December 30, 2005

Ave an Avo!

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It seems the boy likes avocado.

More later, when the temperature drops below the imperial century. It's too hot to think.

December 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It is interesting, Bram, to look at this photo. It is interesting to see the sheer amount of plunder that a single day's work can accomplish. You're almost lost in the middle of all these toys.

Never mind, we've strategically "stored" many of them, so that you won't be too overwhelmed, and you'll be able to acclimatise to them slowly.

Now then, where was I?

Ah yes. Lunch.

As always, the PeenyDeeny clan put on a feast of epic proportions. Following an entree of prawns and oysters (of which you did not partake except as an observer), we moved onto the mains. Several salads, UnkyDave's DoubleCooked LambShoulder, an entire salmon and Grandad's Ham, combined with your old man's effort at the turkey (free reg required) ensured that no-one was ever going to go hungry. Certainly you had a crack at both the potato salad and some of the salmon, and pronounced both of them fit for Bramble Consumption, a high accolade indeed.

After the table was cleared, in a maneuver closely resembling the first days of the Battle of Hastings, chairs were pushed back, belts undone, and the serious business of present giving began.

To say that you, by this stage were slightly the worse for wear would be an understatement.

To say that you are a child who likes to be part of proceedings would similarly do little to serve the truth.

To say, then, that you were by this stage overdue for a nap? That would be about the size of it.

More later.

Love you.

All Presents and Accounted For

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Opening presents on Christmas Day, pumpkin, is a task best undertaken with expert help.

It was thus, then, that your mum and dad gave you a hand with unwrapping the many and astonishing gifts that you received on this festive day.

The bounty was astonishing. Surpassed only by the feast.

We woke (early) on Christmas Morning, after going to sleep (late) on Christmas Eve. Late due, more than anything else, to the chorus of barking dogs in our neighbourhood (not least of which our own). I'm convinced that, in our house move, we have somehow created a situation in which the dogs who live in this area are now at the perfect equidistance to each other to create some kind of doggy barking resonant frequency. Like signal fires, punkin, each one sets another off, and another and another, but then the last one faintly hears the first one and starts again.

In any case, sleep was eventually obtained, and Christmas Morning was upon us.

Unky Dave made the scene complete, and we sat down (with cofffffeeeeee) to open stockings and to give Unky Dave his Giant Present.

There had been some discussion around the title of Largest Christmas Present, but once we got to your Grandad's house, it was obvious who the winner was. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We managed to get all of the techamanology working well enough that we could spend some time talking over the intermawebnet with your grandparents overseas, although it was not without its small issues. It was great fun to be able to see them, and I'm sure they thought it was fun to see you.

It was immediately after this that your Unky Dave set off for his house (apres a quick bacon sarnie) and your mum and dad set upon the cooking for the big day ahead.

Having just moved into a new house, its no surprise that we're not 100% across all of the little foibles and quirks of our new kitchen just yet, most particularly the fact that the oven has decided it wants to be a HOT oven, and that if you dare to turn it down below about 200 degrees, it will just go out.

It would be unfair to suggest that I had a tantrum.

Let it be said that the oven and I had what would be recognised around the world in any language as a frank and open exchange of views and ideas. That I was frank, punkin, and open, when I informed the oven of my requirements in the roasting of turkeys, and that I would not hesitate in the slightest to reduce said oven to its component molecules should it continue to fail to meet my needs in this area.

Eventually, the oven and I brokered a compromise, whereby I would not set the oven to under 200 degrees, but the oven would in fact stay cool enough to properly roast a turkey. This was accomplished through the clever strategy of opening the oven door every fifteen minutes through the two hour cooking time of said turkey, and might I say it worked a treat. Of course, it could easily have been a complete disaster, but there you go.

So with literally minutes to spare before the 2pm deadline, we were out the door, turkey safely ensconced in a layer of foil and a layer of esky, Bramble safely ensconced in his carseat.

To Be Continued.

December 25, 2005

Joy to the World

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Liveblogging Christmas day. If I wasn't such a massive geek, I'd be surprised at myself. We've already done the first video hookup with both the USA and the UK, but there's always time for more webcam fun.

Your mum's Martha Stewart work with the stockings was much appreciated by all, whilst their contents were both a revelation and a joy. The highlight of mine would have to be the motorised automatically rotating lollipop. Every dad needs one, don't you know.

We'll be adding to this post as the day goes on....

Love you.

December 21, 2005


Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.

I don't know, punkling, that I was prepared for this.

I don't know that I was ready for this.

I don't know that I was in a position to be ok with this. To walk into the living room and see you standing up in your playpen.

Grinning at me.

You're supposed to be an INFANT, punkin, you're supposed to be all helpless and needy and, you know, NEEDY.

For me to feel like I'm somehow superflouous to proceedings, punkin, for me to feel like my presence is no longer required, well let's just say I thought it might take a little bit longer than this. Like maybe until you were 14 and I am the uncoolest man in the world and oh my god why won't I let you paint your room black and have a snake.

(Having said that, bramble, I'm more than likely to let you do both of those things, provided you give me a decent argument in favour of them)

The last few days have been a real trial for us. Christmas is marching towards us at a great rate of knots, the Great AirConditioner Saga continues unabated (along with it's lesser known sequel the Great Dishwasher Saga), your mum's got some sort of a cold and you've picked up some strange rash.

You spent last night tossing and turning and waking up every hour or so. I got up to talk to you at 430, when you woke for what seemed like the 25th time (but which may have only been the 22nd or so) and we spent twenty minutes chatting in the loungeroom. I tried to give you a drink of cool water, but you're not interested in eating or drinking anything that doesn't come out of boobs.

I think it's really starting to take a toll on her. I managed to feed you some pureed pears last night, but only through the clever means of waiting until you opened your mouth to wail and then shoving some food in. Whilst effective in achieving my aims, it wasn't a strategy that was particularly fun for either of us.

Love you.

December 19, 2005

Strength and Honor

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's no secret, punkin, that I've let my gym responsibilities slip considerably since you were born. The finely sculpted pecs and arms package that was beginning to take shape early in 2005 has seemed to slip southwards in the wake of a regime heavy on the lack of sleep and sedentary couchtime.

Clothes that had previously made your dad look like some kind of antipodean adonis started to betray the burgeoning behemoth at his waistline. For the first time in over 10 years, bramble, I seriously considered going up a pantsize. This is, of course, unforgiveable.

So back to the gym went your old man. Old being the operative word. Several times during the carefully constructed lightweight and easy on the system back to working out workout, my eyes crossed and I could feel my muscles getting ready to fail me.

I got so used to feeling strong that I think I failed to notice it all fading away. Weights that used to be not difficult to lift had suddenly become impossible to move. The number of chinups that I could do had plummeted. My bike leg was in serious danger of being truncated. Only halfway through it, I turned, breathless, to your uncle Harry and showed him my heartrate. I didn't know they went that high in people who weren't suffering cardiac arrest.

But I finished it punkin. I smashed it out.

And despite the deep pain and aches in all of my major muscle groups for the next two days, I'm going back tomorrow night.

Because I'm not going to be the dad who pants at the side of the soccer field and watches his kid run rings around the bouncing dog.

Because I'm not going to be the dad who drives everywhere.

Because I'm going to be the dad who teaches you to rollerblade, and ride a bike. I probably won't teach you how to kick a footy, because frankly I'm not very good at it, but I'm planning on being the dad who can lift you up with one hand for at least a little while to come.

Love you.

December 16, 2005

Festive Us

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
There are a very few days left to go, punkin, until your first Christmas.

Naturally, given your status as Most High Exalted Grandson, GrandNephew and Great Grandson, gifts from afar have been taxing the systems and logistics of the local mail delivery experts, and our tree is beginning to develop a siege mentality.

We went on a shopping trip to find some stockings to hang from our mantelpiece, unfortunately it seemed that we left our run a little late, so your mother (who is, it should be said, immensely talented) decided to whip out the sewing machine and make some herself.

Christmas morning looks like it's going to be a very special time for us. Your uncle Dave is going to come by to open stockings with us, and he and I are currently workshopping a technology solution that will allow grandparents of the overseas variety to participate in this ceremony via the joy of the interwebnet.

This photo also serves to show off your two newest toys, being your bottom teeth.

You're immensely happy with them, a point which you do not hesitate to prove by biting anything and everything you can get your chubby little fists on, including me.

We also seem to have discovered the solution to the problem of you refusing to eat mashed up stuff off a spoon. It seems (no surprise here) that you are not of the opinion that you should be FED, rather that you should be in charge of the food acquisition timetable. For the purposes of this particular photoshoot, this involved allowing you to use your hands to disseminate your pureed carrot as you saw fit. Luckily, everything involved was of the wipe clean variety.

Love you, even when you're covered from head to toe in mashed carrot.

December 13, 2005

Reflections on the bathroom wall

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
There are good things, punkin, about living so far away from everyone else in the world.

The primary good thing is that, when people come to see you from far away, they stay for long enough that you feel like you really got some quality time with them.

The flip side of that is that, once they go home again, you're left feeling completely emotionally drained.

These people we love, they live so far away. We can call them and talk to them on the internet and send them photos of you but that's not enough. When people arrive (from behind the big sliding doors at the airport, which is where I think you've decided grandmothers come from), they reach out for you, and when they leave, you're the last person they say goodbye to.

Someone much cleverer than me came up with the term "bundle of joy". Certainly, with as much as you're wriggling around these days, it would be better to call you a "wriggle of joy", but the metaphor stands.

You bring joy, Bram, to those around you.

People have been telling us from day one that you're a goodlooking baby. With your dad's genes, there was little hope of avoiding that, but I think there's more to it than that.

It's no accident that I post lots of photos of you smiling, angel. I certainly take a lot of photos, this is a well known fact, but I wouldn't be able to post any if you weren't predisposed to the way you are. Everytime I look at you, unless you're in your pre-nap grumpy phase (which, to be fair, can last up to fourteen days), you're smiling at me. You smile at me, and your mum, and your grandparents and your great-grandparents and your aunts and uncles and godparents and friends and the lady at the supermarket and the dogs, punkin, like your face is about to break. Like there's too much love in your tiny body and it has to get out somehow. Like your sole purpose is to make people smile back at you.

It's that... skill, that ability that makes you the joy to be around. That takes me through the dark hours when you wriggle and scream. That makes me wish, almost as soon as you've gone to sleep (ok maybe two hours later), that you'll wake up again so we can keep playing.

Love you.

December 06, 2005

Seven Months is a long time in car seats

Plane Surfing

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Uncle Steve and Aunt Vanessa, punkin, have hit the skies.

They practice an ancient art, I don't know if I've told you this before, the art known as hitchhiking. Now most people will tell you that this is just a hackneyed method of getting from place to place by asking people for rides in their cars, but Captain Kowalski, punkin, takes it to a whole new level.

Your Uncle Steve hitchhikes, you see, on aeroplanes.

Now air travel is very expensive for the masses. If you or I (well, actually, for the next year and a half, you travel for free), but if I were to turn up at a gate lounge, gaze longingly at a boarding 747 and ask very nicely if I could just come along for the ride, there's a fair chance they'd laugh at me right before they called security.

But Cappy, punkin, Cappy doesn't have these problems. Cappy and Vanessa just roll up, say hello, and more often than not, get ushered onto the flight with time to spare. This is the joy that is being an airline pilot.

Of course, it doesn't necessarily work exactly like that. Often, particularly during busy periods, there's no room at all on the flight, and so Captain Kowalski and his steadfast partner Captain Aunt Vanessa can spend an inordinate amount of time hanging around in airports waiting to find an open flight.

In recent memory, that has entailed them sitting at Los Angeles International (LAX for those of us in the know) for up to three days trying to get out to Australia. When your mum and dad got married, Unky Steve almost gave up hope, and hopped a flight to Taipei because it was the only one going west.

Suffice to say that, as of right now, we know that they're in Sydney. As to when they actually get going to head back to the land of the free, who can say. As to the route that they might take to get there, it could be long and convoluted. Earlier this week, they were considering going via Hong Kong, then Alaska. Looking at a map of the world, that is most certainly the Long Way Round.

Love you.

December 04, 2005

Extra points for the dismount

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's true, punkin, that your family is an unconventional lot, but I think you might be taking it a bit far when choosing to celebrate your 7/12th birthday by leaping headfirst from the couch.

The gravity of the occasion was, I think, somewhat mollified by the fact that you stopped crying long before your mother did. Or that when we got to the doctor's, you grinned, bounced and then tried to grab her torch when she shone it in your eyes.

Certainly, as a child of mine, I'm assuming that this will not by any means mark our last trip to the doctor at midday on a Sunday. Certainly I'm not assuming that this blotch of Betadine will be the last that graces your noggin. I'm glad that you now have a grasp of the routine, that you know how the whole thing works, this giving your parents heart attacks thing. I personally wasn't aware exactly how fast I could make it from the study to the living room, but when I heard the thump and your mum started screaming, it turned out to be about 3.5 seconds.

I don't remember running around our bed, so I'm thinking that it's possible I jumped over it. By the time I got there, she'd scooped you up in her arms and cradled you to her. I think at that stage she was still too upset to be crying, certainly she couldn't get her mouth around the words to tell me what had happened.

It didn't take very long after that for me to figure out that you'd probably be ok. More than anything else, I think, the fact that you grabbed the frozen teething ring that I was trying to ice your bump with and stuck it in your mouth let me know that you were still with us.

But you were so pale, punkling. So pale.

For about a minute after that, we all stood in the kitchen. Not sure of what to do or how to go about it. Your mum was beside herself, but I couldn't spare any arms for her because I was trying to get a look at your "wound". I'm calling it a "wound", because by the time I got a look at it, you had a graze about the size of a matchhead on your bonce.

I think your bruise is going to be pretty impressive though. I'm fairly sure that we're going to get some interesting looks in the supermarket.

Once both of you calmed down a bit, we got you on the boob and I called the doctor. While I was speaking to the nurse, she asked me if you were looking alert. I looked up at you and you grinned at me. I really wish you wouldn't do that at moments of high drama, monkey, because it makes daddy's heart go all wobbly and I can't concentrate on what I'm doing.

So we got you to the doctor, you grinned and bounced and laughed. She told us (as do so many people) that we had a gorgeous, happy baby. She dabbed a bit of betadine on your noggin, and told us to take you home. So we did.

You just woke up from your post examination nap, and you look ok to me.

Love you.

December 01, 2005

Summer in the City

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Today is the first day of summer, punkin. Summer is a time of great joy, particularly for your dad, who has a fair bit of the old Seasonal Grumpiness Disorder. Winter inevitably sends me into a bit of a funk, from which I only emerge when the sun starts poking its head over the horizon again.

I've especially been looking forward to this summer, mostly because it's going to be your first. Watching you early in your life, I wasn't sure that you would be aware enough of your surroundings to appreciate it, but seeing you now I'm sure that you will.

You'll also get the chance to have your first Christmas, an event that will unload in less than four weeks. Everyone's already gearing up for it, it's even likely that our tree will go up in a few days. Your first present (from Aunty Wendy, natch), arrived in the post a few days ago, and it's likely that it will be followed by several thousand more. I'm not sure what your mum and dad are going to get you yet. I really wanted to get you some vintage space lego, but I don't think that you'll really appreciate the intricacies of the Big Space Ship just yet.

Tonight, we're off to a barbecue at your grandfather's house. By now you're an old hand at barbies, so I'll only drop you a few choice pointers in terms of making sure you know where your sausage is before we get there.

Love you.

November 29, 2005

Sitting Pretty

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
This whole weekend, punkin, you seemed to grow by leaps and bounds every day. Every time I turned around, you were looking and behaving less like a baby and more like a young boy. You sat at the table with us at mealtimes (albeit munching on a rusk, rather than indulging in the board of fare), your face lighting up when we chose to include you.

Even now, as you sit on my knee while I type one-handed, banging on the desk with your chubby longfingered hands, I know that you're happy to be hanging out with your dad, and that you only wish that you could be the one typing instead of me. *sigh*

OK then, write a message to your future self

gyvufdg lpjk jkrki j kl klkj ooe fdeibg

Good work. Next week you turn 7 months old. Personally, I was just getting used to the idea of you being SIX months old, but all things must pass. My task this week is to get a photo of the new tooth you've sprouted, rather than just a photo of your toothmarks on my finger.

Lots of new photos over there ->

Love you.

Body Popping

You know, punkin, I might have suggested, if you had asked, that you should learn to crawl before you learned to breakdance. But then, I'm your father, and therefore old and boring.

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Panoramic Paradise

The Eyrie
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It would seem, my bonny boy, that we have returned from our sojourn down by the sea.

November 23, 2005

Emergiser Bunny

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
I think it's fair to say, Bramble, that your Aunty Em loves you.

I think it's fair to say that your Aunty Em is smitten with you.

I think it's fair to say that your Aunty Em thinks that you're the greatest thing since sliced bread, and that I have gone up several points in her estimation since proving to have such wonderful genes as to be partially responsible for how gorgeous you are.

I think it's going to be a glorious weekend away. I think it's already proving to be one of the most emotionally fulfilling times of my life, having her back in our home. I think it's fabulous that she's brought Adam to meet us, a man who can Do No Wrong since he laughed this morning at an incredibly obscure Jimi Hendrix joke that I made. Spending time with these people is allowing us to compress the three years they've been away into a scant couple of hours. We look a little different, punkin, but we haven't changed, and that's what's coming home to me at the moment.

I think it's shaping up to be a wonderful summer, even ifthe dishwasher's broken and I had to be the one who found the part number the repair guy needed in order to send the estate agent a quote. Even though the air conditioner's busted, and has been since before we moved in and we haven't heard diddly squat from anyone about even coming around to look at it.

I think it's going to be an amazing summer because, Bramble, people are here that we love, and that love us. Because this is the beginning of a month or more, filled with celebrations, homecomings, friends, family, feasts and festivities.

Because regardless of what else is going on, pumpkin, regardless of the machinations and the machinery, it's people and the connections you make with them that are important.

Because I

Love you.

November 22, 2005

Arrivals Lounge

Aunt Vanna
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
The gang, punkin, is most assuredly all here.

Your uncle and aunt (Aunt Vanessa and Captain Kowalski) arrived late on Saturday night, and Emma and Adam early Monday morning.

The house is abuzz with the sounds of holiday makers. The kitchen is reeling from the shock. I think the kettle's already considering going on strike.

We're going to be in the press again, this time in the Northcote Leader, and this time you got to have your own photograph taken instead of only being present in utero.

It's kind of strange, feeling like I'm doing something so unusual that there's interest from the fourth estate. I've been writing this for so long now that it comes almost as a reflex, it seems so normal to me now that I should write to you in this way. I have trouble comprehending that people at large should find it amusing or particularly astonishing that I choose to send you this very long-winded letter.

People keep asking me what my plan for this letter is. When I'm going to decide that it's finished, how I'm going to manage it if we gain another pumpkin. The answer to all of the aforementioned questions, punkin, is simple. I don't know. At least a small part of my brain is suggesting that I will allow you to make that decision. That I'll keep writing this until you're old enough to read it. Certainly, by that time, there will be a considerable archive for you to catch up on. I haven't looked recently, but I'm pretty sure that the length of this narrative is approaching 100,000 words as we speak.

It's something that I'm trying to figure out - how to explain to you what this blog is, why I created it, and what it's trying to do. I printed and bound some of the first posts and gave them to your Nana, but I'm not sure that that would be logistically possible now. You already like books, but it seems that you currently see them more as a culinary delight than an intellectual feast.

With the arrival of your first budding teeth, both top and bottom, you have developed a healthy appreciation for teething rusks, which are currently your absolute favourite food group. Sitting up at the table last night, you were very happy to be having dinner with the grownups, brandishing your rusk like some badge of honour, some token of adulthood. At least, you were until you dropped it on the ground.

It seems that Purdey likes rusks too.

Love you.

November 17, 2005

Moving Violation

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Crime and Punishment

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
We spoke to some of our friends last night, punkin, who told us that a child of theirs had done something staggeringly stupid and a fair bit illegal.

This child is not a stupid child, punkin. In fact he's quite frighteningly intelligent, and so this course of action becomes all the more ridiculous.

His parents are, understandably, devestated and unable to figure out what to do with him. It's interesting, that being a parent now myself, I understand that their chief emotion at this time is one of worry.

That, whilst they're angry at this child, for doing something so categorically and astonishingly without forethought, mostly they're worried about what's going to happen to him because of it.

I won't be betraying any secrets to say that the Police are involved, or that it's entirely possible that this kid will at the very least get thrown out of school for what he did.

And his parents, punkin, are worried. They're worried that, despite being of advanced intellect, this child chose to undertake a course of action that can only be described as moronic. That this child chose to perpetrate this crime, punkin, thinking blithely that he would not get caught. Bringing me to my point.

I hope that I'm going to be able to teach you about what's right and what's wrong. To teach you that stealing things is wrong, that you should try to be a good person and look out for others. That even if you don't agree with the laws in the place you live, that you should try to follow them (unless they're Unreasonable Workplace Laws that have been Rushed Into Legislation by an Increasingly Arrogant and incredibly Right Wing Government).

But regardless of what I teach you as you grow older, you're going to be your own person. I have no doubt that you're going to be intelligent, precocious and driven to experimentation (based on your parentage, kid, this is a lay down mazaire). What I HOPE, punkin, is that you also have some common sense. Your father, in his younger years, was sadly lacking in this attribute (many, many, many stories, which can ALL wait until you're too old to attempt any of his particularly creative stunts).

I hope that you're going to understand that undertaking what you know to be the wrong course of action can have ramifications. That these ramifications can extend far beyond any parental punishment or corrective action. That you should THINK, punkin, before you ACT.

It's hard to imagine, now, looking at your beautiful smile in the morning before I go to work, that you will one day be a teenager and a young adult, that you will be out there in the big wide world without me beside you to advise you and protect you.

Just be safe and sane, Bram.

Love you.

November 16, 2005

Growth and Acquisition

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
In a twist that no-one who has seen your father or grandfather will be surprised by, punkling, it looks like you're getting longer but not thicker.

It's been a constant theme throughout my life, right up until you came along, that terms such as "as far through as a kipper" have been applied to my physique.

I wouldn't be at all surprised, given that you appear to have inherited my toes, to find out that you have also inherited this proclivity.

When we took you yesterday to get pins stuck in you again (again with the feeling awful and horrible and oh my god the look on your face when you gazed at me and started to cry in anguish at the fact that I held you while she stuck a needle in you, looking up at me with this face that just said "oh my god dad how could you let them DO this to me"), it was a revelation to be in a room with so many families of young kids and babies.

People watching has always been a hobby of mine, and being able to see so many people with their offspring made for a great deal of fun. Looking around and seeing babies with their parents, I was struck with how easy it was to tell whose kid was whose. I hope that people can easily tell that you're my son, I'm pretty sure they can.

Your cheeky grin is a good place to start, and certainly your gigantic blue eyes are a shade somewhere between mine and your mum's. We're not sure what colour your hair is going to be, it's getting much lighter than the bright red that it was when you were born, but it's still too sparse to tell. When I was young, my hair was as blond as can be, and only got darker when I was into my teens.

One of my aims for this site was always to establish a timeline of your life, to enable you to revisit these years when you grow older and see what you looked like and read about what we were up to. The next couple of months are going to be a real rollercoaster ride for the whole family. There's a whole mess of people coming (about whom more later) and there will be a whole mess of fun to be had. In the meantime, I

Love you.

November 12, 2005

Cup of Tea!

Evey and Emma
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
In the very near future, punkling, your Aunty Em is due to arrive on these fine shores. This is, of course, an occasion worth much rejoicing, and your mother and I are very much looking forward to welcoming Emma, your mum's very bestest friend in the world, back into our home and our life.

Naturally, in the three (!) years that she's been gone from our fair shores, many things have changed for all three of us, not least of which is you.

Emma was among the first people we told about your impending arrival, and it was her wise counsel by telephone that kept us on the straight and narrow during the long night on which you graced us with your presence.

Your mum and I rely on Emma for many things, not least of which a rational voice when both of us are being fairly irrational, and so it was with great joy that we heard of her coming back to see us.

She's a creature of astonishing joy, your Aunty Em, she has a grin that cannot fail to elicit a smile from others, and whenever she's with your mother for more than a few minutes the two of them start giggling like 5-year-olds. In the time immediately before your mum and I got married, she was such a boon to us that we are now both vaguely uneasy about how we have managed to live for so long without her.

In any case, on Monday the next, she returns, and brings with her a Mr Adam, about whom your father knows not much, but has been assured that he is a Decent and Nice fellow, who wants to go yabbying, which is enough to endear just about anyone to your old man. If he likes decent plonk as well I may have a friend for life.

We're only going to get a small time to spend with Emma & Adam, so we've decided to take you all down to the ocean. We're going to stay here, a place just up the road from Apollo Bay. We'll have enough time to make the most of the area's delights, including, I'm hoping, a chance to cook up some local crayfish. Everyone else seems excited about some silly rocks in the ocean, but I'm thinking about my stomach as usual.

In the meantime, I'd best get back to unpacking boxes so that there's room for them to sleep in our new house.

Love you.

November 11, 2005


Originally uploaded by Serrano77.
Today, punkin, is Remembrance Day.

It's on this day that we take the time out to say thankyou to the tens of thousands of Australian, New Zealander, English, American, Canadian, South African, Belgian, Brazilian, Chinese, Costa Rican, Cuban, French, Greek, Guatemalan, Haitian, Honduran, Italian, Japanese, Liberian, Montenegran, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Portugese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian & Thai young men and women who gave their lives, hearts and minds in what was then known as The Great War.

Better minds than mine will tell you about the events and travesties that transpired during the period between 1915 and 1918 across several continents, but I think that the poem by John McRae, from which we take our use of red poppies to symbolise this terrible event, will shed some light.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thanks to Serrano77 for the photo of the poppy.

Love you punkin.

November 08, 2005


Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Of course, I didn't forget that our move to a new house has come on an auspicious day.

I can't tell you how happy I am that we have together reached this point. It seems astonishing to me that it's been six months since that long, long night at Frances Perry. You've changed so much, and stayed exactly the same, since you were born.

I remember with exact clarity the first moment I saw you, and the moments immediately after, when they handed you to me and told me to go and sit down. We spent that first 20 minutes together, just staring into each other's eyes, and I thought my heart would burst with pride and joy. I know intellectually that you couldn't even see me then, but emotionally I feel that time was the beginning of a relationship that will last the rest of my life.

The intervening period of time has been characterised in my mind by going to work, leaving you in the hands of your wonderful mother, and coming home again to see you changed in some infinitesimal way. Your advances over this time are too many to mention, but the sheer mindboggling idea that you recognise me and think I'm funny is still the thing that gets me going.

Watching you play with Mr Frog and roll around on the floor is something that I couldn't have fathomed three months ago. Seeing you come to grips with your environment, to the point of now wanting things that you can't see, makes my brain do somersaults. Of course, you still can't have the remote control.

To think that six months have passed since you were born, to imagine that you have been in our lives for half a year, is proving difficult to come to grips with. I know that this summer will be fun for us, there's a lot of things I want to show you, there's a lot of people you still need to meet. There's celebrations to be had, presents to open (and of course wrapping paper to play with and eat).

So happy half birthday, Bramble. Here's to your first six months in this world, and to the next sixty years that we'll spend together.

I love you.

The three of us

November 07, 2005

Box and dice

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
So we've moved.

Our new house appears, on first glance, to have a floor that is composed entirely of boxes replete with all manner of ephemera. There is a pile of clothes in our bedroom about four feet high and about twelve feet wide. There are wires and powerboards and disassembled furniture cluttering up every square foot of the house.

This is not to say, punkin, that we're not organised.

Your mother, ever the bastion of listwriting, has composed a tome that has been compared unfavourably to Tolstoy's masterwork, and, although I haven't seen it, I'm told there is an end to it. Which we should reach at some point in early 2007. By which time we plan to have already left this house. But that's beside the point.

The important stuff has been done, we've got your bedroom set up fairly well, it's much bigger than your old bedroom, which is good, but the colour scheme leaves a bit to be desired. It's probable that the house is going to get painted, so that's no matter. I've taken some photos of the new place, but I can't find the cable that connects our camera to the computer, and more to the point, our computer's not connected to the internet. I'm fairly sure that we'll be back on the air soon, but in the meantime our only access to the net is by proxy through my work connection.

Whilst the house is very much a work in progress, it's shaping up to be a Much Nicer house than our last one. The back end of the house is a little .... agricultural, but the main living areas are beautiful, and the kitchen is a dream. There's more bench space than I know what to do with, and a Full Sized Dishwasher that is simply fabulous. Who could have imagined the joy that comes from being able to load up ALL of the dishes from dinner into a magical machine that washes and dries them!

I'll post photos once we get rid of all the boxes, I think you'll like it.

Love you.

November 02, 2005

In the middle of our street

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
We're moving tomorrow, punkin.

It's strange to think that, having been in this place for four years, you won't be able to remember it as part of your life at all. It's unlikely also, given our gameplan, that we will be at the new place for long enough that you will remember that either.

There IS, however, a strategy in place, I want you to remember that. All of this hullabaloo around boxing things up and taking things apart and sitting on the phone trying to explain to people about when we're moving and where we're moving to and etc etc etc etc, it's all with an endpoint in mind.

That endpoint is, of course, us owning a house. A house where we want to live, a house that's not falling to bits, a house that you can grow up in, with room to kick a footy and space for you to set up your trainset and run around like the mad monkey I know you're going to be.

Before all that, though, we have to stay in a holding pattern for a little while to save up some money.

And that's where this place comes in.

It's a nice joint, don't get me wrong. It has ducted heating and a full size dishwasher and a front door that works and no holes in the exterior walls and a nice backyard and a fireplace in the loungeroom and a bright orange bathroom, but I think that with a little bit of work we can make it a lovely comfy place to live. There's a lemon tree out the back, and a lovely patch of front yard and leadlight windows that cast rainbow coloured shards of light into the living room.

There's a DOG DOOR, which is looking like it will be my favourite thing in the whole world, after your trusty Unky Dave performs a couple of simple modifications to it. Not having to get out of my bumgroove on the couch to let the dogs out will, I think, add significantly to my TV enjoyment.

You're going off to play with Kelly and Riley, so you should have a fun day, although you'll miss out on the joy that is shifting a large (quite frankly astonishing) collection of boxes from one place to another. It's an eye-opening experience to box up all of one's worldly goods, I don't think that you ever really know how much stuff you have until you undertake this kind of shift. Certainly I've been constantly finding things that I thought were lost, or that I'd thrown out.

This is, of course, a process that actively encourages one to embrace minimalism, and all kinds of moralistic pronouncements about "in our new house I will have only four white tshirts" are made. These are, of course, by their nature, strikingly similar to new year's resolutions and have a similar lifespan.

I'll write to you tomorrow if I can, we're not sure about the immediate availability of internet access from our new house (oh the HORROR), but in the meantime,

I love you.

October 31, 2005

Birthdaypalooza Part II

It is a truth held to be self evident, punkin, that boys are loved by their mums.

Your mum loves you more than you will ever know, so much that she gets up two or three times in the middle of the night to give you sustenance, either physical or emotional, and asks nothing in return.

For many years, I was mystified by my own mother's requests for, on her birthday, "just a card". I didn't realise then, that a parent's love is overwhelming and all-consuming. That an acknowledgement of that love from your offspring is the greatest gift you can receive. That a smile or a laugh, or a cuddle, is worth every second you spend tearing your hair out and more.

Today, in this country at least, is your grandmother's 55th birthday. She won't mind me telling the world how old she is, she's proud of being that old. She's proud that she has raised three beautiful boys of her own and helped to raise countless other foundlings that happened across her doorstep.

My mum's always been the ubermum, the mum for a generation of kids. Her "mum action" is legendary, and she will mother anyone, anytime.

I think mostly it has to do with her inbuilt sonar for anyone having a hard time. She seems to have some kind of empathic sixth sense, an astonishing level of awareness for people who need her help.

This has helped her immensely in her chosen profession, that of librarian. Librarians are, by their nature, holders of a sacred trust, and your grammy is a proud exponent of that trust we place in them as a whole. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of books, and agonises over the right book for any person as if it were a matter of life and death. She takes this responsibility very seriously, and woe betide the hapless neanderthal who fails to understand that a library is a place of peace and harmony.

Your grammy takes other things seriously too, punkin, which is a bit of a surprise in someone so lighthearted. She takes food and wine very seriously, two disciplines that she spent a long time fostering in her kids, which only started to pay off once we were well into our 20s. I'm not saying that I entirely forgive her the interminable eggplant casserole, or the 74th iteration of "stir fried scheisse", but I'm eternally grateful for Saturday lunch.

Your grammy and Grandad used to, when your uncles and I were much younger, arise early on Saturday mornings and make a pilgramage to the Queen Victoria Market to procure foodstuffs for the week ahead. On their return, the table would be loaded up with exotic sustenance from far and wide, and we would sit down to a feast of cheeses, meats, breads and salads. Requests were taken, but sometimes our descriptions left something to be desired, and they searched for months for "soft salami" before we all figured out that I meant liverwurst.

I guess what I'm trying to say here, punkin, is that I love my mum.

That your grammy loves you.

That it's her birthday, and this is her card. Handmade, after a fashion.

Love you mum.

Love you too, monkey.

Of course, your grammy's not the only person who gets to have a birthday in October, or even the only grandparent of yours. Your Grandad Jon celebrated his birthday just the other day. He tells me that he's only 43, but I'm not sure that I beleive him. Certainly I distinctly remember getting sorted to gift him a ride in a Ferrari for his 50th birthday, which is an episode that occured in the past, so let's take that with a grain of salt.

It could be time, however, for my special birthday gift to your Grandad, which is to lay to rest the rumor I so viciously circulated. Your Grandad did NOT play bass in Elton John's band in the seventies.

He played keyboards.

Love you punkin, and all of your many grandparents.

Happy birthday Mum and Jon.


Apparently we're having a problem with one of these photos. It's not blogger, it's flickr that's the issue. I'm working on it. In the meantime, enjoy a photo of your grandparents in many hues.

October 27, 2005

Oh sleep! It is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole*

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Thankyou, punkin, for somehow knowing at which point your parents were about to break.

The very night after your mother lay in my arms, ready to cry at your proclivity to wake three times in the night, at midnight, 3am and 5am, you gave us a gift that will be likely one of the most wonderous you give us in these first few years of your life, handmade cards notwithstanding.

Last night, punkin, even before the onset of TopModel at 8:30, you went meekly to your bed, and slept the sleep of the just and the righteous and beautiful babies until 6:30 this morning.

This, punkling, was the greatest thing that you could have done for your mum and I. We were getting ready to investigate any and all methods of ameliorating your needs in this regard, including but not limited to bringing you in to sleep with us. Of course, this was a Last Resort, and it is with joy that I tell you, an unneccesary one. I don't know the reason for your sudden shift back to a full night's sleep, but I can tell you that it's directly linked to how I feel today.

And how I feel today is, without resorting to too much in the region of extraneous hyperbole, bulletproof.

I bounded from my bed this morning, ready to take on the world. Ready to face whatever fate and the furies wanted to throw at me. Then I got to work, but that's a whole nother story.

Speaking of stories. I need to talk to you about books. I know that your current usage for books, particularly "Babar Goes To The Doctor", consists of ascertaining their 'mouth feel', and feel it's important to let you know that they have other uses. What those uses are can wait, but this is just a heads-up.

Love you.

*Samuel Taylor Coleridge

October 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Bathtime is fast becoming a nightly ritual for us, punkin. It seems to be that, as you grow older, we need to provide you with a concrete point of transition between "daytime" (wakeup, boob, bounce, bounce, bounce, wriggle, bounce, wriggle, grizzle, sleep), to "nighttime" (wakeup, boob, bounce, grizzle, sleep).

The bath seems to be the best way to do this. It gives you an opportunity to spend some quality time with a parent, it gives you an opportunity to kick kick kick to your heart's content, and it lets us make sure that you're clean and ready to take on the evening's entertainment.

Because of the strange and bizarre architecture of our bathroom, someone has to get into the bath with you, which gives us a chance to really get up close and enjoy this time with you as much as you do. The next lot of photos to come up will show just how much you do enjoy it, and your squeals of joy while you kick and splash are, I know, just precursors to the joy that you will show when I introduce you to other pursuits.

We're moving house soon, a saga that will no doubt take up more column inches here in the near future, but one of the (many) things that I'm excited about in our new house is that the bathtub will be easily accessible. This means that I'm going to be able to let other people have a turn at what is surely one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things that you and I do together.

Love you.

October 20, 2005

Rice Cereal - Big Success

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Pureed Carrot, not so much.

marvellous melbournian

dawn cityscape avec balloons
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Your mother, punkin, has expressed on more than one occasion her surprise at realising that, when you start to speak, it will be with an Australian accent.

More than that, punkin, when you grow up, you're going to be able to tell people that you're from Melbourne.

Far be it for me to lapse into jingoistic parochialism, but here's the deal. Melbourne is, pound for pound, the greatest city in the world.

I don't have a whole lot of empirical evidence on which to support this claim, so for the most part you're going to have to take my word for it, but I'm your father, so you should trust me implicitly anyway.

But wait. It appears that I have some supporters. The Economic Intelligence Unit (Unit of what I'm not exactly sure), suggest that, when examining cities around the world for 40 criteria, grouped under the headings of stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure, Melbourne comes second in the world for "Liveability".

On further examination of these findings, however, we are presented with an anomoly. It appears that the winner of this survey (Vancouver), and the two cities with whom Melbourne shares second place (Geneva and Vienna) are all, punkin, places in which it snows.

This is not to suggest, punkling, that I am some kind of snow hater. I have been known, on more than one occasion, to involve myself in various winter sports, including but not limited to, skiing (badly), snowboarding (with slightly more success) and tobogganninnng (ask your Uncle Steve about how to build a tobogggan track, he's the world champion).

What I'm instead suggesting, Bramble, is that, in preference to living somewhere that has an annual snowfall, one should instead travel to a place that has an annual snowfall, so that one can enjoy the snow at one's own convenience. One should not have to "enjoy" the snow by shovelling it out of one's way in order to get to one's car and go to work. One should not have to further "enjoy" the snow by then shovelling it off one's car at 6am.

By using this carefully crafted and incredibly compelling argument to add several thousand points to the score of Melbourne, we find that it is in fact the world's most liveable city, and therefore a fabulous place to be born and live.

Love you.


The lovely and wonderful Kathy has extended an invitation to all and sundry Melbourne baby bloggers to a get-together. Details as follows:

The Inaugural Melbourne Baby Blogger Picnic

When: 1pm to 5pm
Sunday 4 December OR Saturday 10 December OR Sunday 11 December
Where: A central city location, TBC by email to respondents

Please visit her to RSVP, and/or to vote for a date.

October 17, 2005

Spring Has Sprung

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
I've been hesitant, Brambling, to talk about your tree. Mostly, I think, because I wasn't sure that when I repotted it that I'd done a sterling job on it, and it was looking rather a lot like a very tall twig for some time.

We mentioned this tree recently, your Grammy and I, when we were talking about Rae, and it is true that in fact, ensconced in Rae's snuggles as you were, you chose to not journey with us to pick it up. The genesis of this tree, though, goes back further than that.

Your Rowdy Grammy, Bramble, has a number of very good friends. Mostly, they are friends who share her love of good things to eat and drink, and have an appreciation for the finer things in life, such as a decent book and a lovely tree. Certainly, if it's possible to combine any or all of these (f'rinstance, combining a good book with a glass of lovely lovely wine), then all the better.

So when your Grammy's great friend Lola, having heard at length of the preparations for your arrival (your Grammy, punkin, in addition to being Rowdy, is fairly Loquacious), asked that she be able to buy you a tree, we thought that this was a Fabulous Idea.

Thinking about the kind of tree we'd want to get you, one that would grow with you, and be a source of enjoyment for many years to come, we had two major criteria. Firstly, it had to be a tree that one would be able to climb in years to come. Being that both your mother and I were inveterate tree climbers in our youth, this was our primary consideration. Lots of trees, however, fit this category, without providing further benefit to society in general, or to our kitchen. Which brings us to our second criterion. The tree had to provide a culinary benefit.

As a sidebar here, we should note that your mum and dad are great devotees of the joy provided by free homemade pesto, and that your dad doesn't like pine nuts very much. Discovering that we had a large walnut tree hanging over from next door's backyard provided a welcome respite from having to actually pay for something that I don't like very much, and I won't be betraying any confidences to tell you that the secret ingredient in our homemade pesto is walnuts.

So a walnut tree it was. A "Wilson's Wonder", to be precise.

As previously covered, after discussing the matter with Rae and Annie, we left you with them and your Grammy, and piled into the blonk with Grandad Phil to go and buy this tree. Finding the tree proved to be much less hassle than buying a pot for it, as we don't want to put it in the ground until we buy a house. Fitting a 12 foot high tree into the blonk also proved interesting, but fit it in we did, and got it home and planted it where it now sits, enjoying the spring sunshine.

Over the months since your birth, it's fended off a couple of dog 'explorations', a bit of not very nice weather, and a fairly cack-handed potting experience. In the last few weeks it's started to show the first signs of life, and I'm proud to report that it's standing tall and strong in its beautiful pot. When we make the move to our new house, it's coming with us, and I'll make sure to put it in a place where it can enjoy the coming summer months with us, with a view to one day lounging in its shade and watching you climb it (grab your dad some walnuts, kid)

Thankyou Lola, for providing this child his first horticultural experience.

Love you.

October 12, 2005

The cake in question

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Truly an astonishing exercise in baking.

Harrowing Hiatus

It's fairly obvious, punkin, that your dad has taken some time off from posting. What may not be obvious to our dear readers (many of whom are coming through from FamilyMan), are the reasons for this. They are many.

First and foremost, these past days were spent in saying our final farewells to our great friend Rae. I won't talk too much more about this, other than to say that her service (titled The Raelogy) was one of the most touching experiences of my life. We laid her down in a beautiful spot on a fine day in spring, and as we scattered rose petals on her coffin, I could hear the raucous laughter of children playing in the school across the road. As someone who dedicated much of her life to education, I think she'd like it there.

Following this, your Unky Dave and I traveled on to a pub in North Fitzroy to have a drink and a laugh with many of the people who'd been involved, and your father had entirely enough to drink, a fact that he failed to comprehend upon returning home, where he demolished a bottle of cheap red wine. Bad Idea.

Of course, the intervening period between this missive and the last was not entirely composed of time spent saying goodbye to people.

On Sunday, we went to the birthday party of your mate Samuel. Fun was had by all, not least of which because of the Truly Astonishing Birthday Cake. Apparently I know the artist who put this great work of cakey sculpture together, and I will certainly endeavour to requisition something at least as impressive for your first anniversary of birth.

Speaking of anniversaries, there's something interesting that happened today. This day marks the one thousand and ninety fifth day since "Go Go Gadget Rings Day", otherwise known as the day on which your mum and I publicly announced our intention to spend the rest of our lives enjoying a cornucopia of delights together.

While I was awake at 4am this morning (thank you for waking me up and giving me time to have this reflective interlude), I pondered the best way to tell your mother that I treasured each and every one of those one thousand and ninety five days.

I wondered how best to express the overwhelming conviction in my mind, that if asked again who I would choose to spend the rest of my life with, the answer would be her.

That this answer would be unequivocal.

That you could ask me over and over, at least once for every one of the one thousand and ninety five days that we've been ensconced in matrimony, and it would be unchanged.

That her laugh, her smile, and her unbridled passion for life are the fuel that keeps me moving and motivated.

That I treasure every second I get to spend with her, and that those few tiny moments each day in which we sit together in silence are my most valued.

That every time I look into your eyes, I see her reflection, and it makes me fall in love with her all over again.

I love you, and your mum.

Happy Anniversary Evey.

October 06, 2005

What the heck? - A story in photos Part I

What the heck? - A story in photos Part II

Growing bigger, growing older

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Whilst the rest of the world continues to make big changes around you, punkin (and rest assured, there is a LOT going on), you continue on your journey to becoming, as your Uncle Dave puts it with such aplomb, "a massive unit".

Of course, he's plotting for your elevation to a cornerstone of the Carlton back line, much in the vein of SOS, but my goals for you are somewhat more pedestrian, being of the "just be a good human being" boring old dad variety.

The chief very big thing that's going on is that we are soon to move house. You see, punkling, the world as we know it works like this. Houses are very very expensive. Like, much more than a pie. Because houses are so very expensive, (more than several pies), if you want to buy one, you have to borrow the money off a bank.

Well we use the term "borrow" pretty loosely here. What actually happens is that a bank rents you the money. In the great and glorious world that is capitalism, however, in order for one to gain access to these astronomical sums, one must first prove that one doesn't actually need them.

So, in order for us to purchase for your childhood years a lovely weatherboard house in an inner northern suburb with easy access to public transport and primary schools and kindergartens and milk bars, we must jump through several hundred administrative hoops and fill in about forty brazillion forms.

Having done all this, of course, there's every chance that the powers that be will laugh in our general direction and, pointing to my small indiscretions of times past (remember how I told you to pay bills on time, punkin?), say that there is no way on earth that we can be trusted with said astronomical sum. Never mind, punkin, that we'll be pretty easy to find if anything goes wrong, given that they will Know Where We Live.

In any case, if such a calamity occurs, we will simply again take up the charm and delight that is renting a house from somebody else, for such a time as to allow said indiscretions to... drop off the page.

Of course, this entire rigmarole is immaterial to you, whose chief problems at the moment revolve around how precisely you can fit your entire left foot in your mouth, and what on earth is this rice cereal business, it's a poor substitute for the 2005 Chateau du Boob, that's for damn sure.

Love you.

October 05, 2005

Rae and Grammy Linda

Rae and Linda
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Far be it for me to suggest, punkin, that it is somehow NECESSARY to have a bottle of red wine involved when one enjoys time with those we love....

It does, however, make for the easy flow of conversation and the further enjoyment of whatever fabulous nosh is on offer.

I spoke to Annie today. Annie is Rae's partner, an astonishing woman who you will get to spend considerable time with as you grow. She told me that the current thoughts around Rae's memorial service are fluctuating between getting a bright red coffin, or having a painting bee and asking people to add personal touches to what Annie called "that beautiful woman's final accessory".

Annie spoke about her grief, saying that she felt afloat in a giant ocean. That every now and then she'd feel like she was getting on top of it and then get swamped all over again. The overall impression I got, though, was one of relief. Relief that this woman she loved, who had fought so hard for so long, got a chance to close her eyes and rest. Relief that she got to go peacefully, in their bed, alongside her lover. That her final words had been asking Annie when they would go to Paris again.

It makes me feel some measure of solace, knowing that her thoughts as she was leaving must have been of visiting Paris in the spring with her partner.

Annie, Ben and Christian are asking that people make donations to the Breast Cancer Foundation in lieu of buying flowers, and that if people do want to bring flowers, that they bring a posy from their own garden. I think I'm going to put together a little bunch of herbs. The rosemary and the thyme are both flowering right now, and it strikes me that if I'm going to give Rae a bouquet to take with her, that it should be a bouquet garni. I think she'd like that.

Love you.

October 04, 2005

Vale, Rae Brady, Vale.

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
I have to tell you something, punkin.

Today I said goodbye to someone who you will never get a chance to know properly. Someone who held you close when you were very young. Someone whose capacity for love and laughter was unmatched by anyone I've ever met.

Rae was a rare and beautiful flower, sent to us by who knows what other forces. A shining light who shone on this world and all who were privileged enough to spend any time with her.

Rae was your Grammy's very good friend, and had shown your mum and dad (and, during the all too brief time you got to spend with her, you), an enormous generosity of spirit.

When good people get taken from us, punkin, we tell ourselves that we need to keep an eye on the big picture. That they are taken because they have a higher purpose, a greater duty. That God, or Vishnu, or Buddha has seen their great good works and has taken them unto his or her or its bosom. That their essence and soul will permeate the world, to bring love and light and happiness to millions.

That doesn't make it any easier.

So then we try to hold them in our hearts, because that's all we have.

Know this. Rae loved you. Rae loves you. Wherever she is now, she held you when you were very small, and passed on to you some of her spirit.

Some small part of her will live on in you, and me, and her kids Ben and Christian, and her wonderful partner Annie, and your Grammy and Grandad, and everyone whose lives she got a chance to touch.

Never miss a chance to tell the people you love that you love them. It could be the last chance you get.

Love you.

October 03, 2005


Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's a moment in every young man's life, punkin, when the joy and laughter that is a barbie becomes apparent. The beauty that is entailed in sitting around a hot bit of metal and searing hunks of flesh while imbibing lovingly crafted concoctions of hops and water is something that some people never realise.

Of course, the opportunity to use such an occasion to work one's wiles on members of the opposite sex should not be underestimated, and I have great pleasure in informing the world at large that you returned from your first such social soiree with a young lady's address clutched in your hot little, somewhat sweaty hand.

I'm sorry about the hat.

Love you,

September 27, 2005

Matrimonial Harmonies

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
This weekend, punkin, was characterised by weddings. We visited the beautiful Edinburgh Gardens in downtown Fitzroy to attend the nuptials of one of your dad's very very old friends. Old in the sense that I have known her for a very long time, you understand, not old because she's 17 days older than me and therefore ancient .

I wonder if, by the time you're ready to declare undying lerve for someone, the whole wedding thing will still be around. Certainly, it's lost much of its necessity in terms of being a vehicle for societal acceptance, but I think that, if such a thing is possible, that's made it all the more special. People that we know, punkin, don't get married because they have to, they get married because they want to.

The ceremony was, as these things will generally be, beautiful, and your dad, who is a great big wuss, was seen to wipe a tear away during the really mushy bits. Unfortunately, due to the rapidly encroaching darkness, there was little use in me bringing my camera, and we'll have to rely on professional photos to get a view of the event for posterity.

The bride was, however, beautiful, and I gave her a kiss from your Grammy as ordered.

The next day, we heard of another weddering event in the offing, and began to formulate a plan for how we're going to attend it. It's all very exciting really, and takes us back to when we got married, what seems like a very very long time ago.

Watching all that lerve go flying about on the weekend was exhilarating and wonderful, and made us appreciate you all the more. When we came home from the wedding, you had just started your 7pm screaming time, and the look on your face when you saw your mum was priceless. To think now that I can see what you're going to look like as you grow is presumptuous at best, but I don't think I'm alone in saying that there's laughter in them there eyes, punkin, and it makes my heart swell every time I'm the one who puts it there.

Love you.

September 21, 2005

Home again home again

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's nice, being a dad and coming home. It's nice that you recognise me, that there's a huge grin on your face whenever you see me.

It's awesome that you grab me by the ears to steady yourself so you can look into my eyes. It's super cool that when I get home, if you're in your cot, I can go in and say hello. That I know which toy is your favourite, that we have special games that only we play ("bonjour monsieur poopoo" is currently getting a lot of airtime)

I love getting the chance to spend time with you by myself, and I love sharing you with your mum. I love seeing you do something new or exciting and yelling out. She comes running to see your new funny face or manouvre. We still haven't gotten the rolling over on tape, punkin, but I promise we'll get something by the time you're in high school.

I saw a young man on the tram today, with someone who seemed suspiciously like a grandmother. I'm excited that my parents will get a chance with me to watch you grow, to show you new things and take you on adventures. I'm filled with joy about you being here.

Having said all that, punkin, when you wake up at 4am, it would be awesome if you would just go back to sleep quietly, instead of grizzling for an hour.

Love you.

September 15, 2005

And the gang's all here

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Apparently, punkin, you are already posessed of a social network that I am no part of. Apparently you already have a circle of friends (although this is likely to be almost the last time that they are presented in such a literal fashion), few of whom I'm acquainted with.

As a father, I'm conversant with this concept. Certainly I know that this is likely to continue throughout your life. I know that, as a young man, I had many friends with whom my parents were unacquainted (for various reasons, most of which can wait until you're older for explanation).

The people represented here might drift away as you get older, if we move out of the area, or as you develop new interests and hobbies that take you away from this core group, or they could remain in your life for a substantial period to come. In my life, I had friends who I went to kindergarten with that stayed in my life until I was well into my 20s.

My grandfather, your great-grandfather, often told me as I was growing up that it's not important to have a lot of friends, that it's far more important to have good friends. One should count oneself lucky, he said, if one could count one's good friends on one hand. People that you can count on, people who know you well. Certainly, I can say with pride that the people with whom I share my life have been in it for a very long time. Some of my best friends now have been that way since I was about 14.

Of course, people change. Priorities change. Sometimes people who you thought you'd lost come back.

One of my very very close friends has just returned from a long sojourn overseas. He's been gone for eight years. When you're small, eight years could seem like a very long time, but I can tell you that I feel like we're able to pick up almost exactly where we left off. I feel like our friendship has not diminished over that time, that we're still able to connect well. He hasn't had a chance to see you yet, but he's anxious to get to know you. Given that you already have a Guardian of Geekiness, we'll have to find him a niche to occupy in the Council of Elders, but I'm sure we can come up with something. I'm not sure that his dedication to roasting his own coffee beans is something you should be interested in quite yet.

Love you.

nb: clockwise from you, located at 5 o'clock in the white babygro, is Rudy (screaming), Chloe, very fetching in fuschia and seemingly fascinated by, Jaida, Damien, then Oskar (also screaming), Stephanie, Massimo and Mia, then Ava, then Riley and finally Olivia (whose father can take the credit for this beautiful photo, which I Did Not Take).

September 14, 2005

Three plus two equals FIVE!

Bram and Mum
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Your mother, Brambling, turned five today. With the reaching of that milestone, it's interesting for me to look back and see what was happening last year.

Before your arrival, punkin, on your mother's birthday, it appears that I took her to dinner at a LUDICROUSLY expensive restaurant.
This is all very well and good, punkin, but it's hardly the way that we choose to celebrate things now that we are enbabied. The way that we will celebrate tonight will involve, as discussed previously, pizza, sparkling wine, Rockstar and CAKE. The cake part is very important. As you grow older, you'll come to appreciate just exactly how fantastic is cake in all its forms, the particular form of which your mother is inordinately fond is baked cheescake. The reasons for this will become obvious, once you get an opportunity to taste some cake.

Enough about cake, let's talk about your mother.

You know that I love her, sure, but I don't know that you understand just how fully your mum and I have become parts of each other's lives. When we first moved in together (a story that can wait until you're a bit older), we each had our own social circles, outings, hobbies etc. As the months and years passed, we became more and more involved in each other, more and more we just wanted to spend time with each other. They sometimes say that when two people are intrinsically involved with each other they can each finish the other's sentences. Your mum and I, punkin, have invented our own language.

Every second I spend at work, I think of her. For her to undertake this great ordeal, of having you and bringing you up and creating you with me, this speaks volumes. You, punkin, are the living, breathing, smiling, laughing, giggling, gurgling embodiment of that love, and when I look at you I see your mum reflected in your eyes.

Having said all that, punkin, I have some fatherly advice for you. As you grow up, you're going to have lots of friends. As they grow up with you, they will enter certain professions. Keep track of these, and use this knowledge to make sure that you benefit from their skills and creativity. One can do considerably worse, punkin, than to have a friend who is a lawyer, or a doctor, or a plumber or an electrician.

Or a jeweller.

As you grow up, punkin, you will also learn that women like jewellery. Women particularly like jewellery that is custom made. By someone clever. With access to photographs of all of that person's other jewellery.

Love you.