The problem with my parents was they tried so hard to be good parents that they didn’t notice that they were doing a terrible job. If my father wanted a mug saying “Number One Dad” he wanted it from an official parenting governing body who recognised his contribution to the world of raising kids.

Dinner time was always the most depressing affair. Once a week they’d put on a sort of strange performance at the table to entertain me and my brother. Sometimes it was scenes from famous films, but most of the time it was original material. Stuff like my mother would look down at her plate and start crying, so my dad would say:

“Come on, mum (Yes, he called her mum. I didn’t know she had a real name until I was 14), it’s not so bad”

“But they’re so round.” She would say.

“Just try one.”

“But they’re so disgusting.”

“Please, for me.”

“And they’re so green.” And this would go on for about fifteen minutes, with my
mother getting quite hysterical at some points, just so my dad could finish by saying “Go on, honey, give peas a chance”.

They were so focussed on these skits and trying to make me like them as friends that I didn’t learn how to tie my shoelaces until I was 13 and I’m still not quite sure how one goes about blowing their nose.

Oliver, Dunstable.

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