Richard Hearn needs a new lucky charm

All parents know that keeping a sleeping child sleeping, when holding or transferring them, is a particular art. A combination of waiting for the right time – not too soon, not too late – all the angles correct (sometimes you have to arch your own body to keep them in line), a supporting hand to mimic their previous sleeping location. Regular breathing, temperature, and movements. As little background noise as possible is important too, no fidgety tension, especially not jumping, oh and sudden outbursts of swearing, they’re a no-no.

These factors all point to it being a bad idea if, per chance, Youngest™ ever woke up and therefore was lying in my arms while I sat on the armchair, when, for instance, I ever happened to be watching the TV, and say, England were playing Italy, it was coming to the end of extra time, and let’s just say, we were heading for penalties.

I haven’t hidden my hypotheticals very well, have I? Anyway, in the recent Euro 2012 quarter final, with Youngest™ having settled back to sleep, albeit lying on me, I really should have moved him as we approached the 115 minute mark. And yet, and yet…

I’m not normally a superstitious man (touch wood) but I’ve never watched penalties of a major game before with him. Could it work? Could Youngest™ be the difference? A lucky charm?
Let’s pause on that cliffhanger, let the screen wobble and we’ll go back in time to 2006. I felt the same way when, with England playing Portugal and Rooney having got sent off, The Boy returned with his Mum. When it went to penalties, I saw The Boy as the difference then. He was the horseshoe, the four-leaf clover, some kind of black cat. Or so I thought. England went out.

So, in 2012, it’s time to rotate the squad, bring on a fresh pair of legs in the shape of Youngest™. Maybe he is the answer. Some of his daily choices hint at a wider non-rational world. He will often clutch tiny pieces of Lego with all the fervour of a Toys R Us alternative to rosary beads. He has recently started demanding his shoes are put on while he’s on the top step of the stairs. He knows something we don’t.

This was my thinking. I didn’t try and transfer him because I thought it might make the difference. England would make the semi-finals. Except – you may have guessed the ending – it didn’t turn out as I hoped.

The Boy wasn’t a lucky charm in 2006. Youngest™ wasn’t a lucky charm in 2012. As I don’t think we’re having another, all I can say is, it‘s not looking good for 2014. Sorry, England.

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