August 29, 2005

We Got Tagged

My First Walkman
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Ok so here's the deal. Homer from Eccentric Father has tagged us with this request:

List five songs that you are currently digging - it doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions and the five songs (with artist) in your blog. Then tag five people to see what they're listening to.

Of course, you don't have to do this by yourself, on the grounds that if you were to list your most listened to songs, it would be "Eine Kleine Nachtmusak" hands down, which is the tune on your Star Bright Light Show, but I think that perhaps we should expand it a little bit to include the songs that are on high rotation on your Mum and Dad's iRiver.

  1. Sloshdaboom, Sounds for Silence, Dr Harry Zehnwirth. The constant rhythm and sloshing sounds of this white noise track made it your number one favourite sound for going to sleep to during your first couple of months. Certainly, I got used to going to sleep to it myself, but I've managed without it since you moved into your own room, so please don't ever play it in my range of hearing again.
  2. Swing it Around, can'tneverdidnothin, Nikka Costa. Your mum discovered Nikka Costa when she released her first album, Everybody Got Their Something, and we've been waiting for her new album for quite a while. This new one shows the influence that hanging around with Lenny Kravitz and Prince can have on music, it's much, much funkier than her previous work, and it's been in your dad's head since he bought it.
  3. Rebel, Rebel, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Soundtrack, Seu Jorge. The sound of David Bowie songs being played beautifully on an acoustic guitar and sung in Portugese added so much to the semi-surreal nature of this wonderful film that we couldn't do without it. I'm looking forward to tracking down more of this guy's work.
  4. 1983 A Merman I Shall Turn To Be, Electric Ladyland, Jimi Hendrix. This track got played to you many, many times while you were still inside your mum, and it was your first lullaby when you arrived. Every time I listen to it I hope that you'll grow up liking it.
  5. Anything from Once More With Feeling. This house, I'm sure you'll come to realise, is pretty buffycentric, and the songs from this musical episode are very, very close to our hearts. If pinched for an absolute favourite moment, it would have to be Anya's heavy metal riffing, replete with Townsend style armwheel, during "I've got a Feeling".
Right then, that's done, now to nominate some other suckers. Looking to my right, I spy with my little eeeeyyyyeeeee.....







Get with it kids.

Love you. All.

It's our birthday, but you get the balloons!

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Today, punkling, is our birthday. You see it was exactly one year ago that we started this little exercise. I took a photo, which your mum won't let me put up here, of the little blue line that meant you were on the way. We'd been trying to get the show on the road for so long that for a couple of weeks it seemed absolutely impossible that you were actually coming.

Specifically, with the exception of your mum being a bit sick, which you can read all about in the archives, there was no real way to tell that you were on your way. Of course, with time that all changed, and it's certainly true that by the time you got here we thought we were pretty much prepared for you.

How wrong we were. The impact that you had on our lives belies your size by a factor of a thousand. I've been slowly coming to grips with the idea that I have an ultimate responsibility to you, but I'm still boggled by the idea that I'm the one you're going to turn to with difficult questions. That I'm going to have to be the one to tell you why the sky's blue, and why people hiccup, and what's the fastest bird in the world. Of course, having a reference librarian for a mum, one of the first things I'm going to teach you is how to look it up yourself, but I'm still going to be the last resort.

And that's the whole point that I'm trying to get to, that as your father, it's my job to be the one who can point you in the right direction when you want to head outwards, and to be here for you when you need a place to feel safe.

Watching the beginnings of co-ordination, seeing you figure out that you can use your hands to grab stuff (and shove it directly do-not-pass-go into your mouth), and recognise me when I walk into a room (immediately grinning your head off), are things that I didn't realise would affect me the way they have.

Men, it's thought, live their whole lives trying to meet their father's expectations. I feel like I need to tell you now, and again and again as you grow older, that just by being here you make my day. That simply looking at me and smiling is enough to break my heart, and that anything else you do short of winning a Nobel or a Pulitzer or an Archibald or an X-Prize is just gravy.

Not that I don't like gravy, I'm a massive fan of sauces of all kinds, but you get the gist.

Love you.

August 26, 2005

And rest.

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's a tough business, punkin, being the centre of attention. For two solid weeks, the world revolved around you (more so than usual, is what I'm saying), and we spent more than our fair share of time carousing, making merry and enjoying ourselves.

With disastrous results.

The niggling cold that was affecting your grandmother as she jetted off back to Blighty decided to attack your father with the full force of its might, laying waste to his dreams of a streamlined arrival back in the office.

Consigned to bed for two full days, it was of course your cue to begin displaying some "indeterminate symptoms" that were enough to send your mum into overdrive. Firstly, at some stage on Tuesday, you decided that you didn't really want to go to the toilet. For twelve hours. As a three month old person, it's thought that you should be performing your oblutions at least 3 or 4 times over a period of time like that, and so it was off to the Royal Children's Hospital with us again (at 11pm). Your dad, coughing and spluttering, stayed until midnight and then went home to try to get some sleep in the hope of being able to go to work the next day.

You didn't get home until almost 3. The doctor apparently looked at you (while you giggled at him), and said "he looks fine, keep an eye on him."

Of course, as with every other interaction with health professionals in your life, the garnering of a second opinion was a mistake.

Your mum took you to the doctor on Wednesday (apparently the wrong doctor), who prescribed you something for the thingy on the back of your head. According to the pharmacist, this prescription was entirely incorrect for someone of your tender years. Your mum came home practically in tears, the poor darling, after a night of virtually no sleep.

And then Annette came to the rescue.

Annette is the nurse at the Darebin Maternal Health Care Centre on Gilbert Road, and let me tell you that she is one of The Good People. After your mum rang her on Wednesday, we went in to see her in the afternoon, at which time she issued the following sage advice:

  • Dear God woman, look at the child, he's the picture of health, he's as happy as Larry (no, punkin, I don't know who Larry is either, but I guess he's a happy guy)
  • You need to start drinking Guinness, it will help you to produce more milk
  • Stop worrying. Relax, go home and get some sleep.
This, pumpkin, was exactly what your mother needed to hear. After a couple more issues, revolving around your baby monitor's tendency to e-v-e-r s-o s-l-o-w-l-y turn itself down , and then off, during the middle of the night (resulting in some emergency electronics work (read: taking apart and banging) from your dad at 2am), we were back on track.


There you have it.

Love you.

August 18, 2005

Little Man

Little Man
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Every now and then, punkling, you'll show me a face, or move your body in a way, that lets me see the way you're going to look years from now. Last night I was privileged to catch one of those moments on film.

It's been so much fun having your grandparents here, it's been a great releif to your mum and I to have someone else around to help out when we need it. Of course, they're also a heap of fun. The photos we took down at Brighton Beach yesterday are going to remind us exactly how much fun they can be for a long time to come.

It's been such a joy to get to spend time with them, and to let them spend time with you. Obviously, they feel like they need to compress as much time with you as possible into their short stay, but I really feel like this time they've got their money's worth.

The way you interact with them, the time they get to spend watching you laugh and gurgle, playing with you, is such valuable time. For them to be able to establish this very real contact with you so early in your life is, I think, something that they will be happy about for a very long time.

I keep talking about time. I keep mentioning valuable time. I keep saying that, and I know why.
I read recently about a grandma who won't be able to spend any more time with her grandkids. A grandmother who loved her grandsons as much as your grandmothers love you, and I realised that (and not to worry, punkin, this is all about being old and boring stuff and you shouldn't worry about it) that it makes me gloriously happy every second they can spend with you.

August 16, 2005


Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
This, it would appear, punkin, is your name.

Personally, I think that it's a good name, and I hope that you like it too. It took us a long time to find it, and we went through several on the way. Going back to the time that we first wanted to get pregnant, we had your GirlName (and no, we're not telling, we're saving it) all figured out, but your BoyName was a mystery to us.

We bought books, we scoured family trees. We watched the credits on TV shows and movies, and we racked our brains. Eventually, we settled on Bram. How, I can't tell you, but when you're old enough maybe I'll show you the highlighted version of "10,000 names for babies" that we have, or give you a rundown on some of the other front-runners. Let it be said that the special names that I had set out for you failed to materialise, and that I'm sure your mother has legitimate reasons for rejecting Conan, Hendrix, Danger, Batman and Five.

Having said that, I love your name. It's short and to the point, it's been around for a long time, it's easy to spell and pronounce, and it's got a literary connection.

Most of all, though, I love it because it's yours.

Love you

August 15, 2005

Whirlwind Weekend

Lazy Afternoon
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Well, punkin, what a time that was. Your cousin and his mum and her mum came and visited us from the other side of the country, and a fun time was had by all.

Of course, you and your cousin take up a fair bit of time and energy, so the adults in the equation had to work pretty hard to make sure that you were getting everything you needed, in between making sure that we kept our faces fed. Certainly, there were culinary highlights that you may not at this stage appreciate, being a devotee of Chateau Boob '05, but give it time and I'm sure you'll be joining us at the table for such features as Fabulous Aunt Jann's Coq au Vin with mashed taters.

Having that much fun, punkin, is hard work, and so today for most of us was a chance to wind down a bit and take some time to ourselves. Your dad filled his time with videogames, your mum played with her foodblog (no link yet, it's not ready). Your grandad snoozed on the couch and your grandma went shopping. Your aunts Marie and Anne and your cousin Declan spent the day on the Big Silver Bird in Sky.

And Rae and Tony had a tiny bebe boy while we were carousing. Welcome to the gang, Albert. I think Ferris Bueller said it best...

"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Love you, and your mum, and your Grandparents, all 43 of them. And your cousins, your aunts and uncles and your godparents and our friends and, well, basically everyone except the English Cricket Team.

August 14, 2005

Best Buds

Best Buds
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Life's pretty great, when you've got a good mate. Dad can't type very well today, so this one's going to be short, but just so no-one thinks we're cloning babies, that's your cousin Declan on the right.

Love you.

August 12, 2005

Double Trouble

Double Trouble
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Let the mutual adoration society commence....

August 11, 2005

On the ground

Grandad Jon
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Safe and sound - and what a gorgeous hat your Auntie Lovely Amy bought you!

August 10, 2005

Upwardly mobile

Yay for mobiles!
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
'Tis true, punkin, that your grandparents are In The Air. I know, of course, that your concept of 'in the air' is mostly limited to the antics of the fabulous mobile that your Auntie Loz provided, but I am here to assure you that their trajectory is at a slightly higher altitude.

This time tomorrow, we will all be sitting down to our 94th* cup of tea, and your grandpa and I will more than likely be getting ready to watch the cricket.

Your mother has expressed on more than one occasion her surprise at the realisation that you will grow up Australian. That your accent will be an Australian accent, and that you will (if your Grandad Ian has anything to do with it) barrack for Australia without qualification in any and all sporting events.

Of course, being an Australian myself, I'm more comfortable with this concept, but it's here that we get to expose a fatal flaw in my experience.

Your father, punkin, for all of his continental suavenessality and panache, has never once been to Europe. Sure, he's spent several very formative years in the Yoonited States, but never once has he strolled the streets of the Left Bank, leaned out of the Tower of Pisa, walked the wall in Berlin or towered over London.

Your mum is the far better traveled of the two of us, and its to her that you will have to look for tales of Paris in the spring, New Orleans in the summer and Chennai in the dear god it's hot. Of course, she's never been to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, so I've got that going for me.

So I'm going to promise you something. I may come to regret this later when I figure out how much it's going to cost, but I promise wholeheartedly that we will see Europe for the first time together. That I'll hold your hand on the London Eye, and that I'll teach you how to order your dad a beer in five languages.

Love you

*this may be an exaggeration - more likely to be around 43.

August 09, 2005

Big Silver Bird in Sky

Looking all wistful
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's no use looking out the window, punkin. Your grandma won't be here for a few days yet.

The visit of grandparents is something that will no doubt occur on many occasions throughout your life, and likely take many different forms.

Take, for example, the following case. Your Grandad and Fabulous Aunt Jann came over to look after you for a few hours on Sunday. Ostensibly, it was so that your mother and I could go and visit a lovely photographic exhibition, but I think there may have been an ulterior motive, namely your dad's giant TV and the Carlton game.

Your mum and I got home, after grabbing some food on the way, to find our house occupied by your Unky Dave as well. Luckily your father had had the foresight to buy a sixpack of lovely beer to go with lunch, so everyone was happy. It's this kind of shambolic happy coincidence of food and wine that makes weekends so fabulous sometimes. We all sat and talked and watched the footy (yes, punkin, Carlton lost) and ate and drank and laughed.

On its way now is an extended edition of that type of joy. Your grandparents, your cousin Declan, your Aunt Marie, your Great Aunt Anne, your mum and me, we'll all be spending time with you in the coming days. Your grandparents will be arriving on Thusday morning, which is two sleeps for me, but about 9 for you, and Declan and his mob will turn up on Monday.

No-one has to go to work, no-one has any other commitments. I forsee autumn walks in the park, I see going to the market, I see long lunches and sleeping in. I see you and Declan getting more than your fair share of snuggles and tickles, cuddles and kisses. I see the pop of flashbulbs and hear the whirr of cameras working overtime. I hear the pop of winecorks and the raucous laughter of extended families.

In short, punkin, we're going to have a ball.

Love you.

August 05, 2005

Exploring Extremities

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It's been a joy and a privilege previously discussed, punkin, getting to watch you grow and become more aware of your surroundings. Your latest discovery belongs at the end of your legs, and are called feet. You're incredibly interested in the workings of these devices, but I'm not sure that you've figured out that they're permanently attached yet. Given that it's the middle of winter, you don't get to see them very often, so perhaps you will get better acquainted with them in the summer.

Speaking of summer, we got some very exciting news last night. Your Aunt Emma phoned us (yes, you have an Aunt Emma, don't worry about the details right now, suffice to say that she's been there for many of the most momentous moments in your mum's life, and that she's anxious to see you). Emma lives in Scotland and England (which is pretty clever of her, if you ask me, to live in two countries at once), and it seems that she and her beau Adam have come into some funds. I immediately said that they should spend said fundage on something ludicrously expensive, like spending summertime in Australia.

This struck as a particularly good idea, especially given how icky the winter is in Engerland (there's this cold, wet stuff called SNOW, punkin, and it's NOT NICE), and so it seems that Emma and Adam will be coming to spend Christmas with us.

This will make your first Christmas, punkin, very exciting, because all kinds of people will be here to meet you, along with your other 900,000,000 relatives. Of course, next Christmas could be a little bit different, but we'll talk about that later.

You'll notice that I haven't said anything about the fact that your grandparents are getting here in SIX DAYS.

That's because I'm terrified, and I'm trying to avoid thinking about it.

Love you.

August 03, 2005

Quarterly Results

Mum and Bram
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Bramston Pickle. Today is your 12 weekth birthday. This appears to be the point at which we swap from using weeks as the primary indicator for how old you are, to months. In which case your birthday isn't until tomorrow, at which point you will be officially 1/4 as of 1:32pm AEST.

I don't know that 1/4 is necessarily one of one's lifetime milestone birthdays, certainly to me it seems simultaneously like you've been here for no time at all, and that you've been here forever. My memories of your birth are as fresh as if they were yesterday, but your presence in our lives is so utterly overwhelming that it seems a lifetime ago that we were without you.

Posts that I wrote before you arrived strike me now as being written by a completely different person, one who had no concept of how astonishing you would be. I know that I keep harping on about my joy at being able to feel like I'm communicating with you, but I'm just trying to get across how I feel.

I got a chance this morning to talk to another new dad. A man I work with was able to say hello to his son (Tyson Jet L., if you don't mind) on the weekend, and his enthusiasm at showing me photos of his boy brought home to me how far we've both come in such a relatively short time. The mantle of 'dad' now hangs easier on my shoulders, the sound of it rolling around in my mouth no longer feels so strange.

At the same time, I feel like we're starting to get to know each other. I know that, when I lean over your bassinette in the moments after you wake, your smile is for me, that you know I'm your dad. When you snuggle closer to me while we're out and about, with you strapped onto my chest, it fills me with unspeakable pride that I'm the man you choose as your safe haven.

I haven't told you about this before, but here's a story about the day you were born.

After your various aunts and uncles had departed, your mother (who, unsurprisingly, was exhausted) had fallen asleep and I was left "holding the baby". When I took you to my chest, I was careful to hold you in my left arm. This, punkin, was so that I could use my right to fight off any wild dogs that burst into our hospital room. The strength that flowed through me in that moment, knowing that it was my job for the rest of my life to protect you, was more powerful than any emotion I'd felt before.

Since that moment, I've felt that way for every minute of every one of the days that you've been alive.

Love you.