Archive | June, 2012

I Love

19 Jun

The idea behind daddownunder was always that one day when you’re old enough to understand rude words we would sit down together, hopefully in a nice pub supping beverages that you have just treated us to, and reflect on the time we spent together. The problem is that it’s evolved into a public advertisement of the trials and tribulations of fatherhood. I don’t want you to grow up and think you were a trial or a tribulation or worse still both.

When I take a step back from the nappies, scrape the remnants of avocado out of my hair, give my sleep deprived eyes a little rub and watch you at work I know that this is very special. So without further ado son, here are your best moments.

I love the way you curl your tongue up when you’re concentrating, I still do that and it definitely helps.

I love that when all the other babies around you are stealing your toys you only want to steal a kiss.

I love how much of a boy you are, trucks, dirt and girls, it doesn’t really get any better than that does it?

I love how quick you are to work things out, not such a fan of you deflating my bike tyres and although some brushes are perfect for running through your hair try to steer clear of the dustpan brush.

I love that you are as mesmerised by Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video as I am.

I love that you are instinctively wary of all men but melt around women.

I love that you blow me kisses every night before bed.

I love that the only TV show to capture your attention is inextricably Letters and Numbers (Countdown for any UK readers).

I love that your first ‘word’ was a lion roar.

I love that you only high five for me.

I love that you can make a bad day good with one smile.

I love that you insist on sharing your food with me, presumably some sort of quality control system “if I have to eat this I want to see you have some first”.

I love you.

Meat Pies or Fish n Chips?

19 Jun

We seem to have reached a crossroads in our Antipodean Adventure, to stay or to go, that is the question. It feels like probably the biggest and most daunting decision I have made since I decided that Arsenal Football Club were mine for life. Head says stay in the lovely hot country that is economically sound, full of opportunity and has national holidays for horse races. Head wins surely? You would think so but the stubborn heart yearns for things that Australia simply can’t offer, family and friends all wrapped up in a traditional quaint package and served up on a lace doily. Every time heart almost wins the battle, head will annoyingly force him to acknowledge the latest riot, protest, budget cut, tax increase or series of Big Brother.

If England was a girl she would be a complex character. She would play hard to get, teasing you with the promise of a dirty weekend away before getting cold feet and playing the headache card. There would be days (usually summer days following a walk in the country washed down with a refreshing pint of flat, warm ale) when you would gladly get down on one knee and ask her to marry you and then there would be others where you would insist on some fairly stringent pre-nuptials. Four years ago we decided we had grounds for divorce, the old magic was no longer there, I found her tiresome and unappealing and wanted to trade her in for a younger racier model.

Life in Australia is good, we eat out a lot, enjoy walks on the beach, throw shrimps in and around bbq’s, ride kangaroos to work and get called Poms (or miserable bloody pom, pommy bastard, whinging bloody pom), some sort of Australian term of endearment I think? If Australia were a girl she would be a buxom blonde, with a bubbly personality, but she might be a bit thick. For all that Australia gives, and she gives a lot and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, scratch the surface and its a bit empty for me, with no memories or culture to value. Image

Apparently though it’s not all about me and it has to be the right thing for my family and for Max. Do I one day want him to say, “gday pops, wanna come down the oval and kick the footy with me and my mates?’ or is it to be “alright dad, fancy kicking the football around the park with me and some chums?”. Hhhhm, perhaps that isn’t a great example. Bogan or a chav? Meat pies or fish n chips? Professional Soccer or Aussie Rules player? Flip Flop or thong? Budgie smugglers or Speedos? Neighbours or East Enders? As you can tell this is quite a quandary.

A recent trip back to England was supposed to show us that she wasn’t all she was cracked up to be. We were surely looking back at her with rose tinted beer goggles. But she took us in, gave us a nice big hug and told us she was sorry. She was sorry for all the mood swings and promised she could make this work. She gave us the whole “come back and it will all be different” speech and turned our heads, the chemistry was still there, she had shown us a good time. For most men of course this is the stuff of dreams, two women, sorry countries, vying for your affection, two perfectly good countries, both attractive in their own ways. Not for me, I have always found that one women and/or country was plenty.

Regrettably I don’t have an answer; I have pointless metaphors and analogies about relationships with women. I have deliberations, considerations, contemplations, suggestions, propositions, reflections, observations and all sorts of other words that end in “tions”, but I have no answer.

Walk the Walk

13 Jun

Baby small talk/interrogation goes something like this “how old is your little one, are they walking yet?” I have learnt to call all babies “little ones”, as I seem to have an uncanny ability to call all girls boys and vice versa. Not my fault that parents are choosing not to subscribe to the pink for girls, blue for boys rule, life was far simpler in the olden days. Based on your answer to these two harmless questions, judgements are made, opinions formed, your baby is in or out, social butterfly or social leper.

It seems that when babies reach a certain age their ability, or lack of, to assume a vertical position and put one foot in front of another is all important. The fact that I have to answer “18months old” and “no but he is very good at dragging himself around on the floor like a dog with an itchy bottom” whilst trying very hard to ignore their 8 month old who is in the background doing cartwheels and back flips, has nothing to do with my lack of patience for this question. My answer is usually met with a look of pity, followed by “don’t worry I’m sure it will happen soon”.

To relieve the pressure of this question I sometimes mix it up – “he’s 3 years old and unfortunately we’ve been told he won’t be able to walk” or “he’s 6 months old and having perfected the conventional walk he is working on his moonwalk” or “he’s 18 months, he can’t walk yet BUT he can build a 9 block wooden tower, he once fit an entire kiwi (the fruit not the people) in his mouth and has kissed more girls than you’ve had hot dinners”.

Given my initial reluctance for the question you would think that I would have adopted a more humble approach now that Max has put together his first walk (walk is generous, more of a drunken stagger at closing time). But no, it’s my time to bask in the glory of baby mobility – “and how old is your little one? And they still aren’t walking? Oh dear, they are terribly behind aren’t they? Come on Max, let’s find someone to play with who is at your level. Say goodbye to Draggy McCrawly”.

My moment of glory proved to be somewhat short lived. On arrival at the park this morning and before I had a chance to broadcast Max’s extraordinary ability to assume a vertical position and put one foot in front of another, a mum with a glint in her eye beat me to the punch and delivered a killer blow.

Glinty Mum – “18 months and not talking yet? Don’t worry I’m sure it will happen soon”

Awkward silence followed by moment of deliberation.

Immoral Dad – “Errrrmm, it won’t actually happen soon, we took him to the doctors and unfortunately he was diagnosed a mute. He’s very good at walking though, would you like to see?”

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