For advent, the Kita decided it better to open even earlier, so now the latest they'll accept their prey is 9 a.m.
Every morning I have to set the alarm to wake him; every morning he gives out, incredulous that he's being rudely awoken from pleasant slumber at an ungodly hour, again.
It was bad enough trying to get him there for the previous cut-off time of 9.30 a.m.
If you arrive a minute later, they're already sitting around in a circle, singing, the way they do.
The wardens shoot you dirty looks if you're late, as we have been every morning since advent began.
I didn't even bother bringing him the last few mornings. What's the fucking point? It's unholy out there, cold enough to freeze the balls off a penguin, and the most sensible place to be is snuggled up in a warm bed away from the torture of Berlin's winter.
I asked one of the wardens why they moved the cut-off time forward and why they think it's a good idea to deprive everyone of half an hour's sleep.
“Because there's so much to do!” she replied enthusiastically. “There are so many preparations to be made!”
I stopped listening then, so I've no idea if the preparations are for winter, for Christmas or for the end of the world itself. It doesn't matter. They're obviously stone mad.
But if I'm to get anything else done I've to bring him to the goddamn Kita, so this morning I'd to wrap the poor fucker up in so many layers he can no longer move, stick him on the back of the bike, and cycle tentatively through the snow and ice, careful not to pull the brake or go so fast there might be a need to pull it.
He's learned a new word: “Slippy.”
I'd take him on public transport but we'd be frozen corpses by the time we got to the U-Bahn station, and we'd have to change for an S-Bahn, and then we'd be frozen corpses again by the time we got from the S-Bahn station to the Kita. It would also mean we'd have to get up even earlier.
So we cycle; him stoically quiet on the back seat, me screaming in agony as the cold bites through my useless gloves. I wore two pairs on the way back and my fingers are still in bits. I think I may have frostbite. I've been typing these words with my nose, which has the unforeseen advantage of lubricating the keys as you type.
My hands are wrapped around the teapot, and still stinging more than two hours after making it back safely. I don't know if they'll ever thaw out. And I've to pick him up again in a couple of hours...
These are the joys of Berlin in winter, joys compounded by the natives who evidently take perverse pleasure from pain and misery. Yes, let's all get up half an hour earlier for half an hour's more singing. O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum. I'll strangle the next fucking Tannenbaum if I hear that song once more...
I always question my wisdom in moving to Berlin at this time of year. It's 8° in Madrid now and even warmer in Mexico. But no. Instead I find myself in a land where inhumane cold is allowed and fun is verboten (GEMA).
They were already singing when we arrived this morning, late. Cue more dirty looks. I needn't tell you, they were returned with interest.