Sometimes I am amazed by my own parental naivety. Perhaps its more a case of not learning, or history repeating, or something more relating to mental health than popular cliche, but I’m now up to at least 4 times that I’ve uttered the exact words “well, now that she’s peed on the floor, at least we know she wont be peeing again for a little while” only to find myself shortly thereafter on my hands and knees soaking up another precious little puddle from my precious little puddle-making machine… usually while she stands idly by watching and giggling. Recently she has taken to running behind the curtain in our bedroom to deposit her liquidy gift… a treasure that I often don’t find until later in the day as I’m hurrying to locate one of my a rare shirts that doesn’t have snot stains on the shoulder or vomit stains down the front, before rushing out to act grown up (well, you know, only slightly immature) with other grown ups in a grown up venue talking about grown up things (actually, we usually talk about our baby’s poop and pee, but we sort of do so in grown up way – ie while quaffing a glass of beer). As is the case last week, this whole process usually results in me being late (and being growled at by countless dogs on my walk to the grown up’s venue) because I’ve needed throw my socks in the dryer and wait the 10 minutes for them to go from soggy to merely damp (but somewhat warm… which feels disturbingly pleasant). But, it makes for an excellent 1-upmanship story when I get to the pub. Err… grown up venue. Brilliant!
Jogging on my own was always burden. Jogging with my little girl is a delight. She has even transformed the pre-jog preparation process from one of anticipatory dread into one of carefree gaiety as she giggles and squeals with delight, sitting patiently (note: rarer than a white-horned rhinoceros) in the stroller, waiting for me to put on my shoes, do 25 seconds of token stretching (don’t tell my wife, she thinks I do a full half hour stretch before and after every run… ain’t nobody got time for that) and assemble the 1500 baby-care items that I’m legal required to shove into the overloaded stroller each time I wish to depart the safe cocoon of our downtown apartment without being sued for parental negligence if I happen to forget an important article of clothing or chew toy. My daddy-daughter jogs were spectacularly transformed 2 weeks ago when I upgraded her ride from the feeble Gussy and Gus crapola-stroller that handled slightly worse than a shopping trolling (complete with comedic front wobbly wheel that threw a tantrum every time I cornered) too fast, to the slick, sleek and soulful Bob Revolution – a piece of machinery so delightful that I often wonder which states in the US would legally allow me to marry it (not that I ever would, I don’t believe in polygamy). The engineering is so Germanly precise that when I’m running around the city I feel like a race car driver negotiating the tight turns of the Monaco grand prix. I no longer even notice the incredulous stares from passersby as I zig-zag between cracks on the pavement and make loud VROOM VROOM sounds or yell “GET OUT OF MY WAY, THERE IS A BOMB ON BOARD AND I CAN’T DROP BELOW 60″ to further entertain my daughter. And thankfully, the two times that we crashed I had remembered to buckle her in, so aside from some minor whiplash she probably got from the sudden stop, there was no major damage. In fact, she thought it was part of the race car game and seems a little disappointed each time I narrowly miss the small dogs that I’m deliberately driving close to in order to scare the bajeezus out of them (you can guess what happened on the 2 actual collisions). Oh god, I hope this doesn’t create some sort of dog-torturing predisposition when she is older. I guess I’ll be the one paying for her teenage why-do-I-want-to-hurt-dogs therapy sessions. What joy!
Which dad doesn’t enjoy a bit of goofy pantomime for his little princess? My two favourites are “look-mummy’s-undies-are-my-headband” and “ooh-ooh-I’m-admiral-diaper-head” (for my non-North American readers please substitute “nappy” for “diaper” and forgive me for selling out with my vocabulary… although I hope you gave me some credit for using “favourites” rather than “favorites”… although to be honest, my spell check is US English which means that I often have no idea what I’m doing.) Well, let’s just say that after a somewhat hilarious (note: it wan’t hilarious) miscommunication between husband and wife, I shant be playing admiral-diaper-head again on account of the mental trauma I sustained after slamming a somewhat soiled diaper on my forevermore-tainted cranium (note: it was poopy man… like… really poopy… you know?… I put poo on my head… actual poo… and it got in my hair and stuff… that’s just wrong, like really wrong… you just don’t get over that sort of thing, it stays with you, it haunts you!) The only solace I could take is that my daughter found my squealing and head slapping, and my wife’s laughing (and video taping) hilarious and I swear to god actually slapped her thigh, hillbilly style, while tears of joy where streaming down her face. Given that Admiral Poopy Head wont be coming back, I better go rummage around in my wife’s underwear drawer for some inspiration for my next performance. After all, my audience now has some pretty high expectations for me to live up to. Wish me luck!
All it takes is a smile from my little girl and I feel a million bucks. When she giggles, then shakes her head, then theatrically runs away from my scary-monster impression, I truly believe that I am her superhero. I am aware that this may not last forever, that an apocalyptic teenage tsunami has been forecast and that I should be building my beachfront bungalow of fatherhood from concrete and steel with a nice high sandbag wall rather than quaint palm fronds holding up a decorative mud roof. Well-intentioned friends have warned with Nostradamus-esk prognostication that my little butterfly is destined to turn into a caterpillar, but not a cute little green one that nibbles on leaves, instead one with fangs and claws and hormones derived from kryptonite which has the power to transform Super Dad into Villain Dad, despite performing the same heroic deeds. But you know what? I don’t mind. It’s part of being a Super Dad. How else can Super Dad prove his epic qualities if not properly tested by Cranky Teen Girl (and for good measure from time-to-time by BeautifullyWonderfulButSometimesUnpredictablyGrumpyButIStillLoveHerAnywayBecauseSheIsAwesome Woman)? After all, the true quality of a super hero is how he responds during the tough times. For now though, I will bask in the good times and cherish the fact that there is one adorable little girl who wants nothing more than to be my faithful crime-fighting sidekick. And who knows, perhaps she’ll defy the naysayers and grow into NotAtAllCranky Teen Girl.
Well, my wife finally caught me playing dress-up with our daughter. I don’t care. I’m not ashamed. I’m proud that I can be adaptable with entertaining my daughter… and that I can actually fit into my wife’s skirt and bra. Well, I had to make some modifications… specifically I had to tie 2 bras together to get them to fit around my chest and had to wear the skirt more as a long shirt. I think I broke the zipper. They aren’t as tough as jean zippers. I think she was probably most upset about me stretching most of her underpants (took me a while to find a colour my daughter approved of) – I could have sworn I was a size 2… either that or the massive pile of leg hairs I left in the bathroom from my afternoon shave. I’m not going to forget that ill-considered decision any time soon (already I have half a dozen in-grown hairs… how come no one on the how-to-dress-like-a-woman forum mentioned that?!) Despite the trail of damaged clothing and ruined cosmetic products, my daughter had one hell of a time pretending to be Lady Gaga, eating lipstick, running mascara through her hair and helping daddy try to figure out how to wriggle out of various pairs of painfully ill-fitting frilly undies. Ah, the memories she’ll now forever have.
What starts in proud parenting ends in my precious tablet stylus (the thing I used to create my redonkulous drawings, straight onto the computer… complete with undo and erase, which I might add is moderately important for someone devoid of artistic ability) being unceremoniously launched from our 8th floor balcony into the abyss of vindictive spiky thorn bushes that have been so delicately care for by the well-intentioned, but evil, ground staff. I searched for all of 30 seconds before the deathvillias (or whatever they are, who deliberately grows plant with spikes?) were declared victors and I skulked home. Without my stylus I have resorted to using an actual pen and actual paper, two things which I remember from my distant past school days and have lost touch with since the 90s. I’m treating this as an opportunity for self-improvement, however, and spent the majority of the day hanging out with a local artists group, sipping mint tea and staring at trees while rubbing charcoal on my oversized art sketch book. I wont subject you to that creation, but lets just say that the result was my interpretation of emptiness on a moonless night (ie. I got mad when my tree looked more like a squirrel than a tree so I used up half of my over-priced charcoal stick to colour my entire page black – Brilliant!)
My wife has inadvertently figured out how to rouse my tired butt out of bed and in doing so has probably discovered the power of an Achilles Heel, trojan horse, kryptonite and pide piper’s pipe all rolled into one sneaky package. No matter what time it is, if she cooks bacon and points the fan so that the bacony goodness points towards our room, no matter how tired, how hung over or how… hung over (okay, fine, this is all about me being hung over and not wanting to get out of bed)… no matter how, *tired* I am, I am helpless to resist the allure of the bacon waft as it gently caresses my hung over nostrils and whispers “better get out here before she eats me” into my hung over ears. All of which has lead me to conclude that if I could be bothered to invent a bacon alarm clock and sold it to those wives and girl friends not averse to the occasional underhanded tactic to get their way (ie. every single woman) – especially against the snoring, stinky, booze-sloth camped in their bed – then I bet I’d make a fortune. The lucky lady would simple need to set the alarm before heading out to her 6am yoga session and have faith that her brave alco-warrior would be incapable of resisting arising from his slumber to devour the tasty, salty, fatty trickery that is the bacon. Brilliant!
I find it fascinating that parenting becomes a battle of comparisons. All the time parents are asking each other whether their kid is walking yet, can they speak, how many teeth they have, are they toilet trained, yadda yadda. I take great delight in short circuiting their entire goal-setting system by blatantly, but sincerely, fabricating my daughter’s accomplishments and capabilities. Its evil, but quite amusing. For example, because our little girl is quite small for her age, I tell people that she is far younger than she actually is so that she looks incredibly advanced compared to other kids. I often take her to mingle with the 6 month old kids (she is currently 14 months but smaller than some of the “more well fed” kids) and when she stands up and starts walking around I say things like “I bought this experimental hormone online from China, it makes her nose bleed a lot, but oh man her little brain is really developing rapidly… you should see how well she can poop all on her own”. If I’m in a theatrical mood I’ll pull out a little bag of white powder (its actually just finely ground cashew nuts), carefully measure out a little spoonful and feed it to her. And let me tell you, this really turns some heads! Then I usually grab her by the hand and loudly announce that her guitar lessons are starting soon and that we have to go if she wants to keep up with the 2 year olds. That pretty much puts an end to all such conversations about developmental accomplishments and comparisons, letting us all get back to just being who we are without labels or judgements. After all, every little kid is perfect just the way they are, right?
I’ll be brief because Tori is currently eating the plastic wrapping that our laundry detergent came in and I’m not sure how long it will keep her distracted. The big news is that I’ve lost a belt size. Hazzah! My grueling work out regime of walking to and from the coffee shop 3 times per day so that I can brag about how cool it is to work from home, combined with forgetting to cook at least 2 of my daily meals each day seems to be paying off. I spent a good part of 3 hours looking at myself in the mirror and doing body builder poses, which in and of itself turned out to be a pretty hefty workout. Anyway, I’m off to celebrate by going downstairs to T&T supermarket (the chinese supermarket that we live above which specialises in GMO, MSG and pastries that never go stale or moldy even if left in the sun) to purchase a king size pack of Portuguese Egg Tarts. Why undo the good work you ask? It’s simple (now that I’ve been educated in the advanced motivational techniques of modern day north america). They say that the first couple of pounds are the easiest to lose, so if you want that amazing feeling of progress on a regular basis, just keep losing the same couple of pounds over and over. Talk about a winning strategy! Brilliant!
I have a public service announcement for parents – be responsible, and don’t drink alcohol. Not because of the health implications (although I’m enjoying my journey of getting fit and healthy and actually think that avoiding booze for that reason is pretty legit) but because of the nasty, nasty ramifications of having a hangover in the presence of a 1 year old (or 2 year old or 3 year old or most likely any year old if I’m not mistaken). Trust me. Don’t have a hangover. Ever. I think there is some sort of magical evolutionary mechanism that children have which significantly enhances their ability to find and sustain the perfect pitch, frequency, repetition, cadence, velocity, tempo, variance and decibel level to completely and utterly smash any ability to function as a living organism when one is hungover. My daughter seemed to have a sixth sense for which pots to bang on, what sort of cry to belt out and which eyeball to poke for maximum impact (turns out it was the left one). And to make matters worse, she totally can feel my pain and finds it thoroughly hilarious. I have a horrible, nagging feeling that she is consciously getting payback for the other night where I forced her to stay at the table and eat her vegetables. The fact that she woke me up at 5:45am by jamming half a head of cauliflower into my slightly ajar mouth tells me that this indeed has been a day of retribution and revenge. Hats off to you my clever daughter, you win this round… and I hope you enjoy tonight’s dinner of brussel sprouts and cod liver oil. Mwahahaha!
Yesterday I thought I was so clever, so sneaky, but my 1 year old brutally put an end to intellectual smugness. Like always, she had woken me up at ridiculous o’clock and howled like an entire pack of desert wolves from an old cowboy movie until I agreed to play Duplo (the big lego blocks that are kinda fun but also kinda useless because every vehicle we build ends up looking like a box factory full of boxes being joined together by other boxes) with her. I figured that while she was engrossed in destroying the fuselage of the spaceship I had built (ie. the 2 rectangles at the front as opposed to the 3 rectangles at the back) I would take a little sneaky old man nap next to her on the carpet. As I’m sure you have already guessed by my drawing, I was abruptly awoken from my brief slumber by a savage blow to the groin by the stupid box-factory spaceship (which to its credit, actually stayed fully intact during its high velocity re-entry back to planet “Ricks-Crotch” – credit where credit is due to Duplo for its quality craftsmanship). As a new dad, this was my first experience with groin-shot but I have a dreadful feeling that it wont be my last. Given that we would like to one day have child number 2 (although my groin is now having a serious ambivalence dilemma regarding its stance on this notion) I’m seriously considering wearing a jock-strap and groin protector on a regular basis. Probably need a throat guard too. Actually, I think its best if I just start wearing my entire hockey gear all day, every day, 24-7. Brilliant!
13 Reasons why my 1 year old daughter is better than a cat:
1. She doesn’t try to slice my arms to pieces when I tickle her tummy.
2. She helps me type on my keyboard by tapping at it instead of just sitting on it and falling asleep and then getting pissy when I try to move her.
3. She knows that sand is not for pooping in… actually… except for that one time at the beach… but she’d eaten a lot of food and was excited.
4. She eats more than just more-expensive-than-gold canned food.
5. She never tries to sit on my face while I’m sleeping.
6. Her tongue doesn’t feel like icky sandpaper when she licks me.
7. She acknowledges my existence at times other than when she is hungry.
8. She has more than 1 facial expression.
9. She doesn’t waggle her bum in the my face when I scratch the base of her tail.
10. She actually enjoys bath time.
11. When she sings it doesn’t make my eardrums bleed.
12. She is rarely on heat and has yet to attract unwanted strays to our house.
13. When I hug her, she hugs me back!
Today I taught my daughter to burp. Proudest day of my life. Seriously, I think this is even more special in the whole parent-child bonding than actually giving birth to the child. Peggy may have brought our child into the world, but I gave her the gift of a life skill that she will have forever. What’s more, she now knows that after you burp, you laugh uproariously, slap your thigh, pump your fist, crawl around the room dragging your butt like a dog with worms, wave your hand in front of your mouth a few times and high five your daddy who is has similarly just finished this same ritual. And when Peggy says that this is all vulgar and disgusting and that it will result in Tori never finding a man and getting married I know that deep down she is actually also incredibly proud of our little belching-machine and is just a tad jealous that it was me, and not her, that brought this gift to our child. Okay, got to go, we’ve got an alphabet to learn… if you know what I mean! Brilliant!
Philosophical question: Are children inherently evil? Some days I think yes. Today. I. Think. Yes. For the past few days, my daughter has decided that the demonic hour of 4-something o’clock in the morning is the perfect time to be inconsolably awake and upset and as loud as loud can be. That’s the evil part – she is fire alarm loud. If she had manners she would politely chirp like those cute little birds in the morning that we all love to wake up to. Oh how I long for a snooze button on my child. This morning I even tried yelling out “Just another 15 minutes goddamnit!” which actually momentarily confused her and halted the crying for a few precious seconds, but of course, like the old people in the supermarket who have their phones set to swiftly increase in volume from reasonable up to forgot-to-put-in-my-hearing-aid-this-morning levels, my daughter renewed her efforts with neighbours-are-gonna-hate-us gusto and vigour. Although now I come to think about it, we don’t like our neighbours because the ones downstairs play loud music every other weekend and the ones upstairs stomp around and pee loudly in the middle of the night. Maybe I’m being unfair on my daughter, perhaps her howling is just misunderstood petty vengence that she is attempting to extract on our inconsiderate neighbours on our behalf. Hmmm. That’s actually pretty evil.
Oh god, I’ve reached a new parenting milestone. The “you-can’t-pick-your-nose-in-front-of-your-child-because-they-will-start-picking-their-nose-and-tell-your-wife-that-it-was-you-who-showed-them-how-to-do-it-and-then-they-of-course-spend-every-waking-hour-trying-to-shove-their-entire-fist-all-the-way-through-to-their-brain-while-giggling-and-saying-daddy-daddy” phase. In fact I’ve realised that so much of my day-to-day management of my daughter is ensuring that her mother does not find out about my parental incompetence. Today Tori at a piece of a toy that will no doubt take 6 weeks to and when I didn’t freak out (but Peggy did) I nearly let it slip that “oh don’t worry, she’s eaten much worse / bigger / moldier / rustier / sharper things than that”. Thankfully the little man in my head who is usually sound asleep dreaming about vacations in Mexico woke up in the nick of time to matrix-slow-mo-leap-through-the-air and yank on the “emergency dont-you-dare-say-that-you-idiot brake” which resulted in me peeing a little and belching so violently that it muffled and disguised my damning admission in a manner that was perceived by my wife as yet another example of my typical juvenile and incompetent interpersonal communication skills. Thanks yet again to the little-man-in-my-head for allowing me to be seen as interpersonally inept rather than idiotically negligent! Brilliant!
Apparently being unconscious in a pool of one’s own vomit in the middle of the Creekside Community Center gymnasium during a game of pick-up indoor soccer qualifies one for an emergency trip to the ER as well as being a free target for the amused ridicule of a dozen middle-aged Mexicans, Brazilians and Eastern European men who think that my inability to run 2 lengths of a basketball court without passing out is worthy of hearty laughter and pantomimed re-enactment during their subsequent post-goal scoring celebration antics. I realised early in the game that my recent stint of fatherly inactivity (by recent, I mean the past year or so) had sapped the once-legendary (legendary in my mind, anyway) spring from my step, so I cleverly volunteered to stand in goal after each pathetic attempt at running and kicking the ball. I was soon found out for the slacker I was and forced to participate in actual movement, leading to my ultimate literal downfall. I did learn 2 fundamentally valuable lessons today which I plan to pass on to my daughter in earnest: 1) don’t eat 4 pieces of cheesecake immediately prior to playing indoor soccer; 2) ambulance rides are really cool. Oh, and vomiting is actually a really great ab workout! Brilliant!
I learned a valuable lesson today. Never cut your 1 year old daughter’s hair without your wife present to supervise, approve, hold the scissors, do the cutting, do the adjustments, and anything else that in any way, shape or form resembles actually cutting her hair. What started out as snipping a couple of errant wisps of hair (while she was sitting on the toilet taking her sweet time to get to the point if you know what I mean and I was bored of reading the damn ABC book again and making the time-to-do-a-poo-now noise) ended in every one of the hairs on the front part of her head being accurately and, might I say, skillfully in a perfectly straight line… which inspired me to attempt to make the rest of her hair also in a straight line… which I did to perfection! Well… so…. granted, technically what I’ve done is given her a bowl hair cut (without needing a bowl!) which I do concede now that I’ve had time to reflect, does makes her look: 1) like a boy; 2) like her parents are idiots; 3) like she time traveled to us directly from 1982. Alas, my argument of “but now you get to know what its like having a little boy” has fallen on deaf ears. But if enough people like this post she’ll consider forgiving me. Maybe. But on the bright side, I’ve got some great photos to embarrass my daughter when she starts dating! Teenage girls can handle that sort of stuff right?
All decency has been lost. I am now entirely comfortable doing my morning business while entertaining a 1 year old. Is it that I have no shame? Or is it that her olfactory receptors are so pre-developed that her brain cannot sense the profound danger she is in. In a moment of sheer cognitive confusion for myself this morning, she gave me a standing ovation after I completed reading / singing the ABC book to her. Perhaps, deep down, she truly knows what it took for me to multi-task in such a coordinated and musical manner.
13 Reasons why my 1 year old daughter is better than a puppy:
1. She still loves me even when I forget to feed her.
2. She laughs after I burp.
3. I can carry her on my back to get an even better workout when I go walking.
4. She can be off-leash in any park, not just special dog ones.
5. She has never (that I’m aware of) sniffed another kid’s bum as a way of greetings.
6. She can throw as well as fetch. Sort of.
7. She finds and eats old food that has been dropped on the floor (oh wait, I guess a puppy does this too… we’ll call that point a tie).
8. She pretends to be all shy and cutesy when she’s helping me chat up girls in the supermarket which is a killer-wingman-effective maneuver.
9. She knows more sounds than just “woof” and “yap yap”.
10. She can get us priority customer service in retail stores if she cries loud enough and for long enough.
11. She thinks it funny when I put her mother’s underwear on her head.
12. She threw her mother’s iPhone into the toilet but completely respects her father’s superior Android device.
13. She is beautiful and I love her!
A lifetime of office work has rendered body (and also my soul to some extent) a pathetic shadow of its supple, youthful self. According to my physio therapist, I am “a gnarled, tangled, knotted, inflexible mess that shouldn’t be permitted to be seen in public for fear of sending a bad message to children”. Although, she did say it with a huge smile and what appeared to be dollar signs over her eyes. Apparently I am less flexible than rigamortis with hamstrings tighter than piano wire and perma-claws for wrists that makes me look like I’m constantly doing the Austin Powers “grrr, whose a tiger, baby, whose a tiger” motion. She asked me to touch my toes and then proceeded to laugh so hard that snot shot out her nose. She called in 3 colleagues to witness my cant-even-reach-his-knees-let-alone-his-toes, two of whom started filming with their iPhones (compounding my shame, given that, as you know, I am an Andoid guy) while the third just stood and tut tutted over over. You know, “tut, tut. tut, tut. tut, tut. tut, tut. etc.” He threw in a couple of “tsk tsks” for good measure. I’m trying to see the positive in all of this though… so I’ve purchased a couple of costumes and am starting a side business as an Austin Powers impersonator. Yeah baby!
It finally happened. After 3 consecutive days of wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a t-shirt around the house, I forgot to put on pants when I took Tori to the supermarket. Once I realised my mishap (side note: thanks to the elderly Chinese lady who politely pointed out my folly by slugging me in the nuts with her old-lady handbag… don’t worry, a few more hours of ice and the bruising should subside) I did my best to pretend that this was a hip, urban fashion choice by tucking my t-shirt into my boxers and speaking loudly on my mobile phone about an upcoming rave I was pretending to be organising for the weekend. I said “yo” at least a dozen times. Threw in a few “dawgs” here and there as well. “yo dawg”. Brilliant. Pretty sure it worked because as I was leaving I had a couple of sheepish teenage girls approach me and ask me if I had any weed to sell them. And… umm… don’t tell Peggy… but looks like we’re having a rave at our place this weekend. What exactly is a rave, anyways?