October 2006 Archives

A Father's Love

Dear Finn

"How about you give that strawberry to Dad." (You trot over and hand Dad the strawberry).

Dad eats the strawb and then hands you back the stem section. "How about you take that and put it in the rubbish bin."

Mum opens the rubbish cupboard for you while you trot back and carefully place the strawberry remains in the bin.

Dad is stoked.

"Hey, it's going to way less time than I thought, till he can get me a beer!"



Dear Finn

You have just turned 15 months old. There is no more crawling to be seen...except perhaps when you accidentally trip on your enormous size 4 feet and have to pretend that closely examining the ground was what you intended all along. Your balance is getting better and better, and you love to go for walks...I only have to mention the word and you're pawing at the front door waiting to be let out so you can race to the lift and reach for the buttons. You're getting quite good at following Mum and Dad when they go somewhere and less likely to just zone out and stare at any passing interest. A bus. A bicycle. Random person X. Fascinating stuff. You followed me all the way through the supermarket yesterday and didn't even pull anything off the shelves, despite dedicated observation of various bottles of juice. I suspect this will not last, so I mention it here as the nirvana of supermarket shopping with a toddler.

You have your little tasks which you insist on performing. You lug the rubbish down to the skip. A bundle so heavy with its two items that you stop every now and then, put it down and have a micro rest before continuing. You cart your dirty nappies to the rubbish bin cupboard and check that someone is coming with you to open said cupboard so that you can add your naps to the rubbish. You lunge for these used nappies with a desperation bordering on addiction. Woe betide the person who delays your mission by attempting to transform an unstable train wreck nappy into a reasonably portable item, an item that will manage to contain its contents at least as far as the rubbish bin, when clutched in a small chubby determined hand. Omigod. What was your Mother thinking? Those few metres give me palpitations every time.

I am trying to teach you to use the watering can. With stage 4 water restrictions about to hit any day now, I need all the help I can get. But no matter how much we demonstrate watering the pots, you find the water itself far more exciting. You water your foot. You water the paving stones, you turn the whole watering can upside down so you can get a proper waterfall...not that pathetic sprinkle that comes out the end. You then skate precariously around on the slippery wet paving stones while your Mother entertains visions of fractured skulls and broken bones.

It's hard sometimes dude, watching you on the edge of possible injury or destruction. Yesterday in a shop you knocked a candle off a shelf and put a dent in it. I felt the need to buy it, despite the protestations of the owner, and the fact that I had no desperate longing for a bright orange aromatic candle. But I suspect these sorts of instances will be the least of my worries...as team sports, cars and chicks enter your horizon. It's a hard one. We walk the line between letting you jam your fingers every once in a while in a drawer without doing permanent damage, and preventing you from walking out into fast moving traffic...and we hope like hell that this is the right line. We're letting you learn and we're letting you live. You bump and you bounce, you protest these limits on your freedom and you don't understand.

But one day you will. You will hopefully realise that no matter what, your parents loved you, they did the best they could and it was all...FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.



Dear Finn

It's been rather a while since I wrote, we have only just got back from holiday. We tripped you over to New Zealand to spend time with your grandparents and then on to Western Australia where we had some mates getting married. You were remarkably tolerant of all this movement which we are profoundly grateful for...I suspect it could've been much worse. The one lesson we did learn very early on was never to transport you anywhere new when you were fast asleep. You tended to wake up in a terrified shaking mess with nothing familiar around you...petrified at the strangeness of it all. But given some time to sniff around, explore a bit, pull open a few cupboards, put a few things in the rubbish bin...you were generally fine. You did spend a large proportion of your nights in bed with us, but that's pretty standard for holidays. Your time zones get so out of whack you're never quite sure if you're meant to be awake or not. You faithfully went to sleep when we put you in your carseat...at least for a while and when we got complacent with our wine tasting in Margaret River, we just used to park you out the front and leave you there...checking on you periodically with a glass of fine fine cabernet sauvignon in hand. What a fine family we make. We encourage you to sleep in unattended cars. You allow us to drink.

Eating was interesting. Or not. But anyway. It's pretty difficult in strange cities to find food suitable for small children that isn't chicken nuggets and chips, fish and chips or hot dogs and chips. I had no idea when you were hungry anyway, due again to the whole time zone thing. You ate a lot of muffin bars. Sausage rolls. Rice crackers. The chicken nuggets you hated. Didn't even get a lick of tastebud. Fair enough too. You may not know much but you know rank. I wouldn't have been surprised if those things had only briefly brushed shoulders with a road-kill chicken before been strenuously deep fried to remove all texture and flavouring of anything edible and served with a pricetag large enough to induce gagging before the food did. Overall you did survive largely on a pile of lardy sugar-infested deep fried crap. Which is not that much different from what you get at home except your mother makes it. With love. And everyone knows that home-cooked lardy sugar-infested crap, made lovingly, is way better for you. What is my point? I have no idea. Just don't sue me when you get the heart disease.

The one hugely notable thing from our time away, as opposed to lots of less notable things, is that you had your first taste of a babysitter. A total stranger in a strange hotel room to come and mind you for an evening. We were petrified. Terrified that you would howl and carry on and refuse to settle for anyone but your parents. Indispensible we thought we were. Oh, how delusional. Melinda was superb. Knew what she was doing. Played with you. Reassured us. She even called me during the wedding to let me know you were asleep. What an angel she was. And how good you were. Marvellous.

So that was largely our last holiday. You rode on your first bicycle. You figured out how to use a straw to suck up Coke. That was your Dad, NOT me. I would NEVER offer you something so unhealthy. Ha! You decided that wearing your hat was not the sentence of fashion death after all. Well not all the time. You met some lambs and thought they looked like fun to chase. Ditto quokkas. Ditto black swans. Ditto cars, dogs, bicycles. You seemed to enjoy your new experiences. I hope you did. You're very tolerant of our dragging you all over the place and I thank you for it. You're a sweetie.