Monday, July 31, 2006

We Warned You, Don't Shoot Mum!

Exhibit A, Your Honour, is laid before you. As you can see, the miscreant purchased this weapon with the earnings of his mispent youth. After repeated warnings, Your Honour, the defendant still fired a shot which hit his poor defenseless mother in the head. What say you, Your Honour, Guilty or Not?

We were trying to curb Ethan's habit of inappropriate crying at his soccer training and practice by creating a wall chart, and ticking off each session when he didn't cry. After 4 sessions, we'd promised him that he could get a toy from the toy shop. He only didn't make it on one session, although in the main he was quite improved. This meant that over the weekend he was able to get a toy.

So what did he get? He got the Total X-Stream Air Pistol, which shoots foam darts a distance of about 10 metres. Why couldn't he get another car set? Of course, as soon as it came home, my moralistic ways came out and I told him "Ethan, you can't shoot this at anyone's head, OK." I also read him the warnings on the packet. "Ethan, you have to make sure that Callum doesn't get any of these pieces. They're too small, and they could make him sick." "Yeah, sure Dad." "Ethan, remember what I told you, don't shoot anyone in the head."

He had a few quick plays, before Aidan and I went to Noosa on Sunday. On our return, as we all sat down for dinner, Ethan pulled out his gun. Anth groaned, and told him to put it away. It accidently went off, and guess where the foam dart sailed from one side of the kitchen, to the kitchen table where Anth was seated. Yep, you guessed it, right into her face, glancing her eye. She lost it. I could have called her Angry Mum! (Yes, she does make me proud). She stopped herself before really yelling at Ethan, but as soon as he saw her coming he began screaming "I'm Sorry, I'm Sorry." The gun was yanked away, and now its in quarantine. So Your Honour, Guilty or Not Guilty.... GUILTY!

Ciao for Now, Foam Dart Angry Dad.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Noosa Heads Run

I've got one week to go until the Bridge to Brisbane fun run, and I've had in my head that as part of my warm up period I wanted to do a run around the Noosa headland. As Grandma and Grandpa live nearby, it was a good opportunity to take Aidan with me up there for a dwive. We headed up the highway together, and he was quite excited that he would be getting to do some cooking with Grandma.

Once we got there and convinced Aidan that he wasn't there for a sleepover, I was able to go down to the Noosa National Park and head off. I ran on two different tracks, the Coastal Track to Hell's Gate, and the Tanglewood Track back from Hell's Gate and over Noosa Hill. This is one of the most spectacular parks in Australia, if not the world. The Coastal track is around two and a half kilometer of beach views from cliff's edges to small bays and inlets. It finishes at Hells Gate, an amazing natural structure where the water boils and bubbles up. The Tanglewood Track goes back inlands and up and over the hill. The great thing about running around the 7km track was the last kilometer is all downhill! To give you an idea of the spectacular scenery you can see along the way, check out this guy's (Andy Skinn) Flickr collection on Noosa.

I'm proud of myself that I managed to run around the entire track without stopping. I think I'm right to go for next week, which is a 12km run. I did today's run in 48 minutes, which isn't fast, but I felt good enough that I think I can do the 12km in about 1 hr 20 mins, which is what I was expecting. Not too bad for an unfit lazy bugger I reckon! On top of that, on my return to Grandma's, she and Aidan had cooked lots of delicious treats for me to fill up on. MMMmmm cupcakes.

Ciao for Now, Jogging (slowly) Angry Dad.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sleep's coming back

For the past week we've had Callum sleeping in his cot, and over the week we're managing to get more and more sleep. As long as I don't sabotage myself and stay up late blogging, working or playing poker online, then everyone in the household is managing to get a good night's sleep again. It's good because we've finally got the marital bed back to the marital couple, Callum is ok with sleeping in his cot now, often until 5-6:00 am rather than 3:00am, and we aren't fighting for the sheets and doona. Bliss.

The weekends always seem to be a bit of a time to catch up on sleep as well. If you haven't got anything planned, then you can always get a quick kip in. We had a hectic morning this morning, with soccer, shopping and a school fete. We also all went out later than normal last night for a bout of evening shopping (or whatever you can call it when only K-Mart, Target and Bi-Lo are open!) By mid afternoon we were all starting to run out of puff.

Funnily enough, only Callum and I managed to get in a refresher kip. Anth had to prepare for an evening movie night with friends, Ethan wanted to watch TV, and Aidan went off to his room. That left Callum and I to get acquainted with our good friend Mr Sleep on the couch! We got in a good hour before we woke up. The older kids were nice and settled, and I got to give Callum a bottle which has now settled him down for the night. Aidan drifted off without incident, and Ethan's watching Spy Kids. I love it when a plan comes together!

Ciao for Now, Well Rested Angry Dad.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Puzzles and Games

At the start of the year Anth and I went through a big phase of having to play Sudoku. This is a number puzzle game that was introduced in the local newspaper, and they began having a puzzle every day. So, every day, Anth and I would draw up copies of it to see who could do it the quickest. She was able to solve them faster, in the main, as her ability to scan and write alternative numbers down was quicker than mine. My main problem, other than being not as smart as she is, was due to my atrocious handwriting and being able to decipher the alternate numbers I'd written down.

We've always liked puzzles and games, but we go through different phases. We had a time when Connect-4 and Yahtzee were good, because you could play them quickly. Anth can always be guaranteed to beat me on Rock, Paper, Scissors as well. I always pick Rock. I Think its because of an episode of The Simpsons called "The Front", when Bart and Lisa play the game:
LISA: Look, there's only one way to settle this. Rock-paper-scissors.
LISA'S BRAIN: Poor predictable Bart. Always takes `rock'.
BART'S BRAIN: Good ol' `rock'. Nothin' beats that!
BART: Rock!
LISA: Paper.
BART: D'oh!

The kids have a variety of games they like playing. Mouse Trap was very popular for a while. We've been through stages of Snakes and Ladders, Hungry Hungry Hippos (Hey, I resemble that remark!), Twister, and the Hi-5 game. We also have lots of memory games and jigsaw puzzles that the kids like. It's all fun isn't it, and its great when you can get together and interact.

Ciao for Now, Pick Rock Every Time Angry Dad.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Netball and life's little fantasies

Anth and I had a discussion this morning about what we both believed the other did during their normal weekday. It comes down to that if we did live in the fantasy world each of us believes the other is in, then we'd both be extremely happy. Anth believes that once I leave the house and go to work, it is a fun filled day of messin' with the boys, everyone mucks around, and we spend all day playing computer games. I believe that once I leave the house, the kids are magically whisked off to school, and Anth gets to laze in front of the TV, go shopping, sleep, and go and have coffee and cakes with the girls. If only it were true in both cases.

Now we both know that the reality of the situation is different to what we believe. This was hit home yet again this evening, when I had to forego Taekwondo training to look after the kids. Anth has taken up Netball, and her first game was this evening. This means that our previous Thursday routine has now changed. I got home around 6:30pm, and Anth was out watching Ethan do Taekwondo. I just assumed that dinner was done. She got home at 7:10pm and said, "Where's Dinner?" Uh, Oh. Each thought the other would arrange it. We tried to cook some old fish fingers, but they were disgusting, so I rushed out for some chicken takeaway.

As time crept to 8:00pm I had to go and pick up Aidan from his special care, and had to take the kids, whilst Anth got picked up for her game. The next hour, during which Anth alone or we together settle the kids, meant that I, alone, had to do it. I'm not so good at this. I had to juggle Aidan not understanding where Mummy was, and throwing tantrums, with doing Ethan's homework, and feeding the baby. I also had to get all three ready for bed. It was hard. I understand what Anth goes through everyday and it isn't the fairytale. Now, if I could just get her into my work to dispell her side of the myth!

Ciao for Now, Keeping it Real Angry Dad.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

School Sports Day

Today was Ethan's School Sports Day. For the day, Anth had helped prepare their class room banner. She spent many nights drawing and colouring in the Busy Bees which adorned it. Each of the bees had its own special silver foil wings. She was rightly proud, and because she'd done the majority of the work, Ethan got to hold the banner as they walked out onto the school sports ground.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to go. Stinky Work! Anth did, and she and a friend took most of the pictures so I could get a view to what went on. Ethan gave me the full description this evening when I got home. It was full of training, and running, and how so and so beat who's he whats. He was so enraptured with the day, and as this photo shows of him doing some form of hurdles, he obviously enjoyed himself.

Ethan, like me, doesn't like to over exert himself. He's been engendered with my perspiration gene, which makes us perspire profusely at the mere whiff of exercise. Its like we both have walked into a sauna, or just had a warm bath. At least it looks like we've actually done something! After one lap with a whole range of activities, I think he'd had enough. We still managed to get him to soccer training tonight though!

Ciao for Now, School Sports Angry Dad.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The boy with no shoes

Being intellectually disabled, Aidan has certain nuances that when brought to the fore can be incredibly annoying and frustrating. There are some days, where all of his little ticks and traits play out one after the other. Aidan often exhibits traits similar to Autism or Tourette's Syndrome, although we know he doesn't have these. He gets things in his head and can't get them out. Today was one of those days.

It began the night before. Aidan has a Fun Run he will be going to on Thursday. Last night, he asked if he had the fun run "tomorrow." This morning when he woke, his conversation was about how he would be having his fun run today. No, we responded, it would be on Thursday. This went into a repeated tantrum about the Fun Run.
"Want Fun Run today. Fun Run Today. Fun Run Today." (repeat ad nauseum)
"No Aidan. The Fun Run is on Thursday. How about Breakfast?"
"No want Breakfast. Not like Breakfast. No want Breakfast." (repeat ad nauseum)
Attempt to get Aidan dressed. He now needs to have his shirt tucked into his pants.
"Need Tuck In. Need Tuck In." (repeat ad nauseum)
He also needs to have the tag in the collar on his shirt set just right...
"Tag. Tag Tag." (repeat ad nauseum)
He needs to have his socks and shoes put on just right. He also has an orthotic to help his walking ....
"Sock On. Shoe's Too Tight. Too Tight Mummy. Sock On Daddy."
Attempt to get Aidan onto the school bus which picks him up
"Need Shoes Off. Bus. Bus. Shoes Too Tight."

We weren't going to take his shoes off, but he began his tic of putting his hands in his mouth and screaming. Then he bit me. I know it was out of frustration, but it hurt. I'm proud of myself that I didn't swipe him on the bum. So we ended up taking his shoes off, at which point the bus arrived and off he went shoe less - the boy with no shoes.

When I told some people about it at work, they said "That must be so hard." It is hard, but its not that hard. We've lived with it all Aidan's life, so it is part of our lives. There's nothing profound about it, and everyone has their own stories and nuances with things that effect them. I just thought I'd share a little of what our life can be like. At other times he's an Angel, and we just wish we could figure out what sets him off! We'll probably never know.

Ciao for Now, Once Bitten Angry Dad.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Other Weekend Activities

Despite what you might think from the past two posts, the weekend wasn't a total waste of sleepless nights and uncharitable days. Although Callum has been keeping us up, we still managed to squeeze in our regular activities like shopping and soccer, as well as a few other things here and there.

Aidan's main concern was that he went shopping and to the "Wash the Car Shop". He has a fascination with going to the car wash, and as we have water restrictions here in Brisbane, we're no longer allowed to use hoses to wash the car at home. Its easier and quicker to go to a car wash, pay $5, and do it yourself there. I took Callum and Aidan, washed the car, and then thought I'd do a quick run up the highway to dry it off. The sky had been overcast all day, however, we hadn't had any rain.... except when I drove up the highway in my nice clean car. It rained and because we have such drought conditions, when you only get light rain its usually dusty. Ah well, I had cleaned off most of the mud!

Ethan and I also went out for a two hour outing where I jogged down to the bay whilst he rode his scooter, and then we walked back. I'm training for the Bridge to Brisbane fun run, which is 12km, and should take me about 1 hr 20 mins to complete. I'm not that fast, and I've been training for about 6 weeks to get in shape to do it without dying. I've decided that I need to get in a bit better shape, so that was the goal I set. Ethan was fine, except for the few bumps he hit which made him fall off. Of course, when we made it to the bay beach park, we tried to call Anth to come and get us. Know why she couldn't come? Because sleepy brat Callum had fallen asleep. If he slept overnight, we would have gotten picked up - but instead we had to walk home. Even during the day he still mocks me!!!

Ciao for Now, Better Get Some Sleep Angry Dad.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Separation Anxiety

Last night was our second night of having Callum sleep in his own cot for the night, rather than in our bed. I even went to bed early knowing that the extra sleep was going to be a requirement. Lucky.

Callum woke up a few times between midnight and 3:00am, but quickly resettled back to sleep. From then on, it became a battle. Anth says that she was up from 3:00am every 20 minutes or so to do the pat. The pat technique involves tapping his back quickly, and then slowing it down over the course of about 2 minutes, which allows him to settle into the rhythm, and generally gets him back to sleep. I didn't think it was as early as 3:00am, but I know I was awake from just before 4.

So from 3:00am, every 20 minutes Anth was up, doing the pat, and then trying to get herself back into bed. The problem with our bed is it creaks, ever so slightly, when you get into it. No matter what Anth did, as she got into bed, it would creak, and Callum would wake up again. He'd cry and whimper, then stop for a few minutes, then start again, the ease up, and then let it rip. All in 20 minutes cycles. At 5:00am, I finally got out of bed, and went to the loo for a slash. When I jumped into bed, that's when Anth let rip.
"Your are allowed to get up and pat him you know."
"Grumble, mumble, it's 5:00am, haven't slept since before 4, can't he just get in the bed... grumble mumble"
"I'VE BEEN UP SINCE 3:00AM! Get your lazy arse out of bed. He's NOT coming back into bed. I'm not doing this for 2 hours to have him in bed. PAT HIM."
"Grumble Mumble, I'll take him to the couch. Grumble Mumble."
"I'm gonna kill you if you don't pat him."
"We're all gonna kill each other if we don't get some sleep."

So I took him into the lounge room, where he fell asleep on top of me, I fell asleep in the recliner, and Anth got the bed to herself until 7:30. No killings were had. We'll see what happens tonight!

Ciao for Now, Tired Angry Dad.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Cot Boy

Callum has slept in our bed with us almost from the day he was born. This was done to help facilitate night feeds, and we haven't really done anything about it because it was convenient. Callum also used to sleep the night through. That only seemed to take about 2 months after birth (but I may be conveniently forgetting any early discrepancies!). I've never had any real dramas until recently about him being in the bed. I believe I have an in-built sense not to role on him, and its not like I go to bed smashed or whacked out, when most people do their indiscriminate rolling.

Unfortunately Callum's sleep patterns have taken a turn for the worse. Someone suggested today it might be because of his teeth coming through. Whatever it is, he sleeps for a couple of hours, and then begins a phase of waking every 15-20 minutes for a grizzle. This can happen for several hours. Its not conducive to good sleep, especially if you wake up and can't get back to sleep yourself.

So last night, my darling wife, amazing trooper that she is, tended to him all night and he slept in his cot. All night. He woke a few times where she had to get up, but in the main, we let him grizzle himself back to sleep. Its hard, because you feel like you should get up, but my sweet sweet laziness and the beautiful warmth of the bed keeps me horizontal. Poor Anth, Callum's powers of persuasion mean that she did get up to him, but her resolve did stick in that he didn't end up back in the bed with us.

Ciao for Now, Bed Early Tonight Angry Dad.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Perils of a Job Not Done

There are times when I know I've got a job to do, but being inherently lazy, I don't do it when I should. I have had a pile of financial paperwork and bills I have to go through, which I put on the kitchen bench, and then left it over a week. Anth decided to tidy it up. So she sorted the bills... sorted my papers... and threw stuff out.

This morning, as my current credit card expires at the end of the month, I was looking through the pile for my new credit card. I can't find it. I frantically search everywhere, then finally get the courage to ask Anth where it could be. Anth quite rightly told me that I was meant to go through my "pile of crap" a week ago, and as it had been sitting in the kitchen she decided to clean it up. The problem was, when we received the replacement card she had taken out my card and the accompanying letter for me to read. When I saw that a week ago, I put it back in the envelope, thinking it would be safe.

On Wednesday, she threw out all the envelopes, thinking she'd been through them. Bin day was today. I ran out to the bin to search through, but too late, the garbage truck had been by an hour earlier. At that point I still had my current card, but as soon as I reported the lost card they cancelled it. This of course means I don't have any EFTPOS or ATM access, nor a credit card. I won't get the new one for a week. For all my automatic payments, I have to change the details. And all because I didn't do what I was supposed to a week ago. Stupid Man.

Ciao for Now, Wallowing in his own self pity Angry Dad.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Things I hate

I got tagged some time ago by Frank over at My 3 Children to do a meme about 20 things I hate. He'd been tagged by Molly (By the way, the most irreverent and funny nurse you're likely to hear from!) from Seriously?? -my vay-jay-jay -Seriously??. You know how it goes in the Blogosphere, somewhere, someone starts it up, and then everyone's doing it. As I posted on Frank's site, I'm really crap at doing memes.

Its not that I don't want to do them, its that it takes me ages to figure out what am I going to say. I want to be witty, with a dialogue of witty banter to make you laugh, make you cry, make you snigger, make you sigh. I don't want to be presumptuous, but I want to give you something sumptuous. Some splendid opulence. This leads me to consider what I hate, and well, one of them would be pompous gits, and then another would be hypocrites, and then I find a mirror reflecting me, and realise I don't like the word hate at all!

So then I think about the standard things. Yes, we all hate people who steal our carpark at the shopping centre. And then we get personal, and say things like I hate how when I get angry I hold it in until I explode and then everyone knows it. I wouldn't be Angry Dad if I didn't do that now would I? But I still hate that trait in me. Or we can say how we hate all the evils of the world, like war. Can I make a list? Probably. Do I want to? No. There's already enough hate. Lets share the love! Maybe someone who reads this will start a Love Meme. I'll leave it up to you to do it, and if you want, you can credit me.

Ciao for Now, Share the Love Angry Dad.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Half Tick

I seem to be writing about Ethan a lot in the blog lately. I'm going to continue that trend to talk about a technique we've been doing to curb inappropriate crying. Ethan has had a habit, at both soccer practice and soccer games, of crying over small things. I don't mind if he cries if he gets hit hard by the soccer ball, or if he falls over, or gets kicked in the shins. I do mind if he cries because someone looks at him funny, or if someone doesn't pass to him straight away, or if he miss kicks the ball.

Ethan is very sensitive. This isn't a bad trait. However, it is inappropriate for him to cry in some of the above circumstances. It seems like he does it to get attention, and often he'll be fine within minutes of playing up. To stop him, Anth has set up a tick board on the fridge. It works quite simply. If Ethan can go for a session without crying, including both practice and games, he will get a tick for each session. If he does it consecutively for four sessions, we will get him a toy.

Yes, its basic bribery, but it has been having the desired effect, almost. This evening, as always I wasn't punctual. We got there just as training started, and the other kids were doing warm up runs. I tried to encourage Ethan to run ahead and join in, but instead he decided he'd start howling because we were late. Fortunately, super coach came over, asked him how he was, gave him a big hug and said "C'mon Buddy" and he was off. She is such a great coach! Unfortunately for him, he only got half a tick.

Ciao for Now, Hard Ass Angry Dad.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Teeth II.

Well, one of Ethan's teeth fell out today, but not until after he spent most of the day really freaking me out. Anth and he delighted in getting him to push his tooth out, almost 90 degrees over his lip. I just couldn't look. Yes, yes. Call me Mr Mush, but there are some things I just don't want to see. As I've got my own degenerative tooth in my mouth, I don't want to look at someone else's.

Anth spent most of the day convincing him that he had to wiggle his tooth. She made a game of it, with the main intention of him actually getting it out. This evening, they got out the digital camera and Ethan had to take pictures of himself. This shot looks absolutely nothing like him, but its what you get when you hold the camera in front of yourself and squeeze the trigger! At the same time, you have to push your teeth out with your tongue. Yuck!

Anth then she decided that a pillow fight in the lounge room was in order. As you can see from this shot taken just prior to said pillow fight, the tooth could achieve the horizontal position. They started laying into each other with the couch pillows, with my main concern being that they didn't stand on Callum, who thought it was hilarious and crawled around on the floor giggling like a Tickle Me Elmo doll. Hit after Hit after Hit, until finally Ethan stopped and innocently said "My Tooth Fell out, and I didn't cry!" I guess you don't cry when your adrenalin's up.

Ciao for Now, Tooth Fairy Angry Dad.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Last night two things happened. I finally re-strung my guitar. I'd bought the strings about six weeks ago, but ever since I've been playing the kids guitar, which is about the size of a ukulele and sounds like a beat up cheese grinder. Actually, I have no idea what a beat up cheese grinder sounds like, but it sounds weird enough for you to probably think "What the fleck?!"

This was the part of the first thing. Because I had restrung the guitar, that meant that I got to serenade my wife and baby whilst they had a bath. I'm sure every woman likes to get sung Blister in the Sun whilst they bathe. Between that and melodic 6th and augmented 9th chords, she and Ethan decided that it would be a good idea to have a water pistol fight with her in the bath and he running in and out of the bathroom. Ethan didn't have a water pistol with which to defend himself. He resorted to holding up a towel to cover his face.

Ethan's two front teeth are quite loose. For whatever reason, he must have rubbed the towel across these teeth during a strafing run of water from Anthea. As he stood up, he turned to me, and I stopped playing, saying "What's that on your mouth?" D'oh. Such a stupid question, as he turned to the mirror, opening his mouth to reveal all his teeth covered in blood. Then the tears started. Anth had to get out of the bath to calm him down, and he spent the next half hour poking at his teeth with a wet face cloth.

Today, he couldn't possibly go to school. He had the whole day off, and Anth had to book in to the dentist. The visit went along the lines of "Do you want me to pull them out? No?! Ok, well they'll fall out in time. All's well. That'll be several hundred dollars thanks." And that only took 5 seconds. Ok, it wasn't quite that bad, but I'm sure that's how Anth felt when she described it to me!

Ciao for Now, Still Toothy Angry Dad.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pirates and Scary Movies

Last night I went to the flicks and saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I thought it was a really good film, although it will probably go down in history as a link film. It was a grand adventure which rolled and rollicked along, albeit to that ultimate conclusion to set you up for the third movie. That said, it has broken Spiderman's record for biggest box office opening to date, so a lot of people obviously thought it was worth going to see!

My dilemma was whether to take Ethan to see it or not. At only 6 years old, he doesn't quite have the maturity to fully understand everything that's going on. I also know, that with special effects movies like this, a lot of action takes place in dark scenes, which makes the effects even more spectacular (and more do-able in CGI mode). This can be frightening for smaller kids. I didn't take him and in some respects I'm glad that I didn't. There was some stuff in the opening scenes which I think may have scared him, and the last thing I wanted was to have to walk out of a movie in the opening minutes because my kid was scared!

This is where DVD's come in. I am a cinema aficionado (well, I like to think I am), and would much rather watch a movie in the cinema. However, its so much easier to censor, for want of a better word, a movie for your kids. You can always skip forward if you think something is a bit intense, or you can open all the windows and blinds and let the sun shine in if you think a scene might be a bit too scary for their young minds. Its much easier to distract them that way. So I think we'll wait for this one for him on DVD.

Ciao for Now, Argggh Me Hearties Angry Dad.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Right Time, Wrong Place

My wife will tell you I have a distinct habit of always being late for things. Particularly things that she deems important. I try. She would just say that I'm trying, very trying.

This morning, Ethan had a soccer game which was scheduled to start at 9:30am. We got up around 8:00am after a very nice Saturday morning sleep in. We told Ethan he had to be ready to go by 9:00am. I'd checked the schedule, and knew we were playing North Pine. Anth told me where North Pine was, and as we'd gotten lost last time we went there, I checked the map and made sure where it was as well. I dawdled around at breakfast, so the last 10 minutes before 9:00am were spent rushing around, having a shower, and jumping into the car. I forgot my mobile phone.

As I jumped in the car, Anth asked again that I was sure I knew where I was going. Yes, Yes. Off we went. We even arrived early. Looking around, there were none of the other kids from Ethan's team. He took it very well. When I finally asked an official at 9:30am whether any Ridge Hills kids were playing there, he checked and said No. No. Shit.

I got Ethan back in the car, and we did the dash back down the highway to our home ground. Of course, the team was there, in the middle of the game. We got onto the pitch just as they called half time. I spoke to the team manager, who pulled out his schedule. Yes, we were playing North Pine. No, it wasn't at there ground, it was our home game. Clear as mud. I tried to blame Anth, but both he and I knew I was a filthy incompetent liar. At least Ethan got to play the second half.

Ciao for Now, Incompetent and still late Angry Dad.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Time catches up

If you read yesterday's post on Brain Freeze you'd know that I've been trying to cheat time somewhat. This is in relation to not getting enough sleep, and eventually having the sleep fairy interrupt your daily activities by numbing your brain and causing you to do stupid things. I'm rambling at the moment because this mischievous little minx has just forced me to partake of sleep, on the lounge room couch.

At the moment I'm trying to blog with a sleep head. I'd much rather be in bed. "Bed". "Sleep Head". I could write poetry.
The fairy came to me and said.
"I wave my wand above your head."
"You cannot cheat me, here's your dread."
"You'll wake and wish you were in bed."

So I know where I'd rather be right now, and where I will be rather shortly. A short post's a good post!

Ciao for Now, Sleepy Bed Head Angry Dad.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Brain Freeze

Do you ever have those times where the combination of tiredness and familiarity make you do particularly stupid things. I had one of those today.

I work in the city of Brisbane. Outside our office is a street intersection with traffic lights. The traffic lights have been set so that when you get the green walk signal, the "ticker" also goes off to assist the blind. So you have both visual and aural cues. I had had a particularly stressful morning. I noticed colleagues diagnolly opposite on the other side of the road. I thought "I have to see one of them, I better cross when they cross." The lights changed. The ticker went off. They walked across from their side. I walked across from my side so we'd meet at the same corner.

Notice something long with this imaginative picture. Yes, I crossed against the traffic. I didn't have a green walk signal, but the traffic I was walking into did. From behind I heard someone yell my name twice, but I couldn't really understand why so I kept going. A guy in a van yelled "Get back on the footpath you idiot!" but I kept going. It was only when I was halfway across, and saw a bus coming towards me that I realised what I'd done, and then I sprinted to the other side.

My colleagues looked at me like I was a complete fool, which I was! I muttered some crap about not knowing what I was doing and that there was a problem at work. Then I slunk off. Later on that afternoon when I went out to go to the shops, at the same intersection another colleague grabbed me and said "Now, do you need to hold my hand to cross?" Obviously, my brain freeze was noticed by more than one person. *Sigh*. At least I'm still with us!

Ciao for Now, Familiarity Breeds Idiocy Angry Dad.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

God's Three O's..

A discussion with Ethan on the way home from Soccer training this evening.
Ethan: "Dad, God is watching us isn't he?"
Angry Dad: "Yep. Depends on what you believe."
Ethan: "God is watching me though isn't he?"
Angry Dad: "Yep."
Ethan: "Does he know my name?"
Angry Dad: "God knows everything."
Ethan: "Do all the Gods know everything?"
Angry Dad: "Well, there are lots of Gods. It depends on what you believe."

At this point, I didn't really want to go into a metaphysical discussion on deities. Suffice to say that Ethan is aware of the Christian God. I'm personally a bit of an Agnostic, which is not to say I'm an Atheist, just that I take certain theological claims with a grain of salt. So when I'm on my deathbed, you can be guaranteed I'll be saying "Save me Jee-bus".

The conversation continued.
Ethan: "So there are 100's and 1,000's of gods? They must know lots of people's names."
Angry Dad: "Well, your God knows everyone's name."
Ethan: "Everyone's?"
Angry Dad: "Yep. He's got the three O's."
Ethan: "The Three O's. What's that?"
Angry Dad: "He's Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent."
Ethan: "What does that mean? Does it mean he knows everyone's name?"
Angry Dad: "It means He knows everything, He's Everywhere and He can do anything."
Ethan: "Oh."

A brief silence followed.
Ethan: "So he knows I'm Ethan."
Angry Dad: "Yep."
Ethan: "Does he know what I'm thinking?"
Angry Dad: "Yep."
Ethan: "Does he know what you're thinking?"
Angry Dad: "God I hope not."

Ciao for Now, I'm Not *Not* Licking Toads Angry Dad.

P.S. To understand this post's sign off, you have to go to the Simpson's Episode link embedded in the above post!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

So you want to have Dinner at my place do you? Sure, come on over! We've got a wealth of entertainment, good food, great songs and crazy antics. We have the magnificent Callum, who can steal a spoon with a single swipe. He won't get the food in his mouth, but you'll see all the colours of the rainbow spread over his high chair. He'll even smile at you whilst throwing food in your face!

Then there's the magical and mystical Aidan. A boy who can look through eyelids closed, and still start conversations that go nowhere. He too, can spread all the colours of a culinary delight over the table and onto the floor. Note that despite the presence of a fork, that fingers are the main utensil for placing food into his speak hole! He's also not one to let life go by without a cheesy smile, just watch out for those pieces that get caught in the teeth.

Introducing Ethan as boy wonder. The boy who selectively eats what's on his plate, with a predilection for corn smothered in butter. His other favourite topping is tomato sauce (or ketchup for those of you not in the know). He knows enough to pick the food from his teeth before he offers you his smile.

Last but not least, we have the Ringmaster. The master of her domain. The Ay-A-Toll-Ah of Rock-and-Rolla. Well, the Culinary Queen who keeps the circus confined to the table. Ta Da!

Ciao for Now, I can't match that Angry Dad.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Last night on Australian Sixty Minutes they ran a story entitled Feel the Music. It concerned a number of children termed as musical savants. These children often have significant disabilities, including blindness and low IQ, however, their musical abilities are considered genius level. Similar mental abilities can be exhibited in art and in mathematics, whilst the child remains for all other intents and purposes mentally impaired. These types of stories have been on television many times before.

When we first realised that Aidan was significantly different, and that he is considered to have mental impairment, I often wondered if he would have any savant abilities. To that end, I used to take him to the Casino to see if he would do the Rain Man act with him as Dustin Hoffman and me as Tom Cruise. Ok, so that wouldn't have worked because we're father and son, and they were brothers. Ok Ok, I also never took him to the Casino, but perhaps if he does at all develop those type of abilities I will! You have to have a sense of humour about this kind of stuff, disability for fun and (my) profit.

Aidan has always shown musical ability. Of course, not to genius level, however, every song that comes on the car radio is considered his song, and he will sing along to it. He generally gets the tune right, if not the words. I used to play keyboards, and have a number of synthesisers, but Aidan hasn't really got into playing them. We have bought him his own keyboards, and although he bangs around on them, he hasn't displayed any of the traits of kids in the previously mentioned TV story, so I'm not going to get rich on that. Ultimately, this doesn't matter. He's a happy kid, and happy with his own music he creates.

Ciao for Now, Exploitive Angry Dad.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Appreciation of Cleaning

I made the mistake of asking Anth how much she thought I contributed to domestic and household duties around the house. This came about as I was doing a questionnaire on Ethan, where one of the questions was about how much you felt you did to support the household. I answered, like any good male, that I did my fair share which was roughly half. Of course, when I asked Anth she said, maybe 70-30 or 80-20. Before all you guys start nodding sagely thinking, "Wow, she was good enough to recognise he does more than his share!" think again my male co-horts, because it was in her favour.

Like any good male who has his domain challenged, this has led me this evening to take on a number of domestic chores. The reality is, this might happen once every 3 months of so when my "clean gene" kicks in and I can't stand living in a child induced pig sty anymore. Tonight, I:
  • helped with the Roast Dinner
  • cleaned up all the dishes
  • stacked the dishwasher and set it off
  • cleaned all the pots, pans and utensils that can't go in the dishwasher
  • cleaned the kitchen table, sinks and workbenches
  • tidied up the kids play room
  • and cleaned the floors
This was all on top of mowing the lawns during the day, and taking a load of rubbish to the tip. Anth even said to me "You've done 100% today." The fact remains, when I think about it, I haven't really done that much. If we are just talking domestic duties, I don't really hold up the mustard. On top of that, after doing it for about 3 hours it is bloody hard work. No wonder I only really do it in 3 month spurts.

Ciao for Now, Cleaning Angry Dad.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Knock Down

Today was one of those days where Ethan said "Can we go to Movie World?" and we didn't have a good excuse not to. So he and I went this afternoon. The good thing about having an annual pass to a theme park is that you don't have to make a whole day of it to still think you're getting value for money. His main desire was to go on the Superman Escape ride, but unfortunately he's not quite tall enough.

We were there about an hour, and had been on a few rides, when Ethan said he wanted to go on the Batman ride. At that point we were in Loonee Tunes Village, so we would have to walk across the park to get there. I turned and started walking assuming that Ethan was there beside me. And then I heard his wail. He was about five metres behind me, rolling on the ground, with a woman standing over him. I turned back, and it was obvious he'd fallen over, as he'd grazed both a leg and an arm, as well as ripping a hole in his trousers.

My first thought was that as he's as clumsy as I am, he had simply fallen over. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The woman there said three older kids had just run straight through him, knocked him over, and then ran off to another ride. Ethan said it was 2 girls and a boy, so I puffed out my chest looking for someone to yell at, but they were gone. I had to pick Ethan up, thank the woman, and place him down on one of the chairs to check him out. He was still in tears, but there didn't appear to be any serious damage. He calmed down enough to begin hobbling around, and then seemed to be ok.

However, at the Batman ride, he began saying how sore his arm was. My own experience of breaking bones is I never see anyone straight away, which makes it worse. Therefore, once we were off the ride, I took him to the First Aid room where a lovely nurse checked him over. She tended his grazes and checked his bones, and thankfully she said although he probably had a slight muscle strain, nothing was broken.

So what about the other kids? I know they were probably excited to be in the park, but who the hell teaches their kids that not only is it ok to run around and run younger kids over, but also that its ok to just run off when you've obviously caused someone harm. Little shits.

Ciao for Now, Protective Angry Dad.

Friday, July 07, 2006

When they were young

You can notice the changes in Callum almost every day at the moment. He's moving out of that baby baby stage, and although he's still a baby, he's more into the crawler/mobile baby area now. He is beginning to investigate standing up, and can now scoot around faster than most of us can catch him. He has got the crawling thing down pat, and it is up on all fours where he is getting his power. This got me thinking about the other kids when they were little, so I had a scan through some old electronic photos I had.

Here's a picture of Ethan at what I think was his second birthday. Well, there were two candles on the cake! Note the look on his face. If it was now, I'd think he were thinking about how he was going to get to eat some cake after he blew out the candles, but back then, I think it was the whole concept of candles on a cup-cake with the fire burning which kept his eyes saucer wide.

Aidan was also a bit of a mischief maker as a young one. Not much has changed. After his seizure, he lost the few motor functions he had. As he recovered he spent a lot of time shuffling around on his behind. It took him until around the age of four to begin to stand up, so bum shuffling was his method of transportation for a fair while. One of his favourite things to do was to go and sit in the bookshelf, probably because that's where the Bart Simpson doll was kept. He'd move Bart out, and then scoot in their himself. He was always very proud when we discovered him there!

Ciao for Now, Reminiscing Angry Dad.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sabotaging a diet

At the moment I am ostensibly trying to diet. I don't actually like the term diet. I prefer to think of it as eating more sensibly. Ultimately, in my view, the key to weight loss or weight stabilisation is pretty much eat less or equal to what you expend in energy. Its kind of like the key to wealth, spend less than you earn. Not really that much to it when you put it like that. Where I come unstuck is in sabotage!

American Psychologist William Sheldon in the 1940's defined 3 different body types called somatypes. I believe I have what is termed as an endomorphic body. Part of the definition in Wikipedia suggests:
The endomorphic person also has a visceral temperament, which means that they are tolerant, love comfort and luxury...

Well, that sounds like me! And this is where the sabotage comes in. I always have done exercise. For most of the past 20 years I've gone to the gym and done weight training. I really don't have much of a problem with doing exercise, so its usually what I eat that lets me down. I have a sweet tooth. Lately, I have been watching what I eat a lot more seriously than normal, so I've managed to lose a few kilos. However, over the past week, I've begun to do that classic negative thing of saying "Oh, I ran for half an hour today, that means I can eat half a block of chocolate." Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. The sabotage continues by not just eating half the block, but continuing and eating the second half, ergo, whole block. MMMmmm Chocolate.

Now I know this is purely a mental game, but one which the Homer in me is calling me out to play. I can just hear him on my shoulder singing "I am evil Homer, I am evil Home-Er!" C'est La Vie!

Ciao for Now, But I could be Good Homer Angry Dad.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


After posting a few times about how I need to practice more with the kids I thought maybe I'd try out the 'humour' option which a number of commenters recommended. I guess laughter is the best medicine, not just for dealing with kids, but for dealing with life. So when I do have the opportunity to change Callum's nappy, I've been trying to do the whole "A Wooga wooga woozey ka bloozey" baby talk thing, and doing the "blurt a belly" to keep him happy whilst I rip his nappy off, and whip a new nappy back on. Anth would tell you that this has probably only happened once in the past week, but it was once where I didn't have to struggle too hard! Actually, Anth would tell you that she still changes the bulk of the nappies, which is also true.

The strategy also works better with the older kids. After suffering from self inflicted and baby inflicted lack of sleep, I find that I get very short with most people, but particularly with the kids. I am trying, however, to counter shouting and yelling with more fun asides when trying to get the kids to do what I want them to do. This means being a bit stupider when getting them to go to bed, rather than just demanding they go to bed. For example, dancing around Ethan's room as you have him lay down for you and watch, usually works better than the drag and drop routine!

Anth still thinks I'm stupid at times, but at least it makes her laugh. The other night when I came home, Callum was at the back door watching the dog. Wednesday stood up when she saw I was home, and Callum was laughing at her through the back glass door. I, of course, thought it would be fun to get Wednesday to bark at both of us, but no matter how much I jumped around, pointed, made silent "Oogie Woogie Boogie" faces at her, she just looked at me like I was an idiot, you know, that cocked head dog look. I turned around, and Anth was keeled over in hysterics, and only could just get out "What the hell are you doing???" before collapsing on the floor! I was being Fun-da-Mental!

Ciao for Now, Keep 'em Laughing Angry Dad.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Do you love your family?

Ethan is currently participating in an Australia wide study entitled Growing up in Australia. It's an Australian government initiated study to look at things such as early childhood development and parenting. Every so often a researcher will come by and ask questions to both Anthea and Ethan. Today was one of those days, and after it happened Anth rang me up at work.
"Ethan had his Growing up in Australia interview today."
"Yeah? How did it go?"
"Good. Well, not really that good. Little bugger!"
Groan. "What did he do?"
"Well, she asked him things about how he liked school, and how he was doing, and how he liked to play, and he was ok with most of that. But then she asked him about home life."
"Well, she first asked him if he liked to go home after school. And he said No."
"And then she asked him if he liked being at home. He said No."
"So then she asked him if he loved his family. He said No."

You get the gist of his responses. Anth thinks that the assessor knew he was playing up, but it still frustrated her. After she left, Anth asked Ethan why he answered the way he did. I must have trained him well because his response was:
"I just wanted to stir her up."

Ciao for Now, Groaning Angry Dad.

Monday, July 03, 2006


There is a wealth of sport on at the moment. In Australia, everyone was wrapped up in the World Cup Soccer, over the past fortnight, because we made it to the final 16. In addition, the Wimbledon tennis tournament is on, and Australia's main hope, Lleyton Hewitt is still in it. I'm also getting hooked into the Tour de France cycling, not necessarily for the riding component, but the sheer beauty of the French countryside as they ride around. I would love to go one year and just follow the tour. Australia has representatives in that as well.

We really are a great sporting nation, of which we can be very proud of our athletes. Not only do we have our national sports such as Rugby, AFL and Cricket, we're also great at Swimming (as our results in the Olympics prove) and a myriad of other things ranging from Beach Volleyball through Equestrian through Surfing. As most of the population lives in Coastal areas, there is an affinity with the water, although we do get into all sorts of things.

The great thing is that this is encouraged for most kids from a young age. Soccer and Netball are the two most participated sports by children, but kids have the choice of doing many things. Most of you would know Ethan is playing soccer, as well as doing Taekwondo. Aidan loves to ride his bike everywhere. Callum, given the way he's pulling up and getting into everything, I'm sure will be an Abseiler! I really love that our lifestyle here gives us the opportunity to do so many things of this nature. The Lucky Country!

Ciao for Now, Livin' in the Lucky Country Angry Dad.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The neighbours growing up

When I was growing up, we were lucky enough to know all of our associated neighbours. We also lived in a very multicultural area. Our English/Aussie Stock family, Italians on one side, and Greeks on the other. No one really cared when we were kids, as we were all just kids who mucked around together. The Italian family, the L's (shortened here for identity purposes!), had lots of brothers and sisters in the mix, who also lived in other houses around the street. I became good friends with Adrian, the son of our neighbours.

This weekend Mr and Mrs L were up in Noosa on holiday. We had to go up to Noosa to bring my mum back to Brisbane (which is a whole story in itself), so we thought we'd join mum and dad in visiting the L's. I took Aidan and Callum up with me, whilst Anth stayed in Brisbane and took Ethan to see Superman Returns. I took mum and the kids up to Hastings Street, and we all met up together at one of the local restaurants for coffee and drinks, and then a walk along the beach.

It was great to catch up with these neighbours, whom I hadn't seen for a few years. These were people who helped oversee about 30 of us kids, when we used to run amuck around the neighbourhood. I always remember going next door and going through their record collection, as well as playing their piano, and watching their colour TV (way back when we only had a black and white TV!) Mrs L was always easy going, and Mr L always had crazy Italian words of advice, but through it all their family always seemed to be king. Their 3 kids turned our excellent, and when I got married, I was glad to have Adrian in our wedding party.

Ciao for Now, Reminiscing Angry Dad.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Toy (Shop) Story

Anth told me about one of her adventures yesterday, after two new toys arrived in the household. Last night, Aidan and Ethan were both running around with an Echo Microphone, which Anth had gotten for Aidan. They were all trying it out, singing their guts out. Even Callum got in on the act with his single word solo. Ethan also had a new Hot Wheels car set, so he was showing me how that worked. I thought they must have had a lot of fun.

Today she told me what really happened in the toy store. It's an all too familiar scene. On the way home from visiting friends, she thought she'd stop at one of the local toy stores as a treat for the boys. Of course, when they walked in, there was hardly anyone in the store. They walked around, found the microphone for Aidan, and then the Hot Wheels for Ethan. As they made their way to the checkout, Anth spied some Blue's Clues computer games. Any regular reader would know Aidan loves this show.

Anth decided she'd get one of the games, so she grabbed one and took it up to the counter. Aidan, of course, was very excited. At the counter the conversation went along the lines of:
"Hi Madam. Do you realise we have a special on those games. They are only $5 each."
"Oh wow, well, I'll go back and get the other one then."
"You know they're not computer games don't you?"
"You mean I can't put them in the computer??"
"No, they're console games. That's why they're so cheap."
"So they won't work in a computer then?"
"No Madam."

And that's when the fun started. Or should I say torture. Of course, at that particular time a whole stack of additional families had walked in the store. Aidan lost it. He started screaming for the games as Anth tried to put them back. She tried to pay for what she had, with Callum on her hip, and Aidan trying to rip out of her grip to find "Blue's Clues Games." Ethan was good, but started complaining when he had to carry everything back to the car. I'm sure this isn't just a symptom of Aidan being Special Needs, but it really can make it harder. Of course, everyone just looks and stares and imagines that the child must just be a spoilt brat. If only it were that simple.

Ciao for Now, Glad it wasn't me Angry Dad.