April 29, 2006

Working for the weekend

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Saturday Morning, punkin. You're up in your highchair gorging on your first ever meal of pancakes and milk, and your mum and I are seriously considering changing out of our pyjamas.

You would have been having banana pancakes, but bananas are currently around $20 a kilo, the same price as, say, top quality porterhouse, so they're not a huge item on your menu at the moment.

I'm playing with some new photographic techniques at the moment, one of which you can see here. This photo came about through using my hand to "bounce" the flash up to the ceiling, which results in the fractured light you can see here. One of the things I have trouble with when I'm taking photos of you is that you move very quickly, and that in low ambient light conditions I wind up with hundreds of blurry shots. Short of buying myself a ludicrously expensive speedlight, flash bounce is a relatively easy and very inexpensive way of making sure that I have enough light in the scene but at the same time avoid washing out colours, shadows and textures.

This weekend for your mum and I is going to be pretty hard work. We're tidying the house up getting ready for your big party, trying to figure out what we're going to do with all the furniture, where we're going to stash all of the detritus that we've managed to accumulate, how we're going to make our house look like we're proper parents. When I was talking to one of the people who are invited to your party (who shall remain nameless), she said that she was always scared to go to any functions with what she called "the real parents".

There's always a feeling of apprehension when you're going to see other people with kids, you're always worried that they're going to somehow see through what you're doing and realise that, as a parent, you're making it up as you go along, that somehow some others have a plan or a strategy that is better than yours. This is of course, a complete and total and utter fallacy. Nobody knows what they're doing, because no baby or child is ever, ever, ever the same. Or ever consistent.

And that's what we love about you. You keep us guessing, punkin.

Love you.

April 27, 2006

Nobody told me there'd be days like these

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
When you first become a parent, punkin, you firmly believe that you'll face large challenges. You understand that bringing up a child will be the longest, most arduous, most rewarding project of your life. You think long and hard about how you're going to make sure that your child will be given every available chance and opportunity to do well in a very complex and difficult world.

You work on scenarios in your head, and say things to yourself like "right, ok, so if we get attacked by zombies, this is our escape route, and this is what I'm going to grab on my way out the door, and that's all sorted then". You get the idea in your head as a parent, punkin, that you have many of these contingencies sorted, that you are, as they say, ready for anything.

And then some days, punkin, some days just come right up and bite you right on the bum.

Your mum had one of those days today.

It started out, as many of these things do, with a fairly simple clerical error. Your mum made two appointments that were a little bit too close together in parts of town that were a little bit too far apart. One of them involved you and one of them didn't. Her schedule for this morning, then, was always going to be a little bit frenzied.

Being, of course, the collected and together woman that she is, she had the situation in hand, and set about ensuring that she would be able to make both appointments.

She had the whole thing under control, punkin, until she looked at the clock this morning and realised that in order to make the first appointment she needed to be out of the house in 10 minutes. Juggling the kid in one hand, she got on the phone to organise the slight pushback of her second meeting. The person she spoke to didn't have the information she needed, so she asked him to call her back.

She got midway through the changing of the child, which in this case was a full costume switch, due to you having just had your breakfast, when the phone rang. She picked up the kid, not noticing that only half of the child's nappy was fastened, and headed off for the lounge to answer the phone.

It's fortunate, shall we say, that your mother was wearing brown trousers.

I think it's best that we let her tell it in her own words from here:

well first I didn't know he had pooed, because, well, because it was... fresh. And the nappy fell off just as I sat down and I couldn't see any any poo (moreover, at that point it would have been a fait accompli anyway cause as I was sitting him down I pulled him towards my knee and gravity and momentum played their parts), and I had to keep a straight face on the phone, because it was a business call and there's no polite way to say "pardon me, someone's just done a poo on my leg, do you mind if I call you back?"

Once she got herself cleaned up, as far as I understand it by shedding her brown corduroys then and there, and took care of you, she hightailed for the car, started it up and hit the road.

Noticing once she did, that she'd read the clock wrong and she was running a good hour early.

No big deal, she thought, and continued on her merry way to the child health nurse, to get there and find out that she wasn't an hour early.

She was a day early.

Love you,

April 23, 2006

Fractured Fairytales

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
For every day that we spend in raptures at your wonderfulness, punkin, for every time we rush to grab the camera and rejoice at your cuteness, there's a day like today.

A day that threatens to crush us.

We know you're trying really hard to sleep through the night, but it seems like I've been listening to you wail and whine and scream for a full 24 hours now.

You woke up about 1230 last night, and despite our conviction that we would let you cry it out, it was much, much harder than I thought it would be

Your baby's cry has a.. visceral effect on you as a parent, it's something that's almost impossible to shut out or ignore. When it goes on for hours and hours in the darkness, there's nothing for you to... cling to.

Lying in the bed, I'm willing you to subside. I'm willing you to relax, to take a deep breath, to realise that the world's not going to end if you just lie down and rest your head and be quiet for five seconds it will be ok and you'll go to sleep and everything will be fine.

Of course the next day and everyone's frazzled and you can't figure out why your mum and dad aren't their usual high-energy selves.

We've got you down for your afternoon nap, I think I might go have one too...

Love you,

April 18, 2006

No Visible Means of Support

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
In your life, punkin, you will have detractors. People will seek to belittle your efforts, and to bring disrepute to your great works.

These selfsame people could easily look at this photograph of you standing up and say "ah yes, but he was only standing up for a split second", or that a photograph is no proof that you've joined the rest of your homo sapien brethren in standing upright.

To these people, punkin, we shall say "poo poo".

Detractors, punkin, didn't say of Armstrong and Aldrin that they didn't spend long enough on the moon. They didn't say that Norgay and Hillary spent only 15 minutes on the summit. No, punkin, they didn't.

So we shall take this moment (this very brief moment) as it is. You, punkin, are standing up. That, for however short a time, you are running under your own steam. And that, punkin, makes me very, very, very proud.

April 16, 2006

Easter egg in one hand....

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
Hot Cross Bun in the other.


Love you.

April 14, 2006

Sock it to me

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It seems somehow fitting, punkin, that as we journey through these final weeks before your birthday, that we start to finally sew up some of the things that we've been trying to sort out for a while.

To that end, this easter break for me will revolve around babyproofing the living room, a project that in my case will involve finding a home for the several sets of speakers, lonely amplifiers, videogame systems and sundry items of AV equipment that clutter the edges of this room. Naturally, I'm not going to (perish the thought) throw any of it out, even though that may be going through your mother's mind.

No, I think that I'll be able to find a home for everything, although it might be a little bit cramped in your cot.

The garden's going to need a makeover too. Every time, for the past two months, I've set aside some time to mow the lawn, it's rained too much or there's been motor racing on or I've been legally obligated to take a nap. Pressing needs, punkin, must at times take precedence over mundanities such as lawnmowing.

Of course, now with the wind of a !!!PARTY!!! in the air, it has become necessary that I put aside all of these distractions and concentrate on the matter at hand.

Given the sheer scope of the job at hand, I've decided that I'll need to dedicate some serious thought and action to this project, and therefore I've taken 12 days off work. This may at first glance seem to be an inordinate amount of time to, yunno, mow the lawn and move some speakers, but it's not.

It's incredibly important, punkin, when one is undertaking a project of this magnitude, to ensure that one is adequately prepared and rested. To that end, I've devised a rigorous schedule of napping and going to the gym that will, by about Day 10, have me in absolute peak condition to embark on a meticulously procrastinatified last ditch mammoth effort to mow the lawn and clean up the back yard.

I also have to talk to my mate Jason, and find out his recipe for the party pies that were such a success at Sam's party, then do a few dry runs. This may or may not result in there being a party pie free for all at the Peeny Deeny household, depending on how successful my initial experiments are. It's entrely possible, given my success with baked goods to date in my culinary career, that it's only the puppies that will be capitalising on my burnt offerings.

Love you.

April 11, 2006

May the Fourth be with You

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
People who know you, punkin, should know that you were born on Star Wars day. Despite strong pressure from your father, your name ended up being Bram, rather than the rather more esoteric Wedge Antilles Peeny-Deeny, but yunno, we all have to give in to unrelenting resistance sometimes.

A quick glance at a calendar will tell you that the first anniversary of your birth is rapidly approaching, and, as is the custom in this part of the world, we will be Throwing A Party to celebrate.

Apparently how it works is that YOU get showered with all manner of gifts (mate I've seen some of these, you are going to be very very happy), and I get nothing.

This seems to me to be the wrong way around.

One would think, punkin, that upon the birthday of such a sterling example of babyhood as yourself, your PARENTS should be the ones who are congratulated, toasted, and showered with all manner of loot. Personally I'm a huge fan of presents, especially those with my name on them. We could change the name of it from "birthday party" to "you didn't chuck the kid out the window for another year party".

In any case, for this year at least, it seems that I've left my run a bit late, and may have to begin my campaign in earnest next year. To that end, I've made an executive decision (after some brief consultation with your mother, which may or may not have involved some threat of physical violence being perpetrated on my person) that we will, for this year, stick to the standard format.

Party pies, fairy bread, sausage rolls et al.

The date for said celebration to end all celebrations has been set as the Sunday after your birthday, which appears to be the 7th of May, and festivities are scheduled to begin around 2 in the PM and cease around 5. Food, it seems, will be provided for all manner of freeloaders and sundry drop-ins, although any plonk they are clutching in their hot little hands will be confiscated on entry and evaluated to determine their seating position in relation to the birthday boy.

Avid readers of this particular corner of the intarweb should take this post to be an invitation, and should email your dad here for address details.

April 10, 2006

Everybody's talking at me

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
With the thought of you talking to me soon, i think that some part of me is sad about the idea that we're going to lose some of the communication that we've been enjoying to date.

The looks that pass between us, the sly grins, the cheeky smiles and the flat out guffaws that you emit sometimes drive me wild.

I think that it's possible that we'll keep this connection. I certainly hope so. I know that with my dad, there's a particular way that he can hold his head, a glint that he can get in his eye that will send me and my siblings into hysterics every time.

I know, of course, that you're going to spend at least a couple of years in your mid teens in which you'll think I'm the most boring and ridiculous man on the planet, but at some stage subsequent to that (and probably only after you have your own children, in the case of a particular subset of humour known as 'dad jokes'), you'll start to laugh at me again. I mean laugh with me again.

Being a person who is not caught up with the beleif that certain portions of one's life can be shared with only one parent (and being blessed, punkin blessed, with rather more than the normal complement of parental people in my life), it's my great joy to bring you the best dad joke I've ever had the pleasure to hear, and it's not one that was told to me by your grandad.

Your grammy, who along with being rowdy, also has a substantial collection of terribly amusing jokes and riddles, with one in particular being such a perfect example of the ouvre that I feel obliged to repeat it here, in the hope that I won't be exposed to any undue problems from its publication, and in the hope that, at least for the next few months, and again about 25 years after that, you'll think it's funny.

Q: What's the difference between a librarian and a butcher?
A: One cuts up meat, and the other one stamps books.


Love you.

April 08, 2006

Standing Ovation?

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EDIT: Whilst it's easy to hear Bramble saying "mum" at the end of his great trek across the living room, I feel obliged to point at that he's looking at me while he says it. The sounds that he's making now certainly have identifiable components to them, and often it sounds like he's saying something, but we have yet to see him actually associate a word with anyone or any concept.

April 04, 2006

One plus One Equals.... ELEVEN!

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
You're eleven months old today, punkin. Looking at you heading off to daycare this morning, clad in your first ever flannel shirt and wearing shoes for the second full day, I'm ready to use words that I last used when speaking of Jerry Garcia. What a long, strange trip it's been.

In just these last weeks, I've begun to feel closer to you than ever before. My sense of being able to communicate with you grows every day, and the babblings that are coming from your mouth every second of every day are getting closer and closer to words.

We're sure that you're going to continue to surprise us, and that every day is going to continue to be an adventure. This next month running up to your first birthday will, I think, hold more than a few milestones for us, and I'm glad that we're going to have a chance to share them with you.

The sleep thing has popped up again, you've been delighting us this past week or so with consistent waking and screaming about every 2 hours until you get fed, but we're going to let it go until your mum has a day off work so that we can dedicate our full attention to what is known as the CIO method.

Crying It Out will be similar to things we've tried before, in fact I'm thinking it will be almost exactly the same, but I'm going to take my headphones home from work just in case it gets worse than it has been before. I know that there are people who say that leaving you to cry is Cruel and Unusual and that we're bad parents for doing it, but they, punkin, can stick it up their jumpers.

Love you.