Being Dad

Being a father is fraught with danger…

The Empire Strikes Back March 25, 2013

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 8:50 am
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Here’s an intriguing problem.

My daughter, courtesy of my wife, is bi-lingual. She speaks French and English fluently. Being bi-lingual is not uncommon in Hong Kong, where a large percentage of children speak 2, or even 3 languages. But this is not about that, I just like to throw that in to simply boast about my little girl and my amazing wife, this is about Missy in tears on the way to school recently.

I was walking along with her, and we were chatting away. Important things occupied us that day, such as – how come ice melts in the sun? And why aren’t buses painted pink? In short, the big issues.

Suddenly, Missy gets a little teary, so I picked her up as we walked along. “What’s the matter, my princess?” I enquired, giving her a reassuring cuddle.

“I don’t want to go to a French school.”

“Really?” I was a bit perplexed, as she adores her teacher and usually loves going.

“Why not?”

“I want to speak Japanese”.

OK… so… where did that come from??

We don’t have any Japanese friends. Sure, we’ve been to Japan, but Missy was a one-year-old and could barely speak any language then. So what prompted her suddenly wanting to ‘speak’ Japanese?

Who knows how little minds work? She was convinced a while ago that apples might kill her, or so it seamed. Then one day, she calmly picked up a slice, and away she went. We had a tantrum last week – because her dress didn’t “twirl” sufficiently when she spun around. “I’m not like a princess”, she wailed. You got that right, girl.

Later, my wife and I had a chat about her sudden yearning to embrace all that is Nippon, you know the conversations you have: realizing this is a serious concern for a 3.5 year-old, but unable to discuss it without hysterical laughter. Japanese?!? We think it might stem from her favourite boy at school; a pleasant little chap whose mother is Korean. Possibly, Missy had just confused the language when this lady talks to her son before class.

But be that as it may, that morning, poor old single-lingual dad (despite the best efforts of my French teacher) had to reach deep down to find a Japanese word to placate Missy.

“Kon-ichi-wa” I pronounced poorly, but proudly. “I think it means hello”.

The crisis was averted. We got to school.

“Bonjour Missy”, her teacher said as we walked in.

“Konichiwa”, came the solemn reply. Missy’s teacher looked at me; I shrugged.

“C’est la vie”.


“Go to the Naughty Corner!” March 18, 2013

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 9:01 am
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It’s an exclamation many parents have uttered, shouted, hissed through gritted teeth or even commanded, Moses like – to their children.

So what do you do when your child says it to you?

I admit; I was a little naughty. Drinking from the carton, licking my knife, leaving dirty clothes on the floor, putting my feet on the coffee table. Yep, I probably did deserve a bit of reflection time in the corner.

But should my 3 year-old be allowed to administer justice?

Apparently, she thinks so. At her pre-school, her teacher had a little word with us recently. Now firstly, my little cherub is a true believer in following the rules. That’s a good thing. Sure she is as naughty as any kid her age, but she honestly prefers, at least at school, to do what the teacher asks. I will qualify that – because with me, she much prefers to do the opposite of what I ask.

The problem lay here: In her class there are several boys. If you have boys, you will know this: Boys like to be naughty. They like to run around and see just how many things they can break. That’s not a criticism – as an adult boy, I’m the same. It’s most interesting to know whether that square peg can, in fact, make it into that round hole if you hammer hard enough, and it’s fun to see what happens when two things are banged together, repeatedly.

Missy’s problem is she tries to get the boys to stop being naughty. She somehow got the impression she had been anointed the class sheriff. This occasionally involved manhandling the little lads to get them to behave. Not a good idea on many levels.

Firstly Missy is no wrestler, and little boys, especially 3 year-old ones, are tough. They are use to rough and tumble. They don’t think a perfect afternoon involves pretend tea and pretty dresses.  For them, the perfect afternoon involves running at full speed and crashing into something.

Secondly, she is – much to her disappointment – not the sheriff. Classroom discipline is not in her job description.

But like most things, after we sat her down and explained it was not her affair, she reluctantly accepted that the teacher was in charge, and little girls are not dispensers’ of justice.

So it all ended reasonably well. Missy was relieved of her self-imposed title of class gendarme before any damage was done, or any of the boys thumped her (truly, a remarkable level of tolerance from them, I might add).

For me, however, some facts remain: It appears I am inherently naughty, and must still be sent to the corner, on a regular basis.

I hate having to sit on that little chair.


Nuggets, Sir?? March 11, 2013

There are many changes to your life when you have children. None of them will kill you, I promise. And there just isn’t anything that would cause me to reconsider bringing Missy into the world for a second, (well to be more accurate, idly standing by while my wife spent 38 hours bringing her into the world). That’s primarily because my daughter gives me such a face widening, eye sparkling, hoot of a time. There is nothing she could say or do that could possibly change that.  (Check back in 15 years when she dents my car, for an update on that statement.)

And besides the joy bit, having a little person around gives me the perfect opportunity to order and eat kids meals.

I mean, who doesn’t just love a chicken nugget? When you’re an adult, it’s not the done thing to go out to dinner and order what you genuinely want.

“The Duck à l’Orange my darling? Wonderful choice. I think I’ll have a glass of Beaujolais and the fish fingers and chips.”

With a child in the picture, I can go out, order Missy the macaroni & cheese (maybe without the Beaujolais) – and appropriately grimace when she leaves most of it for me to eat. My outward angst hiding my internal pleasure – “yahoooo! Leftover mac and cheese!”

So having children has its ups and downs. Sure, sleeping 8 hours a night is a distant memory, as is travelling without 60 kg of luggage, (1kg kindly reserved for me). But then there is the patter of little feet at 7am…and a little kiss to wake up to. Opening my eyes, a bright eyed 3 foot tall person is gently stroking my face.

“Good morning Daddy”.

“Good morning my Princess. How would you like mini hamburgers for lunch?

(Disclaimer: Aforementioned morning that sounds like a ‘Sound of Music’ moment – has actually happened just once; generally wake up time at our house is much closer to the Omaha Beach scene from ‘Saving Private Ryan’).


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