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Posts Tagged ‘life’

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.

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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?”

“OK.”

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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