'Kids don't do hangovers'

Garreth Murphy

I LIKE drinking alcohol as much as the next man -- well, so long as he's not Shane MacGowan -- but some things are not meant to go together.

And no matter how many times I try to encourage a friendship between wine, beer and scotch in my stomach, things never work out the way I had planned.

Children don't do hangovers. Or at least none of the ones that I am related to do. Chief among those little people is my eight-year-old son, a child who has no concept of the pain resulting from an evening spent in the warm and tender embrace of sweet mother booze. Or if he does, he has a breathtakingly cruel streak.

While I have never made a habit of drinking alcohol to excess around my kid, I have over-indulged the night before he was due to spend the weekend with me. Predictably, the results have been gruesome.

As if the parched throat, blurred vision, relentless paranoia and the drill going off in my head wasn't enough, the energetic child jumping up and down, demanding "fun" would test a better man than me. And while the word hangover doesn't figure in his vocabulary, he has heard me utter: "Daddy's just sad today because he has post-party syndrome" on occasion. This does not make me proud.

Of course, in these circumstances, there's nothing for it but to wrestle with the hangover as best you can. But I'm also keeping score. And I'll even things up when he finds himself in the same sorry position. We'll see who's laughing, then. > Garreth Murphy