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Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Day in the Home of Fatherhood

You are welcome now to participate in an experiment in creative manipulation, in which I will attempt to retell my day in such a way that it may seem interesting. You are also welcome not to, but please stick around, it might get interesting. Might I said...



If anyone asked me to sum up my blog site in one sentence, this would be the quip I would grace their ears with - "making the mundane interesting." And interestingly enough, today was definitely mundane.


But in order to explain today, I have to splash a little bit of yesterday's paint onto the canvas. Last night I did a late shift. It was a long shift, not chronologically speaking, but the work load was like a runway and I the aeroplane, running my stubby little legs frantically on the pavement while flapping my arms and crying out, "Look at me, I'm an aeroplane!" And no matter how hard I flapped my wings or hammered a sprint, I just could not get off the ground. There were reasons other than the work load of course, such as the fact that I was definitely coming down with something, what with that feeling in the back of my nose like aliens had abducted me during the night, turned my face inside out in some interdimensional medical procedure, just to insert sand paper into my nasal passages just for the heck of it. I was also immensely distracted by the advanced screening of Prometheus (I'm a projectionist for a Cinema) which acted like a sun which kept pulling at me like a satellite doomed to evaporate in its solar flares. I would do a little bit of work and then inexorably find myself once again peeping through the port window to see who was getting eaten or ripped apart...


The bus carried my pre-corpse self like a hearse driving to a lonely funeral and as the midnight bells chimed (in my head) my sick and tired self crept home in the armpit of the night.


I can never get to sleep after a night shift. Instead I find I'm desperate to entertain myself in some way. I call it "winding down" but I wonder if that's just code for trying to reclaim the night that I could have had were it not for my work. And so I fell asleep to an episode of History's Ancient Aliens on YouTube, too tired to laugh at the "Ancient Alien Theorist's" Duce Bigalow hair style or failed attempts at shaving or to recognise the Ancient gods for what they really were - Fallen Angels of course!


And before I know it its 6 a.m. and my dreams have been obliterated by my precious 3 year old whose little feet shuffling along the floor were the early warning sign of what would come next, "Mummy, It's day time, Mummy..." Even though she addresses Mummy, I know the onus is on me to somehow rise from my blankety grave and conquer the sweet death of sleep to tend to the Daddy routine because Mummy has to go to work today and I have to see to the the little ones needs. Such is the way of every Thursday in the Gedge household.


Yesterday a great big package arrived in the post. A late birthday present for Haydn from my Father in Law, AKA Granddad. As I sort of shuffle in my loose fitting tracky dacks to the living room, intent on making the couch my new crypt where I can rest in pseudo-peace while the children play and tear each other apart, a thought strikes me - maybe, if I "quickly" make up that thing that Granddad sent, I can get some rest while they play with it? I must have still been dreaming because that "quickly" was like a subliminal message from Hades and the darkest of lies.


See sick and under slept Dad pulling all the pieces out and searching for the instructions. See me not finding the instructions and going to www.iqtoys.co.nz to at least find a picture of the thing I'm meant to be making. Hear the wheels and wizzy bits of my brain creak and fizz as I wonder if the shop is called IQ toys because it takes an IQ to figure out how to make it at all! Finally I walk, crawl, thud through the kitchen to the bathroom and yell to my wife, "Did this thing come with instructions?" And of course it did, they're on top of the TV cabinet with all the screws and the other bits I hadn't even thought of.


I spend the next hour or so constructing a Puppet Theatre that must be about 1.75 metres cubed. Its quite a brilliant piece of child's toy really; multi-useful as a play house, a Puppet Theatre and a third bedroom, which is something I had thought would cost us a second mortgage to obtain, and one I didn't need to get a building permit for. Several times I've walked past it today and thought, "One day, I'm going to sleep in that thing..."


This is how the construction went:


Dad unwraps all the bits and places them strategically on the floor in an unsuccessful attempt to make sense of the thing.

Haydn ignores the activity but Chelsea decides the bits must be for her and tries to sit on them.

Dad finally figures out where instructions are.

Haydn still not interested (thankfully)

Chelsea is now picking up some of the pieces and running around in circles ceremoniously.

Dad is keeping it under control. Finds screws.

Chelsea decides screws are hers.

Mum comes in and says, "Who wants porridge?"

"Meeeeee!" Everyone cries.

Dad looks at instructions and scratches his head.

Dad carefully begins construction.

Mum brings the girls porridge but forgets Dad also cried "Meeeee!" before. Dad decided its better not to complain.

Chelsea generously decides to share her porridge with everything in the room.

Chelsea gets porridge all over her self and tries to hug Mum who is trying to protect her work clothes from porridge.

Dad tries to protect Puppet House Parts from Porridge, storms out of Living Room to get a flannelet.

Dad decides toast is safer, pops down two pieces and resumes construction.

Haydn decides Daddy can't possibly do this job by himself so hits Daddy on the head with a a bit of wooden frame.

Holding-it-together Dad becomes Volatile-volcano Dad and yells at Haydn while simultaneously feels immensely guilty for doing so.

Mum Cuddles Haydn while Dad leaves the room to repent of his sins and thinks that if he doesn't let her help now then she will grow up to be the sort of mother who leaves these sort of things for her husband to do, thus perpetuating the cycle that he is currently participating in.

Dad comes back and gets back to it. Haydn finally says sorry and agrees to help with the clock pieces.

Chelsea steals allen screws.

Dad Puts first frame together the wrong way.

Dad undoes first frame and tries again.

Dad gets frustrated the the screws don't fit properly and complains that this stupid thing is going to fall apart because these stupid screws are clearly stupid!

Dad exasperatedly shares with Mum that this was not how it was supposed to work, that it was supposed to be finished by now so he could lie on the couch while the kids play with it!

Mum goes to work.

Dad is angry with mum for going to work, even though we don't have a choice and feeling like that is just stupid.

Dad remembers to give the girls toast and they leave him alone just long enough to finish the thing.


At this point I went into their room and gathered all the soft puppet like toys I could find and put on a little show for the girls that lasted all of 45 seconds before the phone rang, my step Dad calling to have a chat. I notice the girls aren't playing puppets, but peek-a-boo instead. Oh well.


My Step Dad has to go suddenly so I set the girls up with Disney's Jungle Book, a worthy baby sitter while I attempt to have a bath. My youngest is finally at that age where I can actually leave the room and do these sorts of things, albeit with the door open and my undies on.


I finally make it to the bath with a bowel of rice bubbles, my trusty King James and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time for afters. Then the phone rings again. I decide to ignore it but then the paranoia-angel stands on my shoulder and whispers, what if its work? What if there's something wrong and they NEED you? I inwardly grown and think, Ok I better answer it, but by now the phone is up to its 10th ring and our tiled floor is so slippery I don't want to splash water everywhere because then the girls will have to deal with a dead baby sitter until mum gets home.


So I whip off my boxers and run to answer the phone.


Don't ask me to explain the logic, I just figured the floor would get less wet if the boxers weren't still on to dribble water all over the place. Somewhere in that thought process I forgot to grab a towel, but its ok, the girls were too engrossed in the Jungle Book to notice that a real life Tarzan was flying through the kitchen and back to the bath again.


Its my step dad, and now I'm in the bath naked with another man on the phone feeling awkward, nodding my head and thinking, "How do I get my pants back on without making splashing noises?" Thankfully we only talk politics and the end of the world, the usual stuff. But now I only have enough time to eat my soggy and popless rice bubbles and enjoy a heavy chapter of Deuteronomy while calling every now and then,

"Haydn?"
"Yes daddy?"
"What's Chelsea doing?"
"She's playing with barbies..."


Two minutes later...


"Haydn?"
"What daddy?"
"What's Chelsea doing?"
"She's playing with the oil heater..."
"Ok, you tell me if she's doing anything naughty ok?"
"Ok daddy..."


Chelsea cries. Maybe its time to get out? Chelsea stops crying. Ok just a few more minutes.


Somewhere on my way to the plug I find myself reading an old blog, Calamari and Me, from 2009. For some reason this blog has had 490 hits and I wonder why. After reading it I know why. It was pretty good.


Chelsea cries again.


Ok, better get out. I pull out the plug depressed that I could write better when I was 30 than I can now. I look in the mirror and I see wrinkles beginning to appear, sunken eyes on a tired whiskery face and my boobs are starting to sag. My female readers might sympathise but hey, I'm a dude, I'm not even meant to have boobs, let alone saggy ones.


Well, I'm wide awake now so I might as well do some washing.


The next hour is somewhat of a blur. I start feeling the sharp pains in my abdomen, like someone has stuck a knitting needle into my apendix, or is that on my right hand side I wonder? Which leads to more thoughts of dying while looking after the girls and how horrible that would be. This is a reoccurring waking nightmare for me. I don't know why, its the "what would happen if" of my freaky thought life that I would rather do without. I worry way too much.


I decide its not my appendix after all, remembering that at least two of our family members have had a stomach bug in the last week resulting in rear-end Niagara, so it must be my turn.


I put Chelsea to bed and take Robert Jordan to the couch to accompany me in some R&R. Chelsea is in her room talking away, crying one minute, googling the next. Haydn sees me with a book so she decides to climb up onto the couch with me with her own book about fairies. Australian fairies to be precise. Half expecting the book to be set in Sydney I realise this is a book about Australian State Flower symbols posing as fairies, yet another ploy of the in laws to Australianise my precious little kiwis. Except they are part Australian so I feel obliged to read on. The whole routine sort of morphing into me on one end of the couch nursing a popping and protestng tummy and eyes that just don't want to hold onto consciousness any more. Haydn at the other end looking at the pretty pictures and herself dozing off.


"Haydn..." I mumble, "You've got to go to the toilet..."
"I don't want to daddy..."
"No seriously you have to go because you're falling asleep and I don't want you to have an accident on the couch."
Haydn in consternation says, "It not bedtime daddy, I not going to sleep.


Less than a minute later we have almost exactly the same conversation. Two minutes later the same conversation until finally I just don't care anymore. Let her pee on the couch if she has too, I'm too tired to enforce the toilet first rule.


Both of us completely crashed out on the couch for the next two hours. The house was finally silent. Still. Peaceful but for the pitter patter of tiny snores and the chugger chugger of Dad's.


Suddenly its three o'clock and what on earth am I doing still writing this?


Consider this experiment a failure, I could go on to talk about the nappy that like Medusa turned my nose to stone or the tuna sandwich I bravely ate knowing I will probably be reintroduced to it tomorrow when this tummy bug deems the inappropriate time for hurling, but it just dawned on me, the wife is having a girls night out and my little darlings are in their beds, and for the whole time I've been typing this I could have been watching the next episode of Ancient Aliens on Youtube, winding down, or is that just code for, making up for the day I could have had were it not for work...

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