Being Dad

Being a father is fraught with danger…

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’).

 

Bad Dad: [noun]. Me May 14, 2012

Children are resilient. It’s a fact. Luckily my daughter is especially hardy, but then she has to be – I’m her dad.

In her short life thus far, Missy has been exceptionally fortunate. She has avoided serious illness, just the odd cough or cold. She eats well, sleeps relatively well, she has lots of little friends she can bite and scratch, and life is generally good.

Well, except when she’s with me. When I’m put in charge, things will just naturally go wrong. When I’m given the top job, things like this happen:

Missy loves to go fast. She sometimes gets in her stroller and goes running with mum. Same for her tricycle or anything that has wheels. Recently I was taking her for a spin around our outside deck in the stroller. Now clearly as we were in the safety of our home, there was no need to strap her in, after all we were just having a bit of fun. Missy did have fun… Till she tried to stand up – and I instinctively stopped.

According to a bloke called Isaac Newton – a particle in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an equal or stronger force.

OK, so Missy is the particle, the stroller is in motion and the safety restraint the equal or stronger force…oops.

A slow motion, catapult style, launch followed, Missy heading directly for a step – expertly coming to a complete stop using her face as a brake.

Never have I seen so much blood flow from such a small person. As luck would have it, no broken teeth, just a cut mouth and a remorseful dad. Whisked away by a higher authority while my wailing daughter pointed accusingly at Bad Dad, blood and tears letting me know that mum might want a word, after the dust had settled.

I did learn from that experience and so a couple of weeks later found myself with Missy up on my shoulders, riding high and away from all trouble. A playground beckoned and Missy loves the swing, it doesn’t get any simpler or safer. The swing was the enclosed type, so there was no danger of falling off, and as I had my accreditation as “Responsible Dad” recently restored, we went straight for it. Easy, just walk under this monkey bar and….

The “dong” sound was heard for, I suppose, a decent 100 meters. I could see park dwellers, hands on their mouths in shock, mothers shaking their heads in disbelief and my wailing daughter being whisked away, yet again pointing accusingly at Bad Dad.

And so a lump, bump, or scrape is born, just another day of being my daughter. In years to come, assuming I don’t cause any permanent damage, will Missy remember these and future events? Well, probably not, and anyway, she’s the forgiving type. I suspect most fathers rely on the compassionate nature of children to forgive and forget, and while I (and especially my wife) wish these events didn’t happen, they do, and I learn from them, vaguely.

Children are resilient, but really, you should just trust me on that. It’s not worth the blood and tears to find out – as well as my blood and tears – after mum’s “had a word”.

 

 
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