Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Fatherhood’

Exasperating as it can be, you should never lose sight of your parental GPS. And if you do, then it’s very helpful to have someone around who will reel you in. I often seem to misplace mine, which means that various words such as ‘poo, bum, fart, pee-pee, knackers, satan, arse’ and perhaps the worst, ‘mong’, seem to fly tourettes style from my lips. Usually this occurs as I’m driving, thus I can now blame all the other bastards on the road for my transgressions. Further, I sometimes get that wild hair up my ass which says that it would be fine to show the Jeff Daniels diarrohea scene in “Dumb & Dumber” to the pre-schooler, or the beginning of ‘Snot’ in The Young Ones (a British cult TV hit) which sees their bedrooms covered in a sea of pea-green sticky snotty booger stuff. 

Fortunately, my wife is usually on hand to suggest otherwise. Not verbally, no no, it’s usually just a curl of the eyebrow, a narrowing of the eye, a short shake of the head from side-to-side, just enough to force a few ounces of middle-aged common-sense to trickle into my brain. I’ve become pretty good at finding it as I sing though (you know, rhyming class with ‘arse’, bit with ‘tit’, you with ‘poo’…wait a minute, that one sneaks out once in a while!) so I might be maturing? Anyway, my point is I DO have SOME sense of appropriateness, as proven by the fact that the pre-schooler and the teenager remain two of the better-mannered children you’ll meet, and anyway, even when I slip, I guarantee there is CONTEXT to it (i.e. Dad being silly). Indeed, silliness is a VERY IMPORTANT part of life with children, and woe betide those who either don’t know that or haven’t allowed themselves to admit it. Because silliness, in the good old ‘put-your-under-pants-on-your-head-and-run-around-impersonating-the-Roadrunner’ is priceless and memorable for everyone. If this concept escapes you, find a copy of Spike Milligan’s ‘Silly Verses For Kids’ and read it six times before haring it with your offspring on a regular basis. 

Back to the parental GPS, and I do find that it’s also about not laughing at very funny yet inappropriate behavior BY the kids, although this line gets fuzzy. An example for you, involving the family word I wrote about a few weeks ago, ‘grishnackhing.’

PRE-SCHOOLER TO BROTHER: LET’S DO A POO-GRISHNACKH!

TEENAGER TO PRE-SCHOOLER: OK, when we get out of the car.

ME: What the hell is a ‘poo grishnackh’?

TEENAGER AND PRE-SCHOOLER FIGHTING FOR SPACE: (a few sighs and eye-rolls) It’s when you touch bums and grishnackh!!!!

ME: Of course. Silly Dada. How could I be so thick!

And when they got out of the car, they did, indeed, show me a ‘poo-grishnackh’ and I have to tell you, it was absolutely ridiculous (when both touching their toes back-to-back, their bums didn’t even quite match-up) to see them both nearly cheek-to-cheek and grishnackhing with big WOOAARGGGHHHSSSS. Yes, I laughed. I even found myself laughing a couple of hours later as, right before bed, the pre-schooler sat on my lap, faced me, slapped the sides of my face with her hands and loudly shouted.

“I JUST SLAPPED MY DAD IN THE KNACKERS*!!!!”

It’s not disimilar to when my good friend Neil Perry visited with his lovely lady Wenke from Norway at Christmas. Wenke’s name is pronounced ‘wenker’, and for those of you who don’t know your English slang, ‘wenker’ is uncomfortably close to ‘wanker’ which is a term of abuse. Thus when we were all walking in Muir Woods, Neil and co ahead of us by about 15 ft, and the pre-schooler shouted, “OI! NEIL! WENKER!” it was a tall order not to laugh so I didn’t try not to.

In fact, as I write this, I realize that my GPS might not be exactly ‘mis-placed’ much of the time more than it perhaps focusses on different priority routes. Like manners. Like picking things up. Like putting things back. Like being polite to people. Don’t worry on that score, I run a tight ship, as does my wife. We don’t let it go, and neither do we let rude answering back, stropping or inappropriately timed comments pass without teaching the right thing to do. Yet too many people and parents get hung-up on absurdly unimportant things and they let the big ones go, the manners, the behavior and so on. I find this to be the case with many members of the ‘PC flashmob’, an ugly group of self-righteous, cashmere and pashmina-drawled ‘parents’ who seem to loom up from nowhere (flashmob style) and park themselves at your door or in your conscience telling you all the terrible things you’re doing to your children by letting them pretend to be cowboys or princesses or watch a bit of TV whilst the nanny tends to their children.

Because a bit of well-monitored television is not the work of the devil. Indeed, sometimes, it can be a day-saver for all concerned. Yet some of these PCers feel that the moment you flick the tube on you’re committing an egregious crime against children. I’m sorry, that’s the biggest load of codswallop I’ve ever heard. The truth of the matter is that if you DENY them access to the tube once in a while, they will develop such a craving for the forbidden fruit that one day you’ll have a grown-up couch-potato on your hands, unable to tear themselves away from this ‘wonderful new thing in their lives.’   Like most things, moderation is the key, and  well-controlled, well-monitored TV is not going to harm anyone. Indeed, if the kids are ill or it’s chucking it down outside and you’re exasperated, it’s perfectly fine to pop the telly on for a bit. Yes yes, in the ideal world we’d all be doing finger puppets and origami for hours and hours every rainy day, but most of us are actually human, and as such, a couple of hours arting and crafting is usually more than we can take in a 24 hour period (hippies and new-age stay-at-home Mums need not bother correcting me here, I know you’re ‘different’ and ‘better’ than lowly old average me). At which point I’m telling you that a bit of telly will not crush their minds. Indeed, it’ll give you both a bit of breathing space before you plan some other activity, and at the very least it will give you a break! And again, regardless of what people say, we ALL need a break once in a while. Trust me, if ever those bastards flashmob my house in their dozens, trampling my floors and my living room to dispense their PC wisdom, I’ll be ready! By the way, for what it’s worth, I understand that the word ‘mong’ is not nice and wholly inappropriate,  but I confess that it still makes me laugh like I did when I said it as a 10 year old. 

It’s all about common sense and fairness. Another example. You have got the family out to dinner. It’s a lot of family and a big, long dinner. Your kids are maybe 4 or 5. You know, the restless age. So rather than making them sit up straight for the entire meal and bollocking them the moment they look bored (thus making such occasions a gruelling and dirty chore), cut your losses, be fair and make sure you have a book or two they can look at, a distraction or three they can enjoy, quietly and discreetly. And watch as they get older how they end up liking these occasions, enjoying the evening and eventually feel comfortable enough to interact.

The important thing is to keep your parental GPS in sight but equally to not allow the ‘PC’ brigade to crush it under their largely hypocritical and self-loathing feet. And once again, never forget to be silly with your kids…just trust me on that one.

 

*this is a slang term for testicles for us British. Needless to say, I do not have testicles on my cheeks, thus the context was deemed amusing and not worth correcting. If she continues to say it, then words will be had.

Read Full Post »

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…

Read Full Post »

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…

 

Read Full Post »