Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Being a home dad is as easy as...

Mud crab tying. A sport in the NT. Someone with several beers in them has to tie a live mud crab without hurting or damaging the poor critter. Unlike mud crabs, children don't generally sever fingers. However the moment Bear feels the change table touch her back she summons up an incredible amount of torque, arches up onto the tip of the back of her head, reaches diagonally across and behind her head with her right hand until she has a vice grip on the back of the table, then yanks, pulls, and squirms until the nappy is on and sealed. Ten minutes or so later. At which point she relaxes, sucking her thumb calmly...

Being a wicket keeper. Not that I could ever catch a ball. How about a heavy skull? The answer is- don't stuff up dad or it'll be off to the GP again. Today's example, she's hauled herself up to standing position by the couch, holding on as she is wont to do. She stands there, as per usual, me dangling a couple of feet behind, half an eye on her, waiting for the usual process whereby she tries to lower herself back down and I gently assist. Suddenly she simply lets go with both hands, no warning, and falls directly sideways with her head hurtling towards the floorboards...

Being a hypnotist. Whose method involves an intuitive mix of low-pitched (or very high falsetto) songs, patting, holding at just the right point on the upper arm while rocking, and a high speed re-tuck under the sheet that would make a drill sergeant proud. This arvo it was the re-tuck, amazingly effective on occasion.

Being one of those bright-jacket-wearing, shouting, pointing, traders. Trying to watch something small and squiggly while fiddling with crap in your hands, all the time knowing everything you have is on the line. Picture being in the kitchen, her food, my coffee, 2 cats getting underfoot, and somewhere, always moving just out of line-of-sight in the living room, a Bear with a passion for climbing and eating.

So yes being home dad's surprisingly straightforward... and yes, my hand slipped under the nape of her neck about 2 inches from the floor. Bear life, I say, Bear life. But it's heaven to be here instead of wedged into my cubicle pushing through files at work. On such a nice day. Speaking of which, it's park time...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yes yes yes yes yes!!!

Eat it. Lap it up. Those of us on the side of good may lap gently, savouring.

Those on the side of bigotry, small-mindedness, and a complete lack of conscience...

Those who lied in public, in the media, on the web, about the reasons for going to war, or for persecuting boatloads of desperate people...

Those who trashed everything we've fought for in this nation from the Eureka Stockade to Mabo...

Those who sneered, and oh how they sneered, at anything passing for intellectual thought wherever it tried to manifest on our continent...

Those who pretended the earth was flat, and denied that which was incontrovertible, refusing to sign up to the future...

Those grubby little self-serving rodents who worked so hard to trash the concept of egalitarianism wherever it lingered...

Eat it. Take it all down, swallow it whole. It's been a long time coming and we won't forget the breathtaking nastiness you brought to the table as you ruthlessly attacked the very notion of civil society and tore us decades into the past.

Oh, how it tastes. The Pommery is pretty fucking nice as well!

Here's cheers to the true believers!

Here's cheers to the lefty blogosphere!

Here's cheers to armagnac'd for predicting that Workchoices was a bridge too far way back when they brought it in... and cheers to my, Jeremy's, Guy's fears of the past few days proving to be baseless- some things you'd rather be wrong about!!

Here's cheers to the future, because we aren't in the '50s any more!

Here's cheers to K-Rudd, man of the hour!

...And here's a whopping CHEERS to Maxi, because, no matter what the last few postal votes bring, you've delivered the the sweetest, most blissful, humiliation, and served it on a plate to the rat....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

c'MON Australia...

Don't let me down.

Just take the plunge.

It's time.

Heading off to the hustings. Knew it would be close, as the late polls are showing. The world my Bear will grow up in may be fundamentally altered by the last minute impulse of a few thousand people today.

c'MON people...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coalition Cracking; sounds of love and joy

Losing confidence in the will of the people? Threaten to use lawyers to overturn their decisions:

The legal opinion was provided to the NSW division of the Liberal party and Mr (Sandy) Street SC is absolutely categoric in his advice that there would be a need for a by-election if Mr Newhouse is elected for the federal seat of Wentworth.

(Sandy Street, formerly Rocky Road QC, of Bedrock?)

The man with the job of selling their climate change policy thinks it's retarded. He's not alone:

Former New South Wales Liberal leader Peter Debnam has broken ranks with the Federal Coalition, saying the Kyoto protocol should have been ratified long ago.

The New South Wales Opposition energy spokesman has told an energy conference clean coal is an oxymoron and nuclear power is not a realistic option for Australia.

Bet he's thinking of another moron as he says it.

Back to the lawyers for a quick cover-up so the next phase of Workchoices stays under wraps.

Then it's off to slouch in the couch (was Peter's slouch deliberate, or a result of an excision of the backbone?) and try to tell everyone that you love each other. As if we couldn't tell already!

But don't relax too much, those funny country folk who share your bed have a habit of letting one go just as you're drifting off:

Barnaby Joyce has contradicted his party leader, deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, by saying he would not try to block Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd's planned industrial relations changes in the Senate...

A nasty distraction for Vaile as he tries to pick up popular support for the idea that public bodies should participate in cover-ups to assist the Government of the day:

Mr Vaile suggested bureaucrats should be subject to tighter restrictions during the caretaker period of an election campaign.

Although given it documents highly improper misuse of public funds I guess none of us would be any happier in his shoes.

Scrambling. Dusting off old clothes, CVs, moderate dissenting policy positions. Quite gratifying to observe.

4 days out, I'm feeling slightly optimistic.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Diet solution found!

Put on about a kilo and a half- 50 % of my promise to Bear. Upped my benching by 10 kilos. Commenced growth of a manly mo. Consumed protein en masse. Worked hard for weeks on end. Walked around house with handgrips. Push ups on my knuckles up from 2 or 3 to over 10. Almost ready to cultivate super mullet and fake tan.

Spewed for an hour, shat for a day.

Lost a kilo. 2 steps forward 1 back, to be mathematically precise.

So if you've come here because you googled the heading on this piece my advice is don't waste money, just hang out with a baby with gastro.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keep the champagne corked - the marginal dictatorship saves its worst for last

Rudd is not trouncing Howard. I predict this, claim it, without the armament of extensive psephological analysis of poll numbers. They interest me, but election night results interest me more.

The election isn't being fought on any of the grounds it should be; the long history of abuses of power, the disregard for the environment our children will grow up in, the rise of sneering racism and anti-intellectualism in our culture, embedded by the endorsement of small-minded self-serving besuited bogans.

It's 70% pocket and 30% gut. Work Choices is pocket, Howard's tax cuts and economic claims are pocket. And that's a conservative gut, one that enjoys its overcooked steak and 'taties.

The economy isn't bad. Sure he lied about interest rates. But anyone with a modicum of intelligence knew that the first time around. And since when did lies lead to a poor outcome for an Australian election candidate?

It's not a rational argument. I mean, if it were, there is no way on earth a party that has so messily botched up foreign affairs would be leading the polls in that department. Surely no conservative views Iraq as anything other than the mother of all fuck ups by now?

Last week's 4 Corners had interviews with several people in marginals, following their reactions to various announcements as we entered the campaign. The one who embodied the difficulties faced by social democratic parties more than any other was the woman with the godfrigginalmighty mcmansion.

There she was, with a huge behemoth behind her, or indoors with vast plasma TV and a thousand other spoils. I don't begrudge her this, beyond thinking there's no accounting for taste and moderation. But all she cared about was her pocket. Each promise to give her a handful more bucks caught her attention, to the point that she was coming across as a potential swinger. No wider issue even registered.

A swinging voter in a marginal; key election winning territory. And she, with all her needs and a busload of wants amply met, could not care less about any policy that impacts anyone except her.

She's a natural creature of the Right; singularly greedy and lacking empathy. Yet in a marginal dictatorship she's all that counts, politically speaking.

She's undecided. They're undecided. I hope I'm wrong and he slams it through next weekend. I do give Kev odds-on, but only just. The champagne's corked and stashed. It ain't over 'till the CUB lady sings.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A face full of gastrovom makes the love go around

Wednesday was the first of my new daddy days, pursuant to a 4 day week. A poor Bear had been pretty quiet through the night. I strolled in at 7, excited about my new role, figuring she'd be in great sorts.

The smell of vomit hit me immediately. She'd actually crawled her way around the cot during the night and deposited about 5 separate, foul pools of vomage. I don't know why she didn't tell us, she must have been miserable.

The day progressed.

It was a joy being on Bear time. Beloved went off in the arvo on a photography course, a present from Bear and I. We hung out in the park, swung on the swing, slid on the slide (well, the 2 foot bit at the bottom, she's a bit small to come all the way down yet!). I chatted to other parents, it was nice.

Yet Le Bear was fusty. She didn't eat much and kept spitting it back at me. After Beloved came back, we were changing her when she made an 'announcement noise' and suddenly a big flood of vomit filled her mouth and started pouring out. At that point, she decided to blow a great raspberry. I copped a faceful.

I don't know if that's when I caught it. What I do know is that this is the gastro from hell. Last night Beloved had a horrible session of impersonating Linda Blair then, before I could finish laughing, I was hit with the same. Everything I had eaten and drunk for hours, there in the sink, mocking me. Blowing bits of broccoli and carrot out my nose for the next 40 minutes.

And so it kicked off. We each had about an hour's sleep all up. I took the first sickie in aeons, after nearly falling over when I got out of bed. And all day we've gone from being crumpled on the couch, to attending to Bear and some choke risk she'd started engunging, to feeding her, to grabbing short naps, to being crumpled on the couch.

How much fun can you have!? Both of us violently ill, a recovering Bear needing attention, all my work files buzzing around in the back of my head like blowflies. Our muscles ache, joints are sore, every 20 minutes or so we just completely flake.

If this is how the poor girl felt on Tuesday night and Wednesday, then she's made of firmer stuff than us.

The weekend's trip to Rutherglen is off. Misery loves whole familes apparently...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hours drag at the Royal Children's

We did not cope well with the F word.

In the shower, le Bear waves her little reverse wave from her perch in Beloved's arms. They head off downstairs. I close my eyes and breath up the steam.

There are two thumps in quick succession and beloved lets out a sound that's neither shout nor cry but somehow both. Time stops. The water hangs in mid air around me. I shove the shower door aside and start running.

For a moment, there's a thought in my mind that hasn't yet congealed but it is surrounded by a mist of pure fear.

Bear starts crying as I turn the corner at the top of the stairs. I'm instantly relieved because I can see they are both ok. Beloved holds her, they are getting up.

Just a slip onto her bum. A Bear was held tightly, as she should be.

The crying doesn't cease immediately. She protects her leg, uses the other- clearly in some discomfort. But things seem to improve, and I go to work.

A bit later she's still a bit ratty, still not shoving with that leg when she commando crawls. Beloved calls. We agree, a visit to the GP just to be on the safe side.

GP says all fine, but perhaps, just to be sure, drop in on the Royal Children's.

I join them in the waiting room from work, with chocolate for Beloved and food for a Bear. The nurse thinks she's fine, but a quick once-over by the Paediatrician should confirm it.

He thinks she's fine, but an X-ray might be ideal, just to be sure.

We hold her down, wearing our heavy lead suits, and she has a cry on the X-ray table. Not nice for a girl...

The X-ray looks fine, says the Radiologist. I'll hand it back to the Paediatrician for a final check and you'll be out of here.

We wait a bit longer, chat to other parents. It's a sad place, the Royal Children's. A girl has damaged her eye falling in a cartwheel, somehow. She is the embodiment of pathos. I chat to her dad, not really saying anything useful. We shrug, and wait some more.

The Paediatrician walks in with the X-ray. A hairline fracture, he says.

We just stand there. Neither of us has ever broken a leg. A Bear isn't 10 months and she has a fracture.

It was a sad, sad night.

Meanwhile she recovers in days, without a fuss, and is charging around again as if nothing happened.

We hate the stairs. Oh how we hate the stairs.