Mackindergarten: A quantum of solace on the 45 – The Post

Mackindergarten: A quantum of solace on the 45

“Having a younger sister is a real pain in the ass … ass … think of all those friends” (photo: Pixabay)
August 24th, 2019 5:55 am| by Adrian Mackinder

I’m not using a James Bond pun for this column. Oh no. For this one, I’m going literal. In the short story of the same name, 007 creator Ian Fleming defines the quantum of solace as the precise figure at which kindness, comfort, friendship and basic humanity is sufficient for a relationship between two people to survive.

When the quantum of solace stands at zero, love is dead and you must flee to save yourself. So, with that in mind, read on …

Diamonds are forever
Kid number two has arrived. She is here. There’s no going back. We can’t return her. Unlike the traumatising three-day marathon my wife endured first time around, she was subsequently blessed with a mercifully swift second birth.

The incident took place at Hvidovre, which is, of course, pronounced ‘Villlllleruuuuuuhhhhhh’. Presumably this is an effort by the kommune to prevent over-admission and a strain on resources. Should anyone require immediate emergency assistance, in the time it takes to correctly pronounce the name of the hospital to a taxi or ambulance driver, the patient would have long since expired.

But we’re not talking about death here. We’re talking about life. Precious, miraculous, effervescent life! She’s an easy baby. She sleeps, she feeds, she’s healthy and bouncy, and she’s charming, alert, smiley and beautiful, which is all one could hope for really. She’s a keeper. We’re all very happy. Well. Almost all of us.

The world is not enough
We always feared our son would not respond well to the restructuring. We tried to prepare him with a few ‘serious’ conversations about what was on the horizon, but he was more interested in shoving bits of LEGO up his nose than taking notes. So wouldn’t you know it, having the position as Official Centre of the Universe ripped from under him has not gone down well. At all.

Fortunately, he did not resort to physically attacking people with a spork or setting fire to puppies. He just, well, started ‘acting out’. We’ve done our best from the outset to involve him so he doesn’t feel sidelined or replaced. We’ve done all we can, but he’s quite the handful. Mood swings, tantrums, sleeping less, eating less … it’s exhausting.

Nevertheless we shall endure. We are confident that if we hold our nerve, he will realise that having a little sister is – whisper it – a good thing.

All time high
As a bonding exercise, we took our first holiday as a foursome. We spent a week in a charming, converted farm outside Aarhus. Despite being more dilapidated than the Airbnb photos would have us believe, and the multitude of flies, wasps and pterodactyls that plagued us day and night, we had a lovely time.

It was invigorating to get out of the city when things hot up – I’m starting to get the appeal of the whole summerhouse thing – and surprisingly relaxing. We even saw a hill.

And the best part? The Tiny Dictator now seems to be warming to his tiny new sibling, and that makes everything so much easier. Suffice to say, the kindness, comfort, friendship and basic humanity in our house is considerably more than zero.

Adrian Mackinder


British writer and performer Adrian Mackinder (adrianmackinder.co.uk) and his pregnant Danish wife moved from London to Copenhagen in September 2015. He now spends all his time wrestling with fatherhood, the unexpected culture clash and being an Englishman abroad.