Friday, June 30, 2006

Little Wriggly Bugger

Once upon a time, putting a nappy on Baby Callum was like folding a warm jam donut in a fine paper wrapper, knowing that you could snuggle up to it before you popped it away to enjoy later. Callum used to lie gently coo-ing as you lay him down, smiling up at you as you got him ready for bed, and being fully compliant in the dressing process. He'd then lie in your arms with a bottle, drink, then slowly go off to sleep. The donut analogy no longer holds. He no longer just goes to sleep.

This evening Callum (and Aidan) had a bath with Anth. Ethan filled the bath up with baby bubbles, and they all splashed around in their whilst I tried to play the kids guitar and sing stupid songs. Before getting in the bath, Callum cruised up and down on the step, proving that walking can't be far away. I can't remember either of the other kids getting this active so quickly. Callum had a quick bath, and when he got out, I had the job of getting him ready for bed. Note: This isn't something I normally do, because Anth is much better with all the kids. Yes, I know I should be better, but I'm not. Period.

When it came to get Callum dressed it was a 20 minute fight. I grabbed, he parried. He tried to slink out of every grasp. As I tried to get him to lie on his back so I could wrap the nappy around him, he'd flip over and try to scoot forward. He's fast. I kept having to pull him back, and he'd be off again. All the time he was crying. Eventually, I managed to get the nappy on enough that it could be adjusted to something that hopefully will hold everything in. Then it was pyjama time. I'd stupidly chosen a one-piece number for him. Another battle. Wriggly Little Bugger. By the end, Anth had to come in and save him from me, and me from him! Anth has since told me that now you have to tickle him and make him laugh before you've got any chance of making him stay still. Maybe I should practice more.

Ciao for Now, Maybe I Should Tickle Him Angry Dad.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kids Up Late

We are currently on school holidays here in Queensland, Australia. This means the kids have a bit more liberty in their go to bed times. And they know it. Thursday is also the weekly late night shopping night here. In Queensland, we're still not into keeping shops open late at night. In the suburbs, the only late night shopping is tonight, when the shopping malls are open until 9:00pm instead of the normal 5:00pm. The other weird thing is that if they say the shops are going to close at 5:00pm, then the shops actually start closing up around 4:30pm and damn you if you go into the store after that!

The upshot of this is that Anth went out with the girls to do late night shopping tonight, after I got home from Taekwondo. This meant I had to manage the boys for the evening. I don't know how Anth did it for two weeks whilst I was away. I had Callum crawling around everywhere, Ethan hiding out the back, and Aidan walking room to room going "Where's Mummy". Their normal routine is to be in bed between 8:00 and 8:30pm on a school night. This didn't work with me tonight. After 9:00pm I was still trying to rustle the older boys into their sleepy corrals, let alone trying to get Callum to bed.

When I finally got the older boys into bed, I then had to try to settle Callum down. He knew he was tired, but he also knew Anth wasn't around. He wouldn't take a bottle, and even though he lay down in my arms, he also jerked up every few minutes to look around to see if Mummy was there. It wasn't until 10:00pm when I was able to lay him down, and not long after that Anth was back. She ended up going out to one of the Coffee houses which do stay open later than the norm! Of course, she doesn't believe the kids are handfulls for me, and not for her. Maybe I just need to practice more.

Ciao for Now, Now Get To Bed Angry Dad.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Children Talking

These days, we get awakened to the dulcet tones of Baby Callum sitting up going "Bah Bah Bah Bah Bah Bah Bah." Its hard to show the different inflections he uses, but as the only word he knows at the moment is "Bah" or something that sounds like "Hwaht", there's not much vocabulary currently going on. The second sound always comes out when he's trying to get your attention, or he is wondering what the hell is going on. The "Bah"s can be either about something incredibly funny, at which he'll laugh and giggle, particularly with Anth, or they can be serious and he'll screw up his face or squint.

Ethan is currently staying at Grandma's place. When we did our evening check in, Grandma told me how polite Ethan had been. We do try to teach him good manners, with "Please" and "Thank You" considered important in our vocabulary with him. As long as he doesn't repeat some of the other phrases I come out with, its good. His favourite word at the moment seems to be "Actually" as in, "Actually Dad, I know that if we go to Movie World, we'll have a really good time" or "That chocolate is actually meant for me, not Aidan or Mummy." Of course, this would always be responded with "No son, its for Dad."

Aidan remains the most unique of our conversational children. I took him to the shops this evening, and every conversation with strangers began "Will you be here tomorrow?" Its bizarre the reactions you get from people. 9 out of 10 will respond with "No, I won't be here tomorrow" but there will always be one who just looks at him like he's a freak, until they realise that oops, he is a bit freaky! You've got to love Special Needs children as levellers in our society. I think that the fact that he's so friendly, and always approaches people with a smile, keeps them on side.

Ciao for Now, Talking it up Angry Dad.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Will the real Baby Callum Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up...

Callum is really starting to find his feet now. Literally. He still looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, but the speed by which he gets around is frightening. He's becoming far more expressive, with a habit of squinting up his eyes when he wants to have a grizzle about something, and then opening them wide to make sure you're really listening. He has a real habit of following Anth around, and she still can't leave the room when he's tired without him howling, and trying to chase after her.

He also is practicing his standing techniques. So much so, that he has begun to pull himself on objects. This includes using my hairy legs as part of his attempts. His little pincer grips grab the hairs, and I think I know what getting a leg wax must be like. He can stand up against the table, and tonight whilst Anth was in the bath, he thought it would be a good idea to try to get in with her. That meant attempts to crawl up onto the step.

The only problem with these attempts is that when he pulls himself up, he often ends up falling over backwards. Balance is a bit of an issue. This commonly results in a bang to the back of the head, which isn't so bad on the carpet, but makes for big cries when he does it in the bathroom on the tiles. By going up onto the bath step it meant he also toppled over from a height - well, a height relative to him! By the time we dropped him in the bath for a wash he'd banged up the back of his head, his forehead, and his nose.

Ciao for Now, Stand Up Angry Dad.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Cynical Gene

I'm sure that every woman has a cynical gene. I've seen it in other women. There are certain things which turn the cynical gene on. The obvious one is the presence of a male in the vicinity of the female in question. Other things include idiocy on behalf of any gender; when there is a cluster of women who may turn on their own; or when a child behaves in a certain way - like emulating their father.

Anth's cynical gene gets turned on when she is tired, and when I disobey orders. Over the weekend, she wanted me to get up early on Sunday to take Aidan to Grandmas. The order for the night before was "Don't stay up too late". Good Advice. I took that good advice, and blew it out the window by feeding my Online Poker addiction. I ended up staying awake until around 2:00am trying to win back my earlier losses. Lucky its not real money.

Of course, this meant that the next morning I wanted to sleep in. Callum hasn't been sleeping well, so Anth was awakened most of the night - including by her husband lumbering in at 2:00am to wake up not only her, but the baby as well. So of course, come the morning the Cynical Gene was well and truly promoted into action. This is enacted by putdowns,
"Do you know how much of an idiot you are by staying up all night?"

comparisons to imbeciles,
"Even the dickhead on Big Brother deserves more respect than you. At least he goes to bed at a reasonable hour."

and the "Dontchas".
"Dontcha think that you're going to be doing any sleeping today. You've got to look after the kids."

Luckily genetics have endowed all males with the "Yes Dear" gene.

Ciao for Now, Yes Dear Angry Dad.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Climb Every Mountain

Nice view isn't it? As the school holidays are upon us, in an effort to keep the boys occupied, they get to have some "sleep over" time at Grandma's and Grandpa's house. Today, I drove Aidan and Ethan up to Noosa so we could let Aidan have his time up there. This was a rapid trip and drop off, in an effort to not let Aidan get too upset about being left alone there. He still wanted to know if we would sleep over.

On the way back from Noosa, I decided that we would stop at Wild Horse Mountain. It was originally named for the Brumbies that inhabited the area. It is comparatively small, at only 123 meters above sea level, and is currently used as a fire spotting tower. The good thing for us was it was a 700m walk up to the top. From the top, you get a great view over the Glass House Mountains. That's where these panorama shots come from. The area was first named by Captain James Cook, most notable for the claim of discovering Australia. In this case, most of the mountains in the group, like Mount Tibrogargan, were named by the original Aboriginal inhabitants.

Ethan and I ended up having quite a long day together. On the way up to, and back from Noosa he tried to convince me that Anth had told him we were going to Movie World today. So when we got home, and we asked her if we could actually go, she succumbed and said yes. I even managed to get him to go on the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster, which previously he had been quite scared of. Its not quite the same pursuit as climbing mountains, but it did us for the day!

Ciao for Now, Vunderbar Angry Dad.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ice Cream

Is there no better staple in any person's diet than Ice Cream. By now, if you've read any of my previous posts, you're probably thinking that this guys diet is so crap, its amazing he isn't the size of a house. Well, I am. Well, sorta kinda. No I'm not, I'm just big boned. Anyways, aside from donuts, Ice Cream is a fantastic treat. Last night I went and saw the latest X-Men movie, which in my opinion is the best of the three. I even stayed until the very end, after the credits, to see the additional twist. I also ate an Ice Cream, a Magnum Ego, which is vanilla ice cream wrapped in caramel sauce, wrapped in luscious chocolate. Delicious. I normally have Choc Tops, but this was just as good.

Of course, I've passed on this habit to my children. We normally buy Neapolitan Ice Cream. This is meant to give you the best of the three basics of ice cream, with Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry. With this base, you can add your own flavours to make new creations. A personal favourite is to add Coco Pops and hardening Chocolate, in layers. So you put a bit of ice cream, some Coco Pops, some chocolate, then more ice cream, etc, etc, layer upon layer upon layer. You may want to shave real chocolate onto this. This is not the most extreme calorific delight. The one that tops this, but is not recommended unless you are a devoted chocaholic, is to take 2 Mars Bars, microwave them in a bowl on high for around 90 seconds, then whilst its still hot, stir to create almost a liquid form. Then add ice cream and place back in the refridgerator. MMMmmm, artery hardening.

The one thing that is intriguing me is that with Neapolitan Ice Cream, you're not supposed to eat the Vanilla and Strawberry. Everyone knows that the Chocolate is the best right? Here's proof, from the Simpsons episode "Radio Bart":

Homer: (grabs a box of Neapolitan ice cream) Mmmm, chocolate (opens box to reveal that the chocolate section is empty) d'oh! (throws the box away and grabs another) Mmmm, chocolate (the chocolate section of the new box is also empty) d'oh! Marge, we need some more chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream!
In our house, it is always the Vanilla and Strawberry which disappear, leaving large slabs of chocolate for yours truly to enjoy. I don't know why the kids do it that way!

Ciao for Now, Ice Ice Baby Angry Dad.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Little Scoot

Since he started crawling Callum has really begun to get around. He can magically appear out of nowhere, and he has a penchant for now getting into everything. We have to keep our pantry door either closed or hooked up, otherwise we find him sitting in there searching out food scraps which may have fallen on the floor. The same for the laundry, where all the dog food is stored. There is only so many times you can wince at your kid trying to eat dry dog food and not dry wretch yourself.

Its amazing to think that less than three weeks ago he wasn't going anywhere. Today I caught him trying to get up off his rear leg, as if he was going to attempt to stand on his own. We know he can stand under his own weight if we support him, so I guess that isn't far away either. He can get up and down stairs, and over the door frames, so if Aidan leaves the door open he and Wednesday do a swap - him outside, her inside. I think they both get what they want in that switch-a-roo.

Wednesday doesn't like it much. She is well trained enough that she won't respond too much to all the pokes and prods, although she gets a bit testy when he plays with her dog bowl. Callum, like both other kids before him, loves to follow her around and crawl all over her whilst pulling at her fur. When she's had enough, she just gets up and hobbles away. This doesn't always work, as often he'll just crawl on after her!

Ciao for Now, Big Scoot Angry Dad.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ramblings on Children

I thought I'd write a paragraph on interactions I had with each of the kids today. For Aidan, it was easy. I didn't see him. All day. He wasn't awake at the time I went to work. He had special childcare tonight, and I was out at Taekwondo when he came home. He was in bed asleep before I got in. He was a total brat last night. We're trying to get him to eat with at least a fork, and also try to break his bad habit of burping at the table. Last night, he pushed me over the edge by doing both incessantly, and I lost it. This resulted in him being dragged from the table, thrown in the shower, rushed into his pajamas, and told he had to be quiet for the rest of the night. Tears followed. It then took him ages to settle down for bed, albeit in my arms on the couch.

I did get to spend some time with Ethan. We went to Taekwondo together, and I watched him train for a little while. I also got to see tired Ethan. Why is it, that although our kids exhaust themselves, they still bitch and moan about going to bed? Ethan put on the waterworks when we told him at 8:30pm that it was bedtime. His head hurt. His legs were broken. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. He got a flat tyre. You get the picture. Every excuse to just stay up that few extra minutes longer.

I also saw Callum at Taekwondo. Unfortunately, he had a big knock on his head, which has resulted in a nice new shiner. This was a result of my crap car's door hitting him. Anth and I had swapped cars for the day, so I had the good car, and she had the crap one. When she was lifting him out of the car, crap car decided to reek revenge on its unsuspecting victim, by closing its doors on her. The door started to shut just as she lifted Callum out of his car seat, and so his head got caught on the edge of the door. Poor baby. He is ok.

Ciao for Now, Rambling Rose Angry Dad.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Toowoomba and Walking

I felt better today. As part of my journeys, I had to travel through the city of Toowoomba. This city is about 130km inland, west of Brisbane. I had been there once before, but I can't really remember it. This time around, I was amazed at where the original town was located. It is at the top of a range, with a fantastic outlook back from whence you came! It apparently has great farming soil, although as we're in the middle of a drought at the moment everything is quite dry, despite the rainclouds you can see in this photo.

As I was home a little earlier than normal on my return this afternoon, I thought it would be a nice idea for all of us to go out for a family walk. Sometimes, this can be like a root canal. Callum was willing to come, although he sat on the front step playing with the stone wombat who guards our door. Aidan must have had some sugar juice, as he bolted outside and ran up and down the street before we could get him back. Ethan just plain didn't want to come. Anth stood in Wednesday's dog turd whilst trying to get her runners on, and Wednesday ran around stupified by the mere fact she was allowed to come.

We took the soccer ball and walked down the street passed the local primary school to the park. Ethan managed to get over that we hadn't taken his scooter with him when some kids at the school yelled out "hello"to him. Once we got to the park we ran around, kicked the soccer ball, and chased after Callum as he crawled around. Everyone finally was happy. The one problem we did strike was that Wednesday is just not a puppy anymore, even though in her head she thinks she is. She ran around stupid for about 10 minutes, before she started throwing up. MMMmmm Dog Vomit. She's ok now, just resting!

Ciao for Now, I ain't cleaning THAT up Angry Dad.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sick Birthday Boy

Today is my birthday. Unfortunately, I've got the flu. This meant that most of the day was stuck inside at home, trying to keep warm, trying not to cough up a lung, and getting Anth to wait on me. Poor Anth. She gets conversations like this.
"Can you get me something?"
"A drink of water. I'm thirsty."
Water magically appears
"Can you get me a blanket too?"
Blanket magically appears
"Thanks. Is there any of that cake from my birthday left?"
Cake magically appears

How lucky am I?! I got to sit around on my fat sick arse for the majority of the day, and got waited on, and got presents! She even made me my favourite chocolate mousse desert. MMMmmm Chocolate. I don't know that it was the greatest idea to share it with the elder kids, because Aidan has been on a chocolate rush for most of the evening.

Ciao for Now, Birthday Angry Dad.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Today I felt Blah. This morning, I delayed going into work until the make or break time, then decided I'd better go. Just before I got to where I normally park the car, it started to rain. I thought that if it was still raining when I stopped, I'd turn around and go home. It didn't, so I walked in to work. Mistake. I spent most of the morning trying to keep my eyes open and not have a coughing fit. By lunchtime, I'd had enough, so I headed home. I can't have been too well. I got home, had two Panadol, and went to bed. I slept for 3 hours, even managing to sleep through a screaming session Callum had with Anth (Callum did all the screaming).

Over the weekend, Ethan and I did our next Taekwondo grading. Ethan has now moved up a level, and we're all very proud of him. He did very well in his grading, and tonight got presented with the first colour tip on his belt, so his journey has well and truly started. They do the presentations at the start of the class, and as many kids went through the training, and our branch is quite busy, there were a lot of kids to get through.

Unfortunately, because I was sick, I didn't get to go and see, and nor could I pick up my new grading level belt. Hopefully I'll be better by Thursday. Anth went instead, whilst I looked after Aidan and Callum. This is good for Ethan, as he knows that we've both got to see him achieve, and he knows we're both impressed by what he's done, so it works for everyone!

Ciao for Now, Blah Angry Dad.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kids in the Car

We went up to Noosa today to visit my parents, and so I could have an early birthday party with family. My brother and his family also came over, so Mum and Dad suddenly had a full house again. Mum and Dad have just been on a 3 week trip through Central Australia, including the Northern Territory, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Alice Springs, rode the Ghan, Darwin, Kakadu and travelled across the top end to Broome in Western Australia.

They're lucky that they didn't have to travel with my three little darlings. Look at them, butter wouldn't melt in their mouths. This picture of domestic bliss belies the fact that just prior Aidan was poking Ethan, Ethan was yelling and attempting to retaliate with force, and Callum was screaming with a screech that puts Screech to shame, both annoying and penetrating.

Callum at the moment is managing to be the most difficult car traveller to deal with. I can handle Aidan's incessant whines of "I'm Hungry" and "What are we doing tomorrow". I can handle Ethan's grizzling "Ai-Dan.... No!" as he flings his brother's hands out of his space. I can't handle the scream. It pierces through me. He also has a habit of doing it, and then when Anth turns around to look at him, giving her that huge grin of made you look, now I'll do it again. Its nice when he sleeps.

Ciao for Now, Do You Think They Get There Behaviours From Their Angry Dad?


This is the first time I've been late for a post. Technically, I don't think I am, because I've been out for the evening, first going to an AFL Football Match, Brisbane vs the Bulldogs, followed up with an evening at one of the city pubs. This was a last minute activity, as I got the call this afternoon to go to the game this evening.

It has been a long and busy day. Ethan and I had taekwondo gradings this morning, which we stayed at most of the morning. I think we both passed, which means we should get our new grade levels next week at class. We're both still beginners, but it is nice to progress. The afternoon was filled with a nice catnap for Ethan, Callum and I, until Aidan came and poked Callum in the head with a lollipop that he wanted open. Aidan is our little family yobbo.

The Australian Dictionary of Slang defines yobbo thus:
noun (Derogatory) 1. an unrefined, uncultured, slobbish person: I gotta change out of me stubbies, I don't wanna look like a yobbo. 2. a hooligan or lout: I was hassled by a bunch of drunken yobbos on their way home from the football. Also, yob. [19thC British slang yob a young lad (backslang for boy) + -o]
I would like to take Ethan to the football, but if tonight was any example, it's full of yobbos. Probably because we were sitting in the drinking section. I haven't heard such language, except coming from my own filthy mouth. The exception is that I knew that the F-word was pretty much in worldly use, but I didn't know that the more derogatory C-word was now commonplace. I think I'm becoming a prude in my old age, except the last thing I want is one of my boys going to school and saying "F*** Off you Mother F*****rs, You're all a pack of C****s." To top it off, I had this stupid Nuffy, using similar phrases to the one just listed, sitting behind me who kicked my seat for half a quarter. That did manage to stop when I turned to the guy I was with and said loudly enough, "If this C*** doesn't stop F***ing kicking my chair, I'm gonna turn around and beat the crap out of him." Violence begats violence, and an Angry Dad can be an Angry Yobbo when he wants to be.

Ciao for Now, Meek and Mild Angry Dad.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The teacher in our house.

Last week I had the opportunity to drop Ethan off at his school. It was the first time I had actually been into his first grade classroom. Ethan happily showed me where he put his schoolbag, and his lunch, as well as some of the things other projects they were working on around the room. When the teacher realised who I was, she was very effusive about what a wonderful kid Ethan was, how well he was progressing in class with his schoolwork and reading, and to quote her "If I had 15 kids like Ethan, my life would be a breeze." I'm sure he's not the only one in class that she enjoys. Ethan's best friend Michael is as equally a good kid.

Over the course of this week, its become more and more obvious why Ethan does so well. Its not me. I come home after a days work, cook, eat, and plonk myself in front of the telly. That is, unless we do one of our weeknight activities like soccer or taekwondo. So, I do some of the physical activities with Ethan, but I don't really do any of the mental stuff.

The one who does: who guides him through homework; who reads to both he and Aidan; and who encourages, cajoles, and generally pushes him academically... is Anth. I imagine her background in early childhood development she did at Uni helps influence this, and I now can definitely see the advantage it brings. Aidan can be a real handful, being intellectually disabled, but Anth manages this and still continues to teach Ethan all he needs to be a good student. With the baby the task is doubly hard, and yet she still manages to do it. What a great mum!

And if you think I only wrote this to suck up, well, you're wrong, but hopefully I'll get a massage after tomorrow's taekwondo gradings!

Ciao for Now, Not The Teacher Angry Dad.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Excuse me, while I Kiss This Guy!

It is easy to mistake song lyrics. There is a whole web site dedicated to this, as per the title of this post. I had this experience tonight. I have been listening a lot to our local community radio station, 4ZZZ FM. This gives me an alternative to lots of ads, and a lot of the same commercial songs. On Thursday nights, they have "Ska Trek", where they play a lot of Ska and Reggae music.

This was the lyric I thought I heard, when I first heard the chorus. I'm paraphrasing here, because I can't find the exact lyrics:
Cuddles, I need 3 Cuddles.
My girlfriend's sister just turned sixteen.
Cuddles, I need 3 Cuddles.
My girlfriend's mother's getting fresh with me.

I thought "How sweet." Obviously, the writer was thinking about his girlfriend, and to stop him thinking amorous thoughts about his girlfriend's family, all he needed was 3 cuddles. Sucker. As I listened to more of the verses of the song, where he describes what his girlfriends family is like, and going to the chemist and needing certain types of prophylactics, it soon became obvious that the lyrics are more along the lines of:
Condoms, I need 3 Condoms.
My girlfriend's sister just turned sixteen.
Condoms, I need 3 Condoms.
My girlfriend's mother's getting fresh with me.

He was getting amorous, with intentions to get a whole lot more! I laughed out loud once I realised how messed up I was with my original take on the lyrics. The band is called "BeNUTS", and their tongue in cheek album is called "Sex Sells". They appear to be Germans, but sing their songs in English. It's got to be a remedy to listening to Britney doesn't it?!

Ciao for Now, Skatalite Angry Dad.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Best Soccer Mum Coach

Wednesday nights are soccer training nights. Tonight, the soccer coach, who is also one of the mum's of one of the players, had her hands full. There were only five kids who showed up for training, and her son wasn't one of them. As its coming into Winter, and the nights are cooler, it was to be expected that fewer would show up. It is also the "State of Origin" night, where the two main rugby league State teams play each other. That tends to reduce numbers as well.

With so few kids, you would think it would have been an easy night for the coach. Not likely. It started with Ethan getting hit in the hand by a rapidly kicked soccer ball from one of the older kids. His finger bent back, and he did his screaming cry, which means all is not well. I went out to tend him, at the same time the coach did. She managed to get him calmed down, just as the next incident started up. One particular kid was obviously having an off night, as he decided that pushing and kicking at the other kids was going to be his modus operandi for the night.

Just after that, two of the kids were doing dribbling practice together, when one fell over just as the other took a swipe at the ball, missed, and kicked the first in the head. Tears and parents all round. Things seemed to calm down, and towards the end of the session everything seemed to be going ok, when one of the boys took our off night kid's soccer ball. He lost it, lashing out with kicks and punches everywhere. As much as I didn't want to, I had to hold his leg down to stop him kicking the other kids until his mother came out to give him a stern talking to.

To her credit, our soccer coach took it all in her stride, and overall the training night wasn't too bad - mainly due to her skills in negotiating with all the kids, their parents, and managing to hold it together when chaos reigned around her! She is the best soccer mum coach I've seen!

Ciao for Now, I'd be a crappy coach Angry Dad.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Other Dads and Newborns

One of my colleagues has just had his second child. He and his wife brought a new baby into the world about a week ago. He came into work today with huge bags under his eyes. He told me how good the baby was doing, and as it was his second, he already had gone through the first set of shocks of "new born" syndrome. I still don't think you ever get that used to it.

This led onto another conversation with another colleague who hasn't yet had kids. He asked in part what it was like when you have your first kid. Of course, your Angry Dad being worldly wise and a great parent answered with "I Dunno..." however, I quickly changed my tune and told it from my perspective.

The way I figure it, those first few weeks of any new born's life are going to guarantee you restless or no sleep. It would be a very very rare baby that sleeps all through the night from day one, and if it did, you as a parent would be freaking out, and probably poking the baby all night with your fingers whilst you thought "Why is the baby sleeping?" My best advice is to make sure that if you're working, you take some time off and spend it together as a family. I do realise this isn't for everyone, but it works for me. After 6 weeks, its far better to have had "nap time" during those first few weeks, otherwise its zombies all around due to sleep deprivation!

Baby's also don't do much. Its far more fun when they're at Callum's age now and into everything! They're also a lot more curious, and you get to do more things with them. Just after birth, its mum who generally gives them everything: Booby, A Booby Pillow, A Booby milk fountain... you get the picture. As big as my breasts are, and lets face it, they're called breasts and everybody has them, it isn't quite the same thing.

Ciao for Now, Chesty Angry Dad.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Donut Rush

We had a public holiday for the Queen's Birthday today. Funny thing that, as it isn't really her birthday. Just like what she currently represents today, its basically just a figurehead day for a figurehead monarch. Its not that I don't like the idea of the monarchy, however, I do wonder what relevancy she now has to Australia. We should do what the Canadian's did and although remaining part of the Commonwealth, we should drop ties to the monarchy. I think we've grown up enough since our convict days to get some level of indepedence. Besides that, our original inhabitants weren't tied to any distant land like we are!

As it was a holiday, we spent the morning lazing around, and the early afternoon doing some yard work. That's when we decided that we should go to the local shopping mall to do some window shopping. We arrived late in the afternoon, which meant that most people were on their way out. Unfortunately, this also coincided with most of the smaller stores shutting down early. This can be good and bad. In our case it was good, because Donut King had a special 5 Donuts for 5 Dollars. It was bad, because I bought 5 donuts.

I'm not sure what other people experience with donuts. Donuts are one of the greatest foods ever invented. When done well, they are deliciously moist on the inside, with a delicate fluffy centre and encased in a sugary sweet glaze, often topped off with sprinkles. Variations add chocolate lollies, or the magnificent jam filled centre. There is a reason why the moniker "MMMmmm Donuts" is associated with this culinary delight.

The problem with donuts is feeding them to your children. There's no denying that there is a sugar high associated with their devouring. In our kids, this comes on fast, and comes on strong. One donut is enough to do it, and with Aidan, its like he's on speed. Best to give him one after you've been into the shops, rather than before. My mistake was to give it to him before. So we spent a grand half hour in K-Mart dashing after Aidan, and trying to placate Ethan, whilst they ran through the toys section demanding various toys for themselves. Luckily, I'll always be too tight to succumb, donuts or not!

Ciao for Now, Donut Loving Angry Dad.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Crawlin' and Crashin'

As I mentioned in a previous post, Callum started crawling about 2 days before I got home from my trip to the U.S. Since then, he's really started getting about everywhere, and he's so proud of himself. At first, he did a rocking motion before getting going. He still manages to get about halfway to his destination, and then decides to flail around on his stomach. This is like his father on the beach , or when his father is trying to get up out of the reclined couch seat. Unlike his father, he soon shoots off again.

His new adventures caused some heartaches today. I took Ethan to see Cars, which we both enjoyed, and when we came back home Callum had a nice new shiner on his forehead. "What happened?" I asked, only to be then told the story of the main bruise. We normally have Callum sleep in our bed with us, and during the day, we put him down there. That's now going to have to stop. He was on our bed this morning, and once he woke up, he decided it would be fun to crawl over to the edge of the bed. Of course, he fell off, and he managed to fall so the top of his head clipped the side table as he went over.

That's the main mark you can see here, just under the edge of his beanie. Not to be outdone by merely falling off the bed, he also managed to pull my guitar onto his skull after crawling up and strumming a few bars. I think he was trying to play Smoke on the Water, which is the first riff most of us learn. The final buffo came from pulling a scooter onto his noggin whilst outside, from trying to crawl up onto one of the wheels. As you can see, he doesn't seem to be suffering any ill effects. I love how kids are remarkably resilient!

Ciao for Now, Chasing Baby Angry Dad.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Such a long way away!

It continues to amaze me, this world we live in, and the achievements mankind has made. It blows me away that just last week, I was standing on this beach in Clearwater, Florida, and now I'm sitting back in my house in Brisbane Australia. The fact I can get on an airplane and travel halfway across the world in a day is quite sensational, I think. To give you a bit more of a perspective of just how far this is, check out this map, where I've studiously put arrows in both places. What a nerd.
I'm gradually settling back into the pace of homelife again. The regular Saturday routines kicked in today, with Soccer in the morning, and the weekly shop with Aidan. Callum came along to both outings as well, but I couldn't put him down, otherwise he would scoot away. Besides, we've just had our first decent douse of rain in several weeks, so everything is finally wet.

I am still jetlagged. People tell me its worse going right of the planet back left, versus the other way, although I don't really know. I get shagged either way. I know I'm ok until about 5:00pm in the afternoon, and then I zonk it. When Anth wakes me up, I'm really like a zombie for 1/2 an hour. Its weird, not really like sleep deprivation, but just a crazy sense of lack of inertia. Oh wait a minute, that's just because I'm lazy isn't it!

Ciao for Now, Still Amazed and Lazed Angry Dad.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Crash and Burn

I'm not sure what it is about return travel, but now I'm home, Jetlag has really kicked in. I got in at around 6:30am, but had to hang around the airport for a while as the carousel that was going to deposit the baggage broke down. I also had a nice little delay at customs. I had forgotten that my sister had given me a wooden back massager. This, of course, was made of wood, and looks phallic (that's like a penis for the uninitiated). It has too "ball" rollers, and a long appendage to hold onto whilst you roll.

Of course, I filled in my declaration card, and proceeded through customs thinking all would be fine. I got directed to the baggage scanners, where they X-Ray'd my contents. The guy who scanned it, threw my luggage up onto a table and said, "Is this your bag sir?". "Yep", I responded, thinking that they'd found all the lollies I'd packed. Straight away, he opened the bag, and pulled out the massager. He must have seen my eye's go wide, and face go bright red, because he had a quick look and then shoved it back in. Obviously, it wasn't too bad, and maybe he'd done it for the embarrassment factor, because he let let me go on my way.

I caught a taxi home, and as I'd had a reasonable sleep on the plane, the morning was ok. I got to see the kids off to school, and got to enjoy Callum's crawling, which he started 2 days ago. He is just starting to get the hang of it, although he grizzles a lot about moving, just like his father! I did have to go into work during the day, which actually worked out well, as it meant I didn't nap. However, at around 5:30pm I was wrecked and fell asleep. This was broken at 6:30pm with Anth expecting me quite rightly to have done something about dinner, seeing as though I'd promised to go and get something earlier. The kids were hungry and demanding, so they got 1 minute noodles, whilst I had to do an uncoordinated dash down to the supermarket. How I didn't hit anything I don't know!

By 8:30pm, that was it, and I was out like a light. The problem, dear reader, is that it's now 3:30am and I'm wide awake! Luckily we have a long weekend, so recovery is only a few days away.

Ciao for How, Tired Ol' Angry Dad.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Big Spoilt Kid

When I originally started this post, I was at an Internet Kiosk at LAX Airport, and the equipment was really dodgy! I decided I was going to try to finish this post off later! Now I'm in the sanctity of my own home, and Jet Lag is keeping me up, I thought I'd finish off.

One of the perks of my job is that I get to travel business/first class occasionally. There are some snotty people there. Take this conversation with a hostess for example, in relation to one big spoilt kids approach to eating:
Today, we had either the choice of chicken or vegetable pasta.
I want the chicken.
Well, we had chicken, but we're all out, so you can have the vegetable pasta.
I don't like vegetables.
Well, its good for you. I can bring out a salad if you want.
I don't want salad either. Nothing for me then. (you could hear the whine in the voice)
Are you sure you don't want anything.
Yes. (how rude)
I can bring out a cheese platter if you would like.
No thank you. (getting tenser)

The hostess went away, and began serving meals. Meanwhile, big spoilt kid sat watching others get served, obviously getting hungrier as time passed. After the main meals were done, the hostess returned.
I've got a surprise for you.
What? (you'd think the spoilt kid had learned by now, wouldn't you? Nup. Still rude)
Would you like some chocolate ice cream?
Amazingly, the demeanour remarkably changed here! Followed by an enthusiastic...
Yes Please!

So now everyone was happy. The hostess had managed to appease the Big Spoilt Kid, and I got to eat chocolate ice cream.

Ciao for Now, Big Spoilt Kid Angry Dad

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Colouring Book Etiquette

Today was a travel day. I travelled from Tampa up to St Louis. This evening, I had a very enjoyable time catching up with one of my colleagues, Becky, who had done an exchange in Australia. She took me out with some of her friends to a Mexican Restaurant, and then after that we went out to a Bowling Bar, and played some ten pin. I even managed to bowl a 100 game, which was pretty good for me!

That hasn't really got anything to do with Colouring Books, although the mall we went to was full of colour. On the plane, I was seated next to a grandmother and her granddaughter. Being a good grandma, she had brought along activities for the little girl. One of these activities was a colouring book, so about half way into the trip, it was brought out for a quick colouring in session.

This is where the question of colouring book etiquette comes in. The young girl wouldn't have been more than 4 or 5. Now, I know that with my kids, they can only just get the colours within the lines of anything they need to colour. And often, particularly with Aidan, the colouring goes all over the place. So tell me, when should the adult supervisor step in and take over the activities? Grandma did it almost straight away, and began an artistic colour in, with the correct colours, and with the correct amount of colouring within the lines.

In my books, this doesn't make it any fun for the kid, however, the little miss was quite happy to watch, so I shouldn't complain! Maybe I wanted to have a go too!!

Ciao for Now, Non Colouring Angry Dad.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Last night in Florida

Tonight will be my last night in Florida. After a week, it all seems to have gone so fast now! I think its because I've had things on almost every day, and the weekend was taken up with visiting my sister. I really wanted a bit of down time tonight, but I ran into some colleagues, who invited me out for dinner.

We ended up going down to a restaurant called the Salt Rock Grill, south of ClearWater Beach. It was where the beautiful people go, so was pretty swanky. The four of us bums rocked in, and were somewhat out of place, but they still served us. It was quite spectacular, with views out to a small marina and one of the waterways into Tampa bay. The food was good as well, and I am now suitably stuffed!

This evenings activities are going to involve squishing all the additional junk I've gathered from the conference, gifts and clothes I've bought, and a whole lot of things from my sister. Lucky I had such a big meal, as I'll need the extra weight to squash the suitcase into submission.

Ciao for Now, Full As Angry Dad.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sanibel Island

I decided today that I wanted to spend some more time with my sister on Sanibel Island. They are very lucky to live there because aside from the hurricanes, it seems an idyllic place. My sister had shown me around bits and pieces on Saturday, and we had even gone up to the old lighthouse where I did one of those kooky lets see if you can pretend you're holding it in your hands photo shoots. It didn't quite work out, so I just look like a wanker.

This morning we bummed around the house for a while, when Mark had the novel idea of renting scooters. At this point, I have to say that both Mark and Tania are two of the most generous people I know. They both seem like they've got ADD, and they're constantly on the go, but their generosity doesn't really know any bounds. Mark hired the scooters, and we set off to ride around the Island. Of course, Mark decided to go places that we weren't supposed to, like over the causeway, and along a stretch of the coast which had been partially washed away. Here we are doing things we're not supposed to!

As we travelled we came across two kids who had a fair dinkum lemonade stand. I thought this was just one of those television myths, but there they were, a boy and a girl holding up signs which read
Awesome Lemonade, 50 cents. So Mark decided to stop, and we bought some, and they were right, it was pretty good. Mark ended up giving them far more than 50 cents for their entrepreneurial skills! We also managed to get rained on as we rode around. It was a bit like Melbourne, four seasons in one day. Although it pelted down, and it hurts being on a scooter in the rain, it quickly cleared and was hot and humid again.

Further into our journey, I had to stop and take this photo of one of the fish letterboxes. This type of thing is all over the island. They have fish, flamingo, and even dolphins made out for the postie. Most are also painted with some scene from the island. Very quaint. The only thing I wasn't quite sure of was that Mark kept telling me their were alligators everywhere, so not to go anywhere near the island internal waterways. Crikey Mate!

Ciao for Now, Island Scooter Angry Dad.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Beach Boy

I have been fortunate enough to be spending some time here in Florida right on the beach. The conference hotel is in Clearwater, and backs onto the Gulf. Each evening this week we have had some amazing sunsets, and this shot captures one of them. Most nights I've gone outside and watched this, and each night we have had the blazing red ball set over the horizon. Quite spectacular.

Today, as it was the weekend and I'm free from the constraints of work, I ventured down Route 75 to visit my sister and her family, who live on Sanibel Island. It took about 3 hours to get here, but I managed to do it without getting lost too much. It was great to catch up with everyone, and although the heat of the day was more or less unbearable. We went out in the late afternoon to their local beach, where I took this photo of Julian. It reminds me of a similar shot I took of Aidan back home!

We also took a drive up to Captiva Island, where I couldn't resist the urge to behave like the great white whale, and get my kit off for a swim. Well, actually, in an effort not to shock the retirees that live here, I did display a modicum of decency by keeping my pants on. I could here the shock of some of the old folks saying "Oh My God, Look at Whitey and the glare coming off his body. Heaven save us." whilst other's quietly murmured "Should we call the coast guard to shift the beached whale?" I was able to ignore this and float around with Mark and the kids. Later this evening my sister and I went down to the lighthouse for a look around, where she took this photo of ol' Mr Handsome being a beach boy.

Ciao for Now, Beach Bum Angry Dad.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Kids at Checkin

I'm staying at one particular hotel, and the conference is at another hotel where most of the attendees are also staying. Tonight, as I was meeting up with one of the guys to go out for dinner, I had to go to that hotel's lobby and wait for him to come down. Whilst waiting, this family came up to checkin, obviously for a weeks worth of vacation. It was fun to watch from afar, knowing that it could have been my family!

There was mum and dad, a young daughter, and a baby. They wheeled in a whole truckload of luggage, with the dad pushing the baby in the pram, and mum trying to control the daughter. As I was sitting on couches, the daughter came and sat on the chair next to me, giving me the "who are you" evil eye, whilst propping herself up like a princess. The Dad was trying to convince the Porter to do his luggage, and a nice tip helped, and then he went to the desk to organise their room. Mum was trying to keep an eye on the baby, and on Princess. Dad was starting to look haggard already.

Princess decided that it would be fun to play peek-a-boo games with me, so of course, being the big kid that I am, I played back. I could see this set Mum off a bit, after all, who wants a 38 year old playing with a 3 year old, but I quickly assured her I had kids of my own and then pretended I was waiting for someone else. Meanwhile, Porter was now acting like Dad's best friend and advising him of all the amenities of the hotel. I knew exactly how Dad felt when he said "Dude, I just want to get up to my Hotel room, ok?"

So off they went, but it was nice that Princess turned around and waved back at me as Mum dragged her off after Dad and the baby.

Ciao for Now, Peek A Boo Angry Dad.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Synch with family

I don't know what's going on at the moment, but I just can't seem to synch up with my family. My sister has been trying to get in touch with me, but she is not at her home and I haven't been able to get her. My wife, when I ring her up, hasn't been home either. To top it off, I'm out of my hotel room at around 7:00am, and often don't get back into the room until 11:00pm at night.

I don't have a cell phone, so I'm virtually unreachable. It seems e-mail is the best way to get to me at the moment, but to even use that I have to sit on my arse in the Business Centre of the hotel, as I only have dial up access in the room. Its quite insane! The conference, and doing work and schmoozing with vendors, clients and customers just chews up time. Not that I'm really complaining, and it isn't that hard work, but I was up at 3:00am this morning and its now 11:30pm and my eyes are trying not to drop out of my head.

Trying to get times right between the U.S. and Australia only provides small windows of opportunity. I don't want to ring when all the activities of morning are going on, but if I miss the window of opportunity then, often Anth has run off to do all the other morning tasks which go with being a stay at home mum! Anth works so hard for all of us, and I know she's pretty tired at the moment, so I also don't want to ring late at night and wake her if she's asleep. Any guy worth his salt knows to let sleeping mums, and their babies, lie.

Ciao for Now, Eye Popping Angry Dad.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jet Lag

I had to succumb to exhaustion and jet lag today. This was weird, because yesterday I was fine for almost all of the day. Today, I hit around 3:00pm and I wanted to pass out. I made it until about 5:30pm when I fell asleep, virtually in front of the computer back in my hotel room. I managed to crawl to the bed and set the alarm so that I'd go and get dinner, and not sleep until 2:00am.

This is always a trap with this kind of travel. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night absolutely wide awake and thinking "Yep, ready to go now, but I must sleep!" I can only begin to imagine how insomniacs feel. Yuck! It didn't help that I was up late last night trying to sort out some work stuff going on at home.

Things continue to remind me how far away I am. Last night, we had a reception party at the hotel where the conference I am attending is being held. The hotel faces the Gulf of Mexico, and I went down to the beach to watch the sunset. I think all the smog in the air makes it quite spectacular. Yes, that'd be smog! Not haze, not cloud! As I looked out, I was thinking how that big red sun out there which was setting in this sky, was just coming up in the sky over Brisbane.

Ciao for Now, There's a Red Red Sun Angry Dad.