|Hestia at 8.30am this morning|
He was then dispatched downstairs to get his breakfast sorted and I asked him to put on his dressing gown and slippers - because this is a VERY cold house and we have mosaic tiled floors in the hall. Lovely, but will suck the heat out of your very soul.
By the time I saw him again, after breakfast, his nose was running and his hands and feet were freezing (no slippers on) and I pointed out to him that if he came down with pleurisy, he would end up in hospital - off the island. And that if he was in hospital on Christmas Day, I joked, he'd be on his own because we'd all be here opening his presents.
He immediately flew into a blackened and foul mood from which no poking, cuddling or words of apology could cajole him.
'I hate having you as a mother,' he said quietly. The Mother word is always spat out in a sort of Bette Davis black and white movie moment. The fringes of red mist started to descend on me - I've got quite a lot on my mental plate at the moment and a child's tantrum is right down at the bottom of things that I don't really give a flying fuck about right now.
'Right, fine, you hate me. I hear you. Just go downstairs now please,' I muttered, scooping up his pjs and pointing him, perhaps with a little more vigour than was called for, out towards the bathroom door.
The next thing I know, the front door slams and he is GONE. GONE. Out the house. Jacketed up, booted up, hatted up, and gone.
I flew downstairs in my jammies and dressing gown and flung open the front door to the freezing morning.
And then I turned into a Fish Wife.
I skidded my way down the path and shouted, SHOUTED, down the street - much to the amusement of passing children: 'Sonshine - if you do not come back to this gate within the count of 5, your hamster will be put out for the BINMEN.'
Thereby confirming to my son that I am indeed a cruel and heartless sonofabitch and to my neighbours that I am verging on the unhinged.
He stopped walking and looked up the road, his small white face an inscrutable mask beneath his stripy woolly hat.
'NO!' He shook his head.
'WHAT.....W H A T???? ARE YOU DEFYING ME, YOU LITTLE SOD?' oh dad, I could just hear you laughing your socks off at that one. I have turned into my father. 'COME BACK HERE THIS INSTANT OR ELSE.....(I'd run out of threats. The ace card was the hamster and I'd blown it at the first attempt. I was in a panic).....I'LL CANCEL YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!!'
Several small children looked at me aghast and hugged themselves tighter to their Wonderful Mother (ie one who actually had her clothes on and was outside escorting her child to the bus stop). I realised that I looked utterly ridiculous, but the Red Mist was now so impenetrable I would cheerfully have punched the Archangel Gabriel's face in if he'd dared to put in an appearance.
Sonshine reluctantly came back up the road. 'Do you have lunch money?' I asked tersely.
'Right, wait there and I'll get you some money.'
I gingerly made my way up the icy path and into the house, retrieved some money and made the perilous journey back to the gate.
I apologised and assured him that I'd NEVER get rid of Nibbles and that we'd almost certainly visit him in hospital on Christmas Day if he had pleurisy. I tried to make a joke of it. Tried to give him a hug, but he pushed me away. He took the money without looking up or saying thanks, turned on his heel and walked back down the road.
I'm wondering whether it would be a Bad Thing to cancel the little bastard's Christmas entirely. It's not even 9am, but the Gordon's Gin is looking like an attractive breakfast prospect. After all, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.