I think I'd kill them or at the very least park their bicycle some place so deep and moist a medical expert would have to be flown in from Europe to remove it.
And just for the sake of equality, people who cut us up with their mobility scooters also earn my wrath. Why are they allowed to travel at 20mph on a pavement when cyclists are quite rightly castigated? Those scooters are built like tanks these days and could do a lot of damage to a small body.
Scaffolding and ladders are other things to be avoided. At all costs. There was a story last year of a chunk of masonry falling off a building in Leamington and narrowly missing a mother and pram. I'm constantly alert to the dangers of falling objects. Can I get NASA on my mobile to warn me of potential meteor threats?
And as for cars... Geez. There's always that fleeting worry of someone fouling up their steering manoeuvre because they're (a) on their mobile phone, (b) on their partner's naughty bits or (c) on their way to hospital with an imminent cardiac arrest. You just can't trust them.
I'm currently mentally drafting a letter to the PM demanding that sirens be sounded 5 minutes before Tom and I leave the house in order that the streets can be cleared of all vehicles and pedestrians and the Star Wars defence system can be directed to monitor meteor incursions from space or rogue missile launches from the East.
If this inconveniences anybody I'm sorry. It's just tough.
Tom needs some chocolate buttons. It's important.
Or do you think I am over-reacting?