Friday, December 31, 2010

Making Judgments.

You wouldn’t bloody believe it. We were out at Bubs Baby Shop looking for a booster seat so that James can join us at the dining table for meals since he’s started protesting at his IKEA high chair. It was mid morning and he should’ve been at his best, but hey, he’s a toddler now and they’re prone to going off the boil without warning. Not that there wasn’t warning, he was happily playing at the sample Thomas the Tank table. Moving the trains around, imagining himself to be the new fat controller in town, while Mrs AHD was getting the sales pitch on the numerous options available. We (James & I) were then summonsed to hear the re-interpretation of the pitch in relation to the 3 or so models that passed muster based on fiduciary considerations and functionality, and James was needed to take a position in each of the chair add-ons in a mock meal-time scenario. Well, buggered if he was going to be a party to that activity when there was a train full of coal on the Island of Sodor that needed shunting somewhere else. So, that’s the background to the flip out that ensued. Not quite nuclear. Wouldn’t rate a 9 either. But it was the biggest that we had seen him throw. We tried to cajole him. We knew it would only take a minute to work out which chair would best seat his backside but he wasn’t in an amiable state of mind. There were tears. There was yelling. There was writhing in my arms. There was lots of ‘No, Daddy, No.’ And there were lots of looks in our direction. Judging looks. Looks as if to say, ‘Can’t you control that child of yours.’ Mrs AHD and I did what all good self-effacing parents would do. We beat a hasty retreat for the door and the safety of the car park knowing that we could come again another day, in a month or so's time when they’ve forgotten our faces and someone else’s child has gone berko in between time. In the car on the way home, Mrs AHD and I were recounting the events. Having a bit of a laugh about it. And we both, almost simultaneously mentioned the looks we had been getting. ‘You noticed them too?’ I asked. ‘How could I not?’ she replied. ‘How rude!’ I exclaimed. And that’s the point of this post. Where, if not in Bubs Baby Shop, is it more acceptable for a toddler to go mental and chuck a tantrum? I mean, every parent in that shop should have been empathizing with us, not judging us. And thus we decided, those who had cast a harsh gaze in our direction must have been first-timers who were still only up to purchasing teething rings and jolly jumpers, or worse still, they were the couples with their first on the way and they were shopping for the perfect nursery furniture for their utopian vision of what family life will be like, well, I hope they enjoyed a glimpse of the future... Ouch, now I’m coming across as the one making judgments.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I’m finding this return to blogging a bit difficult. I’m not too sure what to write about. And I feel like it’s a struggle finding my voice again. I used to have a stack of story ideas on one side. Each one had a sentence here or a paragraph there that I had jotted down and which I found useful for getting me started. I can’t remember the movie but there was a character that would reach into his pockets and pull out scraps of paper, beer coasters and cigarette packets that had phrases and words and sentences written down to jog the memory. I wasn’t quite that rumpled, I stored my ideas on a USB.

And then I went back to work as a teacher and I wasn’t disciplined enough to develop those ideas that I had started, although I did add to them as I remembered things, and I would take the USB backwards and forwards from home to work, just in case I got the time or the motivation, or whatever it is that gets you doing something.

Then one day I was marking some Power Point presentations that my Grade 5 class had completed as part of an assignment and I thought how much easier it would be if I just saved them to my USB and then I could take them home and mark them at my leisure. And so I handed out my USB and each student was to save their work and pass it on.

I should point out that I had never taught as young as Grade 5 and as my time with this class progressed I found myself revising downwards my expectations of what they should be capable of, to the point that after 2 weeks I decided that there was a need to run some remedial lessons in how to rule up their books and how to cut and paste efficiently.

But anyway, knowing their love of Play Station and Nintendo DS and Atari (ok, that one’s from my generation) and all things compooter-like, I thought I was fairly safe in giving out the USB. I was only asking them to plug it in, save their work, and then pass it on. Well, I think you know where this is heading. I was helping one boy when another approached me with the USB in his hand, then I noticed that there were 2 pieces to the USB. It was broken. How could it be broken? Was there a maximum number of plug ins and pull outs it had that I didn’t know about?

Although I’m sure my facial expression betrayed my disappointment I told the boy that it wasn’t a big problem and we could always get another USB to save the Power Points to etcetera, etcetera. Meanwhile, I was thinking, that’s my freaking USB with all my blog ideas, blah, blah, blah.

So, there you have it. I’m coming to grips with my loss. I’ve been jotting ideas down again. This time I’m saving them to the hard drive of the lap top and if that doesn’t make them safe from accidental annihilation at the hands of an 11 year old, then it will be the scraps of paper, beer coaster method for me too.

It’s The Little Things …

So, Mrs AussieHouseDad and I have had another little boy, our second. He’s three and half weeks old now and we feel very blessed. He’s in tip top shape for the life that lies ahead of him (touch wood). Now, I’m tempted to tell you about his arrival into our lives but I fear that story might take a bit of writing as it was some day indeed. And since I’ve just returned from the wilderness of working parentdom I think it prudent to just get a few blogs under my belt before I tackle the meaty topics.

So, in the meantime, I figured I might just bounce around as the ideas take me, and to prove I don’t always have to be verbose to the max, I think this might be a short blog about a revelation of mine.

It’s dawned on me, not for the first time, but certainly again most recently with the arrival of another child that our wheelie bin will continue to have the pong of baby shit about it for another good few years yet.

And it’s the nappy bin that’s the source of ‘eau de baby shit’. This bad boy sits away in the corner of the room beside the change table. With its lid on it’s quite benign. But it’s the cumulative effect of 24 hours worth of contributions that multiplies the stink exponentially. And the chore of changing the bin liner on a daily basis is fraught with the greatest danger of all. You see, when you put a single bagged nappy in the bin, the lid is off for a millisecond – still long enough to assault your sense of smell. But when placing a new liner in, the old, full liner must come out and it needs to be tied off, and it is during the tying off that a sudden shot of fetid air can be exhaled from the garbage the bag into your face, particularly if you tie off with vigour.

The advice in this for young players is clear … get someone else to deal with the nappy bin.

It’s these little things about parenthood that you discover as you go along (that you had no way of knowing about before) which are the signposts marking the changes in your life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

From Russia With Love.

I’ve been feeling guilty. You make all these grand statements and promises about how often you’re going to post, you get people reading your stuff and then you go all quiet for half a year. And you know it’s been a long time since you posted a blog when you can’t remember your login and password and you need the systems administrators help to get you going again... I should feel guilty.

So, where have I been? What have I been doing? Would you believe … visiting … say … Russia. What’s that? You don’t? Well, while it may not be strictly true, it’s not totally a lie either, but I’ll get to all that a little later on.

Ok then, here’s the drum, I was doing the house dad thing and really enjoying it, although with all jobs there are bits that annoy you, but all in all it wasn’t like other jobs because, hey, I was caring for my son. Then one Saturday I was looking through the job ads and I came across one for a 6 month teaching contract, well we’d had Number One Son in daycare 2 days/ week while I did some supply teaching, so this didn’t seem like too much of a stretch, and in some way I wanted to see if I could get another job.

Now, needless to say, I got the job and becoming a contract teacher resulted in an obvious change in our household. No longer could I leisurely get the child fed and watered in the morning. No longer was I able to decide which of the two days this week I would choose as ‘shave day’. And gone were my mid morning showers just in case someone dropped by because being in your pyjamas at eleven is loserish, even if your pj’s are well disguised as daggy home clothes in the form of tracky dacks and beer t-shirt from Thailand.

We had joined the phenomenon that KRudd badged as ‘working families’. Mum, Dad and toddler all needing to be organized and out the door by 7.30 each morning. And basically I couldn’t get my shit together. I’ve never been any good at juggling and I’m buggered if I know how that ‘Julie/Julia’ chick blogged about cooking every day.

So, there you have it, the explanation as to why I haven’t blogged for months. I have been working Monday to Friday out of the home and any activities beyond the basic tasks for survival were too difficult to juggle. I did manage to lose a few kilos by getting back to work and therefore not having a fridge or pantry at arm’s length. But the yard has gone to crap, the blog ideas have built up, and so has the guilt.

But in the mean time much has happened. Most notably, and therefore, THE BIG NEWS, Super Wife and I have brought home our second bundle of joy, another little boy for his big brother to whack in the head (pecking order has already begun to be established). And why the Super Wife moniker, well I think it’s worth noting that in this modern day and age with maternity leave entitlements, there aren’t many women who work on the Friday and the following Thursday are having a baby sans epidural, but hey, that’s all good fodder for another blog at another time.

So, there you have it, a very quick prĂ©cis of life over the last few months between postings. Hopefully I can turn on some regular writing as I do enjoy doing it and I also enjoy the feedback, but that’s been the double edged sword and source of my guilt.

I’ve re-emerged with enthusiasm. And it seems that since I last accessed my account, the ‘BlogSpot’ mob that provide a forum for my observations have added some extra apps, one being the ‘stats’ option. On closer scrutiny of this feature it would appear that it’s not just me registering hits on my own blog or even my friends and family for that matter. The data capturers tell me that I have registered 629 in the ‘page views all time history’ category. And although that’s not a massive number, I was surprised to see from where I’ve been getting visits. Turns out the communists are big into the aussiehousedad thing, with 8 brave Chinese souls risking all by busting through the great firewall. I’m even bigger in the former Soviet states with a dozen Latvians digging my stylings along with 14 hits from the Ukraine but with 27 hits it is definitely a case of From (or To) Russia with Love.

So in order to avoid a meltdown on my in-built Catholic guiltometer and perhaps more importantly, so I don’t receive a hit of my own from some connected Russian Mafioso, I might just need to become a more organized blogger.