If I have ever somehow inadvertantly managed to convince any of you that I am a competent father, let me just state that I have just returned from breakfast with a toddler but no pram. I made the fairly elementary error of putting Max in the car, congratulating myself on a good job well done and then driving off 10km’s in the opposite direction, pramless. Mrs Under has clearly trained me well because whenever I screw up, and I make screwing up look easy, my instinctive reaction is to call her and fess up. The conversation always starts, “I’ve done something stupid, promise me you won’t get mad, promise?” She generally does get a bit mad but does her best to hide it, but I can tell.
I call the cafe manager in the hope that he is a kind hearted fellow who wouldn’t mind sending one of his minions out to retrieve our ride. A short sharp “no” was not the response I had hoped for. Not one to take no for an answer I played the ‘single parent card’, yes folks I told him I was a single parent who could not afford to replace the pram, I might have also said it was a gift and perhaps said that it held sentimental value. We have already established in earlier posts that I am on my way to Parent Hell so a few more untruths surely won’t do any harm, hell’s hell right? I think I had him at single parent and I am pleased to say the pram is currently sitting in a cafe playing havoc with the feng shui.
Pram-gate brought back memories of when I first started hanging out with Max. Every single day without fail I was losing a different item, sometimes a toy, perhaps a hat, maybe a book and once Max. I was the Hansel and Grettel of the parenting world, leaving a trail of baby goods so I could find my way home. My daily routine went something like – go out, lose something, phone wife, fess up, feel sheepish, retrace steps, call cafes, retrieve item, feel elated.
My early Dad days were full of school boy errors. I can distinctly remember my first day on the job, Mrs Under had given me lists, a fully prepped pram, meals for father and a routine loving baby but I still felt completely out of my depth. Max was a little over one and I had been looking forward to taking over the reins (not the ones that stop babies from running away and seem a bit contentious in the parenting community) for a while. I would like to think that from day dot, I have been a hands on Dad, getting stuck into all manner of baby matter, but it felt quite intimidating knowing it was just going to be me and The Boy. The first day I think we walked all along Beach Road, after a couple of hours of walking it occurred to me that this can’t be right, Max looked like he wanted a Mummy refund and it wasn’t my idea of fun either. Lesson learnt and from that point on I have realised that less is more.
I’ve tackled fatherhood like I tackle most things, by having a go and seeing what fits, that’s me putting a positive spin on my general lack of organisation. I would like to say that I read the latest research and theories on parenting but I just buy the books and hope that the information will seep into my head. I remember going through a phase, parenting is all about phases I’m finding, of feeling very guilty that I wasn’t trying to engage Max in conversation so I started pointing out anything and everything; ride on lawn mower, reverse cycle air conditioning unit, two ducks having sex and so on. Again Max’s look of utter dismay was enough to remedy my pointing fetish.
My latest obsession and realisation is remembering that I am not just hear to show Max a good time, I need to be actively teaching him all manner of things; how to eat properly, to say please and thank you, to smile rather than cry, to respect others, to love nature and not to put your finger in your own pooh.
I’ve come a long way on my journey into fatherhood and no longer point out copulating quackers. I have now reached a place where I know I am doing a good job and it’s the best feeling in the world……………………….or it’s certainly up there with immorally convincing a cafe owner to retrieve your pram.