I KNOW what I want for Christmas, ” our Isaac, seven, revealed to my wife this week, “a rollercoaster … in our back garden.”
It was a demand out of the blue. It didn’t feature on his Christmas list which he produced a few weeks ago.
Unusually for Isaac, his mind is focused on Christmas, rather than his favourite time of year which is Hallowe’en. That said, zombies feature heavily on his Christmas list, which was lovingly crafted earlier this month.
His best work is usually produced early doors, very early. He wakes up at the same time as me, at 6am.
I often peer round his bedroom door to find him hard at work drawing or writing.
It sounds great. I should really leave it at that. Leave you with the impression of this studious young boy drawing still life or composing poetry. It’s not quite the case.
This week’s masterpiece was a bright, jolly young woman’s head, complete with big girly lips, curly hair and monstrous eyelashes.
“And what’s that?” I asked, pointing at what looked like a rocket flying towards her head.
“That’s the knife,” he said. I left it at that.
We then traipsed off together to the bathroom for our traditional dawn pee. What a picture – the two of us urinating into the toilet together. Father and son, bonding. There’s no need for words, bar the occasional “watch me leg”.
While other father and sons bond on fishing expeditions, we are at peace over porcelain. Islands in the stream if you wish. Or streams in our case (note: you should never, like in Ghostbusters, cross streams).
It’s one of those rare moments in these hectic times when we get to communicate one to one. I’ll ask him how school’s going; he’ll ask me what would I eat if I had no choice: worms or soil? Memories are made of these moments.
Anyway, I digress. A rollercoaster! Where’s that come from, I asked the wife?
“Don’t know but he was very insistent,” she said.
The battle of Christmas has begun in earnest. The time-honoured tradition of bigging up cheap presents “I hear Santa’s working on an incredible new Frisbee,” and playing down the expensive ones. “iPad 2?
“Word is they’re made out of puppies. I know, I was shocked too.”
Isaac was reluctant to budge on the back garden rollercoaster.
Michelle tried to manage his expectations, telling him she didn’t think Santa made rollercoasters because they’re too big to fit on his sleigh.
“Santa can do anything,” was his angry retort. “He’s magic.”
As the discussion progressed, Isaac toned down his Christmas wish. He downsized his rollercoaster, after much cajoling, to a swing. A swing with the caveat that it must be “as big as a house.”
What amused me most about the altercation wasn’t the rollercoaster or giant swing, but his final word on the subject.
Clearly still indignant at having to downgrade his rollercoaster to a feeble 60ft high garden swing he added “and I want a book on caves.”
Apparently this final demand was issued with a defiant look which suggested he wouldn’t be budging on that request. Somehow I think Santa might find room for that one on his sleigh.
l If you’ve had any bizarre Christmas toy requests, or run a small garden rollercoaster making company, drop Richard a line at email@example.com or write to him at the usual address. The best stories will be printed ... Richard could do with the break.