The Best Cure for a Parental Hangover is a Duck

Sometimes caring for children while nursing a hangover is unavoidable. Judging by the gallery of restorative booze shots on social media it seems to be a common problem; on a daily basis there are scores of parents posting snaps of Pinot Grigio pints with a jolly message about their increasing dependency. It seems that along with all the nappies and rusks, parenthood can bring with it a mild functioning alcoholism.

My advice to myself is twofold. Firstly, a bit like driving, check that I am not still shitfaced from the night before and if I am don’t attempt to operate a child. Secondly, just get on with it. Looking after my sons is so consuming that I don’t have enough brain capacity to consider a hangover.

It was in this spirit that I accompanied the two boys to a local pond to feed the ducks last Sunday, having attended a party the day before at which I was the first to arrive and virtually the last to leave. To my shame there were children at this event, including my own. Fortunately my wife had to the foresight to perform an early extraction of the boys, before for instance I manhandled my own son and told him that I absolutely fucking loved him.

I have previously confessed on these pages to a quiet admiration for ducks. Their phlegmatic nature, the attractive iridescence of their plumage and the fact they can swim, walk and fly with a minimum of fuss. It seems this respect has been bequeathed to my sons, they are both well into ducks as well. So the trip seemed very apt.

A hangover cannot survive in a world where two small children are careering around a body of water. This is a situation that requires complete focus and the swivel-eye function of a chameleon. In truth I couldn’t muster the energy to face this so the Minor was permanently installed in my arm cradle. This set-up was complicated by a worsening issue with my wrist caused by an insect bite suffered the previous evening. In fact I had been nibbled around twenty times and not in a good way. The bite on my right wrist was inflicted in the middle of what the Minor would deem to be his seat and the pressure of his bum was causing the whole area to swell up.

I had also made a fundamental error in strategy by adding a football to the equation. On arrival the football immediately escaped and rolled into the pond. Fortunately it ran aground on a minor mud flat about a yard away from the bankside. How to retrieve a ball from a pond with a three-year-old and one-year-old sort of sounds like one those corporate riddles posed to get disaffected colleagues to work together. The simple solution is a stick, the sourcing of which became a pleasant distraction in itself. The Major is big on sticks.

I was thankful for the stick mission because the duck pond was a disappointment. There were no ducks. Instead the pond resembled a well-croutoned minestrone, each soggy uneaten scrap of bread representing the shattered dreams of all the children who had visited that day hoping to mass-cater for some wildfowl.

We were on the point of leaving when two ducks touched down on a grassy hump near to the pond. So as not to spook them we approached stealthily (as stealthily as two excitable little boys and man with a hand that was rapidly turning into giant foam glove could).

The ducks may have just lunched because when we threw our grub towards them they skulked off. I’d seen Carol the weathermum off BBC Breakfast explain that bread was actually bad for ducks, so instead we brought a bag of what amounted to some rubbish crudités. Once the ducks had turned their beaks up at it, the Minor tucked in, shoving grotesque squidgy cucumber batons into his mouth. It was only later that his mum revealed she’d retrieved the food from the bin.

But at least by then my hangover had disappeared.

Any good?

28 thoughts on “The Best Cure for a Parental Hangover is a Duck”

  1. Ha Ha – I love how ducks helped your hangover. We have a stick fanatic too here, he would probably lob said football into the lake just to have to find a stick…. Shame about the cucumber batons, still he obviously enjoyed them! Hope the arm swelling improved 🙂 #kcacols

    1. I know. I started drinking a lot more coffee too – think it’s a small step to full-on substance abuse!

  2. Oh I love your likening parenting on a hangover to driving – brilliant – though reckon half the population would be able to parent most Saturday and Sunday mornings! Ewwww to the rubbish! Fab written post! I too like ducks – find then very therapeutic to watch #KCACOLS

  3. Love this post! I wouldn’t worry about the bin jus covered cucumber, my son is forever picking bits out of his highchair to eat, goodness knows how long that mummified chicken had been there for. I’m supposed to wipe it down after every meal you say? Who do you think I am, Martha Stewart?

  4. Thanks to Stickman, we love a stick too…and thanks to daddy he thinks a decent sized pebble is a “dinosaur egg”. I’m more likely to suffer a hangover on a sunday when the husband is around to take charge and I can die in bed or one the sofa. If I go out on a friday I’m more reserved knowing I have to deal with a toddler. If hangover still ensues, I go to mums and die on her sofa while she tends to my son and shakes her head at me 🙂 #KCACOLS

    1. We have a similar rota. My wife and I save getting shitfaced together for special occasions like anniversaries and pack our boys off to the in laws.

  5. Ha loved reading this – your posts are always so witty and make me chuckle. I’ll have to remember that ducks are a cure next time I’m hanging on a Sunday morning with the toddler hanging off my leg! #KCACOLS

  6. Loved the early extraction comment before you spread the love in the room! We have all been guilty of that one! Great post. Thanks for linking up to #KCACOLS. Hope you are back to share more amusing stories next Sunday.

  7. I don’t know many kids who don’t like ducks if I’m honest. Its funny how a lot of ducks refuse to eat the duck feed that’s good for them, because they are so used to bread. Haha total cringe moment at Minor tucking into the grotesque squidgy cucumber batons that had been in the bin. Xx #KCACOLS

    1. I guess if you’ve been dining out on bread all your life and then joker feeds you rubbish from a bin you probably would turn your beak up at it.

  8. You did well to go near water with a ball and boys, big pat on the back as they are on the oil and water list in ours:)



    1. Honestly Fran embrace the ducks and by the first quack your hangover will be gone. Don’t literally embrace them though, there are laws against that.


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