I’m drunk. (Well I was when I started this…)
Not so drunk that I don’t have motor control, or have lost focus, or my basic functions are making a fool of me. There is but the one monitor in front of me, my fingers are about as co-operative with the keyboard as they ever are.
So, I have had drink but I am not blotto.
Perhaps too drunk to blog.
I drink. Not to excess (read occasionally) and not all the time (read regularly).
The reality is, as I age, as I am handed one health report after another ( I have visited the doctor more times in the last year than I have in my entire life) I can no longer handle drinking to excess, in the one sitting.
Notice how I quantified that?
I no longer have the ability, or time, to recover from drinking to excess, which is now a multi day process. Sink a few on the Friday night in front of the footy…Monday at best. Down one or two extra on Saturday as my team (Highlanders by the way, in case you didn’t know)…Tuesday, afternoon. At best.
It is an aging thing. My tired old body, all aching joints and tortured internal organs, just can’t process my lust for my younger days anymore. Back then, in the so called good old days, I could smoke, smoke, drink, smoke some more, drink some more and get up a mere few hours later and do it all again.
In between I could hike, swim in the surf, play sports, work and do whatever took my fancy and not really care that I might be able to do it all that bit better, if I wasn’t supplementing my diet with alcohol.
Now, I don’t get on the piss and I don’t really know anyone that does. I drink and we all do and we don’t call it that anymore.
Well, fuck that, I don’t. I ‘have a few’.
I can always ‘go one more’…
One for the road? I ain’t eating those ghost chips.
Drinking has made me learn some very valuable lessons in my life. Ones I might not have learned otherwise. Many, however, I would have never needed to learn. And there are bound to be a few I have forgotten.
Like I say, the binge drinking, the getting ‘on the piss’… all gone. Long gone and not missed. Now don’t go getting me wrong. I can still party, can still be the life of said party and I would like to think, I can do it without having to ‘imbibe’.
I have always struggled stopping at one but, I have come to notice, only when I am out. I can have a beer or a wine with lunch, feel very continental about myself, and never has my wife come home from work to find me comatose on the floor, the kids having made one wall of a fort from of my prostrate body.
But if I meet said wife in town…well okay, not here town, but somewhere metropolitan town, then it is all on.
Ok, got me again. I just finished saying that it is far from being ‘all on’ ever again. Put it this way…you can drive, I won’t be able to. All going well, I ‘ll struggle to negotiate a straight line on foot.
I guess, in my own rambling, awkward to follow ‘what the fuck did he just say?’ manner, I am slowly working towards a point.
It comes in all forms, all shapes and sizes and manners. Being responsible for your own actions, your own interactions, responsible for how you are perceived. The last one is difficult, a grey area when you consider a great deal of how one is perceived, comes down to the perceiver-not a word, but it should be.
At home, how you look, act and behave is very much something you are responsible for, something you have to be highly aware of… I will debate till cows come home the merits of people in our society being role models. People like sports stars, pop culture idols or musicians and the like.
As a parent you are the ultimate role model and as such, you have an inherent responsibility, to at least be seen to be doing the right thing.
To be right, correct, getting it all spot on all the time, is an impossible ask and beyond anyone. No one should, or indeed is, expected to live up to standards that are beyond us. All you have to do is stay aware and remember that everything you do, every step you take, every move you make (thanks The Police) they are watching you?
They, you might ask? You might not, but i am working on the assumption you did. The more perceptive among you know I am referring to the the great ‘They’…the kids.
They imitate. They replicate. They idolise. Kids, obviously, literally look up to you (unless you are my dear wife, who is starting to get taken over in that department) and it is vitally important you set the right example, the right standard.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is no sanctimonious, ‘my life is perfect’ rant. If you need examples of how I roll then sure…
I swear around my kids. I have even sworn at the them. The mild stuff of course, the type of thing that probably isn’t even considered swearing any more.
I knock my kids. In a very un-P.C way I give them all sorts of grief. Don’t worry, they give it back. I’m an easy target.
I mock them too. I put them down, I drag them through the mud and wring them out at the other end and you know the best part of it? They love it.
The thing is their mother and I have made it clear that it is all in jest. That there are boundaries and never be afraid to let someone know when someone is approaching them. The biggest lesson we have taught our kids, without actively doing so, is the importance of a sense of humour.
Kids don’t take themselves too seriously…for now at least. In their teens, way too seriously, but those days are yet to come. In the meantime all we can hope for is that our kids stand back and have a laugh now and then.
Yes, there are limits and yes, you need to be aware not just of yours, but of others. That is where the responsibility part comes into play.
So my kids see me drink, even drunk, but not a blithering idiot. They know the effects of alcohol and they know the detrimental side.
So my kids hear swear words. They recognise them as such and they know the time and place for them, know that it is lazy English. Know not to use them. They know that poking a bit of cheek at someone for a laugh is just that, having a laugh. They know that picking on someone is bullying. They know to be responsible for their own behaviour.
My kids know I drink responsibly, if there really is such a thing. Hopefully they will know to do the same.
And we know we are responsible for their responsibility. If that makes sense.
How much have you given? Given up, given away?
Now before we start, maybe I should state the above is not at all how I see things.
Everyone makes sacrifices for what it is they want to achieve and gain from whatever path they are on in life. Parenting is no different.
But to say you gave up, gave in, gave away…?
That sort of language is perhaps too strong and is, in my exceedingly humble opinion, way off the mark. Like the glass and the argument over its capacity, I like to think more along the lines of what have I gained.
Now, having said that, embarking on creating a big brood of little ‘uns does mean there are limits placed on just where you might have pictured your future self, twenty or so years ago. I never thought I would be washing so many dishes, doing so many loads of laundry. But then, I also never figured I would have rekindled the joy of Lego blocks or re-found the fun of cartoons.
Ok, so I don’t have a 4WD ute (pick-up for the Americans among you). Not even a double cab one. I don’t have a boat. Stretching to a couple of Kayaks was a financial milestone.
We don’t dine out, we don’t even add a lot of spice. We don’t go to the movies we want to go to, we don’t go on a lot of holidays, we don’t do a lot of things that those without kids do.
We do get spontaneous, gorgeous smiles. Just because we open the hands from our faces and say boo, we get chirpy giggles. We do get ‘I love you guys’, unbidden, from a snuggly 3-year-old. Ever see a child open a present? Well there you go.
I was lucky that I made the call to get some travel in earlier in my life. I got to see and do some wonderful, life affirming things. For I start, I went all the way to London to meet a girl from Whangarei. I married her, but not before checking into places like South America and Southern Africa.
Do I wish I was still travelling? Hell yes. And we still will. It will be different though, a new challenge and maybe we will be able to see things a little fresher, from a less jaded point of view; through the eyes of our children.
Perhaps we won’t pitch a tent on the banks of the Okavango River, in between grazing Hippos, watching the sun set over war torn Angola. We’ll book a room somewhere instead.
Maybe we will book a bus ticket or six rather than huddle together on the roof of rickety stock truck, weaving its way through the misty slopes of the lower Andes.
Of course, if we didn’t have kids, we could probably afford to fly. But where is the fun in that?
A good mate once said to me that kids ruin your life. He was, is, so wrong.
Life changes, of that there is no doubt. You, as people, are forced to change and adapt when you become parents. To an extent, having children changes a little of the very essence of who you are. Certainly, who you perceive yourself to be.
Yes, the likelihood of me running off to the pub on a regular basis to drink excessively and watch sport has vastly diminished. Even while, with four kids in the house, the temptation to drink to excess has risen dramatically. The chances of my wife getting to share the bed with just her husband increases with every passing day, but the outlook for sleep-ins is grim.
Sometimes, all we want to do is throw a little extra chili into the mix, but we have four other mouths to feed that are relying on us doing just that.
Our lives as parents are not ruined. Just different, a life enhanced.
I gave up a motorbike so we could have a second family car. I gave up a drum-kit so we had room for an extra bed. I gave up hitting the tops for a family tent and a camping ground.
I saw the wonder on a child’s face, my child, when I let go of the seat and they rode a bike for the first time on their own. I see the furrowed brow of concentration and the untapped joy of discovered talent as a child bangs away on a keyboard, or plucks away at a guitar.
My kids love camping. And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, doing anything else.
I was nervous leading up to the weekend. Now I am petrified.
A 20 year old rookie that can’t tackle in the younger Barrett, for a proven test performer and the only player that has looked to challenge out wide, Naholo.
A player dropped after two seasons of nothing, Savea, to provide what…more of the same?
Ioane went missing last weekend and now will not be given a chance to atone. Instead, replaced by a player, in Savea, that has been missing for quite some time.
J. Barrett has potential, I think anyone and everyone can see that…but he is no better as the last line defense than Dagg, possibly worse.
Maybe he will be asked, on debut, to kick the goals. He has the skills in that department, but what a big ask that would be. I saw Jordy Barrett as a potential future AB, was surprised he made the squad. He wouldn’t have made my selection criteria though have a young man like that around during a time like this is no bad thing. Playing him though..?
He under-performed in the big clashes this season, namely against the Chiefs and BIL. I wish him luck. this is a make or break opportunity as they say and you have to give the coach and selection panel credit for backing not only the player, but themselves.
I wish Laumape luck too. At least he fits the game plan and will be part of a full compliment of teammates…he has a lot to prove and this weekend is more his chance than last. Defensive frailties aside, he is one of only two backs that have shown any thrust or ability to get overt the game line in a black jumper this series.
The other one was dropped.
There has been much talk about Cruden having no effect of the bench and yes, his option to kick late in the game was poor. But he does offer a different dynamic to B. Barrett and one that maybe the incumbent could take a look at.
Cruden takes on the line more, runs at the defense, something Barrett has not done this series. He needs to. It is as if he is looking for the cross-kick option first and foremost, trying desperately to negate the in your face defense of the Lions. Outside him he has had firstly SBW and now Laumape, two players who are going to draw defenders. Surely that leaves the occasional opportunity for Barrett to expose even the slightest of gaps he is normally so explosive at exploiting.
Up front we can match them but good to see Kaino back. His go forward and brutal physicality was missing last weekend, through no fault of his own.
In Hansen we trust.
How far do you push for a healthy lifestyle for your kids, vs staying warm and keeping your feet dry?
On Saturday afternoon a watery sun sort of poked through a grey winters day. Sort of.
It was all the window we needed. It was time to get the girls and their little brother out the door, regardless of the weather.
The signs were all there; the arguing, the requests to watch T.V turning into demands, a desire to eat for the sake of eating, the bitching and whining and moaning.
The kids were going a bit stir crazy too.
I geared up one of the girls fishing rods and we tucked the little ones into gumboots and jackets and the rest. This time of year, the threat of rain is ever present. The dogs tagged along, young and old, and we took on the mud successfully, making our way down to the waters edge.
The trip was really about introducing the new addition to the family, a puppy we have named Tui, a Black Labrador x Weimaraner, to the water. And no, owning a pet is not an attempt to make the kids learn responsibility or any of that. They do share a few small chores around pet ownership and care, but we don’t over do it. The pets are for fun, love and companionship, not to be resented.
It wasn’t a warm day. Not cold, because it never gets really cold where we are, but a long way from warm all the same. Plus, there was mud to contend with, four kids and two dogs to supervise at the harbour’s edge and two dogs, romping about in their bid for freedom and fishing hooks and a knife and sharp, broken shells and slippery rocks and fallen trees and fading light and Oh My God why did we leave the house?!
But we had left the house and if one, or even all, of our lovelies had slipped and ended up with a muddy butt…bummer, more for the washing machine. If one, or all, had gotten themselves entangled in the Pampas, covering themselves in stinging little cuts…out with the band-aids. If one of them had taken a tumble on those slippery rocks, crash landed, splitting their forehead open before rolling semi-conscious into the cold, salty waters of the Hokianga, to float face down in a silty pool of their own blood, then we scoop the poor unfortunate, scarred, waterlogged creature up, cuddle and cradle her/him, and gingerly negotiate our way back to the comparative safety of house and home.
I say comparative because there is no guarantee that your dear little ones are any safer inside the four walls of your house than out. A variety of kitchen implements and utensils, a bath tub full of water, or the toilet bowl, chemicals and power points and ornaments and toppling furniture and stairwells and glass doors and all manner of shiny things that don’t belong in mouths.
You can child proof your house all you like but if they want to hurt themselves, they will. The little ones do stuff that is very much related around what can go in their mouths, the older ones jump onto and off stuff simply not designed for the purpose.
I am a sports fan and the term that pops up in the world of professional athleticism is ‘wrapping in cotton wool’. Protecting. For the coach, that might be fair enough. Save your key players from harm so they are fit and rearing to go come the big game. For our children, everyday is the big game.
There is a bump, a bruise, a scrape or graze around every corner. There is always a scar waiting to happen. A child will fall off a bike and yes, that is partly your fault because, eventually, you have to let go. There will always be one bright spark that decides to go up the slide and down the steps, rapidly and at the risk of a broken limb. There is always the limb on a tree, a branch, that just isn’t going to take their weight.
And most of that isn’t your fault.
Finding fault, isn’t really the point though is it. The point is you can put as many measures in place as you can possibly think of and find, and then a helicopter crashes through the roof.
A big part of learning, of developing, is bleeding. A black eye, at some stage in your young life, preferably not caused by another’s knuckles, is almost a rite of passage for a boy. A hockey stick might hit you in the mouth and split your lip. Does that mean you shouldn’t be letting your kids play the sport? I’ve seen guitar strings cut open the players fingers…ban your little beloved from learning music?
More often than not, your kid is going to bounce. Sometimes it might hurt and occasionally it might be serious and each time a lesson learned, for them and you. This is the way we find our limits, establish our boundaries.
All you have to do in the interim is hold pick them up, wipe away the tears and hold their hand. Sometimes, just every now and then, you might want to give them a push too..
Tonight is our chance, fellow men, to be just that, manly men.
It has been a bit of a bugbear of mine for a while now. The emancipation of man. Not humankind, men.
I guess first you have to ask yourself, as a man, do you feel oppressed, downtrodden, neglected, swept aside, ignored? Harsh language, even excessive maybe, but to my mind, a necessary question.
Manhood, for want of a better term, has been trapped in a kind of malaise, a trick of the space-time continuum. I feel it, not as a loss, but something missing nonetheless. A lack of definition, that quintessential ‘thing’ that it means to be a man, in this modern time of change.
For a large part this is a very personal question on a very personal level. I was raised in a single parent household, an absentee father very conspicuous by that very thing, his absence. Not a hurtful thing then, nor now. Just the way I grew up. My Mother was legendary in her efforts, as most single Mothers must surely be. But she was just that and no more…a hard working, dedicated and above all, loving Mother.
My Mum is a woman, funnily enough. A strong and capable one. However, as Eric Clapton said in his epic track Motherless Children, sister will do the best she can, but there are so many things a sister can’t understand.
So what is it to be a bloke then? Define manliness, being a male.
It is easy enough to throw all the cliches out there, the stereotypes. There is nothing wrong with that kind of response, don’t get me wrong. After all, a stereotype can only come about because of what is deemed a norm in society. Being stereotypical is not inherently a bad thing therefore, it is just the common thing.
Personally I can’t help but feel that a great deal of the definitions already out there, telling us what it is to be a man, are made up by women. We, as in us, as in guys/blokes/dudes/fellas/bros have been convinced that what a woman would like to see or have in her man, is what defines him as being male.
And too many neo-liberal, politically correct, wishy-washy, feel gooders have meekly caved to that premise.
Before you all start (I use the term ‘all’ euphemistically-six followers does not an ‘all’ make), I am not referring to feminists or feminism. If I was referring to one or either of those things, I would have said one or either of those things. I sincerely believe that the ideal of feminism is not to denigrate, isolate or deflate men and manhood. Feminism, as has been established, is about equality and that is not what I am trying to drive at here.
Perhaps I am talking more about identity. Manhood is so diluted I feel it is difficult to actually pick where the issue begins and ends. So let’s take a look at the things, in this country at least, that might readily be and have been, associated with maleness.
Rugby – too broad and wide ranging an impact on this countries collective psyche, be it for or against, for me to want to delve into here. Besides, I made a vow never to touch religion in my blogging. Leave rugby alone then, set aside with the note of Colin Meads being the iconic image our national manhood benchmark could be set at.
*The above is done in the manner you might test for the most intelligent animal on the planet, excluding primates for having a perceived unfair advantage.
Colin Meads gives us terms like big, strong, tough, resilient, powerful. There are many other figures like that, presented to us in popular culture. Hollywood loves the strong, silent type. Think Russell Crowe in Gladiator, all long, slow and I am sure, deeply meaningful silences. The picture of a man being heroic, stoic and resilient. Of being right, morally superior.
But Hollywood also loves an anti-hero. The morally confused but ultimately good guy, the Han Solo. No better example than Chris Pratt’s character in Guardians of the Galaxy. The ‘cheeky chappy’ that the Brits fall so in love with. Robbie Williams.
Or are we meant to be Chris Hemsworth? All bulging muscles and gym honed body, not a hair out of place, smooth skim, maybe some designer stubble just to man things up a bit, a perfect fitting suit with matching accessories. But take a look at the images that come out from that guy. I have no idea how much he is told to do it, coached to, how much he is ‘touched up’ in an editing booth/suite or there is a little bit of his own thing going on, but those beautiful blue eyes are hard, piercing, just a little bit sinister, like there is the hint of an edge underneath all the metro-sexuality. A hint of manhood? Of manliness?
All that is more of what we, as men, are told to be. What we are fed by the image-makers, shaping far more of our society than they have the right to. We lap it up, don’t we? It sells watches and cars and beer. So enough of Hollywood and the marketing people, who will just take us to the other extreme with their next breath, giving us guys swinging chainsaws wearing short shorts and steal-capped work boots, wiping the sweat from their grime covered brows as they set about tackling ‘manly’ tasks.
Hair product means nothing to me and many like me. I have no hair. I have one suit in my closet but rarely do I have the opportunity to wear it.
Looks aside, imagery aside, what of intellect? What about emotive qualities and content? What about sheer personality? We are fed the idea that the academic is awkward, a clumsy and shuffling fool, bumbling about from one mishap to the next. Just remove his glasses and you have a hunk. Or has he got elbow pads sown into his sports coat, a peppered beard and silver hair, chin in hand as he leans in to listen, only breaking away so he can top up your Central Otago Pinot.
Either way, great strides apart from a sheep under each arm, straddling a fence in the middle of a paddock in rural New Zealand. But any less masculine for it? David Beckham, does he manage the cross over? Model, sport-star, bit of a poxy ponce, attentive Dad…
So much of what it means to be a man, the identity of manhood, has changed, dramatically, from generation to generation. How we are portrayed, how we are perceived, how we act and think. Some is voluntary and for the better. Some is placed up us and even then, quite possibly an improvement.
I have only asked half the question, let alone found any answers. I was kind of hoping you ‘guys’ could do that for me. With me.
Actually, I have raised more questions than I ever intended so I will, for now, leave it here where it lies and come back to it, perhaps as a bit of a recurring theme…
SO tell me, are you less of a man because you can’t service the car? Change the tyre even? Should we all be taught to shoot and stab, reclaim our role in the hunter/gatherer partnership? Does fumbling with the knot on the fishing line make you feeble, effeminate? Do real men eat quiche? Cry?…
Most importantly maybe, does raising my kids, being the home hubby, the go to carer, make me more or less of a man? I know my answer to that one.
To be continued…
Friday feedback, how you like the sound of that?
This week has flown by, for a multitude of reasons.
Not the least of which, these past few days signal my full immersion, belatedly, into the digital world of communication. I blog, I tweet…that’ll about do it.
Some of you out there have engaged and I have bounced back at a few. So far, so good.
At least that is my impression. What of your thoughts, the faithful, limited, readership. By that I am no way implying that you are limited, in any way. It is me and my limitations that are in question…
So hit me. And not with your rhythm stick.
Give me your feedback…yell at me, abuse me, praise me, give me a shout out and some big ups…
Come on….I’m waiting…if it rolls, let’s make it a regular feature.
Friday feedback=your turn…
My daughters morning breath smells like a dead seal pup rotting in a hot summer sun.
Have you ever been to Cape Cross on the Skeleton coast of Namibia?
It is a pretty unremarkable place, nothing more than a small headland on a sparse piece of coastline. You park up, step into the harsh, white light and cool breeze off the Southern Atlantic.
You have been struck already. That same ocean breeze, so fresh, so alive and vital, brings with it the decaying tang of death. It is only going get worse.
A short stroll later and you are there, on the coast. There, a swarming mass of blubbery bodies writhing over black rocks. Barely able to breathe, you want to puke. Seagulls, other marine birds of prey, circle and dive. The dead and the dying, once youthful, now crushed, innard-spewing grotesque representations of themselves, are everywhere.
I face this every morning.
Okay, not the visuals. I think we can all agree that might be a little too much. But the scent, the stench of rotten flesh, that I do have to deal with. And not from just the one of them.
Hazel used to be the champion of stink, but as she has aged she has specialised. There was a cross-over period where she was going from both ends, never quite mastering either, all the while developing a quality and quantity of butt flatulence that can be nothing but admirable. Her morning fish breath has, thankfully, pretty much gone.
Kenny tries, can express oral flatulence to match the best of them, a number I count myself among. She doesn’t offend anything more than the ears though, for those that have sensibilities stretching that far. Her gasses just don’t seem to be as scented nor are they as expressive. As a bonus, my eldest is not one I have ever recoiled from kissing in the morning.
The E-Bomb? I don’t even want to lean in too close! Putrefying, revolting, gag-worthy. She smells like she was sick in her mouth, spat it into a bowl, placed the bowl in the sun for a few hours, re-heated it, mixed in some blue cheese, Parmesan, rotten fish heads and a dead rat or two for good measure, heated it again, to luke-warm, swallowed it then regurgitated, swilled it around like mouthwash before smiling sweetly.
One and Two have been in command of the tooth brushing thing for a long while now, even managing it without having to be reminded or encouraged. Esme can, to an extent, accomplish the task too, but generally needs guidance and assistance. Sure, she is three, so all to be expected. We, as a family, as a unit, need to ensure that brushing her teeth becomes routine, a habit. Not just for her own long term dental well-being. For our sake too.
I want to kiss my kids, to hold them close, to have them kiss me, to have my ear whispered into. I don’t want to feel sick to my gut when it happens.
For many things we are all for individuals finding their own path, developing at their own rate, without being forced or overly coerced. We would rather guide as opposed to order, advise rather than tell. But Esme is commanded to brush her teeth and if I thought she could do it safely, she would be gargling too…Listerine (considers merits of product placement) or whatever other product will kill the bacteria causing the nasty breath. Is it bacteria? Whatever, it must die.
Perhaps I should get the E-Bomb gargling a fine, aged, Single Malt Scotch. I can lean into one of those quite happily thank you very much.
Just as a note, years ago we sat as a family in front of the 6 o’clock news, back in the day when TV1 was the only option. Images of Hillsborough filled the screen, a harrowing, haunting thing for a kid to see, anyone. News that the disaster has eventually led to the police seeking to prosecute a number of the people involved came out today. That won’t erase the memory of what I saw all those years ago, but I hope it does something for the families and people who shared and suffered in that tragic event.
Except it isn’t, all shits and giggles, though there is plenty of both to go around.
They come as a combo normally. Mr Wriggle-Pants needs encouragement to stay still while his nappy is being changed. The best thing, get him laughing.
I’ll utilise one of the bigger two if they are around. Silly faces, peek-a-boo, maybe some tickling is the order of the day.
So that takes care of the shit, and the giggles. But what about all the in between? Every now and then, I admit, I cheat. There are a few babysitters I have been known to turn to during the day…Nickelodeon and Disney chief among them. Sometimes, I even feel guilty about it.
Television is never a long term solution. Wee-man is too little to be captured by the pure bollocks that passes for children’s entertainment these days and what is broadcast to our kids is such tripe, I wouldn’t leave the E-Bomb sitting in front of it for any longer than I have to.
Esme is three, and no matter how hard I try, she sometimes struggles to find any interest in the laundry, does not feel the same fascination for the dishes and is more destructive than helpful in the garden. Regardless, things need to get done and according to Claire, they need to get done now. Right now.
So the chores are done, the kids are fed and entertained. What next?
What else is there you might ask and for most parents, that would be a perfectly reasonable question. More often than not, there isn’t a ‘what next’. By the time all of the above and a bit more (sometimes a bit less) has been ticked off, there might not be a lot of day left to play with.
What next? Time to start dinner…
But when the time comes, when the giggles have ceased, the tantrums too, the E-Bomb is somehow, miraculously, entertained, you can often find yourself at a complete and utter loss.
Then the boredom.
It isn’t like you can go anywhere…just head off for a wonder, take a walk, a paddle a swim, a stroll down the pub for a quiet pint in the garden bar.
Much of that, if not all, can be done with kiddies in toe. Provided that is, you have their approval. Generally, no problem. What lacks is the informative and philosophical debate that takes place over a cold one.
Adult contact, stimulating conversation and all the manner of pursuits that you, as man and/or woman, might want to get into. The kids are fun, don’t get me wrong and there is no way my little whinge on here is a new com
plaint. But some stimulating conversation with an adult a bit more regularly would be great.
I can’t ring my Mother. She spent forty odd years as an early education teacher. Twenty to thirty rabid screaming, salivating, shitting bodies under the age of five in her presence each and every day, has meant she thinks and acts just like one of them. Sorry Mum, I love you, but…they’ve driven you mad.
Part of the problem is location. Rural living means there isn’t the same sort of off-hand distractions immediately available. But what of the great outdoors? I hear you ask and again, a fair question. We live in the ‘Winterless North’, right on the edge of a beautiful, ever changing expanse of water. The options, the potential, limitless.
But you don’t just dive in (pun intended). That sort of thing involves high levels of supervision and sometimes, I just don’t care. I know that sounds bad, but guess what..? I don’t care.
You get too tired to care, too disinterested to care, too wrapped up in that scant moment where you, finally, got the opportunity to do something on and of your own. Only to have that moment robbed from you by a baby waking, a child losing interest in her drawing.
So it is back to the shits and the giggles, even when the latter is sometimes forced. Slowly the ebb of sanity slips away.
If my sanity keeps on slipping, fading, drifting away with the tides of the Hokianga, I don’t think I mind…
We all have our passions, the things we care about greatly and get fired up over. How much of that is foisted onto our kids and is it fair to do?
I love music and I have my own taste in genre and artist. Wide and varied, eclectic styles, none of which are what the ‘kids’ are into.
No breaking the religious strictures Katy Perry, no meat clad Lady Gaga and no, I am not a ‘Belieber’ or whatever it is.
Just mentioning the above names most likely shows I am not ‘with it’. Sure, I am probably behind the times and I am happy enough to admit it. I was behind the times when I was one of the ‘the kids’, rocking away to Led Zepplin and Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones while the world went crazy to Madonna and Michael Jackson.
I wasn’t ignorant and have never been shy to admit there has been the odd pop sensation that has grabbed me. I think I was blessed because I took things on a song by song, album by album basis and therefore never got too hooked.
My little bro had a thing for Duran Duran for a while there and even now there are a few tracks of theirs from that era on the playlist. But Billy Joel convinced a young Mike Bracey that he was an Innocent Man and David Bowie said Let’s Dance.
By the time I hit my teens I had found like minded individuals, peers, who were on the same path or could be convinced to walk along side. Now, many many years later, is it fair to hope that my progeny are going to be as equally like minded.
I am proud of the fact one of Kennady’s favourite songs hails from 1981, Soft Cells Tainted Love. I love it that Hazel sings along to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird.
Sometimes I have stop and consider if maybe my hand is too heavy in shaping the girls tastes. Okay, I have had no part in them listening to whatever latest fly-by-night chart topper is out there at the moment. Nor have I inflicted them with too much of my more fringe flavours. I doubt my little princesses are ever likely to be fans of Tool and while they like a fair bit of Macklemore, N.W.A would be new to them.
Wouldn’t it be great if our kids could be as enlightened, fired up and full of wonder, the same way we were, when their eyes are opened to the same things we fell for? Kenny and Hazel love Oasis, but have no time for the Happy Mondays. They can get a groove on to Young MC. They don’t get Wu Tang Clan and won’t go near The Dead South.
Told you I was eclectic.
They won’t croon along to the old school stuff their Mother puts on now and then. Old Frankie Blue Eyes doesn’t seem to do it for any of them even if I don’t mind a bit of Deano now and then.
Surely it is a generational thing. I don’t know how Kenny recites the lyrics to songs I have never heard her listening to, but I am glad she introduced me to people like Bruno Mars. If that is the commercialised, pop heavy route she is going to be drawn down, then fine. He’ll do. For me, it is still a wonder just how easily and readily accessible popular entertainment has become.
YouTube was, is and will continue to be, a revelation for me. The kids love it too. Now there is Netflix, live streaming and all the other platforms, right there in the palm of your hand. Our kids haven’t been afforded that privilege yet. We, as parents, still hold the reigns when it comes to the devices, the technology.
We will have to loosen those reigns eventually. When we do it will become a question of censorship, of monitoring. Spying? How we approach that as a family is a topic for another day, not necessarily one I look forward to. Oh, it will also be a question of budget. Start saving girls.
Claire and I are just stoked that the first thing the girls say when sent to bed, is to ask if they can read for a while. They then have to be encouraged to turn their lights off. All good. It is encouraging for us too, as parents, when they get as excited, if not more so, about the purchase of some kayaks, as they do about updating a notebook or phone.
If their Mum’s bum is anything to go by, the girls need to be careful. If their Dad’s belly is any indication, they need to be paranoid. So the more they get out into the great wide open, the better. I hope I can be just as influential there as I am in their dislike for the Blues, as much a guide as their singing along to the Heroes.
If just for one day.
PS: As tempting as it might be to start Barrett from the back, Dagg will shift there and Naholo will start on the wing. Now for goodness-sake can the Wellington crowd find a way to out-passion the Lions supporters as convincingly as the Hansen and his boys outplayed the opposition.
PSS: On the highly recommended list…toilet roll fight. Fun for the whole family.