Mandate

In the immortal words of George Greegan “Four more years…” Except of course, it is three.  

Election night. #decision17. Plenty to take home from last nights results and still plenty to play out, before we find out exactly who will be governing this country and what format that government will take.

Some obvious things leap out for me. The Maori electorate made their votes count and sent a message. Labour clawed back a little ground, the Jacinta effect maybe, but a patch of red here and there in the major metropolitan areas, does not an election win make. The Greens crept up for a slight revival from a disastrous campaign and Gareth Morgan failed to make the impact he and his followers hoped for.

I am no political analyst. I’m too good looking, so will leave it to the Patrick Gowers’ of this world. I saw enough last night to know that what permutations play out over the next few days to couple of weeks, whoever Winston needs to convince to get the things he wants to make a government, the caucus is going to look very different.

And it most likely won’t make a blind bit of difference to the man on the street.

When the new government is sworn in, the day to day of this household will not change. Not dramatically anyway. All I want to hope comes from the results last night, is to see James Shaw and the Greens stand up for their principles, namely environmental issues, which surely remain a concern, no matter the political bent of our ruling body. tack themselves onto the side of which ever party and work to make this a healthier, safer nation in which to live.

All that aside, the main thing that stands out like a flashing beacon, once again sadly, is the depressingly high level of voter apathy in New Zealand.

By all accounts only 30% of eligible voters turned out to cast their ballot. Quite frankly, that is pathetic. Apathy just paves the way for the agitating voice, so often the minority, to potentially get their way, simply because they have a voice and are prepared to use it. But i am not here to lecture and I am not here to judge. It just surprises me when I keep hearing that the ‘young’ don’t vote.

Yet don’t we live in an aging nation? Aren’t our ranks swelled by baby-boomers? The student body has always had a voice, if lacking coherence at times and traditionally left. Obviously that isn’t a powerful enough block to sway the wider youth community to engage. To my mind, does that not suggest a level of satisfaction? That attempts to woe a young voter by the likes of Labour or Top, a push for change, fell not on deaf, apathetic ears, but also content ones?

I guess it can just be hoped that the message has been received. That yes, there is a level of satisfaction in the performance of National over the last three terms, that there is not enough of an alternative on offer, but there is a thirst, slight as it might seem to be at the moment, for change. The fear is, this will be all about Winston.

More drama to come.

For the meantime, Sunday morning and I am sitting here listening ot a butchering of the national anthems of New Zealand and Samoa.

I am listening and watching free on a live stream. I am watching it being preformed, if you could call it that, in the Manchester Arena. And I am watching it free.

Yes Dean Lonergan, you heard me right. Free.

This family of four kids and one income is not in the position to be shelling out $50.00 for what is frankly, a questionable piece of entertainment. Quite apart from the argument around the merits for or against when it comes to pugilism, I am a boxing fan and I am a Joseph Parker fan.

So way to go, Duco Events and whoever else is involved in promoting and broadcasting the fight. Way to alienate a fan. Good work in loosing touch with the all to real and present struggles of the day to day for the working class viewer that makes up the majority of your fan base.

I know you have to make a buck. People have to earn and the bills need to be paid. That is the same for all of us and we aren’t professional sportsmen or women. But don’t go telling me anything about the ‘Peoples Champion’ or any of that rot…

Anyway, that’s the first bell….

 

 

 

 

Rolling Stone

Am I too old to rock? If Jagger and co still do it, surely I can too?

In February I am off to the Foo Fighters.

They aren’t actually my thing but check out their new album, Concrete and Gold. Bloody magic.

Backing up Dave, of former Nirvana fame, and his pals, is Weezer and they well and truly are my thing. The Blue Album is one of the defining pieces of music in my life and a big influence on my tastes, what I am prepared to put into my ears.

Weezer aren’t challenging, not like Muse or Radiohead or the other great guitar rock bands that came smashing out of the U. K in the 90’s. They are more Oasis, without the bullshit and a whole lot of talent. Those boys just plain rock and I don’t think there is any more you can ask for. As for the headline act, I am not familiar enough with the Foo Fighters repertoire to know if they are going to spark some sort of musical awakening, or just let me hurt my neck, banging my head back and forth like I have the muscles to back that up. Like a much younger man would.

I am just thinking that neck of mine is not going to hold up to a mosh pit. No way in hell. At 43, I don’t belong there anyway and now I am thinking, what sort of demographic shows up to gigs by iconic rock bands of past eras?

I am going to go out on a limb and say predominantly male. Which is good. Theoretically I will only look foolish in front of my own gender. Looking like a dick in front of the opposite sex is far worse.

So if i am roughly the age of your average Foo Fighter fan, your Weezer aficionado, then I am guessing I will be surrounded by hundreds, thousands, of out of breath, balding, sweaty, can’t dance, carrying a bit too much around the middle, wannabe old boy rockers. Cool, I should fit right in.

Hopefully that is the case. It might mean I won’t get grumpy at all the mind dulled screen bandits who will watch the whole show through their fucking phones. Drop that I-whatever any where near the aforementioned mosh pit and I am stomping all over it.

Where was I?

When is too old to rock? There is no way I can afford a Rolling Stones concert and my guess there is not much chance there will ever be another tour. McCartney is here soon, but he sold out a long time ago and I don’t mean the tickets and Roger Walters is touring these shores too. At least he has had the sense to go all acoustic and folky. About all a fan should expect from a 70 year old man. Bowie is dead, along with so many other great acts recently.

So what does that leave? Me and a couple of old timer mates, making out like when can still let it all go, cut foot loose and do it without looking ridiculous. I don’t give a rodents rectum how I look and I am damn sure no one will be looking anyway. If my picks on the demographic are any indication, that is a good thing too. But looking foolish and feeling it are two separate things. Sure, the former can and often will, correlate to the other, but I am more concerned that it just won’t feel right.

What if the lads and I are surrounded by the young and the carefree? What if everyone around me, shaking their long, luxuriant hair, which didn’t happen over night but did happen, turns out to have wallets and purses stuffed with disposable income? What if they are full of the chemicals which enhance their good times, stuff that I can’t spell, pronounce or indeed have ever heard of.

I don’t want to be left out of the action, but I am not even sure I can afford an Auckland beer, let alone chemical enhancement. Not that I can even handle a night on the piss like I used to. Certainly not the first old guy to claim that though and in reality, no bad thing.

The other side of the scenario, opposed to hanging with a bunch of the young and beautiful, could well be far worse though. What if the entire stadium is full of sad, aging, semi-decrepit rockers like me? What if all the dancing is a stilted, don’t stretch the hamstrings, head nod. A sea of waving bald spots, swaying back and forth in a middle aged rendition of mosh pit malaise.

Worse still, what if all the lovely ladies hoppin and a-boppin are wearing sensible knickers and over the shoulder boulder holders, underneath dresses the fabric of which is stained an off white shade of baby blurk. That is, of course, we assume these delightful rock goddesses haven’t already left their baby manufacturing days behind them.

What really troubles me is not the ringing in the ears I hope to have because I got too close, for too long, to the P.A. It isn’t that my back and neck might hurt from standing and jumping and thrashing my head around like a rabid teenager and it isn’t concern over a lack of lusty babes for me to ogle in the sad, slightly desperate way only men of my age really can…you know, caught between the forlorn hope you might still have ‘it, and the sad realisation you probably never really did.

No, I am troubled by the thought of all the mundane and all the tiresome things that the young and carefree don’t bother wasting valuable thought energy on…traffic, parking, accommodation and the biggy, expense.

So maybe no Hot Tub Time Machine recapturing of misspent youth. Maybe no winding back the hands on the clock and the years with them. But I will let go, I will jump and thrash and dance (sort of) and sing and yell and bang my head and party to excess and it will be the stuff of legend.

See you there.

stage-dive-fail-flo-rida2

 

Passion

My wife thinks I need to be more confrontational. More controversial, if I want this blog to be a success.

The One Who Must Be Obeyed is of the opinion I need to say or highlight something that is going to go viral. Stir up the masses and create debate and argument and conversation. Maybe she has a point. I sit here and write this thing on a semi regular basis and know I am reaching only a few.

So who am I trying to reach? Am I trying to reach anyone at all, or is this simply about self-satisfaction? Do I have a message, am I ranting or am I just throwing words to the wild west coast winds, to scatter as they will?

And how exactly do I define ‘success’. What does it mean to be successful? In my situation I don’t work as such. I am a full time parent, which is work in itself and my kids are, as far as I can judge, happy and healthy. Am I, therefore, not already successful?

The real gritty truth of it is that I simply don’t have anything that fires me at the moment. Haven’t for years. There are things in our education system that annoy me, wider issues like the governance of this country, the management of our environment, things closer to home like the perilous state of my personal finances, my ever increasing decriptitude etc etc…

So is it age? Is it a malaise, an apathetic lack of interest, suffered in the realms of stay at home Dad’s? (I have never thought to ask where other Dad’s are doing their thing, if not at home.) Have I gotten too old to care? Have I gotten comfortable? Fat, lazy, preoccupied, too busy, not busy enough? Has my life as a father, parent, become so insular that the myriad of issues I am sure are out there, I simply let slide?

The answer is yes. The answer is no.

I don’t go anywhere and I don’t do anything. Nothing of note anyway. I have two children in my permanent care, under the age of five and they dominant my time and the manner with which I can spend that time. The nature of what my wife does for a living dictates, to a point, what I am able to achieve in my own, euphemistically termed, spare time. Then you factor in where we live, a small spot in the Far North, not exactly blessed with a wealth of family friendly activities and it is obvious that the ‘issues’ of the day do little to impact by minute by minute existence.

Over the years I have dabbled with all sorts of things. I loved Scuba diving, loved to hike and have hunted, fished, played drums in a band, even tried being a co-driver once in a rally car. No, before you ask, we neither crashed or got lost.

But somehow I have gotten lost. Not in the sense that I am not the man I once thought I was, or aspired to be. Just because I am home husband, does not mean I am in any way subjugated or play second fiddle, any fiddle, to my wife. Being the ‘home maker’ is not a minor role in any family dynamic and while doing so isn’t where I thought I might be in  my early, okay mid, 40’s, doesn’t mean I am not immensely satisfied.

Am I stimulated?

I still rock. Crank up the tunes and let go like I did in the 90’s. The kids think I am weird, think I am mad, but every now and then bust out the grooves with me. I don’t read as much as I would like but I do write as often as I can or feel the need to. I am learning to cook, ever more adventurously and there are a heap of projects covering all sorts of activities that float around in the back of my mind.

However, I spend the day playing with dolls, fitting together puzzles I could do in my sleep and having conversations based around the merits of holding glass of milk in two hands versus one. When I do read it is out loud, to a sometimes indifferent audience, on topics that range from the activities of various animals engaged in a variety of outlandish activities, to the nocturnal and somewhat nefarious actions of fairies. My favourite movie at the moment is Rise of the Guardians.

No, in a nutshell, I am not stimulated, in that I am not challenged. Does this mean I am unhappy? No it does not. I only have to look out the window and am greeted with a stunning view that likes of which many only dream of. I only have to reflect on all the joyous moments that having children roaming around under your feet brings.

So I am happy enough, I am content enough. So much so that I cannot get stirred up over anything. There is no one single thing, nor any conglomerate of things, that gets me worked up enough to react, outside of a dinner table conversation, that may or may not border on a debate.  Even in the midst of an election campaign, I cannot find anything that is going to get me waving my banner all over the place.

I am, therefore afraid, to report, for the meantime at least, there will be no controversy found here. I am not going to have a go at religion, feminism, politics, sexism, racism, environmental issues or anything else. Not until those issues knock directly on my door and I have to be honest, I hope they never do.  The All Blacks keep winning, so no dramas there and Arsenal are predictable average, no surprises there.

I am not bland, I am not blank. I am just busy. Busy doing nothing in particular.

giphy

 

 

 

 

Kiss My Baby

Election time is nearly on us and do you feel your vote has been adequately canvassed?

No one has kissed my baby.

I mean to say, we cover the little mite in love and affection, and yes, kisses. That is our job and we couldn’t help ourselves even if we wanted to. The whole lot of our gaggle get treated to such behaviour, though we are at the cusp of throwing a few more chores at them, to earn that love.

Right now, in each and every location around the country, there are a bunch of people trying to earn something from us and from you. And not just your love.

download (1)

They want your vote. They want you to love them, want you to show faith in them, back them and their policies. They want you to share in their vision, believe in what they see is the best for New Zealand, its people and its future.

I have my own thoughts on how a so-called representative of a group of people should go about trying to make me believe they are the person  to do just that: represent me. And there is a great deal of debate in the media at present, when it comes to personality vs policy. For me, it is difficult at times to define and equate the latter and damn near impossible to decipher the former.

And hey, if you want my vote, how about a bit of effort coming and getting it.

We have an opposition leader who talks in sound bites and backs it up with a big smile. But does anyone else think she talks just a little too slow? Like she is dumping it down for us great unwashed. Uncle Bill is going for the chuckling ‘she’ll be right’ thing, or that is how I read his approach at least. Will it Bill?

As for the rest? Morgan seems to be intent on annoying people, Winston is happier playing the game than worrying about results, Shaw appears switched on but along with Seymour, pin their hopes on the coat tails of others. I haven’t heard as much from the Maori Party as I would like, particularly given where I live.

As I read it so far, apart from some of the big, bomb-shell policy announcements you half expect to hear in the lead up to an election, the messages from the big parties-National/Labour and the Greens (maybe)- are much the same as they always have been.

It doesn’t matter if that is a good or a bad thing. It is what it is. The standard theory holds, that you vote for the candidate who best represents you, your family and community, then give your party vote for the crew who seem to share your values and offer policies you feel you can benefit from, will benefit the nation and will advance us as a society.

It is that last point which has gotten me thinking a bit in the lead up to this election. I have decided I don’t want or need to vote for the benefit of myself or my peers. I want to put my tick on the mob who are going to look after my kids and their kids. Beyond that I guess it won’t mean a lot to me. There is a future at stake a bunch of electioneering promises struggle to account for in the short term, let alone mid and long-terms.

I am just like each and every other parent, in that I want to know there is clear pathway for my children, no matter what that path might be. I want to be assured that there is a secure and safe environment for them to thrive in the future and by that I mean more than just the air we breath, the water we drink, the soils that sustain us.

The streets they walk down need to be safe. There needs to be financial security. There needs to be outlets for speech and the expression of ideals. There needs to be freedom to choose, to plan and for my children, in turn, to be concerned for the welfare of those who follow them.

Lofty stuff and the nuts and bolts of it are beyond me, certainly beyond this blog. All I would urge us that each and every one of us eligible to do so, gets out and votes. Apathy, such a Kiwi way, and often to our detriment, is not going to bring about change, if indeed, it is change you are after.

download

All that aside, what really worries me at the moment is the way the Wee-Man, with nonchalant ease, pulled himself up onto a dining chair earlier this evening.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love and War

My daughter hates me.

“I hate you.” E-Bomb isn’t vehement. More matter of fact, cold.

“I love you.” It is all I can say and I mean it.

“I don’t like you and I don’t love you.”

It’s an important distinction. There is a clear delineation between those you love and those  you like. You are not always going to like the people you love.

Sometimes, I don’t like E-Bomb.

She can be a thoroughly unreasonable person. Multiple personality disorders are suspected. Loving, cuddly sweetness can give way to foot-stomping tantrums before you have even thought of dropping the hat. Life can end up being lived on egg shells. Well it could, except we don’t.

We, as a family, are more or less immune to the carry-on. So far, with numbers One and Two, there have been no real dramas. Both have been relatively compliant, adaptable, can be reasoned with. Their demeanours might best be described as sweet. More or less.

Everyone has their moments. times when things will just not go right, the piece just won’t fit together. The whole woke up on the wrong side of the bed thing. This is especially true for kids I think, little ones to those become real people. by real people, I mean young adults.

So much is new, so much untried. Everything is testing, a challenge and kids are in such a rush, in a hurry to skip the small; steps and go straight to leaps and bounds. Because they do, develop and change and grow so fast, too fast at times and when you can’t find the words to express feelings you don’t understand, it is a frustrating thing.

And then it is easy to hate.

You hate your brother. You hate your sisters. You hate your Father. You hate the T.V, hate the rain, hate the sun, hate your dolls, hate music, hate the dogs. Poor dogs. Very rarely do you seem to hate your mother. I think that comes later.

So much hate, delivered with so much conviction.

But, she likes me a little bit. She likes me, even loves me. And hates me. And that is ok. The E-Bomb is a three-nager, a child. And a female. Show me the guy, no matter how enlightened, who can keep up with the vagaries of a females emotive state. it just means I am comfortable with it. I have to be.

A hateful attitude just servers to make all the kind, caring and loving moments all that sweeter. Because the E-Bomb, like her big sisters before her, can be a gorgeous little bundle of love and light, all cuddles and giggles and fun.

Making the most of these moments is the key and we do. No tiptoeing on eggshells, just get in. They want last, as cliched as that is to say.

When the E-Bomb goes off we don’t duck for shelter, don’t run and hide. We don’t placate either. Somewhere in the middle ground, between giving in and discipline, is the road we have to travel. She knows, we know and with a little patience and a whole lot of love, we can make it happen.

All smiles

2371.Jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Lover Boy

I’m online shopping. For wife Number Two.

I’m not looking for a trade-in deal. That wouldn’t be wise.

I am not seeking to upgrade. Saying so would be a grave error.

A mistake you say?

Yes, most certainly. My dear wife, wife Number One, is well within earshot. She is sitting not more than a few meters from me, sipping wine and doing her level headed best to quell a stroppy toddler ( Boob in mouth is her go to method).

It amazes me how I can throw the biggest wobbly the great wide world has ever known, yet I have never been offered a breast, as a means to calming down. I think most women/partners/wives out there will find it a most effective technique for getting their Husbands back in line.

It is just after 9pm, Monday. The first day back at school for our two eldest, after the mid-winter break. (note: these blogs have slipped from chronological order.) Their return to school coincides with the return of the sun. Not to say it didn’t rain, because that really would be something noteworthy, but at least it wasn’t the persistent torrential stuff we have been subjected to for more days than I care to remember.

Enough about the weather. I would rather tell you about Yulya.

Yulya (Julia) is just one of many. I am aware when I say that, just how studly that makes me sound and naturally, I am not going to deny it. I am absolutely positive Julia will find me impossible to resist.

Julia is a thirty-two year old, multi-lingual, well educated, single, platinum blonde, busty Ukrainian. She is feminine, tender and caring. Traits I obviously rate highly, or Julia would not have attracted my attention.

Yes, of course it was her ‘traits’ that caught my eye. What else could there be?

She is a romantic. She likes to watch the stars, is kind and calm and caring and believes she would make a fantastic wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia is active. But I knew this. How, you ask, your interest peaked.

How does she stay active? She likes to dance. How does she maintain her figure? She is into sport. Just what sport in particular, Julia fails to enlighten us. I’m hoping it is rugby.

My current wife is chortling in the background as I read out one profile after another. The spelling is terrible and therefore the messages, at times garbled and lost in translation, can be confusing and awkward to decipher. In those moments, I tend to look back on the traits. You know the ones I mean.

But despite the monitor currently being awash with displays of exotic flesh, that isn’t what I am interested in. I am still interested in my wife.

So if Yulia is keen, if her or someone like her could ever possibly be tempted by the likes of me, that would be great. All Yulia needs is to be just as tempted by the kids, all four of them.

Yulya needs to be keen to take on not just me, but the whole family package. She needs to be just as devoted to the cooking, baking, cleaning dusting and vacuuming and never ending laundry as she is to her fitness regime. Yukya needs to commit to snotty noses and bumps and bruises and scraps and she needs to display a keen desire to wipe poo streaks off a toddlers bag from an exploding nappy.

If Russian beauties like Yulya are going to get online and tempt me with their charms, she needs to be the whole package herself. Her ‘traits’ and ‘talents’ will have to extend to childcare. Then I can have my wife back and she can have me.

Thanks Yulya.

 

 

“Sometimes people are looking for a lifetime, and Sometimes you find a day. Sometimes we are waiting, and sometimes forcing others to wait. Sometimes we agree to something and it seems to us forever, and sometimes escorts and understand it and had to be. Sometimes we seek to communicate, expand the circle of acquaintances, somewhere in a hurry, in a hurry to meet someone, but sometimes you just want to close your eyes and do not need anything else – just you and the silence … Sometimes we are looking forward to a stormy passions of love in the novel, and sometimes a kiss is enough to feel the tenderness and passion … And sometimes we rolls up in a blanket and have no way to warm up, because we really cold at from the outside, but from within the heart … … sometimes we also need something to hug and to hear only three words “Everything will be fine …” LonelyLove2016

 

Cake and Candles

Wee-man has turned one! A mighty milestone and its killing me.

I don’t play favourites with the kids.

That is to say, I try not to.

I have three girls and a boy. My Wee-Man. Even the dogs are bitches and my wife, well…

For years I have been outnumbered, out hormoned and it has gotten increasingly prevalent as time, and breeding, has gone by. When they are little it is pretty much irrelevant. Really young, and the differences in genders are very non-specific.

Toys are used for whatever purpose, most often nothing to do with what the toy-maker might have had in mind. Cartoons are this or that and as long as they are bright, colourful and fun, then they will be watched regardless of the targeted demographic. Little activities like drawing and building blocks and excursions are all the same; just go ahead and get stuck in.

There is no emphasis placed on what the little ‘uns are into. Number One and Two have an influence on the play-time of the E-Bomb, the three-nager and will undoubtedly do so more and more for Wee-Man. If his big sisters end up tucking him into dresses and skirts, doing up his hair and touching up his make-up, so be it.

Most likely, the day will come when he just will not be into what his sisters are. His attention will be drawn to trucks and diggers and power tools and rifles and fishing rods. And rugby. Wee-Man will be into rugby.

Until that time I have no favourites. When my boy makes his own calls, starts to express his own interests, shuns his sisters, then I will swoop, envelop him under my wing and make him my own. Not a carbon copy, not his Father living vicariously through his son’s deeds.

Then he will no longer be Wee-Man. He will be my man.

1tuzgl

The simple reality is, there will soon be things going in the lives of my eldest children, my girls, that are pretty much beyond my comprehension. They are growing and developing and changing and all those horrible words that signal it is time for their Mother to step up. I don’t believe I am being weak when I say there is just so much I can handle. And I am sure, only so much the girls are going to want me attempting to handle.

Good. I am a spectacular Dad, which in turn makes me an incredible bloke. We all know that. But I have two feet and pretty soon I am going to have to start putting one of them down. Make my stand. Draw a line.

Throw in the towel. Wave the white flag.

When that time comes I will have my buddy, my support, my back-up. My man. Whatever it is he and I do, to fill in the time we spend together, father and son, we will do so out of earshot. My Dear Wife will be there for her girls, just as she always has been, just as I have always been.

But right now it has been all about another birthday. The actual date has passed but the party is not going to be until this weekend. Such as it will be for a one-year-old. I mean, how carried away do you have to get? Not like he is going to remember a thing, though we are not one of those families where the birthday celebrations become more of an excuse for the parents to have a leer up.

There will be another round of cake and candle blowing and gifts wrapped and we will laugh and sing and eat junk food and it all signals the passing of yet another year. Wee-Man will blow out those candles on his own, or at least give a good impression of doing so. He will feed himself at least 40% of his treat lunch. 40% will be devoted to the floor in an attempt to feed the dog, that will have already been booted outside and

I’ll struggle to piece together his gift, following the woefully inadequate instructions, while Dearest stresses herself out in the kitchen baking  another incredible creation that no one will properly appreciate until it is cut up and stuffed in our gobs. Fun for all.

I will smile and I will sing in my best baritone (I have no idea if that is my singing voice or not…wounded water-buffalo is more accurate probably) and I will clap and laugh along. None of it will be forced and yet I will be dark on the inside.

Another moment gone. another blip, another monumental occasion, never to happen again.

I don’t mean to get all maudlin on it, I don’t mean to wallow and I certainly won’t be that guy at the party everyone mutters about when they think he isn’t looking. ‘What a drag’.

It is just that every step my son takes, literally, he moves things on ever further in my life. And it isn’t only him, they are all doing it, or have done it. Some of the craziest things too, that suddenly strike  you, or creep up on you later.

Number One won (say that five times quickly) her first cross-country event today! Beat out a bunch of other competitors, even some boys. One proud dad.

Number Two broke her first bone a couple of years ago. The first and only so far among the kids. And yes, I was a bad Dad because there were a couple of days of ‘you’ll be right’ before we finally got her wrist x-rayed. She sprained it in a fall just the other day and there I was reminded of that originally injury. The first decent knock the kids have had.

The letting go of the bike seat, the first dive off the edge of the pool, the first solid feed, the first teetering steps, the first words and all the other obvious ones.

What about the first hug…do you remember those?  The first time they reached out for you, not as some automated need for nurture or warmth, but because they wanted a hug. I do.

So while my cholesterol sky rockets and my ever increasing weight holds me firmly on the ground, while my hair line recedes from my scalp but finds other patches of bare skin to colonise, while my joints creak and groan and my muscles atrophy, I sit and think of all the things I will never see happening again.

I am thankful for each and every one of those very special moments. Cherished moments of wonder ad joy. The type of stuff that keeps the cynical at bay, the grumpy subdued.

The love stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Up to You

Sometimes people, it is your fault. And that is okay.

Stop it.

Stop the blame. Stop the dodging and the deflecting and the recriminations and the pointing of the fingers and the obfuscation and all the rest of it.

Every now and then, just maybe, it is ok, as a fully functioning member of society, to put your hand up and say ‘Oops, my fault. I did that, sorry.’

That last bit is the key, the apology. But we will get to that.

Because before I go any further, on what will fast become a rant, I need to make it clear that I am not quite old enough for the ‘Back in my day’ rhetoric, yet I am one of maybe the last generations that is prepared to accept fault, to acknowledge blame.

To accept responsibility.

People fuck up. We all do. Make mistakes, errors, slip ups. From the tiny little oops moments to the big stuff ups, with cataclysmic results. Doing so is part of the course we have to plot in life. Therefore, it stands to reason, the young are going to do it more than most. It is how we learn, grow and develop. Much of who we become is due to the mistakes we have made and the learnings we take from that.

So how are we, as a society, meant to grow and nurture the coming generations if we spend more and more time giving credence to the enabling culture that seems to be pervading every aspect of our current and future lives?

The recent trial in the states of Michelle Carter, the vindictive little bitch that sent messages to her ex, encouraging his suicidal thoughts and indeed, his eventual claiming of his own life, caught my attention, as it did many around around the world.

What struck me, quite apart from the callous disregard from this sad individual, so remiss in being aware of the sensitivities and sensibilities of others (and the manner the youth culture in the U.S.A, from an outsiders perspective, seems to be so wayward), was the comments from the Judge.

His claim that Miss Carter ‘killed’ the poor boy in question, is bloody ridiculous. Did she pull a trigger? No. Did she force feed him enough pills to poison him? Mix anti-freeze into his cereal? No. Did she push him over the edge of the precipice he was so precariously balanced on. Possibly. And on that possibility, she has been charged, prosecuted and sentenced.

Rightly or wrongly is not for me to decide and I am not in a position to debate the merits to the laws, the American judicial system, that lead to such an outcome. What is up for debate, is how we seem to readily accept what the judge has stated. That Michelle Carter was at ‘fault’.

Yes. She carries some of the blame. A lot of it. And a huge whack of guilt one would hope. But with this ruling, the boy in question has himself been let off the hook. It was him that claimed his own life. Him and him alone, that cashed in his future. I am sure he felt justified in his reasons and felt the dire need to take such a drastic step to cure whatever it was that ailed him so. A tragic decision and ultimately, a final step he made on his own. Yet we, as a society, enable that. We tut-tut at the girl and her horrendous behaviour and so we should.

But by saying it wasn’t the young mans fault, which is as much the implication as anything else to be taken from this sorry state of affairs, is tantamount to that hoary modern chestnut….enabling.

God, how I hate that term. But it is real and it is happening all the time. More so, as the power and influence of people my age begins to take hold and wield more influence.

Enabling. An insipid creeping thing that has slowly but surely established itself over the course of the last decade or so, maybe a little more. We are letting those that follow, our offspring, get away with anything and everything.

Sure, we punish when the law is broken. I wonder, if that is soon enough. Are we punishing enough in our homes, our schools? Are we setting standards and boundaries and standing by them? Sadly, I don’t think we are.

I like to think of it as our Health and Safety culture. Okay, there is nothing wrong with being safety conscious in the work place, especially if that awareness is going to lead to the prevention of avoidable deaths. There has to be a limit though, a point where self responsibility kicks in, a stage where you can point the finger and go hey, mate…that was your fault, your complacency, your inattention, your arrogance, your responsibility.

 

images

To that end, it is in the literature for all work place health and safety statements. The biggest threat to your safety is…wait for it…you. So why hasn’t that ethos filtered through, permeated, into wider society? Why are ‘we’, as a growing populace, being mollycoddled?

Out clauses are given every teetering step of the way. Our youth are told the problem lies with their upbringing. Perhaps, in many cases, it does. Then they are told the issue is the education system, or the health services letting them down, or their diets are poor, or our politicians are not listening, or there is too much foreign ‘gangsta’ influence, or their is no spiritual guidance, or their role models are sports stars and not scholars. Too much T.V, too much pop culture, too poor, too catered to, too ignorant, too privileged, too neglected.

It is not their fault.

There was a time, it seems to me at least, when people were encouraged to put there hand up, admit culpability, apologise, and everyone moved on. Now, it seems to me at least, there is more emphasis placed on the thing at fault, than on the solution. No one seems to be sorry anymore. No one is apologetic. Instead, they are accusatory, seeking to shift the direction of the pointed finger from aiming squarely at them. They all want to be forgiven, to be allowed another chance, a third one.

So when does anyone stop and acknowledge their own role in proceedings, when things go so wrong?  We are all quick to pat ourselves on the back when we achieve success, and rightly so. Be loud and proud when you do it well, when you get things right. Accept the praise with grace and dignity. Maybe, just a thought, we could try to do more of that with our failings.

Saying sorry is a good start. Everyone looks on that sort of thing favourably. I was taught to, so were you. Let’s teach the same thing to our kids.

Arrow SIgns - Not My Fault Shifting Blame

 

The Benefits of Boobs

My wife is a strong supporter of ‘breast is best’. And I have to agree.

Jugs.

Melons.

Jars.

Hooters.

 

Tits, boobs, breasts. I think that about covers it.

It doesn’t matter how you describe them, how you refer to them. Boobs are boobs, in all their varying shapes and sizes. Impossible to ignore, inappropriate to comment about.

Well, I am going to do just that. Comment. I am going to, ahead of The Big Latch On, take note of, and explore, some of the things that are truly wondrous about the relationship between a female mammal and its offspring.

625495_10150940047856447_1624807182_n

The first thing that strikes me…convenience.

Ever tried breast feeding a stroppy baby on a bus? A train? No, nor have I and I am never likely too. Just imagine trying to placate said little one without the benefit of body temperature milk on tap. It is going to take a pretty accommodating driver that allows you to plug in your travel kettle. All those bottles and bits and pieces that need sterilizing, the milk that needs heating.

Okay sure, that is a slightly ridiculous scenario, but I have been in many others, accompanied by my dear wife with any number of little ‘uns in tow and rest assured, it can be no mean feat getting a feed in a baby at the best of times, let alone when out and about.

Where was that last holiday you had? Lovely wasn’t it. Now picture it with a hungry baby. How about the last time you went to the movies. You found all the explosions and flame in the latest Hollywood blockbuster quite artistic. Now head back to the cinema with bubs…

I can see you are getting the idea. The convenience factor. Boobs can accompany you to the movies, the stadium, they can just jump in the car, or on the bus, or a tandem pushbike. Boobs can hike and row boat and boobs can go to a bar. Boobs fit whatever clothing you might like to bring for the occasion or as the weather permits.

Boobs are so handy, don’t  you think?

And even then, after all that simplicity boobs bring to everyday life, there is still so much more.

Here is where I mention all the documented health benefits of breast milk. However, that is all I will do, make mention. I am not the expert in the family. I am married to a Midwife/Lactation Consultant, complete with all the knowledge and training and passion. I have heard so much over the years, I could probably quote a good deal back right now. I won’t though, suffice to say breast really is best.

Boobs look good. That is as an established and accepted fact and yes, I could maybe be sold on the idea that they are functional and should therefore be de-sexualised.

How very liberal of me. How very new age or hip or on trend or whatever. Certainly very politically correct.

Liberal of not, I’m a bloke and as such I see boobs, breasts, jugs, nang-nangs as a little more than a means to feed a baby.  A woman’s breasts are also a big part of the ‘shop window’ and while that might sound shallow, I can assure you I am only talking skin deep. Boobs look good to guys, fact. Big, small, somewhere in between, great big, low slung swinging things and yes, engorged, hard, full breasts.

Personally I think a woman looks stunning when pregnant. Watching a body change and adapt to the parasitic creature growing inside is impressive and a beautiful thing to behold. All that taught roundness, the genuine ‘glow’ and yes, boobs…where before there may have been none!

All of which means people look.

Breast feeding mothers can have it rough. What is a perfectly natural process, one that every mammal does and has been doing since Adam gave up a rib, can be viewed with displeasure, even disgust. It can also be viewed with a little too much pleasure. I’m not going to go there, whatever floats your boat and all that.

I never gave it much thought, but I know there can be concerns from both mothers and their partners about getting a boob and accompanying nipple out in public.

db9c6a402b70abd554ea0a7c2d97044a--breastfeeding-in-public-world-breastfeeding-week

Your own sensibilities aside, as a mother, there are many out there that are not fond of the idea of a boob, no matter how subtly presented, being offered to a hungry, fussy bubs. Sadly, these are the same types that are most likely going to complain when your child does kick up a starving stink on a plane, in the library, the cafe. At the other end of the scale, there are whole communities, mostly in the dark recesses of the online world, that like nothing more than a lactating boob.

Somewhere in the middle is where I sit. A baby can be fed compassionately and without the need to spray warm, sweet milk all over walls and ceiling and those seated nearby. Nature in action, at it’s very best. And if you don’t like it, don’t look.

Some do. Look.

I have caught oldies not looking impressed, as one of my crew sucks on my dearest. I have seen teenage boys more than a touch curious, ogling eagerly in anticipation my wife will inadvertently flash a display of perfectly rounded, pert, milky white breast at them.

And it has happened. More than once folk have seem my wife’s boobs. Not normally in tandem, as a pair, but if they know us well enough, they will have seen both her breasts on multiple occasions. My wife has breast fed our children, all four of them…wherever and whenever. Some have recoiled at the sight…a mate freaked when he saw her distorted nipple through the opaque rubber of a breast pump. I even had guys comment on how much ‘fuller’ she looks.

She does, look fuller. My wife looks great and guess what, so do the kids. Each one of them a healthy and happy, content, little creature that thrived on what was provided to them directly from their mother. Nutrient and nurturing.

Fellas, it ain’t sexual.

PCers, it ain’t immoral.

Suckle, wet-nurse, nurture, nourish and feed. call it what you will, breast feeding is all natural, all good and happening near you, today.

So get out there ladies and give everyone a thrill….especially those little ‘uns of yours.

 

Fire It Up

Here we go again, the big game…bring it on.

I can be a fairly random bloke at the best of times.

Breaking into song, some sort of white guy boogie to accompany my dulcet tones. I’ll spring out of my seat, yelling at the top of voice ‘Let’s bake’ to no one but a surprised toddler and an excited three-nager that has no idea why everything got so suddenly loud.

Spontaneous drives to no where in particular and back again. Games of this and playing with that, out of the blue just because…that’s all, just because.

All the word I have heard says putting structures and routines in place is the way to do things. Begs the questions, what things?

I am not training my children. They are little people, not pets. Okay, booting a puppy (our latest addition to the family) outside when it pees on the carpet and commanding ‘outside’ is remarkably similar to lifting a little one up and plonking her on the toilet. It’s a process, one my dear wife and I provide guidance and advice throughout. There are no whips and chairs and whistles. There is the occasional threat, an even rarer treat.

So we, as the adults in the relationship, like to talk to our children like they are people. Little people admittedly, so it has to be acknowledged that the conversations might be a little random, a little incoherent, a little awkward and odd. All good by me.

It’s easy with Number One. She is not just a little person anymore, but a little adult. The fact that she is not quite twelve can be difficult to remember. I like to think that is because we have done a good job encouraging independent thought, bringing out her own way of thinking, her own voice.

Number two is a bit different. Just that, a bit different. Her own way of thinking is borne of her special way of observing things. There is a lot that goes on before she opens her mouth to comment or query. Not a lot of it is all that relevant at the time but hey, does that matter? Not to her. Not to me.

704c695c403c67a4fcd7b21e2af534de

The E-Bomb and Wee Man are their own distinctive little characters too, so no goo goos an gaa gaas in this house.

Adding it up, we can see the people in our immediate lives as just that, people. Not ‘our kids’ but autonomous Human Beings. Experiencing and learning and developing all of their own accord, independently of their parents. We talk to them, have conversations with them, listen and in the process, we learn a fair bit from them too. There are boundaries in place, there has to be, for everyone’s sake. They are flexible limitations, custom made for each individual.

What has any of this got to do with tonight’s big game?

Absolutely nothing. Told you I was random.

Except to say the kids know there is going to be growing tension in the house as the day progresses, random shouts and hollering. They know I am expressing myself and they are okay with it, do not bat an eyelid.

Do they get? Sporting support that borders on fanaticism… not really?

Do they care? No. Not for the sport, being a fan or for their Dad’s mad, blind, one-eyed fervent support either….see you all in the final

C’mon the Highlanders!!!

images (1)