Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rain, finally!

We finally got a smidgeon of rain today. The morning started off with promise, and then it cleared during the middle of the day. Then, thankfully, at around 3:30pm it started coming down all across the city. This may not sound that important, but with full scale water restrictions about to come in for Brisbane, every bit of rain helps with staving off all the garden plants dying.

This ties in to our family activities for the day. We're gradully repaining our kitchen. We had a kitchen renovation just before Christmas last year, and we decided we'd do the touch up for painting ourselves. This of course meant agreeing on colours. Anth is far more adventurous than me. I'm happy for white. White or Beige. Or White. Can't go wrong with White. So since then, we've had a multitude of potential colour combinations, hence the delay. We settled on a theme known as Desert Spice. When its all done, I'll put a picture up.

With the potential for rain, the kids had to hang around the house. Because we were painting, and arguing with each other over who'd done what, and who'd dripped paint on the tiles and the baby, and whether the colours were better than White, the kids tried to keep out of Mum and Dad's way. By mid afternoon, the elder boys were hanging around like blue-arse flies, and Anth and I were sick of the smell of paint. We decided to go for a drive into the City to the Gardens.

About 500 meteres down the road the rain came. We kept going in case it had already passed in the City. Nup. Rain, beautiful rain everywhere. Stinky, bored kids remained in the car for an hour drive. No let up there. So we brought them home, fed them up on Pancakes, and threw them in the bath. They decided that the bath would double for a swimming pool, so for about an hour they spashed around in there with their goggles on. At least they weren't annoying us.

Ciao for Now, A Rainy Day in the House Angry Dad.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Space Cadets.

We've all been Space Cadets once in a while. It's those times in your life where you leave reality, and drift off into outer space, not being bothered by those around you nor your surroundings. I must have passed off my aerospatial habits to my children, because they all do it. What got me thinking about it was soccer this morning with Ethan.

Yes, I've become a defacto soccer dad. At least I don't yell abuse from the sidelines, even though sometimes I want to, but that's a whole other story. Watching the kids play, they all turn into Space Cadets at certain parts of the game, some more than others. Take Ethan for example. He misses the other kid running past him with the ball, but rather than give chase, he turns and just stares up into the sky. The mysteries of the planets have taken him. I've also noticed that the goalies on either team are quite good at this. Its not just soccer where this occurs, so perhaps Ethan is a bit of a day dreamer!

As mentioned, the other kids aren't immune. Aidan adds another dimension in that when he's in Space Cadet mode, his eyes tend to go in different directions. This can look quite freaky if you're not expecting it. I'd love to go to the planets Aidan goes to, because you can guarantee they wouldn't be anything like Earth.

Callum too has his Intergalaxial traveling Time. Must be a baby thing. It is not, however, appropriate for shop assistants to go into Space Cadet mode whilst I am holding Callum, waiting to be served. This morning, outside the chicken shop, I'm standing there with Crying child on my hip, staring at the 20 year old shop assistant slowly refilling chicken giblets onto trays. Ah, Hello? Can you hear me, Major Tom? She just continues to spoon away, obviously on another planet whilst I wish she'd return from Outer Space and just bloody serve me!

Ciao for Now, Galaxy Quest Captain Angry Dad.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Brains and Imagination

"What are you doing?"
"My brain is talking to me, and I'm just listening."

Ethan went through a stage of talking to his brain in the third person. It was like a separate entity which controlled everything that he did, and that he had to listen to, or talk to, to try to get it to do what he wanted. Sometimes it would tell him to be naughty, and he'd have to stop it, or it would tell him to go to bed and have a rest, and he would listen to it.

I thought Ethan was unique in this aspect, but in a chat with a colleague at work, he outlined that his daughter has a similar scenario, except its her imagination that's giving her grief. He said that at the moment she's walking around their house with a disheveled look saying "I've lost my Imagination!"

This came to a head for him when on an outing at the local shops she leant forward to one of the shopkeepers and said "I'm losing my imagination. Its up here in my head."

The shopkeeper apparently acknowledged with a smile. She then started touching the top of her head, and then lent forward, admonishing the shopkeeper to "Just Feel it. It's my Imagination!"

I guess that the concepts of what your brain does when you're a kid isn't as tarnished as when your an adult. I can tell you now that both of these kids have ample brains and ample imagination, so I don't know what they're worried about! You only lose it as adults!!

Ciao for Now, Brainless and Unimaginative Angry Dad.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Heart Attacks

Ethan had soccer training last night and I got into trouble firstly because we were late, secondly because he didn't know what they were practicing when we arrived, and thirdly because I left his drink bottle in the car. Each of these events resulted in tears. The coach, bless her, is extremely positive, and for each of the kids always has something encouraging to say. Lets just say by the time of the drink incident, I wanted to throttle the boy, but she managed to keep me sane.

At about half way through practice, the coach told each of the kids they could rest and have a drink. Of course, I hadn't gone back to the car and got Ethan's drink. At the site of all the other kids drinking, Ethan burst into tears.

"You didn't get me my drink. Waaah"
"I know. Its in the car."
"But I'm thirsty. Waaah"
"Well, you'll just have to wait until we've finished. Then you can have it."
"But I need it now. I'm so thirsty. Waaah"
"You have to wait. What are you doing?"
(At this point Ethan had collapsed to the ground.)
"I'm having a heart attack. You're making me die. Waaah"

Just then, the coach came over to find out what was going on. This was at about the time I wanted to pick him up by the scruff of the neck and drag him to the car.

"What's wrong Ethan?"
"I'm dying. I'm having a heart attack. Daddy won't get me a drink. Waaaah"
"You can have one once we finished the game. Come on. Get up. You're on the green team. Do you know who the Hulk is?"
"Sniff. Yes..."
"Ok, so get up and show me your Hulk moves!"

With that, the little bugger was up, and did his best Hulk Hogan impersonation whilst making the Hulk growl at the coach, along with the other kids. Heart Attack was forgotten. Why do our beloved kids do this?

Ciao for Now, Coronary Angry Dad.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Club Hand

Have you ever been unexpectedly belted in the head at 3:00am? In a past life, this may have happened when I was coming home after a hard night on the turps, and I managed to upset some other yokel with my charming nature. These days, its the kids that attack me.

At 3:00am in the morning, I got king hit whilst I was asleep. I woke up thinking "What the f*ck was that?" as I writhed around trying to figure out where the hell I was. Then it struck again, a small, paw like club, swung from on high to strike at the temple. Callum was awake, and utilising his club hand, he obviously was trying to get someone's attention. It worked. What do you say to a kid that does that to you, especially a seven month old baby with a king hit that would be the envy of Mike Tyson?

Callum seems to be developing a mighty strong physicality. This evening, sitting on the couch watching telly, he decided that it would be a fun idea to try to rip my ear off. We were both sitting there, apparently happy, and then he just went for it, digging his little claws into my ears whilst at the same time pulling with all his might. I now have a nice scar for life down one side of my neck. Ok, I exaggerate a little, but sheesh, that's what it felt like.

I don't think there's anything I can do at the moment. We have to trim back his fingernails, and perhaps its my time to start thinking about sleeping out on the spare bed. I can't take the violence anymore.

Ciao for Now, Physically Abused by a Baby Angry Dad.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

ANZAC Day - Lest We Forget

Today was ANZAC Day. On the 25th of April every year Australians honour the bravery and sacrifice of the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), and of all those who served their country. The ANZAC tradition began during World War I with a landing on 25th April, 1915 at Gallipoli on the Turkish Aegean coast. It is a national holiday in Australia.

Although I've never served, I respect what the ANZAC represents, and in particular the statement "Lest We Forget". To me, this means that we should never wish to make war, lest we forget the sacrifice of those who have gone before. War is a terrible thing, often fought by those with little relation to the leaders who engage the conflict in the first place. Personally, I'd fight to preserve my children, and the freedoms which we have in this country, one of the luckiest of all. But I'd do this only after all other forms of democracy had failed.

There was a great article in our weekend paper about Keith Payne, the last Australian awarded a Victoria Cross, the highest recognition for valour "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. In one particular battle in Vietnam he saved the lives of many Australian and International soldiers. He had a great quote I've condensed here on courage:
"I myself think that it's a reaction to a time. You're there. It's your responsibility. You do it... Some will baulk, but there will always be somebody there who will react."

Blokes like this make me proud to be Australian. I hope my kids never have to go to war, never have to be in the armed forces, and never have to use a weapon in anger. But I also hope my kids can embody a spirit and courage which will make them react when courage is required.

Ciao for Now, Proud Aussie Angry Dad.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Inappropriate Bodily Functions.

I am a pig. It is nice to know I have passed this trait on to my children. Its not that I'm totally disgusting, but I do certain things now I've reached a certain part in my life, where in the home environment, I'm not sensitive as to my behaviour. This includes burping, snorting when clearing my nose, and farting as loudly as possible. My mother would be appalled. The kids of course think that this is acceptable not only in the house, but outside the house. The magic words "Excuse Me" also seem to be the Get out of Jail free words to use should you be in public. They do have some decorum.

This was brought to my attention when we visited some friends over the weekend, one couple of which doesn't have children. Ethan continues to have a cold, although that didn't stop him running around the garden playing Hide and Seek and Tag You're It. Once he'd finished, he came back into the house for a drink, and whilst standing at the table with snot dripping from his nose, he proceeded to tell us how he had been so good at those games. I of course, unthinkingly pulled out a handkerchief and stuck it to his nose. As he snorted out the boogers, he continued on unerringly describing his activities. I thought nothing of this.

Of course, our friend who was sitting next to us, heard all of this and screwed up her face. Anth, who was watching knowingly, said, "Disgusting, isn't it?" to which said friend replied "I'm just not used to hearing bodily functions so up close and personal!" It's true, I didn't give it a second thought. On top of that, Aidan, who had some diet soft drink, continued to burp happily to all in close quarters with every sip, exclaiming loudly "Excuse Me!" with each expulsion, and with a huge grin on his face. All it would have taken was for me to start blowing a tune from my rear trumpet and we would have got the whole triad of inappropriate bodily functions at the one party.

Ciao for Now, Arse Trumpet Angry Dad.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mouse Trap The Game

Can you build a better mouse trap? When I was a kid, one of the other kids had the Mouse Trap game, but for whatever reason, we'd never get to play it. I was always extremely jealous, because it looked so interesting. It had a bathtub, a diver, marbles, cranks, and this cage which caught mice. There was a sheet which told you how to put it all together. What more could you ask for? But No. The kid wanted to play Chess, so I had to be cerebral. The interesting thing with Chess was that whenever it looked like one of the other of us would win, the loser would throw the board in the air, spreading pieces everywhere, and declare "I'm not playing anymore!"

Mouse Trap is a board game originally developed by Ideal. I always knew it as a Milton Bradley game, but apparently they got taken over by Hasbro. Players travel as mice from one end of the board to the other, moving by dice roll. Upon landing on a square, they either retrieve a piece of cheese, or assemble a piece of the mouse trap contraption that is the game's namesake. There are gears, a marble which rolls from end to end down a miniature staircase, ramps, rubber bands, diving men, and ends of course in a mouse trap, specifically a dome-shaped cage which clatters down a toothed pole. Apparently, the whole thing was inspired by a guy called Rube Goldberg whose main claim to fame was to create devices that are exceedingly complex and perform very simple tasks in a very indirect and convoluted way. My kind of guy.

So a few weeks ago, when I was in a toy store with Ethan, he asked if he could get the game. He'd been given some money from his Grandma, and it was on special, so together we bought it. Of course, we rushed home, and played the game straight away, going through the whole process of building the trap and catching each other at the end of the game. It's a lot of fun the first few times... However, I do think it might be the type of game that you can get a little sick of when your kid asks you to play it every single day, morning and night!

We have had to introduce Mouse Trap rationing. The game is tucked away under Ethan's bed, so at least he knows it safe. He has to catch one of us now in a good mood to even get a chance of playing it. I think its more the incessant demand of "Can we play Mouse Trap now?" that gets our goat over actually playing the game. Its still better than catching mice (or rats) for real!

Ciao for Now, Mouse Catching Angry Dad.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Piddling on the Toilet Seat

One of my current pet hates is that in a house full of predominantly males, we still have the situation of wee on the toilet seat. Now, you'd think that with only one female this shouldn't be a problem. (Well, technically there are two females in the family, but Wednesday only uses the toilet as a water bowl, which is equally as gross). Anth will keep the toilet seat down, generally with the cover as well.

For us males, with the exception of Callum who is still in nappies, we all should know that when you go to the loo for number ones, you lift the seat up if it isn't up already. Not my boys. They are quite happy to piss wherever their fancy takes them. I thought it may have only been Aidan who does this, but no, Ethan is up to this trick as well. Fortunately, Anth keeps a spray bottle of toilet cleaner in their toilet, but its still no fun to have to do the wipe everytime you go in there.

Its interesting that a young chap by the name of Tyler Stewart actually has invented a device called the Wee Pee Siren which ensures that you put the toilet seat down after you've been to the toilet. It is basically a siren attached to the seat, which goes off if you leave the seat up. Now, if you could extend that by having some kind of sensor on the seat so that when they wee on it, the siren also goes off, I'm sure we could do some reasonable training to rid our household of this menace to society.

I can just see my children of the future, being shunned in workplaces and pubs, after befouling the toilets. There are discussion lists on this topic, for which one of the responses I read could be applied to an adult partaking this activity. If you were caught you would be challenged with these words:

Ciao for Now, Seat Wiping Angry Dad.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Coaster Boy

This morning I did a run down to Movie World on the Gold Coast. The main intention was to get to ride on the Superman Escape rollercoaster, which I haven't been on although we've been down there twice since it opened. So I jumped in the car early on my last day of holidays, and dashed away to have a final morning of pleasure and leisure, much to Anth's disdain.

I must admit I am a bit of a rollercoaster freak. It is a little frustrating that here in Australia we have such weird ride control options. For example, with the Superman ride they make a huge deal about not having anything in your pockets. No phones. No Wallets. No change. Nothing. They don't go as far as patting you down, but they are vigilant about it. I couldn't even wear my glasses, so I had them shoved in my pockets hidden as best as possible. I also think that they could have improved their theming for the ride queue as well, but I'm a traditionalist. Disney does this best at some of their parks.

The ride itself is excellent for a non-looping coaster. Made by Intamin, it's what's known as an accelerator coaster. You enter through the Metropolis Subway Station, and as the ride starts a simulated earthquake takes place. This theming is quite good. You then hit the launch area as Superman arrives, telling you he'll "push you out of there", or words to that affect! That's when it goes from zero to 100kmh in 2 seconds, and you really feel it as you're launched up and over the main drop. You then go through a series of lifts and drops before returning to the main station. All up, it takes about a minute and a half.

Superman has been themed in a number of U.S. coasters, and this one isn't quite up to some of those. The Superman Escape at Six Flags Magic Mountain is like the Tower of Terror here at Dreamworld. Six Flag's Ohio have the Superman Ultimate Escape, which is one I'd also like to go on! For the record, the Roller Coaster Database currently lists 13 Superman rollercoasters worldwide.

I rode three times, and also fitted in a shot on Lethal Weapon as well, although it was hot and quite crowded. I only stayed for about 2 hours. So, now I've had my fix, and I should be right for at least another few months. If only I could convince Ethan to get on these with me, but as a kid I was always petrified of these rides. I guess I never grew up, I just got less scared!

Ciao for Now, Coaster Boy Angry Dad.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Boys Plane Colds

I'm not sure whether it was being cooped up in an aircraft for 2 hours where everyone had the options of coughing on everyone else, or that one of us managed to be incubating a bug, but all of the boys in our household currently have colds. These are at various stages. Aidan seems to have the cough, as does Ethan. Ethan seems to be able to cough up his lungs overnight better than Aidan. Callum too has a runny nose and has been grizzly most of the day. I have a bit of a blocked nose and slightly sore throat, although I seem to have less symptoms than the kids. Anth, of course, has not yet succumbed to boy germs.

Recent studies appear to suggest that the risk of infectious diseases during air travel is decreasing. If they increase the ventilation rate through the cabin, the risk drops even more. It is apparently more of a perception rather than a reality. Of course, try to tell that to someone who's sitting next to my son as he hocks up a loogie and wipes it on the next passengers suit sleeve, and I'm sure that passenger will tell you that he is about to be a purveyor of assault due to being a victim of an infectious (and vile) disease.

What is it about kids and boogers? Must be the parents influence. I know I'm not immune from having a dig and a pick when you get a few crustys up there, but hey, that's just the kind of guy I am. Unfortunately, the kids take it to that next extreme of not only digging and picking, but eating or slurping as well. Aidan is the king of the slurp when he has a cold. An absolute treat in public. Dr Karl has suggested that this may in fact be good for you, and help ward off further infections, but I'll stay out of that debate. Must taste good but!

Ciao for Now, Booger Boy Angry Dad.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


We returned back to Brisbane today from Melbourne. The morning was spent with Anth reminiscing with her sister whilst the kids ran around doing their final We're all kids and we're all in this together play. I managed to freak them out using the Karaoke machine. I don't get it. It had a musical tracker in it which checks your pitch against the guide track, and gives you a rating out of a hundred. On a few of the songs I decided to sing I was consistently in the 90's, and had two overall scores of 78, which they all said was the highest. I thought I sounded flat, and I have a tendency to slide to notes when I'm off key. Mel is the next best singer, I think, and she's had a lot of practice. Jess has to keep up the guitar and they'll have the next version of The Veronica's!

Once again, I am so thankful that we flew rather than drove. We left the Dandenongs behind at around 11:30am, and Callum started up straight away. After about 15 minutes he fell asleep. I'm not sure whether it was his car seat, or that we were in a different car, or he was just being a normal baby, but he did spend most of his awake time in the car squawking. Ethan was the only one who could get him to stop by pulling faces at him to make him laugh.

The flight home was beautiful in that it was uneventful. This time, as we were on a 737-800, Anth and the three boys were in one set of 3 seats, whilst I was in blissful ignorance across the aisle. I even got to eat an Ice-Cream, much to the disdain of my wife and children, after Anth had told the boys that they could have one when they got home. Not this big kid. I was having an Ice-Cream and that was that. So what if my kids both sat there saying "Can we have an ice-cream mum? Dad's having one. Can't we Mum?"

Thankfully, with our arrival in Sunny Brisbane, Sharon was again faithfully there to pick us up. It was so nice to get off the plane to beautiful 26 degrees C weather. It sure beats the windchilled air of Melbourne! I miss a few things about Melbourne: family; friends; footy; the gardens; the cuisine; but the weather sure isn't one of them.

Ciao for Now, Warmed Up Angry Dad.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Wishing Tree.

Today we made the trip from the City out to the foothills of the Dandenongs, to Anth's sister's house. For our last night, we're staying out at Casa Del Jenny and Haircut. It's been a good day, considering that last night I succumbed to my gambling vice, and spent a good part of the evening throwing money away at Crown Casino. We traveled up here in the morning, and then I even got a quick kip in.

We took Rex up with us so all the kids on Anth's family side were together once again. Everyone except Callum and Aidan headed off to the movies to see Ice Age 2 which was a lot of fun. We said our last goodbyes for this trip to Uncle Woo Woo and Rex, and left them at the cinemas for the return trip back to the house. After dropping off most of the kids, and picking Aidan up, Aidan, Melanie and I drove up to the top of Mt Dandenong to take in the view back to the City.

The picture at the top of this post is the view back through the haze to the City. The camera is a simple digital, so it hasn't come out great, but you get the idea. Aidan hassled some o the other tourists there, but generally was pretty good, with Mel keeping a great eye on him. We even went to the Wishing Tree. Aidan was the only one of us guaranteed to get his wish, as it was "I wish I was in the car." Granted, within minutes!

Tonight we are enjoying a night of family fun with bad karaoke. At the moment the dulcet tones of Islands in the Stream are wafting in from the lounge room. I think I'll go join them to sing A Hard Day's Night. Hopefully John and George won't roll in their graves.

Ciao for Now, Wishing Angry Dad.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Aquarium and the City.

This morning we had Hell morning. Callum again didn't sleep too well overnight, and this morning when he got up he decided that screaming would be the main activity of the morning. We were meant to meet up with Anth's childhood best friend and her family at 10:00am. This got pushed out by first half an hour, and then an hour, and in the end we were an hour and a half late. This was compounded not just by Scream-O, but by Aidan deciding that he'd like to sleep in until 10:30am, and being virtually immovable to that time. When he did get up, and we tried to rush him, we got all the tics about his clothes, how he was sick, how he was hungry, along with finger in the mouth screaming. A truly delicious morning.

We drove into the city and parked at Crown Casino, and then walked across to the Melbourne Aquarium. Standing to wait in line, Aidan told everyone how his "pants were too tight". He was attacked by a giant mascot shark, whilst a guy walked along side him with a trombone playing the theme from Jaws. You have to love Street Theatre, don't you? I thought this would really freak Aidan out, but he quite enjoyed it. They then made him throw a toy squid into a net, so at least he calmed down enough to get through most of the exhibits. We met up with Paula and all got to go through without too much drama, and actually got to enjoy the main shark and underwater exhibits. They have a freaky frozen giant squid there at the moment, which I thought was impressive. I wouldn't want to come across one of those critters in The Deep.

From there, we went back over to the Crown Food Court and sat outside in the Melbourne brisk weather and had a good catch up. The four kids were relatively well behaved. When they left, Anth and I decided that we'd go up into Melbourne City for a look around. It started badly with Aidan screaming that he wanted to go "In the Car!" After walking for about 15 minutes he got the picture that we weren't going back to the car at that point. We went through the Bourke St Mall, up to the revamped Melbourne Central and back down Swanston Street. After that, we meandered back around Southbank before getting back to the car. This was all interspersed with some shopping, coffee, and carrying The Appendage on our hip whilst Aidan sat in the stroller like Lord Muck.

Tonight has seen the return of Natty, Woo Woo and Rex so Aidan is happy again. Tomorrow we head off to the foothills of the Dandenongs to catch up with Aunty Jen and Uncle Haircut, and hear about all of Ethan's adventures.

Ciao for Now, Melbourne Based Angry Dad.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Egg Hunt and Back to Melbourne.

Today, as it was Easter Sunday, we all had to get up for the backyard egg hunt. As a family tradition the Easter Bunny hid eggs all over Mama and Grandad's backyard, and when they awoke this morning, all the kids wanted to do was search. Fortunately, the older kids waited for Aidan and Ethan to get up before everyone went full bore. There seemed to be eggs everywhere, in trees, under gnomes, even in the outback dunny. Our breakfast basically consisted of the chocolate group of dietary products.

As the morning progressed into lunch, with a beautiful day in Deniliquin, Mama organised a Bacon and Egg BBQ for our last lunch meal. This was quick, and easy, and filling enough given that we'd all eaten chocolate for most of the morning. There's nothing like an egg on toast before a long drive to ensure the car has that certain aroma for most of the trip! Uncle Phil, Aunty Jen and their kids left just after lunch, and we followed not long after at around 2:00pm.

Being the nerd that I am, I had to determine if the route I chose using the new freeways through Melbourne would be quicker than the more traditional route usually chosen to get to Jen and Phil's. So I timed it down to the last minute, trying to factor in the additional time spent stopping for toilet breaks, playground time, and petrol. All up it took us 4 hours, 18 mins. Phil, just to irritate me, said they did it in 4 hours, 17 minutes. Unfortunately, he knows my nerd roots, or is that routes?

Tonight we had Melbourne Fish and Chips for Dinner. There is something about Victorian Fish and Chips which just seems so much better than those in Brisbane. For a start, the fish you get is flake, or shark. That's pretty much the choice you have when you just get it straight up. In general, just the way they cook it tastes better, but that's usually because its Greek's who do the cooking. I was brought up with Greek fish and chips, and they always just taste better. We went from Jen and Phil's back to Nat and Brett's place for the evening, leaving Ethan behind. I hope he's not too much trouble.

Ciao for Now, Chocolate Easter Egg Lovin' Angry Dad.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Legends of Woo Woo and Haircut.

Aidan has two Uncle's on Anth's family side. The first of these is Anth's brother, Woo Woo. He is known throughout the family as Woo Woo. Why, you ask? Well, he's always been out there. I remember my first introduction to him when Anth and I first started dating. We had to go to Lake Eildon for Christmas, which is where their family went every year. Just after we arrived, out jumped Woo Woo from the bushes near the lake yelling "I am Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" and scaring the shit out of me. He then nonchalantly walked up and said to both of us, "Hi Anth. You must be Anth's new boyfriend. G'day, I'm Brett."

This gives you some indication that he is a bit left of centre. The Woo Woo comes from his love of the Three Stooges. Curly makes the noise we've come to know and love. Brett makes this Woo Woo noise in front of all the kids, hence how has he has come to be known as Uncle Woo Woo. He is a lot of fun, and all the kids get a big kick out of him being around. They never know what he's going to get up to.

Aidan is really the only one who calls Uncle Phil "Haircut". With Aidan, we can't take him to a hairdresser. We used to when he was a small boy, until we hit the hairdresser from hell who cut large chunks out of his head then dramatically declared that she couldn't possibly cut "That Child's Hair". I had to leave before I decked her, I was so angry. From that point on we've had to do the home haircut, which usually means a number four with the clippers. So when Aidan first came in contact with a newly shaven Uncle Phil, he called him "Haircut". As you can see, Phil now takes the fully shaved route.

Phil is excellent with Aidan, incredibly patient, and loves it when his little mate sits down with him and pats him on the head. I think he likes the special attention he gets, and knowing that he's got a unique nickname.

Ciao for Now, Uncle Angry Dad.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday.

Today is Good Friday. We're still in Deniliquin, and we're still getting our share of extra sleep! For most of the morning it rained, which is good for the area given how dry it has been. It meant most of the morning was in doors, waiting expectantly for the cousins to arrive. Auntie Jen, Uncle Phil (Haircut) and Mel, Jess and Ben were all due at lunchtime after their trip up from Melbourne.

Mama went to church, and when she came back, Ethan announced that he knew all about Jesus. This really consists of knowing that Jesus gives you bread and champagne, based on his visit to the local church as part of primary school religious studies. Mama didn't try to convince him otherwise, but we did get songs such as "God is strong, stronger than King Kong" and "I'm in the Lord's Army". I remember being in the Kiss Army when I was a kid. Mama has taught scripture before to children, so she is very good with dealing with those intricacies of kids questions.

When all the cousins arrived, they bought a bit of sunshine with them. This meant that after lunch we attempted to go down to the Deniliquin Skate Park. Little did we realise that it was a fair dinkum skate park, so when we got there expecting to ride our scooters around, we weren't expecting the huge drops off the edge of each pipe. Suffice to say, as the rain dried out, more youff (youth) showed up and showed us up with their skateboards and bikes. We watched them for a while, and then went over to the park for a play on some normal swings and slides.

Ethan enjoys having all the cousins here, and is in his element with Ben. Aidan is still a bit disoriented, and gets worked up with everyone around. Callum loves all the extra attention, and its good for Anth and I to be able to palm him off most of the time. More of Anth's family arrive tomorrow, so the gang will all be here!

Ciao for Now, Kiss Army Angry Dad.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Sleeping Inn.

Last night Callum decided that he would toss and turn most of the night. Anth and I are in one of the guest beds, which would be fine without a baby, but not so fine with one. He managed to keep us awake most of the night. I'm not sure why, but when he gets passed to me, I can get him to sleep quite quickly, but it usually involves him sleeping on my arm. When this happens I just can't get into a position where I can get back to sleep, so I lay there, hoping sleep will come. It doesn't. Eventually the Appendage will decide he needs to be attached to another body part, so he grizzles, and that's when I can pass him back. Apparently, although I felt like I didn't get any sleep, Mama tells me that she could here me punching out the Z's for most of the night.

So in the morning I got asked the $1,000 question when Callum woke up smiling and giggling.

"I'll give you a $1,000 if you get up with him."
"No, I'll give you$10,000."
"Don't be stupid. Get up."

That was at 7:30am. He fell back to sleep in my arms at 8:30, sleeping through until 9:30am. Anth got up at 10:00am. Aidan didn't get up until 11:00am. I went back to bed at 11:30am and slept through to 1:30pm. The only one who got up and was active in our family was Ethan. Grandad and Mama put us to shame. They were up doing Lifeball, going bike riding, and doing the shopping to feed our hungry horde.

We have all developed nice sleep habits since arriving here. The nice thing about a country town like Deniliquin is that you don't really have to do anything. We went for a walk to the local park today, as well as for a walk along the Edwards River. We didn't have to, but we thought that after a nice long sleep in, we better get out of the house at least for a little while.

Ciao for Now, Sleeping In Angry Dad.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Trip to Deniliquin.

Today I was thankful that we flew to Melbourne. We woke up after having a nice sleep in at around 8:30am. We kept the morning nice and leisurely, as we are on holiday. Then, at around 11:00am we packed up our gear ready for the trip to Deniliquin. It is about 300km from Melbourne to Deniliquin, and for a normal journey should take about 3 hours. We managed to do it in 5.

We decided early on in the journey that we'd stop and get coffee and something to eat. We chose the Airport West Shopping Mall, which I used to frequent as a child. Its changed a lot since then, but we still managed to eat close to where I used to play Space Invaders during my mispent youth. Ah, memories. Sadly, the machine is no longer there.

The journey up through Victoria is quite direct. It is mainly freeways or main country roads, with minimal stoppages except for some of the country towns you pass through. The three boys were in the back, and Callum decided to start screaming about 20km out of Melbourne. Fortunately, it only lasted about 15 minutes before he fell asleep, so we had a reasonably quiet time through to Heathcote, about an two and a half hours into the drive. It was there that I decided that if I kept driving, I'd fall asleep, so we did a quick changeover, during which Callum woke up. Its hard to sleep with a baby sitting in the back going "Waaah", not consistently, but randomly every few minutes.

About half an hour later at Elmore, we changed over again, and this time had a toilet break. We struggled on, through Rochester, then to Echuca, eating chocolate and potato chips in the car to help stem our obvious food cravings! So, we were in the final stretch from Echuca to Deniliquin, and Callum had again fallen asleep after half an hour of screeching. As we were just about to hit Mathoura, some 20 minutes from the destination, Aidan piped up with "I need to go to the Toilet". We asked if he could wait. No. So we pulled up. Callum woke up. The public toilets there were nothing short of foul. I'd love to know why car trips with children always become a grand tour of public conveniences throughout the country. Aidan didn't really need to go, and then attempted to jump in the front seat of the car. Callum started screaming. Finally, we got rearranged back into the car and made that final jump to Deni to the grandparents.

You know, its not the destination, its the journey. All the more reason for flying rather than driving from Brisbane to Melbourne. Five hours was enough to prove to me that forty eight hours travel would have had Anth and I ripping the skin from our faces off! Its nice to be at Mama's and Grandad's house!

Ciao for Now, Travellin' Angry Dad.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We're going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo.

After we arrived in Melbourne yesterday, we were able to catch up with one of our friends, Dave, for lunch before moving on to Anth's brother's place where we are going to stay for a few days. The Welcome Mat was definitely out, and Nat and Woo Woo (Anth's Brother) really went all out. We also were greeted with Anth's sister and her kids who came over for the evening as well. 7 kids. 5 adults. The only one we haven't seen yet is Uncle Haircut (Phil), who we should see this weekend. Yes, there are stories behind all these names, but that's for another session.

Today, we had a trip to Melbourne Zoo. Anth, Jenny and I took all 7 kids, ranging in age from the baby through to the older girls Mel and Jess who are 11 and 12 respectively. Mel and Jess are really helpful given all the other kids, and with Aidan being somewhat of a handful. All the kids were really good. Probably the most annoying child of the day was me. I obviously didn't get enough sleep, and was dawdling behind for most of the day. There is a reason for this. The Melbourne Zoo is awesome.

We saw Gorillas, Elephants, Tigers, Lions, Snakes, Platypus, Bears, Seals and Penguins amongst others. We walked the full circumference of the zoo, at times carrying children on back, shoulders and hips. They have two new exhibits I haven't seen. There is the new Gorilla habitat, and the excellent Elephant Village where they have tried to make the habitats more natural for the animals. Unfortunately, most of the animals they have on display are endangered in their own normal environments, so we should be thankful for zoos that do this. I also managed to get up close to one of the Tigers, and I'm quite happy with this shot. We wandered around for about four hours, until the kids were worn out, I was worn out, and we were all ready to go.

Tomorrow, we head up to Deniliquin just beyond the New South Wales and Victorian border for some time with the grandparents!

Ciao for Now, Zoological Angry Dad.

Monday, April 10, 2006

We're in Melbourne Now.

Today we began our holiday. We were fortunately picked up from home by our friend Sharon, who took the whole brood out to the airport. I think she was probably glad to be rid of us once she dropped us off, although in the scheme of things we weren't that bad, just a bit squeezy. It seemed like a rush getting there, and I almost thought we would run out of time. Our flight was set for 10:50am, and we left home at 9:00am, so it was plenty of time. However, when we got dropped off at the airport at around 9:30am it already felt like we'd been going an hour. With check-in and security we managed to chew up 20 more minutes, but it still meant sitting around in a cafe for close to an hour. This was a joy, as Aidan decided that the muffin we got for him wasn't quite good enough. It meant that he had to yell at the top of his voice that he wanted "That One" from the counter. Was it going to be a precursor for the flight ahead?

Fortunately, for the most part, it wasn't. Aidan was quite good on the plane, except for his penchant of pressing the attendant call button every 2 minutes. That's a lot in a 2 hour flight. I managed to stop most of them, but two got through, resulting in "Is everything ok Sir??" queries from the flight attendant, who I swear looked like Steve Carrell from "The Forty Year Old Virgin". I wonder if he was, but as a flight attendant you wouldn't expect him to be. It was Callum who managed to scream a couple of times. I gave Anth "the look" just to annoy her, and make her feel that everyone else was staring. In the scheme of baby crying though, it was pretty tame. Ethan was really good most of the time, except for when turbulence hit and he decided he needed to go to the toilet. At least he got more on the seat than he did on my feet which was neat once he was complete (what a poet).

The crowning glory did end up going to Aidan. Once the plane landed, and we'd taxied up to the gate, the fasten seat belt sign went off. Aidan had it off like a flash, although then he proceeded to yell at the top of his little nine year old voice. "I want to get off. I want to get off." Great. Just Great. If you thought people staring in a shoe shop was bad, watch people stare at you when your kid does it on an airplane.

Ciao for Now, Welcome to Melbourne Angry Dad.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Post 101

No, this post isn't a tutorial about how to post on a blog, it is, quite literally, my 101st post! I had planned to do it for my 100th post, but I can't count and I stuffed up the numbers. Early on I put a hit counter on my site, and I know that according to that, I've had 879 unique visits. I had hoped to have 1,000 for my 100th post, and for a while there I was running on an average of 10 visits a day, but it fluctuates. There are a few people who read regularly, and others who drop by now and then. Hopefully you enjoy it!

I was reflecting on why I made this blog up this morning when I went out for a jog. More on jogging later. The main aim was because I'm a selfish git, and I thought, if I can get up off my slack arse and post a message every single day, at the end of the year I'll have a collection of what I did for a year in my life. That might interest someone in the future. The second aim was to try to be humourous, and to look at parenting and how crap I can be at it some times. The last aim was as a means to pass information about our family to remote family and friends. We are somewhat globally dispersed, so its good that people can come in and catch up when and if they want to.

So, back to jogging. I am not the greatest jogger. I have my moments where I might start it up for a few weeks, or I'll do the odd spurt for a week. It is an on again, off again game. Today, after consuming close to 8,000 calories yesterday eating like a monster, I thought I'd try to run off half of one of the Mars Bars I ate. I haven't run in months. Today, I ran for about half an hour. I averaged about 8 minute kilometers, almost on the button. I know this because I was running around a marked running track on the local oval. Jogging and I are an oxymoron. I end up sucking in copious amounts of oxygen, and I look like a moron whilst I'm doing it.

Ciao for Now, Moronic and Sore Angry Dad.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Unintentional Attention Seeking Child - Part II

After yesterday's post, you'd think I wouldn't make the mistake of taking Aidan to the shops today. I did. I also neglected to mention part of the deal for getting new shoes yesterday for Aidan was that if he was a good boy, he would get to go to K-Mart and get a "Blues Clues" video or DVD. He wasn't yesterday, so no Blue's Clues.

Therefore, when Aidan, Callum and I went to the Chermside shopping mall today, Aidan began asking about getting a DVD. Of course, I should have realised that Blue's Clues must not be on high rotation. I think that after Steve left, it hasn't been as popular with Joe as the main character. I believe it is still running. Our main interaction has been via DVDs and Videos. Of course, when we went to both K-Mart and Target, neither had anything new. The only DVD available was "Get to know Joe" which we already have.

Suffice to say, when I couldn't find anything, Aidan went into hysterics. As we walked out of the store he screamed and cried about how he wanted Blue's Clues. Everyone, and I mean everyone, stared as I dragged him, pushing Callum in the pram, through Target. I've found the best form of defence to this is to go completely placid, guide the boy out of the situation with as little force as possible, and apply a squeezing hand motion when Aidan puts his fingers into his mouth to begin his Tourette like screaming. He even tried the fake vomitting trick with me, but a quick "Don't!" managed to stop that little treat. You have no idea how embarrassing this can be, however, you get over it pretty quick. You don't have much choice.

One of the frustrating things with Aidan is once you get out of the situation which sets him off, he acts like nothing has happened. I should be thankful. If he continued it all the time I'd really go off my tree!

Ciao for Now, Foolish Shopper Angry Dad.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Unintentional Attention Seeking Child

There are some days where I'm thankful its just not me. There's actually been a few of those lately. In our case, they've been to do with Aidan. I got another phone call today from Anth, where once it was complete, all I could think was "Glad it wasn't me." Don't get me wrong, I've been in almost exactly the same scenario, but usually it is just Aidan and I, not with Ethan and the baby as well.

Today, Aidan needed new shoes. Picture the scene from an outsider's perspective. Its Friday afternoon. Kids are off school. You're at the local shopping mall. You look into the busy shoe store. Oh look, there's a mum holding a baby, with her two other darling boys. How beautiful. Wait a minute, what's wrong with that older kid. He looks a bit weird. Oh that's ok, he's "special". What a strong mum she must be. I'll just stand here and watch.

Playing out before you as you watch is the following scene. Mother has baby as appendage stuck to hip. Store assistant comes over and offers to help. Eldest special child needs shoes. Everything is fine until he sits down. Other child is strangely quiet. Eldest child begins to fidget, and then to scream as new shoes are fitted. Eldest child begins dry-retching at shop assistant. Everyone in the shop stops what they're doing. Everyone in the shop stares. Eldest child thrashes around so much that no full fitting can be done. Mother doesn't reneg, but quickly makes purchase, and dashes out to ring her husband.

The phone call I got mirrored the above scene, punctured with lines such as "I am never taking him shopping again." As I said, I'm glad its just not me. Aidan doesn't do it intentionally, but that doesn't make it any easier to cope with.

Ciao for Now, Just Not Me Angry Dad.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pulling faces for photos

I have passed on a proud family tradition to Ethan. When I was a child, I was always the one in the family photos who pulled the stupid pose, or stupid face. My mother will tell you that many a family portrait is ruined because of me poking my tongue out at my brother, doing rabbit ears over my sister, or just generally doing something stupid.

Ethan continues this proud family heritage. Take this photo as an example. Rather than sit nicely and have his photo taken, he proceeds to add props... to his eyes. He even adds an artistic flair, so rather than just using the bodily appendages at hand - such as pulling the face with one's fingers - he uses stickers. Well done young chap.

Of course, not to be outdone, I too can still take a stupid photo. Can you tell that Anth has said, "Will you at least smile" as I sat typing away at the computer. This of course is the instant instigator of the stupid face. If someone says "Cheese" or "Smile" the old habits die hard. These mean to me, and now hopefully Ethan, to pull the cheesiest smile that you possibly can, with a hand pose thrown in for good measure.

Notice how Callum has yet to join in the family way. He, like his mother, simply looks on and thinks "What a pack of idiots."

Ciao for Now, Cheesy Angry Dad.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Your morning ain't so bad

This morning, as I walked to work, lamenting the humidity and heat at 8:00am in the morning, my wife rang me with a story which made complaining about the heat, and anything else for that matter, pale by comparison.

"Its Me."
"Hello, you."
"Yeah that's right, shut up now why don't you."
"What do you mean?"
"Not you, Stupid. Callum. He hasn't stopped screaming. Except for now. Now I'm on the phone."
"What's going on."
"Well, as soon as you left, Callum started screaming."
"So what's new?"
"Then Aidan threw up all over himself."
"Because he can't hold down anything for breakfast. I gave him a cup of Milo, and you know what he's like when he's anxious to get to school. He got excited. He threw up."
"Yeah, well, you think of me while I have to clean it out of the carpet."
"I will."
"Thanks for that. So he threw up all over himself, which meant that he had to have all his clothes changed, and have a shower. So I had to do that as he freaked out about being late for school. Callum screamed all through it."
"What fun. What's that noise in the background?"
"That's your other son screaming. He's having a heart attack."
"Yeah. After I got Aidan out the door, with Callum still screaming, I went back into the kitchen to find Ethan tipping a litre and a half of milk down the sink."
"A litre and a half?"
"Yep, he decided that the electronic mixer wasn't' working properly, so he threw out all the milk to start again. I yelled at him, so he then said he was having a heart attack. Callum was still screaming."
"So he wasted all that milk."
"Yep. He has to drink water for the rest of the day."
"At least Callum's quiet now."
"Yeah. He keeps smirking at me, waiting to start again when I get off the phone."
"So I shouldn't complain about my morning?"
"No. And make sure you're home early tonight."
"Ok, bye. Love you."
"Love you too."

So any time you think your mornings not going so well, just be thankful you didn't have to clean up vomit. And if you do have stories worse than this, we can guarantee one's which will top it (and not just our own!)

Ciao for Now, There's nothing like a good morning Angry Dad.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In the Army Now

One of my friends, Andrew, has joined the Army Reserves. I've been thinking about this since he told me he was joining up, and that he was leaving work for the induction sessions. This is a very honorable thing to do. Don't get me wrong, I hate war, and all it represents. I hate that we have to have an Army, a defence force. Why can't we all just get along? Unfortunately, I'm not that ignorant that I don't understand what they represent in today's society.

When I was younger I thought about joining the reserves. I would have been called "Gunner". Because I was always gunna do something! Now I'm older, with a wife, mortgage, and three children, I don't think they'd want me. Andrew has all the attributes which should make him a good recruit, and maybe he should have gone in as an officer. He's highly intelligent, physically fit, and willing to learn.

Although I don't really want my kids to have to join the defence forces, I wouldn't stop them. Many people I know have served, and the discipline and knowledge they gain serves them well in life. Like anything though, there's the good and the bad. I don't want my kids to have to go to war, but I don't want to live under another's regime. I want the freedoms and luxuries we have in our society. I love living in Australia.

So, hopefully Andrew knows we're thinking of him, and as he's out in the middle of nowhere undertaking his own Survivor adventure, he better not get voted out!

Ciao for Now, Defenceless Angry Dad.

Monday, April 03, 2006

No sleep 'til Brooklyn

I've just been sitting here contemplating what I was going to write about tonight, and lamenting the fact that I can't think of anything, and "Geez I'm tired." That's when "No Sleep 'til Brooklyn" by the Beastie Boys wafted into my head. Anyone who had even a middling interest in Rap during the late 80's would recognise these White Jewish Boys and their contribution to the whole genre, and their continuing influence to this day.

So why am I tired? He is named Callum, or "the Appendage" by another name. Maybe I should just call him Scream-Oh, or the child who steals sleep.

Last night, I foolishly stayed up late. When I went to bed, I foolishly got paranoid about taking a baby and a disabled child on a plane flight, regardless that it is better for my sanity than 3 days in car together, and that's only one way! That kept me up until just after 1:00am. Callum woke up at 1:30am. Screamed. Anth said that I snorted and snuffed, but didn't do anything, even though I was awake. Same thing at 3:00am. Same again a 5:00am. At 5:00am it was my turn to take over. I got him back to sleep about 5:45am. At 6:15am, after about a cumulative 3 hours broken sleep, Aidan decided to get up and turn "Blue's Clues" on at full volume. Our bedroom door was open.

Now don't get me wrong, Blue's Clues is one of the best children's programs on television. Just not at 6:15am after no sleep. It didn't stop Aidan from turning it down, then 5 minutes later when a new and more exciting character came on, turning it up. God Bless Him.

Ciao for Now, Tired and a little bit sensitive, Angry Dad.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Music Gene

Do you think we are predisposed to certain talents as a result of genetics, or is it really a case of nurture over nature? I was thinking about this this evening, after Ethan's attempts at trying to play "Jingle Bells" on Aidan's music keyboard tonight.

As always, I had a quick look on Wikipedia to no avail, so I broadened it to Google. Of course, there are a number of so called articles on the debate, and I guess like anything on the Internet, some are valid, and some are not. An Indian Online Newspaper's Biotech section discusses the issue, as does another article from the San Francisco Chronicle on Perfect Pitch. Some say there's an influence, other's don't. It appears to be still one of the "Great Unanswereds!"

I consider myself somewhat musical. I played the guitar from a young age, played the trumpet as a nerd in the school band, and had my spate as a keyboard player playing synthesisers in a cover band. I mainly play guitar now, and try to sing badly like Elvis or any number of 80's cover variants. Of the kids, Aidan seemed to have the most aptitude towards music, and he does sing a mean "Advance Australia Fair", our National Anthem.

So to Ethan. He must have Anth's gene. He was going at it, smushing all the keys at once in an industrialised version of Jingle Bells, singing in a monotone that perhaps would have been more suited to an avant garde Bauhaus session than a kid's bedroom at home.

Ciao For Now, Musical Angry Dad.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Aidan!

It was today, nine years ago, that our first son was born into the world! Happy Birthday Aidan! Aidan is very special to us, and although he has his moments and challenges, we're glad he's with us and we love him heaps.

So when he woke up today, Aidan was quite happy, and as we began trotting out each present, he did the standard kid thing of saying "One More?" The great thing about Aidan is he is genuinely happy about anything he gets. His Aunty Tania sent over a great book, stretchy toys, and odds and sods that Ethan also soon picked through. We started with the little things like DVDs and CDs from each of us, and gradually made our way up to the big stuff, culminating in the setup in his room.

This year, we decided that as his main birthday present, we'd get him a TV and DVD combination so that we could put it in his room to give us all that little bit of extra peace, and so he doesn't continue to break all the main equipment! That was part of last night's episode, running around at the last minute trying to find an appropriate - read cheap - set that I could buy, that if it does break, I don't think "Well that was $500 down the drain." Tight aren't I? We did manage to get him to go in there and watch his Jamie Oliver DVD's for a portion of the morning.

For lunch, we had family visit with Grandma and Grandpa, as well as my cousin Katrina, Graham and Sebastian. It was great, although everyone running around made it noisy and hectic, and I keep getting ongoing headaches at lunchtime! However, Aidan had a fantastic time, and when it came to the birthday cake and singing "Happy Birthday" he happily sang along with everyone else, and blew out the candles.

At the end of the day, as he sat in my arms on the couch whilst we watched Essendon beat Sydney in the AFL, and I asked him if he'd had a good day, he said "Yes Daddy." Sweet. Now as long as Carlton beat Melbourne tomorrow, it will be a top weekend.

Ciao for Now, Aidan's Birthday Angry Dad.