Being Dad

Being a father is fraught with danger…

One Small Step for Missy, One Giant Leap for Mum. September 24, 2012

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 8:12 am
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Kindergarten. It might just be a few hours a day, but it’s a significant event. Prior to kindergarten, Missy’s days were the sole domain of Mum. My wife organized playdates, activities, trips and home fun.

Now Missy is going to spend a few hours each day without Mum. That’s a hefty adjustment for both of them.  The early stages of this metamorphosis from home baby to school girl are filled with little pleadings to stay home, or a rush out the door to get there; (well, “rushing” Missy style, which would be termed  “glacially slow” by normal standards.)

Of course, on the occasions I am home to see Missy off to school, it is sometimes easy for Dad to trivialize a child’s fears or apprehension on embarking on a new adventure, dismissing them with a loving but ill-informed “you’ll be OK, darling”.  Mum also needs some tender love and care, as well.

For the better part of 3 years, mums (and dads, if they are the primary carer) who have the gift of not working, spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment with their mini charges. To relinquish that to the wilds of school, even if it is a brief few hours, is a significant change.

Part of that change is interacting with other kids. Now before this, it was possible to vet little friends. It was possible to hang out with parents you like. Kindergarten is the first process in losing control of my child’s choice of playmate, and our choice of parents we want to hang out with.

Still, on the upside, my wife get’s a bit of her time back. Any full time parent, in fact, any parent will know that raising kids is:

#1- the best job in the world and

#2 – the most physically exhausting job in the world.

Just to get a few hours to get your hair done or have a cup of tea without getting covered in cereal (or in my wife’s case, get 3 hours at the gym done) can be liberating.  It does, however, bring on some new stresses – as time in the morning becomes a much more valuable commodity.

Missy is slow. Nope, not slowish – she is slow. She gets out of bed slowly, eats slowly and dresses slowly. There is no urgency in Missy. So getting her to school on time is the old immovable object meeting the irresistible force.  But typically, mum gets it done and so far, no late slips have needed to be issued.

The other upside is mixing with kids we may not necessarily choose to hang out with. Every class has a naughty kid, (never your own) and they can be a bad influence. Why is that an upside? Previously I have mentioned the allegation that I was suspected responsible for a bout of swearing Missy embarked on some time ago (I stress “allegation”, it was never proved), and now I have a much better alibi than just a deer like, wide eyed stuttering denial.

I love school.

 

Toilet time September 10, 2012

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 9:34 am
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Let me first acknowledge that my wife is the one toilet training Missy. I say that because it is all too easy for us blokes to come home one day, have a proud child, sans nappy, greet you – and think to yourself, “well that seemed painless”. It’s not an easy job, and all sorts of previously stress free events take on a whole new level of pain.

Initially, the process could be called “Floor Pee” training, as that’s where 99% of nappy-free urinating ends up. This is a close cousin of  “Unaware Pee”. Missy didn’t seem to be even conscious she was doing it, but as any man will tell you, after 10 beers and 3 pies at the footy, sometimes the link between brain and bladder gets broken.

So during this trying time, mum, and sometimes dad, get quite apt at making sure the kitchen paper is always on hand. It seems to me that it shouldn’t be made into too big a deal, as toddlers don’t need a complex at this stage of their life. There is plenty of time for that later.

Then we moved to a stage where Missy doesn’t want a nappy, despite a real and present danger of things going horribly wrong. Say, on the bus, or on a plane, or anywhere where there is not a toilet within 5 feet. This stage, “I need to go NOW!” is problematic. Very few cities lavatory facilities are designed to have a toilet no more than 5 feet away from any given point. So training pants and underwear become the bulk of handbag contents, as does a plastic bag to hold urine soaked “accidents”.

“Regression stage”, creeps up on you like the proverbial thief in the night. “At last”, we triumphantly thought. Missy seemed to get it. She was proud of her new status of underwear wearing princess, and we were equally proud of our bladder-holding baby. Then something happens. Be it a plane ride, where a nappy is just a sensible thing to do, or just one of those unexplainable things, and “floor pee” time rears it’s ugly head yet again.

To be fair, being encouraged to go to the loo for pee time then having to wear a nappy for a plane trip – it must be a bit confusing. Still like most things with children, it’s a stage, and it will pass.

So despite puddles of pee and soaked undergarments by the bushel, Missy is sort of toilet trained, well, mostly.  We do tread warily into this new stage of our lives. A stage that means trips are planned, not only with education or fun in mind, but also with access to facilities.

My only concern, in this new era, is how to explain the pink panties with princesses on them I keep in my pocket for emergencies. If ever I were to get searched by the police, it could get awkward: “No Officer, they are not for me…”

 

Love, love me do September 3, 2012

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 9:53 am
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The first time Missy said she loved me… without me having to withhold food, water or lodgings…was a special day.

You see: Missy loves her mum. I am the runner up for her affection. My wife and Missy share a remarkable bond, a relationship so close, that even though Missy is kind of happy I am there, Mum is essential. I luckily get to spend much more time than a lot of fathers with my daughter, but no matter how much time I spend with her, mum is the one who needs to kiss a “boo-boo” better. Mum is the one who has to change a rank, stinky nappy (OK, so there are some benefits for me), mum is the one who gets a spontaneous kiss, while I am left standing, with puckered lips and a hand-full of melting M&M’s. In our house, Daddy is pretty good, but Mummy is #1.

And you know? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I actually get all misty when I see them together. That’s not to say old Dad couldn’t use a few more cuddles and kisses, but then, when I get them, they are exceptional.

So, Missy wanders over to me one day and looks me up and down in that slightly pitying way. I am all prepared for the usual: Daddy, you need a shave: Daddy, can I play drums on your belly?: Daddy, where’s Mummy? But instead, I get this: “Daddy, I love you SO much”. Good fortune smiled on me as my wife was there to witness it. So with this tender and poignant moment finally sealed between a father and his daughter, in a true gender specific response, I wanted a high-five – as if my footy team just scored. My wife was in tears at the wonder of a small child’s love, and I was left standing, palm raised.  OK, to be fair, I’m not that insensitive, and a tear may have squeezed past, as I held up my hand triumphantly.

Toddlers don’t pretend to love, or hate you. When they say things, they mean them. But there is a distinction between the two, in my opinion. Sure, their concept of love and hate is simple; Missy hates me when I wake her up, but she is not (I think) making a final judgment on her view of me. Love, however, is a different proposition. Young children, or Missy at least, don’t glibly throw out that they love you.  Otherwise, I would be getting it as much as Mum does. To me, that makes their use of “love” special, and “hate”, a product of their immediate issues.

Children are also the ultimate honest people. This can cause all sorts of embarrassment, such as the time Missy enquired of us as to why that man on the bus was pregnant, but at least you know where you stand.

But Missy loves me SO much, I know, because she told me – and I love her SO very much

High-five anyone?

 

 
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