Dad Diaries

Countdown to the birth of my child....

Monday, June 12, 2006

Please join me, my cats, and a dollop of politics

At Armagnac'd, where I've decided to bite the bullet, come out as a father-to-be, and therefore simplify my blogging back to the one page.

Groomzilla, Chairman Mao and Minh-minh have all melted into the pot, now the ongoing thoughts of my pending dad-dom will also be penned by the fire with a nice snifter of France's finest.

It's all explained at Armagnac'd. Don't be a stranger...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Furkid Foiled

Cats are hard to train. I've introduced a new repercussion for the older one when he leaps the fence. First I pin him down with the water spray thingy. Then I put him on the top of the fence, facing back into the yard. Then I make a subtle point by squirting him straight up the datehole.

I don't know if the lesson will sink in but he certainly gets the idea at the time.

On the other hand, here's a cat from New Jersey whose owners probably call him sir as they respectfully serve up his salmon, anywhere he damn well wants it:
A black bear got more than it bargained for after straying into a family garden in the US state of New Jersey. The unwelcome intruder was forced up a tree - twice - by the family pet, a tabby cat called Jack. The terrified bear was only able to make its escape when owner Donna Dickey called the hissing cat into the house.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Latham does what good dads do

I guess Latham deserved his punishment, after all, he 'broke the law'. But on a moral level he was just a dad trying to protect his family.

Latham’s counsel called the paparrazzo a stalker and I agree. Latham was harrassed during an outing with his kids and he reacted like any- perhaps slightly fiery tempered- dad would react. In fact your average suburban dad faced with this sort of inappropriate pestering while trying to get some quiet family time would probably hand out a thumping.

Like Doctors, Police and other de facto guilds the press tend to close ranks against those who attack them or their ‘established’ methods. Latham’s repeated skirmishes with the fourth estate are treated as extensions of his previous tantrums involving taxi drivers and rough handshakes, collective evidence that he’s ‘unhinged’. But none of his previous failings justify harrassing the man when he’s with his kids, and each 'reaction' deserves to be considered on its facts.

He may be sneered at by Liberal, Labor and Media hacks alike, but if you asked a few of the coveted aspirational voters what they think about a parent getting assertive about their family’s privacy I think you’d find considerable support for his actions.

Want to talk about out-of-touch elites? This is an excellent example.

The solution isn’t turning a blind eye to vandalism or assault. It’s about setting ethical standards that respect family privacy; whether by self-regulation or some stronger measure. This can be done without limiting any legitimate ability to report or take photographs in a less intrusive manner.

If the press need any trade-off then we could wind back the defo laws. Who could object to making it easier to criticise the powerful while restraining the paparazzi? Who indeed.

Latham’s going to have a tough time as it is explaining all his shenanigans to his kids. Let’s give the man the space he needs to succeed in the most important leadership role of all.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Basher keeps on bashing

I can't really comment on this because it relates obliquely to my line of work, but enough to say the Hun are bang on the money and decisions like this make me glad I didn't become a criminal defence lawyer...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Grog Blog House Slog Mog Flog and Grime

A post disparate: drinking with computer-bound anoraks, ill-fated house musings, captured feline escapee and hardcore rap from the streets of East London. What more could you want?

A grog blog approacheth, June 16th, read more at Deggles' place. I'm a likely attendee.

Today like most recent Saturdays involved looking at numerous houses and sinking into the morass. We want to buy before the child arrives, we now want 3 bedrooms, and we need to pay at least 6 months of mortgage on my income alone. I've offered to stay home and let wifey keep up the high flying corporate career, but she wouldn't have a bar of it. We keep getting close, but no dice, whatever that means. I've started getting quite rude about the uglier ones: "This bathroom is an offence against taste and reason!"

The cat yet again leapt the fence to chase its neighbour. I hosed it down with the water gun and gave it 10 minutes in the sin bin, but pretty soon we're going to have to do something to the fence if we can't get out of here; the obsession with become a squashed former burmese cat is starting to drive me up the wall.

Grime, on the other hand, is set to drive wifey, not to mention my rock loving friends, up said wall. I saw it on RAGE, after some amazing retro programming by someone rather sultry with impeccable taste called M.I.A. Grime is fast Cockney-Jamaican rapping over sparse futuristic rhythms, often slapped together on basic off-the-rack music programs. I'm strangely fascinated with it, following from a sudden interest in what some of the better aussie hip hoppers are doing, and have a CV on high rotation which also features angry French sprays (even rap sounds better in French!) and aforementioned M.I.A. singing something like "galangalanga langa" over a ridiculously catchy bass.

Just thought I'd share.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Light relief: Amir the Ebay Queen

Here's what not to do- rip off an IT nerd by selling them a faulty computer on Ebay, a faulty computer that also contains a shiteload of your personal pervert material.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Road angst with cold comfort

Not that I've ever been blase about the roads, having been smacked off my feet on a pedestrian crossing when I was a wee tad younger, but my anxiety about beloved and her daily commute has ratcheted out of rational territory.

She went out to the airport to pick up a couple of friends in the early evening. The airport is at the ugly end of a piece of overused freeway. I sat on the couch waiting for a call, dialling her mobile which it turns out was sitting in her office at work. One cat sat by my shoulder, the other on my lap. I left about 15 missed calls and 4 messages, and was on the verge of calling police. She was probably about half an hour late.

When she arrived I couldn't get cross, I was just glad to hold her. A door closed, a cold wind abated.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Top Ten Child Abuse Names

I'm going to try not to name the poppet after a cow or a fruit.

Aside from idiotic celeb nomenclature, certain names seem to be 'child abuse names', because there's a direct statistical correlation between the name and the bulk of clients of the care system. Examples- please, no offence if you've recently called your bub one of these, I'm sure it's a nice name but you've joined bad company- include the following non-exhaustive list:

1. Jayden,

2. Jaiden,

3. Tyson,

4. Tyrone,

5. Kristall,

6. Krystl,

7. Madison,

8. Aiden,

9. Rebekka, and

10. Brayden.


Painful alternate spellings are a good start for a life of abuse and juvenile crime, it would seem.

Where do they come from? Football players? Soap stars? Dead Hip Hoppers? Oh, I've got a great idea, let's set the kid up for a happy and productive life by naming them after a dead crack dealer who called women whores.

I'm sure all of these names have nice origins, they've just fallen a bit by the wayside. In defence of the struggling classes, I'm for Aiden or Kriistel any day over Apple, Orange, or Moon Retard.

Go on, give me your list dear readers. All 3 of you.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pudesquas

I'm in training with the pud-kids.

Today the older leapt over the fence to attempt an altercation with the neighbour's cute-but-undersized, outdoor, probably feline-AIDS-infested cat. I was lost in the opinion pages. The kitten ran up, stared at me for a loaded second, then bolted to the front window. I knew immediately and ran out the front.

Dickhead had already run across the driveway that empties the combined 4-wheeled cat-crushers from 4 townhouses into the street, and was engaged in a stand-off with a hardened outdoor cat that, aside from various diseases, would probably take about 10 seconds to scrap my boy's arse. I carried him by the neck back across the very spot where another of the neighbours' cats was crushed a few months back and, while he muttered and growled, delivered a sharp rebuke.

A couple of house inspections and a coffee later we're back out in the yard giving them another run. And over the fence he goes again, once more chasing tail. I don't know why I had his bollocks put in a jar, it doesn't seem to do much good.

I sprint fast through the house and intercept him, at the edge of the driveway, just as a Range Rover feline-flattener is gunning its engine.

I'm rattled, badly. How much greater the fear when it's a child?

Last night she felt cramping, something like period pain. This happened a week or so ago too. She pushed me away, needed space to get over it. I lay there thinking of things I didn't want to think about and hoped on my child's life that it would pass.

Today she was a bit better, though tired. I celebrated by buying two pregnancy mags and a pack of white truffle Tim Tams...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Genetic Screening

Well here's a topic that could inspire controversy. It's beyond tough, incredibly hard to even consider the idea that you might not proceed with a pregnancy because the child would be disabled.

We got the literature on screens and tests last night.

I can barely get my mind around the idea. I think in loose terms I impose the values I hold in relation to my own life. I would rather be in a wheelchair or bedridden than lose even a small amount of my mental makeup. The mind, in my view, holds the real key to the 'soul', the person we are, so a person who suffers some significant loss to brain function or memory loses part of their persona.

So I tend to see physical disabilities as obstacles holding back the person, whereas I see significant mental disabilities as changing who the person is. Stephen Hawking is still Stephen Hawking, it's just harder for him to have a voice. A scan may tell you the child will always need physical assistance, but it won't tell you that the child may reinvent quantum physics.

But then there's the joy you see in the face of a down syndrome kid playing that reminds you of the old chinese proverb about intelligence not equating to happiness.

It's a shame that while so many in our society feel so strongly that screening and selective abortion is wrong, so few voice the idea that society as a whole should carry the extra burden so that parents really have a constructive choice. It's far easier to condemn than reach into your pocket.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The binary paradox of speculation

Face prams outwards to engage poppet with the world. Face them in to increase linguistic intelligence. Don't drink a single drop of alcohol between the first act of decontracepted sex and the last drop of breast milk consumed. Drink up to 4 wines a week and do no harm at all. Don't drink coffee. Do drink coffee. Don't ever hit kids, nothing is more traumatising. Losing the plot at 15 because you had no boundaries is more traumatising than the odd clip. Stop them watching the inane junk that passes for mainstream TV. Let them watch so they aren't socially ostracised. Put kid first always, parent is now just a support human. Put parent first, because you need a functioning parent just like when the oxygen masks tumble down on a plane. Go public, you believe in it. Go private, they get better grades. Move closer to family for support. Build supports where you are and keep praying your friends will start popping them out as well. Tell people, because you are excited. Don't tell, because its too early and risky. Test for gender, disability. Don't, and instead take the gift of life however it's offered. Listen to everyone. Listen to no-one. Burst. Stay sane.

When I'm beyond stressed I hold beloved and the cats in turn, allowing my mind to go quiet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Everything is changed immediately

I slide into bed, she is already asleep. I place my hand on her belly.

I tell them both I love them.

Yesterday I was told my job will most likely be ending after my current contract. I started writing to people randomly with my CV. I felt slightly ill. It's all different when you have a wife and child-to-be relying on you. So much has changed in so few weeks...

She was suspicious immediately, sure of ovulation one particularly magnificent weekend where we lay in bed making love in the mornings. We had been trying for a couple of months, but as she'd been on the pill a long time and I had little confidence in the quality of my own offerings we expected it to take a while. There had been a couple of hope dashing moments already; "my period's started" can be such a melancholy expression of disappointment. I didn't get too excited- at first.

A morning was set aside for the test. She woke while it was still dark, twitching with excitement.

I snored on, oblivious.

"Hey Baby!"

*ignore, eyes closed*

"BABY!"

...

"I'm pregnant."

Eyes wide open like a Tarsier. Making sense of the moment when the world flipped on its head.

We are about 7 weeks in, give or take a couple of days. Barely anyone knows- her sister, and my ex boss who guessed. We won't tell until after 12 weeks. Friends have recently miscarried, it is a sad experience and one of those you'd prefer to see out together, without the concern and pity of friends and family. Keep going, move forward, try not to dwell on the life that won't be.

Parents live in a different world. Last night we both stood transfixed by the Insight show where parents and experts argued about discipline. A few weeks ago I would have switched over.

The cats won't know what has hit them. Nor will we, for that matter.

Join me on this journey if you will. I'm a seasoned blogger, but as with family and friends I won't be announcing this project officially until this first trimester of angst is over. But you can be assured I will stick the project out, and share all the key trials and tribulations with whoever chooses to pop by.

Now, I'm off to find a copy of Father's Quarterly!