Last Saturday I forgot that I was in charge of my baby daughter and left her in the car. On a hot day.…Only for about three minutes. She just temporarily slipped my mind. Don’t judge me. There were some mitigating circumstances.
We were going on a weekend break at a countryside spa. I would take care of Phoebe and my wife, Catie could relax and be pampered as a reward for being a brilliant mum. That was the plan, but typically an attempt to eradicate stress had the opposite effect.
We were both knackered: I’d driven from Bristol early that morning, whilst Catie had been kept up late by a house party next door. Phoebe was demanding attention and we were only half ready to leave by 4pm. Hoping to make the most of dwindling time we cajoled each other, sniped a little and tried to rush things. Tensions were rising. When you’ve got a baby it takes a hell of a lot of effort to chill out.
Once we got on the road the traffic was terrible. We live near the Westfield in beautiful and up and coming Shepherd’s Bush. And I am not just saying that because we’re trying to sell our house. It’ s awesome here now. Except at weekends when cars prowl the clogged streets looking for parking spaces, like leopards stalking elusive gazelles. It took us five minutes to just get out of our road.
Then a quarter of an hour later, stuck on the Westway my wife suddenly realised she couldn’t find her phone. In all the rush had she dropped it in the road? Of course not. It had to be in the car or the house. Had we not been frazzled and mentally spent we might have thought of ringing it to check, but instead I found a way of getting off the road and turning round.
There was, of course, nowhere to park in the continuing game of musical vehicles. Horns blasted, people shouted “No you f***ing back up”. My back knots were getting back knots. I hoped I’d die, so I could escape Shepherd’s Bush for the relative idyll of Hell.
My wife rushed up the road, but clearly hadn’t found the phone. Finally my brain kicked into gear. I could ring her number and walk down the street where I’d hear it if it had fallen under a car. I parked on double yellow lines at the top of the road and rushed off on my quest. I had no joy, so went into the house. Catie was fraught, “It’s not here. I’ve lost it….” But she saw I was alone. “Where’s Phoebe?!” she screamed.
Oh yes, that’s right. She was still in the car. I mean she was safely locked in (admittedly into a illegally parked vehicle that could be towed any second with no air conditioning). So this is how it feels to be a terrible dad and an awful human being.
We ran to the car and she was absolutely fine. We got back in, edging down the street. I rang the phone again and my wife heard it buzzing. It had been tucked into the baby seat all along.
Luckily we were both complicit in this disaster. Sure I had neglected our child, but my wife had to be blamed for unnecessary return home. Consequently neither of us could give the other a hard time. And we made a silent contract to not make a fuss and get on our way.
Surely the weekend could only get better. You’d think not. But it did. To be continued.
I like tennis, but Wimbledon fortnight is way too long. Five sets (or even three) take ages, especially given that at this level most players win their own serve. How about they just skip straight to the tie-breaks? Or given that the person who wins the final point is always the winner, why not just play that final point? We could get the whole tournament over in a day.