The time has come. Having worked for American Mom looking after the Brats for a few years now, I am frustrated to find that I have run out of excuses not to join them on holiday at their chalet in Switzerland over Christmas and New Year. I imagine that the only thing worse than spending Christmas with my own dysfunctional family is to be forced to spend Christmas with someone else’s dysfunctional family. I am right. Although as my brother astutely points out; at least I’m getting paid to spend time with the latter. In that, the trip does have one redeeming quality.
It doesn’t take much, however, for me to begin to feel as though I would pay a hefty sum of money not to be heading out to the Swiss Alps. Annoying as my own family are, I find that I’m jealous at the thought of them convening in the countryside to argue with each other without me. As we wait to board the plane, the Small One sits astride his Trunki and repeatedly wheels it into my left shin. My irritation increases with each impact. Hoping that skiing might be the one activity that tires him out, I give him a mild telling off while fantasising about him collapsing with exhaustion at the end of each day on the slopes.
My fantasy does not materialise. The only thing that gets the Small One more pumped up than the altitude is the firework display on New Year’s Eve. Keeping an eye on him and preventing him from toppling over the side of the chalet balcony is a job that would keep two people busy. As it is, American Mom has also asked me not to let the Eldest out of my sight. The chalet boy gave him a bottle of the chalet wine and he was apprehended sneaking off to share it with a girl from his ski school group.
The Middle One’s behaviour is exemplary all week. The fact that she’s quietly watching old episodes of ‘One Tree Hill’ on the brand new Macbook Pro she got from Father Christmas definitely has something to do with it. On the last day I receive a message from a friend inviting me skiing in January. Seeing as I’ve done zero skiing on this trip I’m keen to go. I mention it to American Mom as we wait for a taxi to collect us from Heathrow. With characteristic American Mom logic, she argues that now I’ve had a ‘holiday’ I won’t need to go away again until they’re in the States for the summer. It’s going to be a dry January for me and I’m not even giving up booze.