For years, my wife and I had discussed our shy daughter and our hopes that she would climb out of her shell a little prior to starting school. As it turns out, we needn't have worried, because our darling Miss Four is blossoming into a confident little lady very quickly – losing all sense of social graces along the way.
To combat this, I've started to run a camera and just talk. It seems to keep me more alert.
These are my (edited for time) ramblings.
As I basked in my parental win, I realised I managed to achieve the near impossible. A feat many parents only dream about. One that is seemingly a myth and one that generally serves as a warning to others of what not to do.
The perfect transition.
You see, my wife arrived home and said, "Miss 1 is fast asleep in the back of the car, but she's only been asleep for a few minutes."
This is a tricky situation. Do you take the car and go for an extended drive until the child wakes up? Do you just sit in the car, fold the seat back and catch a nap with her? Or do you attempt 'the transition?'
"I'm gonna try it," I said to her confidently.
There was an audible gasp from my wife.
"No one has ever done it successfully and you'll be risking the lives of not only you, but everyone else around you if she wakes up," my wife responded.
"I'll be fine," I explained.
"Well, if you do, you will be the greatest man ever and I will be forced to remove my clothing and give myself to you right here and right now," she replied.
The above conversation may not be entirely accurate.
I approached the car with trepidation. Inching closer, ever-so-slowly toward the vehicle. I leant in and gently unfastened the seatbelt. I delicately moved Miss 1's arm out of the harness, carefully followed by arm number 2.
I felt like I was Jeremy Renner in the movie The Hurt Locker, except without the bombs and atrocities of war and any kind of acting talent.
Scooping her up in my arms, I rested her head against my shoulder and proceeded to navigate every possible obstacle that may awaken the potential overtired grumpy-child within, because everybody knows you NEVER wake a sleeping baby.
Noisy gravel underfoot, dogs scattering under my feet, stairs to ascent and a squeaky door: these were all hazards that I skilfully avoided like an athlete headed for the goal/line/hoop with a ball/puck/javalin.
I safely placed her in the cot, walked away and closed the door.
Not a sound, not a cry, not a peep. Absolutely nothing.
She remained fast asleep through the entire transition.
As I walked downstairs I waved like I was in a ticker-tape parade that I really should have been in.
"I know hero is a strong word," I said to my wife. "But here I am, do with me what you will!"
"Well done honey!" wifey replied excitedly.
"Now, would you mind taking out the bin? We also need to unstack the dishwasher and the dog rolled in it's own shit, so it needs some attention."
My moment of parental heroism was short-lived.
The popular children's birthday party game, Pass The Parcel, should be banned from kids parties until they're at least seven years old.
Children just don't get it.
It's so confusing for poor little three-year-old Jeremy, who does his best to comprehend why he's been handed a wrapped box, but is not allowed to unwrap it and has to pass it off to some random seated next to him while a bunch of grown-ups are yelling at him to "Pass it!"
Little Jeremy just sits there with a confused look on his face as the music stops. Box in hand. Adults yelling. Face slowly crumbling under the weight of tears. Nervous anticipation as he unwraps the present that's landed in his lap only to find that there's another layer of wrapping underneath and he has to now "pass the parcel" to Little Benny next to him... And to make matters worse, he didn't win ANYTHING!
If Little Jeremy could form complete sentences, I feel the conversation with his parents would go thusly:
"What the f*ck is this?" I picture him saying. "No seriously, don't just stand there laughing and smiling at me and honestly, put your phone down, this is not an appropriate moment to be taking a photo of me. I unwrapped this and there's nothing in it, just more wrapping! Are you f*cking kidding me with this sh*t? Take me home. Where's my chocolate cake and party bag?"
However, this leads me to the oft-asked question.
Do you put a present in every layer so every child wins a prize, or do you teach them the valuable life lesson that there can only be one winner and have one prize right at the end?
It's hard enough getting a group of kids to sit for longer than the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday, let alone for a 15-minute game of Pass the Parcel.
And don't get me started on the parental favouritism that goes on in honour of the child celebrating the birthday. Your kid just scored hundreds of dollars worth of toys so let another child at the party go home with something decent. And enough with this "everyone gets a turn" nonsense: turn your back when you stop the music!
The after photos on Facebook make it seem like it was so much fun, but it's seriously just a bunch of parents praying that their kid is not the dumb-ass who accidentally peels off too many layers and reveals the prize early – or worse, the one who throws a tanty and requires parental intervention to have the parcel physically removed from their clutches.
I just feel that this is not a game kids can fully comprehend until they're about seven or eight. If you feel the need to play it at your next kids party, let the children sit around and eat cake while the adults play it for decent prizes like a bottle of red or earplugs or a voucher for a sitter or something.
Next up, I'd like to tackle another great kids party mystery:
Why the hell would you put an oversized stick in the hands of untrained three-year-olds and ask them to whack a paper-mache animal until it shatters open and then gorge on it's sugary innards?
It boggles the mind.
When they're not entranced by this magical double cavern on their face that they can whack their fingers up and retrieve the gift of goo, they're banging it on stuff when they fall over.
I have two young kids with colds at the moment and my life is a continuous stream of funk that exits their body via their nasal cavities and it's the one thing in parenting that makes me feel sick.
Can't someone come up with an invention akin to a horses feedback that just sits over their nose and collects the remnants during times of influenza?
I know that the natural response from most parents will be, "Just dose them up on Nurofen or Panadol and they'll be fine," but sometimes a cold is good to just let run.
"It takes 21 days with medicine or 3 weeks without,"my Mum used to say (and has resurrected now that I have kids of my own).
The thing I admire about children and their illnesses - aside from sicky cuddles - is their ability to keep calm and carry on.*
Kids can be sneezing, throwing up, have explosive diarrhoea or bleeding out of their eyes and they will still find the energy to dance to the theme song from Dora the Explorer or want a chocolatey, biscuity treat.
Adults freak out, take a week off work and continuously whinge about how bad they feel on Facebook.
What icks me out is just the grossness that comes with having kids with the flu. As parents, we know to blow our nose to keep it dry, clean and ready for refilling, kids just don't get it.
It's like their nose contains two green slugs racing for the exit whenever they sneeze, that's if the contents don't spray onto their surrounds.
Maybe an invention that's gently placed at the nasal entrance that sits their and soaks it all up as it tries to make its escape?
As a side note, if you happen to make a motza out of bringing one of my ingenious inventions to life, please feel free to contact me and share the profits.
I have many more where that came from.
* Idea: that phrase would be perfect on a t-shirt, mug, mousepad, wall mount or practically anything... feel free to use it, I don't think it's been done before.
Problem is, the glass would have already been broken and a replacement unit installed.
Miss 3 is brimming with excitement at the thought of visiting the residence of Mickey and Co.. We were stupid enough to mention it in passing that when she turned 4, we would take her there.
Not our smartest move as parents, because she held onto that piece of information tighter than her Dora the Explorer at bedtime.
So we made the decision to go, booked and paid for the tickets and told her the good news.
"I'm crying happy tears!" Miss 3 said as she wiped her eyes.
However, with great power comes great responsibility and one of the requirements of going to the land of Disney is that she would have to be a good girl.
Naturally, like any
That's not to say she's a bad kid, but all kids have their moments, so as a result we decided to use the Disney Defence System (or the DDS as we refer to it) when it benefited us.
Think of it as the Santa defence but multiply it's unruly power.
Sure, my daughter wants Santa to pop down the chimney and make a healthy deposit come Christmas Day, but at the moment the thought of visiting Mickey is more powerful than anything a fat man in a red suit with a dozen reindeer can deliver.
So when Miss 3 has a Jekyll and Hyde turn, the proverbial glass gets smashed on the DDS and we roll out the, "Oh well, we'll just have to call Mickey and tell him you're not coming to visit him," line.
Problem is, Miss 3 has clued up.
"OK," she said as she marched past me clearly on a mission.
Strutting away, she momentarily returned waving my iPhone in the air.
"Call him Daddy. Call Mickey, I want to speak to him," she says handing me my phone.
My eyes quickly zoom over to my wife who was well equipped with the panic-darts I was shooting her way. Most parents know this look, it's the "FAAAAAARRRRRRKKKKKKK" look.
"Call him Daddy. I want you to call Mickey," she repeats.
"Oh honey," my wife the saviour interjects. "We can't call him because it's night and he'll be asleep. Let's call him in the morning and tell him."
My wife is a genius.
Miss 3 obviously has the smarts to try and bluff me, but hasn't sussed out the power of the international date line, the rotation of the earth around the sun and the almighty power of her mother's brain.
That said, our DDS seems to be working and has negotiated the kid down off the tanty ledge on a number of occasions, but she's on to me.
"Hey Daddy?" the enquiring little mind asked the other day when her mother was out. "Can we call Mickey now? It's morning and he should be awake."
My eyes dart around the room, however, this time there's no back-up. I'm flying solo and about to go down in flames. I pause briefly to flip through my internal flight manual only to come up blank with no possible way of seizing control and pulling this moment out of a nose dive.
Then I remember the Chocolate Distraction System and smash the glass.
A place where you're every move/burp/fart/meal gets acknowledged by your friends or the plump kid that used to have a crush on you at school.
It's a place to go where everybody knows your name and is quite willing to artificially inflate your your ego by indulging in every inane post or photo and I'm totally guilty of it like most of us.
What I'm disliking at the moment are the grateful posts.
In case you've missed it, it's a challenge issued by an online friend to "help flood Facebook with kindness" by posting 3 things over 5 days that you're grateful for.
There's just one thing: EVERYONE'S ANSWER IS BASICALLY THE SAME!
We're ALL grateful for our family, partner, kids, loved ones, friends, health, waking up in the morning, the air we breathe, the money in our bank, need I continue?
Instead, I've decided to drill down into the small things that I am personally grateful for this week. It's a comprehensive list of what I feel would be overlooked if I was nominated to take on this challenge because I'd feel compelled to write a thank you list to the obvious.
So here goes:
- Filling up my car at $1.36 - I feel like I had a small victory over the petrol giants.
- My wife scoring a free bottle of large olive oil because Woolies stuffed up the shelf price to the what-it-scanned-for price.
- Getting a rock star carpark when I had two screaming kids in the backseat and a hangry wife riding shotgun (that's angry because you're hungry) and didn't have to drive around for 45 minutes searching.
- Remembering to record this week's ep of True Blood (there's only 3 episodes left EVER!)
- A burp I did in the car this morning on the way to work.
- Having Telstra give us extra internet for free because we'd gone over our limit.
- My kids having a day nap at the same time (SCORE!)
- Getting an annoying splinter out of my finger with ease and little pain.
- That clean feeling after vacuuming.
- Doing a dog poo run in my garden only to find my brother-in-law had already done it.
- Having good neighbours who don't shit me to tears.
- Free wifi.
- Closing an unused credit card and finding out that I had a $96 credit.
- Not getting sick from accidentally eating off hummus.
- That tingly feeling I get "down there" when using my particularly minty shower gel.
"Just walked into the kitchen to grab a sanga, let out a small, but delicately scented fart. Buttered bread."
"Damaged my iPhone trying to update the details of my shower this morning but realised my phone wasn't waterproof once I was under the water #stupid #firstworlddramas #notwaterproof #disaster #nomoreselfies #pissoffhashtags
It's madness and makes me wonder what life would be like without social media.
Now, you'll have to excuse me while I go and post a link to this blog entry out to my friends and family on Facebook, randoms, friends, colleagues and bots on Twitter, associated past and present workmates on LinkedIn and take a selfie while typing this part of the blog to upload to Instagram.