Like a lot of parents, my old pair used to try to scare me straight by warning me about The Bogeyman. One of my earliest memories, in fact, is my old dear telling me, “If you don’t fix me a Martini – four ounces of gin, one ounce of dry vermouth, served in a chilled cocktail glass with a twist of lemon – The Bogeyman is going to get you!”
These days, of course, parents don't need to tell their kids about The Bogeyman, because they have the President of the United States of America.
Sorcha has spent the past six months telling our children all about the nasty orange man who was going to undo all the amazing, amazing things that Barack Obama did for the world. And now the triplets can't sleep. They're waking up at, like, three o'clock in the morning, screaming with nightmares.
"This is all down to him," Sorcha went the night after the inauguration, as we got up for the third time to tell Leo, Brian and Johnny that everything was going to be okay in about four years' time.
I was like, “Maybe it’s kind of down to us as well, though.”
And Sorcha went, “Excuse me?”
“I’m just saying, maybe we shouldn’t keep telling them that an evil man has taken over the planet. They’re only, like, two.”
She gave me the most unbelievable filthy then. "You see to the children," she went. "I need to tell people about this on Facebook and Twitter. "
This has been the general vibe since the dude won the whole, I don’t know, thing? I’ve been getting by on about two-and-a-half hours of sleep per night while at the same time hoping that things will hopefully get back to normal soon. Which I genuinely thought they were beginning to – until the moment Honor arrived downstairs for breakfast wearing a sweatshirt bearing the words Make America Great Again.
Sorcha was just sitting there with her mouth wide open – like the shork that ate Robert Shaw in Jaws. "Honor," she went, trying not to lose it with her? "Where did you get that?"
And Honor was like, “I bought it – online.”
"It could be worse," I went. "At least it's not a Munster jersey!" just trying to introduce a little humour to the moment?
Sorcha was like, “Are you wearing that to upset me?”
But Honor went, "Oh my God, get over yourself! Everything doesn't have to be about you!"
“So why would you wear it – after everything I told you about that man?”
“I actually like him. I like the way he pisses people off. I can see a lot of myself in him.”
"Oh, so that's the kind of role model you want, is it? Someone who makes people – oh my God – so angry that they morch in, like, their millions? Honor, take it off."
“No – you’re always going about how freedom of expression is a fundamental human right.”
“Yes – if used responsibly.”
“Oh, so everyone’s entitled to free speech as long as they agree with you?”
“I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to twist my views and use them as a weapon against me.”
Honor stands up from the table. "Yeah," she went, "I'm bored with this conversation? I'm going to go and wait in the cor!"
We were supposedly going shopping.
Sorcha looked at me. "Ross," she went, "there is no way she is walking around Dundrum Town Centre wearing that sweatshirt."
I was like, "Sorcha, do you not think it's possibly time we all got over the whole Donald Trump thing?"
"This coming from the man who wet the bed for a month after Johnny Sexton left Leinster?"
“That’s a low blow, Sorcha. I was drinking a lot and I genuinely thought it was a backward step for him in terms of his development as a 10.”
Sorcha stood up and picked up her cor keys. “I know she’s only doing it for a reaction,” she went. “And the worst possible mistake you can make with trolls is to give them the attention they’re looking for.”
So we all headed to Dundrum. Honor put My Way on her iPhone and we ended up having to listen to it on repeat the entire way there. Sorcha said nothing, obviously deciding to just rise above it.
It has to be said, the sweatshirt drew quite a bit of comment over the course of the next two hours. “Disgusting!” people typically said. “What kind of a parent dresses their child up like that?”
And Sorcha – bizorrely – ended up becoming Honor's defender, going, "If you must know, she chose it! And, by the way, we're fortunate enough to still live in a liberal democracy where people are entitled to express their views, however egregious they actually are?"
And in between these moments, she tried to use subtle arguments to try to get Honor to take the sweatshirt off. “I think a round neck makes you look chunky,” she went, “and that’s not me being a bitch.”
Or it was like, "Red is definitely not your colour! I just think it washes you out and makes you look ill!"
Honor’s just went, “Look at the way these people are looking at me! I love it!”
To cut a long story short, me and Sorcha were sitting in front of the TV that night when Honor arrived downstairs in her pyjamas.
“I’m beginning to think I might go into politics,” she went.
Sorcha was like, “You’re just fishing, Honor – like all those trolls on social media who said I shouldn’t be warning infant children about the threat that Donald Trump poses to the planet. But I hope I proved a point to you today – that debate is a far more effective tool than coercion.”
“Not really,” Honor went, “because I’m going to wear it tomorrow as well – and the day after that and the day after that and the day after that.”
Sorcha sad-smiled her, stood up and went, “Excuse me for a moment,” before leaving the room.
Thirty seconds later, we heard all this angry shouting coming from upstairs, followed by the sound of three babies suddenly crying.
“I’m only guessing,” I went, “but I think your mother is ripping your sweatshirt to shreds.”
And Honor laughed and went “I don’t care. I’ve got three more just like it.”