Being Dad

Being a father is fraught with danger…

Lies, Nothing But Lies January 21, 2013

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 9:10 am
Tags: , , ,

As a parent, I now realize how idiotic a child’s “version” of an event sounds. When I was a small boy, “someone” in my family drew on the wall of our house. My brother and sister were, and still are, quite accomplished artists. The drawing (referred to in our family for all of time as “The Michelin Man”) was at best, anatomically challenged and artistically bereft.

I, of course, wanting to avoid punishment, denied any culpability (to this day, in fact). At the time, I thought my cunning plan of outright and stoic denial to the “alleged” offence was watertight. Now I know my lie was as obvious as if I had been caught, crayon in hand.

Thankfully, Missy rarely tries to cover things up. She is much more likely to throw herself down, burst into tears, and confess like a habitual car thief, high on sodium pentothal.

This presented a little problem recently. I was in the kitchen, bumbling along, preparing Missy’s dinner. Well, to be honest, preparing it “man-style”. That meant nothing came together anywhere close to when they were suppose to, and food items were spending equal amounts of time in the pan and on the floor.

Missy was with me because as well as being quite the accomplished (if miniature) cook, She loves to be around while food is being prepared – or if I’m cooking – while the can is being opened.

This day I had abandoned canned beans on toast and opted for more of a gourmet meal.

So, the fish fingers were ready, but the peas were still frozen; the cucumber wasn’t sliced and the corncob was still boiling away. In my rush to try and get things moving, some peas escaped onto the floor.

Let me firstly say, in our house, we, well me anyway, strictly adhere to the 3-second rule. You know it? If not, it is a rule, handed down from generation to generation, stating that: Any food items that fall on the floor, and are picked up in under 3 seconds, are deemed safe from germs and fit to eat. Now, I haven’t had this fact scientifically tested, but I am sure it’s true. In my childhood house, the timing of those 3 seconds was, um; let’s just say it was not up to Olympic standards.

So, back to the present – the peas were on the floor, waiting for the “3 seconds” to expire. I told Missy not to touch them while I busily tried to get this highly complicated and culinary challenging meal ready. I mean, frozen vegetables and fish fingers; it would make a compelling MasterChef episode.

As I began to plate the meal, or in my case it was a bit more like being served in the chow line at a military camp, than delicate food placement, I notice the peas mysteriously gone from the floor (or “holding area” as I prefer to call it). A guilty looking child looked up at me.

“Did you eat those peas, Missy?

“No”

“Really?”

“No, Daddy”

“Darling, you won’t get into trouble, I just want you to tell the truth”

“I didn’t eat them, Daddy”.

This went back and forth for far too long, and me being me, I couldn’t let it go. I interrogated her as if she was a Russian spy, caught in an air-conditioning duct at the Pentagon. I knew she was guilty, and I wouldn’t let up till I got a confession.

Then she started to cry. A HA! Here was my chance to use her emotional state against her. But even in tears, she displayed a firm, Navy Seal kind of teary determination. Suddenly, I began to doubt myself. Maybe she didn’t eat them? All of a sudden, I am the guilty one. I have falsely accused my daughter and made her cry. Bad Daddy!

To this day, although I have let the incident go, sort of, I wonder. Has Missy inherited my stoic denial gene? The peas were on the floor, and then they were gone. We don’t have any pets, and as far as I know, peas can’t spontaneously move…

Maybe I should refer to my wife’s opinion:

“Enough with the peas! Get over it!!

I will make a note in my diary to ask Missy at her 21st birthday.

 

Away Time January 14, 2013

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 9:26 am
Tags: , ,

Going away and spending time apart from missy, is no pleasure.  Thankfully, I don’t have to do it particularly often, and when I do, it’s generally for selfish reasons. I go and watch cricket (for American readers, the sport of cricket has been described as being like a slow game of baseball), and while I love to do it, it does mean I am away from Missy for a week or so.

We certainly talk on the phone, but it’s not the same. I miss her, and I miss my wife.  You might think being away is the perfect time for catching up on sleep, or catching up on my mid-life crisis by staying out late at the pub. But actually, I usually don’t sleep that well, and the last time I made it past 11pm, Greece was an economically viable country. Funny how when I’m away, a lack of children noise stops me from sleeping – and too much adult noise stops me from hanging out in bars.

In the distant past, I had a work colleague who had two pre-adolescent daughters. Ouch! – Three females in the house. Firstly, that meant he got no bathroom time – and when he did manage to sneak in for some ‘alone’ time, there was certainly no peace. His life was a blur of pretty dresses, hair, and make-up. His Christmas day dreams of remote controlled Tanks ready to battle with boxes of toy soldiers, was but a wispy fantasy. His day would be spent plaiting hair and painting fingernails.

So when a business trip came up, I always expected him to be super keen. He never was. He missed his girls. Until missy came along, I confess, I never properly understood. Now I do. So when I travel, far from being a break, it’s time when I miss my girls. Sure, I have fun with my friends – loving your family doesn’t mean you can never be away from them, and certainly being on a plane without a child has its advantages, but it never outweighs the joy of being with my wife and daughter.

Admittedly, I sometimes wander past the dinosaur section of Double-the-Price ‘R’ Us, and wonder if Missy might like a stegosaurus to play with – or I gaze at the monster truck section, looking forlornly for a pink one with a princess themed paint job. But like my work buddy, I truly love having a daughter, and all the hair, painted nails and party dresses that come with her.

(Disclaimer: I cannot, nor am I allowed to, plait Missy’s hair)

So going away, be it business or pleasure is always a mix. I do love to watch cricket, and have some laughs with my friends, but I do love to be with my family, and I miss them when I’m away.

But after any time away, as I slide my key in the front door, I know the reception that awaits me:

“Hi Daddy, please be quiet, Cinderella is on the TV”.

It’s good to be home with my girls.

 

Does Santa drink and drive? January 7, 2013

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 10:42 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Who doesn’t love Christmas! What a simply fabulous time for parents to lord it over their children – or was it just me?

I had a ball this Christmas, getting Missy to do all kinds of things she might normally turn her nose up at, or resist, like an acrophobic at a bungee jumping convention. Vegetables were eaten, baths taken, and bedtime adhered to, sort of, – as I menacingly held the phone with my dialing finger pointing threateningly at the numbers. “I will ring Santa, you know – I will – don’t tempt me!”

My wife thought I may have overused it just a bit when Missy was annoyed at me one day; she picked up her toy phone, and sans the threatening bit, actually called Santa straight away. I didn’t receive any warning, just: “Santa, Daddy is very bad. No presents for him!”

Still, despite all my idle threats, it was a super fun filled day.

Christmas morning came, and to see Missy’s face as she inspected the half eaten carrot and an empty glass of wine was priceless.  I was, however, a little concerned she insisted Santa would need alcohol.

The opening of presents commenced, and a fabulous day was spent in the company of dear friends. It was our first Christmas with Missy truly aware of what the holiday season is all about: ie 5kgs of ham, a turkey the size of a small country, mince pies, party hats and bon-bons. It was gluttony on an industrial scale. Ah, the joys of Christmas.

But Christmas is also a bit more than simply eating too much. Children demand adults take stock and brush aside the cobwebs of age. There just isn’t any better way to shake off grown-up cynicism, than to spend it with wide-eyed children celebrating a stranger in fancy dress breaking into your house at night. The simple wonder of a child. Best present ever.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: