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Monday, July 9, 2012

10th July on Planet Fatherhood

I'm doing something I've never done before, I'm blogging on the bus. I have 37 minutes precisely to tell the tale if my sick week.

Sucky and sickly has been my health with self diagnosed bronchitis and an acute ear infection that saw me to the Doctor after only being able to take one day off from work because of the specialized nature of my mediocre job. In other words no one could cover me.

But that's ok, the toughest job I have, albeit the most rewarding, is being a parent, which no man can call in sick from. There are no sickies for desperate dad's with man-flu.

Actually that's what grandparents are for, "mum, I need you to watch the kids, I'm sick"... But that was me day dreaming again about a time long ago when grandparents had nothing better to do all day than knit and make syrupy cups of tea for under age drinkers (as my Nanna used to). Not to mention all my children's grans, nans, pas and pops all live out of town. So I was clearly on my own this week.

Even when my Mum did come to town to visit the latest if my nephews newly born, I still couldn't talk her into baby sitting, but at least I got to partake in a longstanding tradition - using my mum's presence as a good excuse to hold a family gathering at my cousin's much bigger house, complete with toys and other children to distract my wonderful ones long enough to let poor sick dad relax and tell his own mummy all about how much his ears hurt.

So there we are at my cousins house, middle of the week and all the children doing their thing. It was bliss, and my girls loved every minute of it. I tend to pit my kids against my nephews and nieces whenever my mum is around. I like to play mind games with her in the following fashion, "Mum, if you were lost at sea and there was only room on the life boar for just one of your grand kids, who would you pick?" She gets all flustered and declares, "I love all my grandchildren the same! I'm not going to answer that, don't be so stupid!" I love my Mum. I can tell by her smile that she wants to say, "I'd save your kids first" but she's just being sensitive to the rest of my families ears. At least that's what I choose to believe.

We're all sitting around in my cousin's enormous living room with the rare winter sun shining in and filling the space. My Auntie Grubs has come for the visit which is crucial to what happens next. A wasp enters the room and all the women fly into a frenzy, "quick get it out!" and "don't let it touch me!"
Auntie grubs grabs the fly spray and starts chasing it down with the poisonous fluid, only my cousin says, "mum, what are you using, I don't have any fly spray!" turns out auntie grubs with her twilight eyesight has grabbed a can of cooking oil and has been generously spraying it all over the kitchen.

At another point my brother goes to make himself a coffee. I ask him to include me in his effort but he declines my request and I'm left coffee-less. I decide to get him back by changing my youngest's nappy behind the couch that he is sitting on and glean what pleasure I can from the potent reactions that spread across the room as the putrid contents of the devastating diaper can be felt in the nostrils of all present. "quick, open a door! Get that thing out of here!" don't let auntie grubs reach for the deodorizer because thats cooking oil too.

I love family gatherings. I don't even know what my little ones did apart from immerse themselves in the bliss of someone else's toys.

But at least for one day I forgot that I was sick because the family around me unconsciously carried the responsibility with me. I don't know how anyone does parenting completely alone, I really don't. It takes a mum and dad to make a baby. It takes a family to raise one. And it takes a bunch of relatives to give you a break.

And here's my bus stop... Great timing...

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