Sep 30, 2008
I've put the interview with Stan the Marine Worm in a file for another time at the suggestion of Dan from the Northern Dads Group who was keen to hear from a Home Dad in the Wild who 'wasn't perfect'.
Without casting aspersions on anyone, I now offer you the transcript of the interveiw with Donald the Sand Goby. Hope you enjoy it.
Reservoir Dad: I did a bit of research on you guys. I was impressed, first of all, that you spent so much time building a nest, looking after the eggs and basically giving the women of your species a break. I mean that’s basically an example of what we humans call a ‘good dad’
Donald: Thanks, man. Appreciate it. The males in our species have a long history of being there for our offspring. We really enjoy being involved. We care.
RD: So, how do I get to this next question… I’ll just go ahead and say it. You can respond as you please.
Donald: So. You eat your babies…
Donald: What? No…
RD: You do so. Scientists have documentation that proves that you nibble at your own babies.
Donald: What’s a scientist?
RD: Umm, a person who studies things and records them and basically hangs around watching things happen.
Donald: Those huge guys in the white coats, holding the little glasses of colourful stuff?
Donald: Those bastards! They’re around so long you forget they’re there.
RD: Sure mate. That’s what the losers on Big Brother say about the cameras to excuse their bad behaviour.
Donald: Okay, I nibble at my babies a little. A bite here and there. What’s your point?
RD: Actually, it says here that you eat up to 40% of your brood most of the time and sometimes you even eat them all.
Donald: 40%? Sounds a bit of an over-estimation. Okay. Fine. I eat my babies. Big deal. Move on. Next question.
RD: Why would you eat your own children? I wouldn’t call that great parenting.
Donald: Oh you wouldn’t, wouldn’t you? Well what do you eat then?
RD: Whatever’s in the cupboard, or the fridge.
Donald: Well where’s my cupboard smartass? Where’s my fridge? You see where I’m going with this? I read your interview with the Penguin and the Emu. These poor bastards starve half to death looking after their brood. You know why? Because they have only a few eggs. Can you imagine the Penguin getting a little peckish and nibbling on his only baby? Doesn’t really lead to the continuation of a species does it? You humans only have a few children but you’ve got cupboards and fridges full of stuff. We all have ways of getting by mate.
RD: Our elderly next door neighbours had fourteen children.
Donald: Yeah? Well I’d be eating some of those.
RD: No. You see? This is where we differ. Even if they had twenty kids they still wouldn’t eat any of them.
Donald: Not even if they’re really, really hungry?
RD: Not even then, Donald.
Donald: But there’s so bloody many of them. They don’t shut up. They leave a huge mess and I’m stuck with them all the fricken time. Come on man. Give us a break. I don’t eat all of them.
RD: So you eat your babies to reduce noise and mess?
Donald: And stress. It can be hard work with a brood that large.
RD: True. I have a hard time with a brood the size of two. Sometimes I feel very frustrated. Never considered eating them though.
Donald: You’d have to be careful if you did, I’d imagine.
RD: Why’s that?
Donald: Well, once I start chewing down on the little whipper-snappers I get insatiable. Can’t stop at just one or two. Might happen to you as well. A little nibble on Archie and before you know it, Lewis is gone too.
RD: Did that with a block of chocolate once. Anyway, I don’t think you’re being very honest with me. While doing my research I came across a theory that the only reason you care for your brood is because it impresses the ladies.
Donald: Okay, okay. Truth is I don’t like looking after the kids at all. But the chicks dig it big time. Looking after kids is like my peacock's feather - a very big sexual ornament and a chick magnet. I mean, I'm a DILF mate. That’s how you score! That’s how you spread your seed! Chicks like sensitive guys. And there is nothing that screams sensitive more than being gay…
Donald: ... and second to that is a bloke looking after kids. You hang out with the kids, clean the house a little and then you’re mating with every Sand Goby in the sea. You’re producing so many eggs that you’d be stupid NOT to eat a few… only when the women aren’t looking of course.
RD: You’re starting to scare me a bit, Donald.
Donald: Get with it man. How many women have you mated with since you’ve had kids?
RD: It’s a bit different for us humans. We generally end up paring with one person.
Donald: For how long?
RD: For ever.
Donald: For Ever!? And you’re getting stuck into me for eating babies?
RD: We actually like it mate. It has benefits.
Donald: Now, you’re starting to scare me, RD.
RD: So, to sum it up - Despite your attempt to convince me that you love your children, you actually only look after your brood and tend to the nest to impress chicks and mate with them?
Donald: That just about covers it.
RD: Thanks for you time.
Donald: No worries RD. By the way, where are your kids today?
RD: Just move on Donald. Don't let the door hit you in the ass.
Donald: Pffft. Those scientist bastards are good.
RD: Wouldn’t be able to blog without them.
Sep 29, 2008
Reservoir Mum tried to turn me to the positives - Geelong's winning record over the past two years, and of course, the Premiership last year I never thought I'd see the Cats deliver.
My old man talked about the future - the fact that we will have a pretty good side for several seasons to come and may even get another tilt at a flag.
Two of my best mates suggested that I just - get - over - it.
Well, there is a chance that I'll get over it one day but it's not going to be anytime soon. Anyway, I wasn't after these kinds of logical grown-up words.
So when I got home yesterday I put all the well intended advice behind me and sought some solace with a person whose emotional development was more fitting to my mood. The young Archie.
We sat in front of a newspaper together and opened to the team photos of that horrid grand final. The glorius blue and white hoops and the much uglier brown and yellow stripes.
"Now, Archie," I said. "Which colors look like they belong to to the inside of a toilet?"
He tilted his head to the side and then looked at me with a blank expression.
I gave it a moment's thought and then put it a different way. "Which jumper looks like poo and wee?"
Archie laughed and pointed to Hawthorn.
"Good boy," I said, as I gave him a big daggy Daddy hug.
Archie laughed some more and I smiled as much as I was able.
"They look like poo and wee," he said again.
"Yes they do mate," I said closing the paper and saying goodbye to another season. "They look exactly like poo and wee."
Sep 23, 2008
There’s no way in hell my kids are barracking for any team other than Geelong Cats.
Yeah. That’s right.
I agree with most of the advice in the above paragraph. Might surprise you then to know that I snuck away and hid Lewis’s soccer ball in the garage when he started to show more interest in it than the glorious Sherrin. Also might surprise you that I spent an hour convincing Archie that he was mistaken when he said he liked the Collingwood Magpies better then The Geelong Cats. I was relentless. And successful. I am happy to report that Archie now knows the Geelong team song and Lewis walks around with a toddler-sized Sherrin under his arm (Geelong colors of course).
Yesterday, Archie, without prompting, said, “Daddy, I like the Cats. I don’t like the Blues.”
That’s tear provoking stuff right there because I know I have molded this young boy into a Geelong Cats-addicted AFL junkie just like me, just like his Pa and just like his late Great-Grandfather. Yep, I worked at it, I steared him away from forming his own opinion. I gave this boy no choice. And I am one happy Daddy.
Archie has now been added to a family history that includes four generations of Geelong supporters and over 90 years of history. Now to work on Lewis. Very soon, probably even next year, three generations of my family will be going to Geelong games together and screaming our guts out. You can’t buy that sort of life-long bonding material.
There are some things, specific to family culture, which overrule all those otherwise solid parenting guidelines. When they are much older I will show Archie and Lewis this rant and they will love me for it. Just like I love my old man for forcing me down this path many years ago. It set up years of Saturday afternoons together. Years of phone calls and visits to discuss ins and outs, injuries, team form, draft choices, disappointments for past seasons and hopes for upcoming seasons.
My Dad was born in 1951 the year the Cats won the first of back-to-back flags. He was clearly too young to remember it. I like to imagine my Grandfather listening to the radio, hanging on every minute of the game. He would have loved it.
Last year the mighty Cats won their first flag in 44 years. Dad and I witnessed our first Geelong Premiership together. This weekend the Cats are up for their second tilt at back-to-back flags. It’s an emotional week. Dad and I will be riding every minute desperate to see the Premiership cup in the hands of Captain Tom Harley and Coach Mark Thompson at the end of the game. We will party long and hard and I’ll have some great stories for Archie and Lewis to pass on to my grandkids. I love the fact that I had no choice in being a Geelong supporter. I had been at my first day of primary school and was mixing with a lot of wayward Corio kids, a few of who were filling my head with some crazy ideas.
When Dad came home from work I ran up to him and said, ‘Dad, I’m barracking for the Bombers now because they Bomb ‘em’’. A very cute, child-like thing to say.
Dad dropped his bag, knelt down, looked me in the eye and said, ‘You barrack for The Cats, mate, or you're moving out.’
That’s some pretty special parenting right there.
Go Cats! Back to Back flags 2007/2008.
Sep 17, 2008
For a while any animal Lewis encountered, from a stink beetle right up to an elephant, was a cat. We could be out for a walk and see a dog in the park and Lewis would shout,
‘Cat, Daddy! Wook! Cat! Cat!’
Same could occur at the Zoo if we saw a monkey or a lion or a seal. It was always good for a laugh for Reservoir Mum and I and even funny to people close by – “Aww, look at the cute little kid calling the seagull a cat.”
Shortly after Lewis realised that there were different names for all the animals in the world he began to work on his colours. If he saw something red or yellow or green he would yell,
‘Purple Daddy! Wook! Purple! Purple!’
Law of averages meant that every now and then he’d be correct in yelling cat while actually pointing to a cat or yelling purple while actually pointing to something purple. Whenever this happened I’d just look at the approving expressions of passers-by and give them the yes-my-son’s-a-genius nod.
These two word obsessions were always a source of amusement and something Reservoir Mum and I could take in our stride. I mean, it was temporary, it was a little funny and there was no risk of Lewis offending someone or – worse case scenario – saying something that could reflect badly on his parents.
Lewis’s new word obsession is a little different. Ever since we started reading the “Dr Seuss Tell The Time” book he has taken to searching out clocks everywhere we go – in supermarkets, town halls, on peoples’ wrists etc.
This would be just as innocuous as ever if he could pronounce it properly
It was a little awkward at the Chemist yesterday as we were waiting for a script to be filled. Lewis lifted his gaze from a tray of reduced-price vitamins and focussed on the man who had his hand in his front pocket and a big round-faced watch on his wrist. I saw what was unfolding and quickly reached for a bottle of vitamins as a means of distraction. It was a useless tactic however. Lewis began pointing madly in the direction of the man’s groin and shouting,
‘Cock Daddy. Wook! Cock! Cock!’
Unfortunately for me, the law of averages was at work again. Lewis just happened to be yelling ‘cock’ while pointing in the general vicinity of an actual penis.
I don’t know if I was imagining it but I seemed to detect a sense of uncertainty behind the head-tilting smiles of those around us. The receptionist did seem to turn away from us a lot quicker than people usually do when they see a cute kid say something funny.
Probably didn’t help that I did a 360 degree pirouette in a personal best time saying ‘cLock, Lewis, you mean c–LLL–ock.’ to anyone within ear shot.
The things kids do to their parents.
Thanks a lot Dr Seuss.
Sep 12, 2008
Here’s the transcript of the interview with Cecil the Emu which unfortunately ended in disagreement before any actual discussion on child-rearing could be entered into.
Home Dads in The Wild will next feature Stan the Marine Worm which I promise will be a much more informative article
Reservoir Dad: Welcome Cecil. I’m really looking forward to getting to the specifics of your approach to child-rearing and the sharing of home duties but I’m really… amazed at some other facts that I’ve come across while researching for this interview. Do you mind if I satisfy my own curiosity before we get to home-dadding specifically?
Cecil: Not at all. This is an exercise in getting to know other species and I’m all for it.
RD: Great. Okay. Now, reading from Wikipedia, once the male Emu begins to incubate the eggs they don’t “eat, drink or defecate” for nearly two months...
RD: How the hell do you do that?
Cecil: You stop eating the rest takes care of itself.
RD: Yeah, but why? I mean, can’t someone bring you some food?
Cecil: We don't really think about our own welfare at that stage. Making sure the eggs are well cared for is the most important thing a male Emu will ever do.
RD: But can't you just have a little food? Something small occasionally? I mean, what if I come past and drop a few live but legless grasshoppers on the ground or something.
Cecil: Nope. Wouldn't be interested.
RD: Some Saltbush catepillars?
RD: How about some ladybirds? Come on, you're telling me you'd sit there for a month and not eat a handul of ladybirds if I stuck them right under your beak?
Cecil: I’m not interested in food at that time, okay? We’re not like you humans. We don’t watch giant plasmas while we throw a ball to the kids. We like to be present, really present, the entire time we're with the kids.
RD: But you’re just sitting there, man. You could easily nibble on something. I'm worried you guys don't look after yourself. And if you can't look after yourself how can you look after your kids? Seriously?
Cecil: We don’t just sit there.
RD: What else do you do?
Cecil: Well, we have to stand up and turn the eggs.
RD: How often?
Cecil: Ten times a day sometimes.
RD: Hmmm. Still seems like a lot of downtime. You’re just keeping the eggs warm, aren't you? You’re like a giant electric blanket. Couldn’t you get your partner to sit on the eggs for a while, so you can get out and do something?
Cecil: Look, don’t go there…
RD: Oh yes, I see. “…infidelity is the norm for Emus, despite the initial pair-bond: once the male starts brooding, the female mates with other males…” That’s gotta hurt.
Cecil: Stings a bit.
RD: Here’s a tissue. So that’s why males sit on the eggs for two months and don’t eat - they’re depressed.
Cecil: Pretty much.
RD: Still seems strange to me though. I mean, I’ve been depressed before – four times when The Cats lost four Grand Finals, and once when I dreamt I won Tattslotto but then woke up and realised it was just a dream – but, shit man, I still defecated.
Cecil: Yeah, well that’s you, RD. Everyone’s different. Can't you see that? When I'm depressed, I don't defecate. I just don't.
RD: Okay okay. Sorry mate.
Cecil: ‘salright. Anyway, it’s all worth it when you first see their cute little faces poking out of the eggs.
RD: Um, sounds like it could be the hormones talking… I don’t want to add to the misery but have you had a close look at an emu face?
Reservoir Dad: Haha. You looked like Kramer then. “Jerry, when are you going to come see the baby!” haha
Cecil: You’re very harsh. I’m starting to feel a bit depressed already and we’re not even in breeding season yet. I mean, take away a faithful missus and some gorgeous kids and what is there?
RD: Two words, mate - Massive Plasma.
RD: Moving on. I interviewed an Emperor Penguin for Home Dads in the Wild # 1. He seemed to have an issue with his small arms. I notice that you also have very small arms, in comparison to your size. Do you have difficulty expressing your affection for your young ones, considering your inability to hug?
Cecil: We have some serious arm envy, don’t worry about that. But what we lack in arm we definitely make up for in size. So if I was you I’d be a bit more careful with the questions.
RD: What do you mean?
Cecil: I’m six foot five. How tall are you?
RD: About six foot.
Cecil: There you go…
RD: Yeah, but you’re all legs and neck. Take them out of the picture and you’re just a giant pom-pom.
Cecil: Careful buddy. It’s mating season soon. And in mating season our testosterone levels surge and our testicles double in size. Put that in your Wikipedia and smoke it.
RD: OOHH. Watch out! The giant pom-pom has balls.
Cecil: That’s it. This interview is over.
RD: Thanks for your time Cecil.
Cecil: And I’ll be telling my mates Jeff the Pouched Frog and Darryl the Spotted Sandpiper to think twice before agreeing to an interview.
RD: I don’t like threats. Why don’t you use your massive legs to get the hell out of here?
Cecil: We’re a minority group buddy! We should be banding together not tearing shreds of each other. Why can’t home Dads just get along? Why can't we all just get along?
Sep 9, 2008
Sep 7, 2008
I love it so much that I won’t even drink beer out of it. I’ll put it on the shelf and look at it every day. I didn’t even care that he showed me this present four days ago, as soon as I picked him up from Kinder, just so that he could eat the chocolates himself.
Nope, I love that little critter and I love being his Dad.
Lewis woke me up at 5am for Father’s day. He’s got the greatest little toothy grin and his warm face on my neck in the mornings is just as good as Archie’s little face on a stubby holder. (Somehow that doesn’t sound as sweet as I thought it would, but you get my drift.) If I could I’d put Lewis’s warm little face right next to the stubby holder on the shelf and look at it every day... um, I’ll move on.
This morning, I got to read the sport section of two newspapers without interruption (and without pretending that I needed to go to the toilet for thirty minutes) while I ate a shockingly easy-to-prepare breakfast. Check this out –
You try and tell me I’m not living large.
So what else do I have in store for Father’s day, loving my kids as much as I do, finding myself at this stage in my life so reliant on my family for my own happiness? An outing to the Zoo? A trip to the Aquarium? An hour or two at the Collingwood Children’s Farm?
Hang on. It’s Father’s Day, isn't it. Not kids day. (A quote from the Great Book of Dad Quotes, which my Dad referred to often - “It’s kids day everyday.”) So, I’m going to the Geelong St Kilda final at the MCG with a few mates. I’m going to have a few drinks and come back a bit tipsy. Yep, give me a kiss on the cheek kiddos. Next time I see you, you’ll be in PJ’s and all I’ll have to do for the whole day is tuck you in and sing you to sleep with a few renditions of the Geelong theme song.
I want to formally apologise to my parents for thinking that making you breakfast and cleaning my room was all you needed for Mother’s and Father’s Day. I should have opened the door, kicked you out and told you to have an entire day of doing something self-indulgent. (Dad, for you that would have been fishing and sipping some port-spiked coffee. Mum, for you that would have been reading self-help books and chanting positive affirmations or starting a new hobby –like raising geese, or building a water feature out of colored dog-hairs or completing a Masters Degree in Psychology.)
Sep 4, 2008
Getting motivated for grocery day takes a bit of doing. Two kids, shopping trolleys, rows and rows of biscuits, cakes and lollies. We all know the drill. It’s hard work. Throw in a couple of well meaning words from complete strangers like “Don’t worry, you’ll be home with Mummy soon kids” or “Hey, spending some time with Daddy are we?” and my gut starts firing like a box of firecrackers in a burning barn.
But shortly after waking, on this particular grocery day, I recieved some bad news from afar that acted like a good slap in the face and made me reflect on how good I've got it. I made a quick mental list of personal great things
- Reservoir Mum
- Two great kids
- A large extended family (all healthy. Well, the live ones anyway...)
- A house big enough for my whole family (and a Plasma)
- 2007 Geelong Premiership (with possibly 2008 Geelong Premiership to follow)
Bottom line is - I reasoned to myself - I've got it good.
The shopping wasn’t really so bad in the end. We got a park right out front. Kids were satisfied and quiet with a Muesli Bar each. I gave a homeless guy $1.50 and that made me feel pretty decent. When we emerged from ALDI the sun was shining, the birds were singing and the homeless man’s dog was licking my trouser leg. I gave him a Cheese Cracker and felt pretty decent about that as well.
Driving home I was feeling nostalgic. Boys needed to nap and I couldn’t be stuffed with the sleep hassles back home, so I pulled into Macdonald’s, bought a cappuccino, slipped my Dr Hook CD into the player, pumped it up to a level that kept the kids quiet but sleepy and drove around for half an hour until they dozed off.
Searching again for that feeling of decency I stopped, at one point, to let an elderly couple cross the road. Their gaze lingered on me as they hobbled past on their bone-density-depleted legs. They could see me singing. They could hear Dr Hook's gravelly vocals and they knew I had it good.
(Don't get me wrong, I'm under no illusions that I am an outrageously decent guy. I was doing some environmentally unfriendly, self-indulgent things – things that might even get this blog torn down – like driving around aimlessly and wasting fuel, buying stuff from MacDonald’s and subjecting the vulnerable brains of my young children to [what some people claim are] the cheesiest, most puerile lyrics in the history of music but I was feeling so damn good I couldn't stop, damn it.)
I got more money
Than a horse has hairs
Because my rich old Uncle died
And answered all my prayers
But having all this money
Is going to bring me down
If you ain't with me honey (Reservoir Mum)
To help me spread it around.
Man, I think that’s gold. And I don’t care who knows it. Now, for that song to really be relevant to me, we'll have to replace the word money, with the word riches (with riches referring to children, health, time, love etc - in other words, anything other than money or actual riches).
I drove past a few chicks at a bus stop. I looked through the open car window and sang Sharing The Night Together, as though I’d written the lyrics myself, just for them. They glared back at me wide-eyed as I drove past and I knew what they were thinking – “There goes a home Dad, oozing Dr Hook coolness, drinking coffee, rocking his children. Oh yeah, all right…”
I challenge you to try listening to that song in a warm car, buffeted gently from side to side, rolling down the streets of Reservoir with scenery like this –
enough groceries in the boot to feed your entire family for a week, enough time on your hands to let old couples hobble across the road, enough money to hand out hundreds of cents and a couple of cheese crackers to the homeless, sipping on a large double shot cappuccino, being oggled by young chicks who think you're cool, with two of the most important people in your life dozing in the backseat behind you while your wife works her arse off in one of the dozen different offices she works at around the city to bring home a shit-load of bacon.
I challenge you to do that and avoid the overwhelming sense of joy that takes you right to the verge of tears.
I’ll say it again. I’ve got it good.
I have some advice for all you people out there doing it a lot harder than I am (because, lets face it, it's easy to hand out advice when you've got it this good). In the immortal words of the greatest band ever, Dr. Hook -
Just pick your heart up off the floor
And try, try again...
This is a blog for what I call “real dads” — the kind that love to play with their kids and don’t mind changing stinky diapers. It’s for the kind of father who’s heart breaks because he’s at work all day instead of being home raising his children. Not every dad is a real dad, and that’s OK. But if you’ve sought out this blog, then you probably are.
While you're there check out Daddy Brain's series of interviews with author Mark Brady.
Mark’s insight on how the brain of a child is physically damaged by emotional abuse, yelling and hitting is amazing. We also discuss parental exhaustion/stress and how to help our kids develop “secure attachment.”
Sep 3, 2008
Ever since Lewis discovered that the neat little toilet roll hanging next to the toilet can turn into a massive paper snake that stretches as far around the house as he’s willing to pull it, I’ve had to publicly chastise him (in front of his brother) and manually roll up toilet rolls at least a dozen times.
Well, I am over it. I've tried to be vigilant in keeping the toilet rolls away from him but he always manages to steal the opportunity to unravel when I am least expecting it. He’s addicted to unravelling and I have to accept that and do my best to help him.
So from now on, when a new toilet roll is needed, I will unravel it myself and heap it at the foot of the toilet bowl.(We tried ridding the entire house of toilet paper but that proved to be even more unpleasant than dealing with Lewis’s addiction.)
To family and guests who drop by I extend apologies in advance. I will do my best to leave an end visible at all times but if you have trouble feel free to tear from the middle of the pile.
When we are visiting I will contact you in advance. If you could unravel your toilet paper rolls beforehand it would be much appreciated. Unfortunately, until Lewis’s addiction is curtailed, we will have to avoid all private and public places with properly organised toilet rolls. The risks are just too great. And Lewis’s future is too important to risk.
This addiction has affected our family enough.
Sep 2, 2008
Trying to find time to express your creative talents when you are raising children is very tough wether you're a stay-at-home-Dad or Mum, as this book testifies: Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood. That's why my sensitive artist's heart has been broken by The Nanny Fairy's latest cleaning frenzy.
Every now and then, after Nanny and Gramps come around for babysitting, I find something has been cleaned, or folded, or wiped down, or knocked down, rebuilt and spraypainted. And I really appreciate the efforts - most of the time.
This morning I stood staring at the inside of the microwave for a full minute before I realised that my first real attempt at abstract art - an exercise that has taken a good month of effort, spaghetti sauce, egg, roast fat, cream cheese and countless other explosive food elements - had been wiped clean out of existence.
It had taken me a long time to refine the process of overheating different foodstuffs to splash just the right amount of color around the microwave’s interior. Not to mention bowl and plate placement to ensure a particular shape of splatter. Yep, it was the hard gruelling slog that only a true leather-arsed artist can appreciate.
Sure, I am no Jackson Pollock, but there was heart and there was soul in that piece of work. And now it’s gone like a Sand Mandala in the wind. I guess I should be more Buddhist about it.
Oh well, nothing a true artist like me can do except stay dedicated and strong. I have already re-undercoated the interior with two bowls of Weetbix. Several different high fat, over-sauced dishes will start my work afresh and keep me on track to realise my artistic dream – the opening of my own Gallery displaying a growing collection of Microwave Art.
THE ART HATER
P.S. Thanks Nanny.