Archive for the ‘mothers’ Category

A while ago, loyal readers will remember  I commented on how aggravating Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs. Robinson’ had become due to the fact the pre-schooler was obsessed with it (the title of that column was ‘MRS.FUCKING ROBINSON’ for those who are either interested or forgot). Hold onto that thought for a while would you? Thanks…

I must return to the week between Christmas and New Year. I had gone to visit my good friend and culturalist Francois so as we could get the pre-schoolers together. As they played with toy cars and jumped on each other, we did not discuss world politics or the economic crisis. No, Francois leaned over to me, a fatigued yet satisfied grin on his face, and slowly waved his iphone in my face. I’m used to this. Francois and I are proud iphone geeks, but his grin was almost perverse thus my interest was piqued beyond usual levels.

“This investment,” he said, “is quite simply one of the best I have ever made.”

I looked at the screen. iFart. A mobile fart machine. And here I was thinking that maybe Apple had snuck out a new version of the iphone that I hadn’t seen. He saw my bewilderment.

“Try it,” he grinned. And so I did. I tried it. I tried The Hammer, The Wipe-Out and all manner of heinous farting sounds, and for every one my sniggers and giggles got louder until myself, Francois and the pre-schoolers were crowded around the iphone listening and laughing loudly.My devillishy devious funny French friend had, indeed, been correct. THIS was an investment of some magnitude, thus I waited not one second longer and  immediately bought the application. It was, indeed, the soundest of investments, and in terms of pennies per use, it has to be the cheapest application I will ever buy.

I am an unashamed fan of fart humor. I don’t care if it’s juvenile or even disgusting to you because I believe that if taught to enjoy such humor in the right situations, farting is a gift, a free joke that never stops giving and never repeats itself (have you every farted EXACTLY the same twice? No. Thus farts are like snowflakes in the sense that no two are exactly the same). I freely beg the teenager and the pre-schooler to ‘pull my finger’ and have tried on three occasions to show the pre-schooler one of Clint Eastwood’s favorite comedy moments the Jeff Daniels toilet scene from “Dumb and Dumber” (for the record she gets scared when Daniels thumps the floor with his feet in relief at punishing the bowl – she still, however, asks to see it). And yes yes YES, I can announce that we have enjoyed a couple of family farting moments where it seems everyone has something to say from their bottom and believe me, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house (in the sense that we were all laughing, not that we stank each other out). Despite this, you will not hear my children (or any of us family farters) letting rip in social situations, in public places or in other situations where manners might be compromised. Uh-uh, we enjoy that sort of deliciously crude and vulgar humor within our own walls and confines.

The pre-schooler has become very very interested in my iFart application, indeed, she has not only asked to “have a turn” she has memorised her favorite sounds. “‘The Bubbler’ Dada, can I please hear The Bubbler’?” and who am I to deny a child such a simple request? Thus I get ‘The Bubbler’ out and we repeat hit the button about 10 times, the laughter getting stronger per ‘airing’.

We were driving home from an errand one evening, and as usual, I was playing some of the pre-schoolers (and mine) favorite music. Underworld. The Prodigy. Public Enemy, all courtesy of my iphone which was connected to my car stereo via a cable. 

“Can I hear something else?”

“Yes, but not ‘Mrs.Robinson’.”

“But that’s what I wanna hear…please?”

“Blur first.”

“Can I see the picture?”

“OK.” And as I held up the iphone to show her the Blur artwork for ‘Song 2’ (or ‘Whoo-Hoo’) it hit me. I quickly went to the master ‘control screen’ and looked for the iFart app. I opened it and found myself quickly locating ‘The Bombadier’ before waiting for my moment.

‘Whoo-hoo!’ shouted singer Damon Albern and I let the iFart fly to great effect, it’s sharp, shrill yet decidedly brown sediment-stuffed tones filling the car. I held my breath. Would the pre-schooler be mad about the fact I’d inserted this into a song she loved? Au contraire, she started making plans to do a farting road-trip, which basically involved lots of talk about Princesses and farting sounds courtesy of ifart (although farting Princesses are a ways off I suspect).

I felt confident and I felt ready, thus with great swagger I loudly asked, “ready for that ‘Mrs.Robinson’ now?”

“Yay! Yeah”

‘…and here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you…’ I soaked up the words, their delivery, their timing, not because I love them (nay, I hate them!) but because I wanted to time the delivery of ‘Burrito Maximo’ perfectly. I opened the app and my finger hovvered over the iFart master button. ‘…and here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson (PRESS) THRIIUURRRPPPPPPPPPP!’ Garfunkel’s voice was ripped apart, torn asunder by the chunky brown blast which nearly deafened the pair of us (I had turned the volume up slightly).

I waited a split second to hear her response. She giggled.

“Was that you Dada?” she giggled knowingly.

“No, it was the iFart on my phone,” I replied, chuckling.

“Can I hear The Bubbler there now? Please? Please?”

“During ‘Mrs.Robinson’ again?”

“Yeah yeah yeah, yay!”

Not only a successful sabotage of this godforsaken song, but the pre-schooler had a specific idea of the iFart she wanted to hear during said-song. Outstanding musical direction, well-done, A+! Again, I’m not one to deny children a ray of happiness when possible, thus we iFarted ‘Mrs.Robinson’ with ‘The Bubbler’ all the way home. And I suspect our mutual joy will not end. The latest iFart update provides a platform on which to record your own i Farts. I smell greater, more personal family victories to come…

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“Can I have it please Daddy-Dog*? I wanna hug it!”

“No, no you cannot hug a toilet seat right now, Mater-Dog, one because I am driving and two because you’ll probably be doing plenty of that in your later teens!”

My wife gave me a sharp elbow in the side, which fell on deaf blubber but did have the effect of getting me to recognize that this might not be the greatest thing to say to a nearly three year old.

This is the sort of thing which happens when your little one is learning how to control their evacuations. Instead of diapers, you pack a potty and a toilet-seat adaptor. And said-toilet-seat adaptor becomes a coveted item of support and love. Not surprising really, as it does save them from falling down the big hole and going to sleep with the brown fishes. But it’s still not allowed for your toddler to hug the bloody thing.

Having managed to navigate such tricky waters of reason with virtually no fall-out, we completed our journey home. The toddler and I decided to go to our local library. We rummaged around a few books before I spotted one which seemed to hit all her favorite parameters; “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell showed two adult penguins and a baby penguin. The toddler loves penguins and babies. A winner. 

“Shall we read this one?” I’d ventured.

“Yeah!” she’d said enthusiastically.

And so I’d started to read. It rumbled along, a nice tale about chinstrap penguins gathering in pairs in New York’s Central Park Zoo with their offspring waiting to burst out from their eggs. By page 7 I realized that our two main penguins did not have an egg whilst every other couple appeared to. ‘Roy and Silo did everything together…’ started the next sentence, intriguingly.  And by the time page 10 rolled around, the zookeeper who’d been observing Roy and Silo had given them an egg to nurture so as they could ‘be like all the other happy penguin families.’ Which is when it dawned on me that I was in the middle of a tale not  about simple fish-eating flipper-ladden birds and their babies, but about how gay families are just as cool as straight families realized via the bizarre metaphor of New York City zoo penguins. It was, I confess, a shock.

 I immediately laughed. Furthermore, I defy anyone who has wandered into a library to read a book with their toddler only to find themselves pages-deep in a tale of the modern gay family unit as seen via  penguins not to start laughing. Trust me, as liberal, wonderful, green and PC as you doubtless are, this is one moment you’re not prepared for. I soon found myself skipping certain paragraphs in the book, not because I am in any way homophobic but just because forgive me, I really could not be bothered  to discuss why a gay male penguin couple could not produce their own egg to my not-quite 3 year old toddler at that juncture of the day.** 

 As I deftly skipped around a sentence here and a paragraph there,  I imagined hoardes of angry gay parents stampeding towards me in self-righteous indignation whilst my daughter yelled ‘they’re not just penguins Dada!’ as I was trampled and held aloft like Frankenstein’s corpse post-witch-hunt. 

“I love you all,” I cried as they tore my limbs sinew by sinew, “I just didn’t want to get into it all with Mater-Dog at the library…”

“I need to go pee pee!”

I was quickly jolted back to life by these words, and as I pushed the PC mob aside with out-stretched palms and grunting thrusts, I realized I had left her toilet seat adaptor at home. 

“OK, let’s go,” I said, ignoring this potential disaster as long as I could.

“I need my toilet seat!” she whimpered as I pulled her pants down.

“Don’t worry, I’ll hold you on the seat just in case.”

“But I need privacy!”

“How about I hold you on the seat, close my eyes and look the other way?”


And in less than a minute, she had peed successfully. No toilet seat adaptor. Privacy maintained thanks to my clenched-shut eyes and 90 degree angle twisted neck. 

As we left the bathroom and the library, I quickly shuffled the gay penguins to one side and instead grabbed a Dr.Suess book titled “I Can Lick 30 Tigers,” a surefire winner which checked further parameters including having multiple tigers. Anyway, licking a tiger sounded kinda funny…it was only when we got home, we started reading it and I saw that the main character had gloves on and was talking about fighting that I realized ‘lick’ in this context was not what my simple, naive and innocent tiny mind had perceived it to be. It was about a horrific 50’s bully who wanted to punch big cats. Yes, I started editing that one too…

…Winnie-The-Pooh anyone?



* I have become Daddy-Dog, her Mum is Mama-Dog, her brother is Zsa-Zsa-Dog and she is Mater-Dog. Thus we sound like extended family of that bounty-hunting idiot on the television. Fan-tastic!

**Actually, I couldn’t be bothered to do it for another few years, not until she starts to notice such matters. Because let’s face it, unless directly involved in the issue (or being raised by a family of bigots), no toddler will notice who’s gay, lesbian, black, white or anyone else unless we instruct them to notice. It’s one of the redeeming qualities of any toddler, that all adults are, err, just adults, no frills, differences or value system attached.

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I say good morning to my daughter by her given birth name.
Quite reasonable I thought (I HADN’T HAD COFFEE YET…A GRAVE MISTAKE).
Her face met my sleepy eyes with thunder and dismay, a wave of disgust rolling over her delicate features.   
Oh yes.
That’s right, I forgot.
Silly me.
I feel like SUCH  bad father for so callously forgetting my own daughter’s name, even though it changes with alarming speed. But Jesus, it’s exhausting. I mean, is it REALLY too much to ask that perhaps, just per-bloody-haps, I could be allowed to call my daughter by her (drum-roll) REAL NAME?!
Currently, her appointed moniker makes her (and by proxy, us) sound like native Indians, but trust me, deviate from these titles and you WILL pay my friend, you-will-pay.
Last week it was Mater, the week before Fifi, the week before that June and the week before that Tinky-Winky. This is, of course, all ‘good’ because it is her ‘imagination blossoming’ and is absolutely not a sign of multiple-personality disorder. Personally, I don’t wonder that we shouldn’t just call her Sybil and be done with it…And so it is that I walk my daughter to the local coffee shop, in her Puma soccer sweatpants and her Mater – “Cars – The Movie” character sweatshirt, watching her explain to the usual meeters and greeters that her name is Yellow Tow Truck whilst shrugging sheepishly whenever met with a confused stare. 
She is, indeed, the girl who finds the mud when others are trying to step around it at the park. She is the girl who throws herself into the stickiest sand when opportunity knocks, and she is the one who will interact with any body of water, whether duck-pond (swan in one uninvited) to puddle (I don’t think Fido had done that).
When she sneezes and two plugs of snot come flying out, before her fastidiously clean father can rush over armed with wet-wipes and napkins, she’s either wiping them across her face laughing or engaging in her own version of oyster-slurping, and if THAT hasn’t ruined your moment enough, when she picks her nose (because trust me, she DOES pick her nose!) she will try and eat the boogers before I have a chance to stop her. And she likes to wrestle. I mean seriously roll around grappling, getting picked up at high speed, thrown around and brought crashing down to the mattress.
Oh, and did I mention she has a drum kit because she likes drums, that she likes Blur’s ‘Song 2’ because they bloody well scream WHOOO HOOO all the time (something she does every 5 minutes of her waking day), that she likes Metallica’s ‘Battery’ and that she sings Tottenham Hotspur FC songs such as ‘All I want is a team of Robbie Keanes’ and ‘When the Spurs go marching in…’ and while I’ m here, I should mention that just after her second birthday last June, she broke her leg.
And when I take her to buy her a new dress (which I like to do because I genuinely get excited about the thought of seeing her green/blue eyes bouncing off bright new summer frocks) she fixes me with a look of near horror.  Indeed, if I manage to wrestle a dress onto her before she knows what’s happened, and tell her how pretty she looks, she will respond loudly ‘no I don’t look pretty!’ But if you remark that her hair looks like a scarecrow, or she has chocolate on her chin, or that she looks like she fell into a dumpster or that she looks like pig-pen, she meets you right back with a low, dirty chortle of pure twisted glee. An angel with a very dirty face most of the time, and a father who spends a lot of time trying to get her into pretty dresses to no avail. She is fantastic in every way, but she is an absolute, 100% tom-girl. I haven’t shaped it and I certainly haven’t guided any of it*, it is who she is and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it!
By the way, I have been Iggle Piggle, La La, 10 Wheeler, Doc Hudson and Fuzz Buzz, and it is my job to REMEMBER my name whenever I am met with a fresh-faced colleague first thing in the morning.
(*Alright, the Tottenham songs I admit to but NOTHING ELSE! Well, one other thing but I’m not going to admit it…)

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Sandbox politics. 
Absurd, infuriating and guaranteed to create an inner monologue which will require every last ounce of strength to prevent the irretrievable journey from brain to mouth. 
Take, for example, the concept of toddlers sharing. 
Now to me, sharing is a pretty easy concept to get across to your wee ones; child has a few minutes with object A, then they are told that it is time to give object A to the waiting child. And if object A is snatched by your child from another child, then your child is briskly told it is unacceptable behavior and your personal intervention guarantees that object A will be returned to the hands from which it was grabbed. So imagine my horror when I saw a child at our local kiddie gym who belligerently refused to give up a turn on the one swing in the facility! Crimeny! Useless parent shocker! My horror was not for the child but for the feckless moron of a Mum who purported to be a positive influence over this grunting little horror of a brat she had no doubt carefully nurtured to be the rudest toddler in the world. The conversation went like this.
Feckless moron: “I don’t think X is very good at sharing.”
Me: “Errum, haha, no, it can be tough having to help them deal with it…”
Feckless moron (to toddler in a koombayah voice): “Now listen X, that’s really not very nice is it? Could you get off now and let her have a turn?”
My inner monolgue: “Jesus Fucking Christ woman, take the brat by the hand, pull him OFF the swing, sit him ON your lap and briskly explain what the fuck is wrong with his behaviour? I mean, how hard IS that?”
Feckless moron (a hair above koombayah voice): “X! I won’t tell you again, you really need to get off the swing honey, because (adopts lilting twerpish child voice) ‘udder childwen want to have a turn.’ “
Her toddler (sounding like a dirty great swamp-thing):
My toddler: “I wanna go on the swing now Dada, please can I go on the swing now please?”
Me: “I know XX, I know, it’s just that this child’s Mom seems to be having DIFFICULTIES dealing with her boy, he might just be really cranky, I’m sure he’ll be off in a moment.”
I got a little concerned that my inner monolgue had done a runner out of my incredulous gob; thankfully it appeared not, as the feckless moron continued twittering away about how “difficult” it was to “handle” these situations whilst not moving so much as one inch of an ass-cheek towards the child.
My toddler was strangely quiet, as if even she could see the absurdity of it all.
And I threw one, last, waning grin at the feckless moron, realizing that the only hope I had was to quit before it got ugly.
And trust me folks, it’s getting pretty goddam ugly out there, especially for those of us who actually care about our work as parents…

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Is it just me, or whenever you wander down to the playground with your child during the week, Mums look at you with the sort of stare reserved for bums, pedophiles and wasters, or perhaps even a glorious combination of all three? And then if your little angel comes off the slide a little too hard and bumps their bottom, thus inducing a waterfall of tears, if you’re not seen to be applying immediate triage services along with more hugs than a Grateful Dead reunion gig, then you are obviously just another clueless, feckless male moron who somehow got visitation rights for a couple of hours and should not be allowed ANYWHERE NEAR CHILDREN BECAUSE YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT YOU’RE DOING?!?!!!! And hey, here’s one for all you daring Daddies out there…try saying a simple ‘hi’ or ‘your little one’s a cutie’ or even ‘have you got the time I seem to have forgotten my watch’ to one of these Gucci’d up souless shopping vessels, and you’ll be lucky if they haven’t started flailing their fake-tanned arms screaming ‘FREAK FREAK HE’S TRYING TO HAVE SEX WITH ME!’ at the top of their voices! And so it is that the Monday to Friday park-dwelling Dad is afforded all the warmth, love and respect of a leper wearing an ‘I LOVE AL QUEDA’ shirt, which is PRECISELY why the next time I head to the park during a weekday with my toddler I shall be wearing my SLAYER anti-christ shirt, because goddam it, if I’m going to do the time I might as well fit the profile of the crime…


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