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.