Archive for October, 2009


“Why can’t you put that bloody thing away?” I said to the teenager regarding the iphone in his hands as we sat outside our favorite Mediterranean place waiting for kabobs and schwerma wraps.

“I’m tweeting!” he replied indignantly.

“What on earth is of consequence enough to tweet now?” I retorted incredulously.

“That I’m having dinner with my Dad!” he responded defiantly.

I stared at him. How utterly silly. I mean, who gives a monkey’s chuff about such piffle!

He showed me the ‘tweet.’


It was hard to know whether to laugh or cry, but given the parameters of modern colloquialisms, I took the high road and nodded at this most holy of teenage compliments, wondering at the same time who on earth in his twitter circle would be reading about what a ‘pimp ass’ guy I was.

“Can I see your twitter followers?”


I got four people down before being met by an icon which had a pair of breasts stuffed into a low cut bra and a nether region barely covered by a pair of knickers.

“Friend of yours?” I said, one eyebrow raised.

“Nope. I don’t know her,” he said, stonewalling the question. “She’s a friend of a friend, that’s why she’s following me I guess.”

We briefly discussed college and how he wants to go to digs if at all possible, to have the full college experience, to share a small cupboard with another ‘bro’ and do all the things that college students do aside from studying. I have little doubt that this will involve entertaining the likes of ‘nether regions’ and many others in his twitter-line, and I have even less doubt that this will be a circle which will view me cautiously as a square; no amount of reminding the teenager that I introduced him to Dizzee Rascal will save me from this inevitability. And frankly, there’d be something wrong if it wasn’t like that. Either he’d be hanging with the wrong people or I’d be trying to slash my age by two-thirds and looking like a mid-life crisis prat in the process. Oh, and before people get up in arms thinking that I’m tossing in the age towel, no, I’m not, but there’s little dignity in pretending you’re 18 when you’re not. Gravity (incidentally) has as much to do with this as anything. But it must be said, we get on well. Very well. We enjoy each other’s company. To you, this might be an obvious by-product of a father-son relationship, but I know that this isn’t necessarily the way it always pans out, especially at this moment in our lives, so I am grateful that we still have things in common and like to hang out together.

We watched Bobcat Goldthwaite’s supremely funny film ‘The World’s Greatest Dad’ together, and aside from having some refreshingly offensive humor (as well as a profound storyline) it is a wonderful reminder of how utterly hosed I could be with a teenage boy. Thankfully mine does not like to try and hang himself in the process of self-pleasure, does not respond to every single syllable I utter with negativity and the word ‘fag’ and he is also not an afficianado of ‘German scheisse porn.’ I must, on reflection, have done something right. That isn’t to say there isn’t the ‘teenage hormone drip’ which is to say the one that tells him he knows everything but wants me to DO it. However credit where credit’s due, he keeps these inevitable growing pain instincts at the curb for the most part and will always help when asked (sometimes even helping when not asked). But I am still not beyond the odd joke. Like when some tahini sauce drips from my chicken kabob wrap.

“We should get you one of those ‘HELLO – MY NAME IS’ stickers so as people know you’re special!” he guffawed as I mopped the dripping sauce off my coat. If he gets into the college he wants to go to next year, I’ll miss those moments, as absolutely impossible as it is for me to imagine right now.

Earlier in the day, I had taken the pre-schooler to her first official occupational therapy appointment since her ‘evaluation’ report. It specifically referred to her ‘vestibular’ system, which is not a sophisticated network of under-shirts but is the core component of our balance and spatial orientation, and how this (in turn) is affecting her ‘auditory processing system’ which sounds like a government agency but which is a vital, vital life regulator. Without your inner ear balance system working, all sorts of little things crop up, which lead to some behavioral issues. Of course, if you get the toolbox out now, at pre-school age, then you can usually fix the situation. And anyway, in her case the issues are light not heavy. But it’s still strange. It’s still strange to know it’s happening. And even though it’s all good (and it really IS all good) you can’t help but be emotionally charged by it all. Watching her in the gym room, enjoying the tactile exercises, the climbing, the swings, knowing that each exercise is more than just play, it’s designed to try and correct an issue…an issue…

An issue. Frankly, sometimes I get sick of hearing about every little issue. She’s got lots of friends, ha a great time, has a smile most of the time and is imbued with energizer energy. And so having heard about another little dispute with another child, one of the many many that all kids of this age have but which we sometimes just correct on the spot without reporting on, I found my back stiffen, my belt tighten and my ire rise (your ‘ire’ sits somewhere between your groin and neck, spreading out through your shoulders and along your arms). I’m more aware than anyone of the need to correct situations, to teach right from wrong behavior, indeed, I spend much time doing precisely that (no medals required, real parents know it’s part of the job description). But I wanted to be sure others were also being reported on. I wanted to be sure others were also being ‘caught.’ And on this occasion, I also simply wanted to defend her. Why? Because sometimes, just sometimes, the feral nature of parenthood decrees that you should.

It’s natural. And when it springs up like that, it’s right.

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