July 03, 2007

Missing Link

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob
So, punkin, as you've probably figured out by now, I'm not at home. I'm in the wonderful, cosmopolitan city to your north, known by most as Sydney. I'm here for work, so I can at least feel like I'm doing something positive, but I miss you and your mum so very much that at times it seems to be not at all worth it.

When you rang me last night (to tell me that you were eating a rice cake), I felt my biceps contracting, wanting to reach through the ether and hold you. When I kissed you goodbye before dawn on Monday, you woke up ever so slightly, smiled, said "Daddy", and lay your hand on my face. I know, now, how it is that people can walk away from their kids and loved ones to go on business trips. They do it by steeling themselves, and by making lots of phonecalls home.

Also, in your father's case, by buying a new videogame to play in the work-furnished beige anonymous apartment.

I'll not be gone as long as I'd originally thought, and will be home to share the weekend with you the weekend after next. Of course, in the timescale of a two year old boy, that is about 4000 years, so I'm glad that I have photos of you and get to talk to you often.

Not, it should be said, that you really "get" the whole concept of telephones yet. The number of things you DO get is still astonishing us every day, most notably you have recently been showcasing your ability to count to ten (although you're not quite at the point of remembering ALL the numbers ALL the time, you DO hit the important ones. Fives are your favourite.)

We also keep finding out stuff that you already know, that we haven't taught you. Just the other day, we were at your MaMa and DadDad's house, and you pointed at the TV screen and said "castle" (rightly). The feeling of pride that got me was almost overwhelmed by the sense of confusion. As parents, I think that one makes an assumption that our child learns only what we teach them. This is clearly not the case.

You're also learning about social networks. You're fascinated by babies, to the point of asking us if we can go and visit your mate Finn (who is a tiny wee bebe). You also have friends at daycare that you know by name, and demand to see fairly often.

I'm sad that I'm going to miss two weeks of your constant changes. I'm sad that I have to be away from you.
I'm happy, though, that being away from you is making it possible for me to provide a more stable base from which you can grow, and learn, and play and eat.
I'm glad that I'm able to feel within myself that I am becoming the most important thing to be for you.
and I

Love you.

June 11, 2007

Rocket? Yeah!

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob
So yeah, punkin, it's been over a month since your dad last wrote to you. What can I say, it's not like I haven't had the time... There's been a bit of a problem with my work over the last couple of months - the man who I worked for decided he wanted to let someone else have a turn at doing the stuff I did for him, and so your dad had a lengthy period of time to play videogames.

Unfortunately punkin, and you will figure this out as you get older, there are inherent advantages and disadvantages to both employment and unemployment, the two being diametrically opposed in both the amount of free time they afford you, and the amount of money you get paid.

Being unemployed is wonderful in the amount of free time that one obtains, however the pay rate leaves much to be desired.

It is an ancient saying that one's lifestyle will automatically alter to fit one's income, however this generally only works in the expansion phase of income generation, rather than the contraction phase. We are faced, then, with a family situation that is predicated on the availability of a certain level of funding that is, at the current time, unavailable.

So your dad has been frantically surfing the intertubes, and calling people and arranging meetings. So good is your dad at this, punkin, that some people are going to pay for your dad to go On An Aeroplane to talk to them in Sydney. This is A Good Thing, but will mean that I won't be able to spend as much time with you tomorrow as I would like.

In turning two, you have changed the way you do some things, your vocabulary is expanding so fast that your mum and grandparents and aunts and uncles and I are having trouble keeping up with how many words you know now. It's now possible to have conversations with you, and to figure out what's happening in your head much more easily. It's also (and this has been stated more than once in the annals of history) constantly amusing and amazing to hear what you say. The idea that you're now able to construct sentences from words that you haven't heard together before is something that's making me feel much closer to you.

You've also found the words for cuddles and kisses, both of which you are hugely fond of, in addition to your two new friends, both called Finn.

I'll try to write to you just a tad more often, and maybe even take some new photos....

Love you,

May 04, 2007

May the Fourth be with You

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
I can tell you, punkin, exactly where I was two years ago. (point of fact, I can just click over there and read about it), but that's not the point. The point, punkin, is where YOU were two years ago.. More precisely, two years ago, you weren't.

I think I'm getting away from myself here and what I'm trying to say, because what I'm trying to say is that today is the day that's two years after the day when you were born, to say birthed. To say, then, that today, is, your birthday.

Today is your second birthday, although in point of fact it's your third, on account of your first birthday, to my reckoning, is the day you're born, but by modern counting we say that your first birthday is the one that you have when you've been around for a year, but that doesn't take account of for instance that your birth, to say the date at which you emerged, wrinkled and red and yelling, from your mother, was one year previous which may account for that postulation that today is in fact not your second birthday but rather the second anniversary of your birth.

But, punkin, and this is an important point, if you wander around saying happy anniversary to people on their birthday, they will LOOK at you punkin, very strangely. This is not to suggest that you shouldn't do it, certainly your father, who has been known to serenade your mother at full volume in the supermarket, is not averse to being LOOKED at, (which, by the by, is very different to being looked at), nonetheless it's advisable that you're aware of the possibility.

I think the point to which I'm trying, slowly and with a great deal of meandering, to get to is that I, as a father, most certainly, in any case, as YOUR father, want to thank you, sincerely and absolutely, for bringing me two years of unwavering joy.

That I tell you this every day, and maybe. now that your vocabulary has extended past "yellow" to include such favourites as "toast", "juice", "elephant", "giraffe", "Lightning" (of course) and "bed"; and to find the beginnings of sentences (the vast majority of which begin with either "more" or "no", as in more toast, no shoes), maybe now you're just about ready to hear it from my lips to your ears instead of across the years and through this keyboard.

Maybe one day soon, and I promise, punkin, I promise that I'll be hear to listen to your tiny voice, to feel your sweet breath on my ear, maybe one day soon you'll tell me back. Maybe now that you know the words for cuddle and kiss, maybe soon you'll know these ones too....

Love you,

Happy Birthday
My Sweet Prince
Abraham William Penford-Dennis

March 26, 2007


Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.

It is with sadness, punkin, that I report that your father has bowed to pressure and permitted your flowing locks to be shorn.

It should, however, be duly noted that selfsame father was adamant (ant musiiiic oh oh oh oh) that your mullet should remain, and remain it did.

You were surprisingly tractable during the haircutting process, although eagle eyed readers will no doubt have already seen the car clutched in your hot little hands. What's interesting about this car in particular, according to you, and in a very interesting vocal development, is that it's YELLOW.

We've been pointing out colours to you for some time, your grandma and grandad gave you a book about colours when they were here in January, but we weren't sure that the whole idea was sinking in. But it has, to a certain extent, which I will endeavour to explain.

The thing is, punkin, that while you're adamant (ant musiiiiic oh oh oh oh) that SOME things are YELLOW, you're also fairly positive that other things are yellow. notably things that are green. And blue or red.

Love you.

March 10, 2007

cows go moo

cows go moo
Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.

It's something of a shock, bramble, to find a farm in the centre of town. In Collingwood, to be precise.

But once we found it, we knew what we had to do. You have been telling us for weeks now, that cows go moo and that sheep go baa. You did not, however, I think, have any concept of what these animals looked like in the flesh. One day, we'll explain to you about the way that the ice cream you ate while the cow was being milked came to be, but for the moment you were content with just watching.

There were chickens and ducks and sheep and goats and pigs, but you were definitely the most impressed by the cows. We were reliably informed by you a number of times, that they go moo, and the look on your face when you first heard the noise was something I'll treasure for many years to come.

Overall, we had a fabulous time, it was a beautiful day. The battery on the camera died before we got to see some of the animals, so we're going to have to go back again to get some photos of you with pigs and goats and sheep.

Certainly, it's a venue that lends itself to revisiting.

There is a farmer's market some days, and it is thought that the children's farm would make a spectacular place to have a pickamanick.

With the ever increasing number of people we know who are becoming bechilded, we are starting to think about places that people can go that will give adults a place to lounge, relax and imbibe while children such as yourself are able to... free range.

Love you,

March 05, 2007

a fan letter

Mr Carey,

I am not, in the immortal words of one Elwood Blues, the kind of guy who writes letters. I’m not the kind of guy, especially, who writes fan letters. I am inevitably content, when reading the written word, to find for myself the slight inconsistencies, the tiny flaws, and content myself in the idea that this, then, is something I could have done myself. This book I read, in the moments before sleep, or rattling along on a tram, is something I could have come up with, if only I’d had the idea, and the plot, and managed to flesh out all the characters and find the denouement properly and clean up the second act and use the gun from the first and carry that on for 50,000 odd words.

Whenever my friends, relatives and assorted hangers on asked, Mr Carey, about why I didn’t write, me, who writes thousands of words a day, I told them with conviction that “I write all day, why would I want to write when I get home?” I also told them, and half believed it myself, that I didn’t have anything to write about. That there was no story in me trying to get out.

That changed for me the day I found out my wife was pregnant. Of a sudden, Mr Carey, there were words in me struggling to surface. There were things that I knew I wanted to tell this tiny being that couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t wait.

I started then, in August of 2005, to write a letter to my as yet unborn son. I’m still writing it. It’s on the internet, annotating dates and events, illustrated with photographs of my beautiful son.

I took it seriously. I TAKE it seriously. This ability for me, now, to speak to him, then. This ongoing one sided communication, that transcends the communication we’re able to have now. I felt, Mr Carey, wonderful about what I was doing.

Our children, we are convinced, are unique. Our feelings for them must therefore also be unique. They are not.

The fierce love with which I gaze upon my child, the total awe in which I hold his every movement, smile, giggle and jump, these are feelings that a million fathers before me and a billion afterwards will have.

Reading your book, I think, was the first time that I’ve been totally floored by another father’s eloquence in describing those feelings. I read your book in one sitting, in about 15 minutes, between the top and the bottom of Brunswick St on a sunny Monday after work.

You’ve touched me deeply with the love you’ve expressed to your wife and your baby, and I felt compelled to thank you.

Warmest Regards,
Bill Dennis.

March 03, 2007

Is the plural of museum musea?

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.

There are many, as you discovered the other day punkin, interesting things at the museum.

Naturally, being as you are, the Bram that you be, chief amongst those things were anything with wheels. This red truck was the first thing you saw when we came up to the ticket counter, and your mother was forced to accompany you in your headlong rush towards it.

As we journeyed around the rest of this magnificent cultural icon, we found some other cars and trucks for you to look at, which, to be perfectly frank, was the only thing you were interested in.

The children's section of the Melbourne Museum is truly wonderful, and you had a blast there. Sandpits, wind chimes and things to jump around on abounded, and there was a particular set of boxes that made noises when you jumped on them. These kept you amused for some time.

Once your dad figures out how to use the animation tool in Photoshop, we'll have something groovy to show everyone, but for the time being we'll just have to imagine it..

In other news, it's Monday again, and I'm busy sorting out the things on my desk into piles of "urgent", "very urgent", "extremely urgent" and "oh gosh".

That's not really what the last pile is called, but this is a G rated blog.

Love you,

February 15, 2007

Valentine my Valentine

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
You know, punkin, it was Valentine's Day yesterday. Valentine's day is all about, if we are to beleive the advertising, buying people that you love cards and flowers and chocolates and buying expensive dinners and keeping, punkin, the economy moving.

Surprisingly, your dad doesn't buy into all that.

Your mum and dad spent the evening of Valentine's Day curled up on the couch (this is, you will note, after you stopped screaming for the evening), drinking a bottle of vintage sparkling wine and watching a romantic movie after haveing steak frites for dinner.

This, though, was how we wanted to spend Valentine's Day. We wanted to have you there (although we were happy to have you in the next room and not screaming), because you are the living embodiment of our love.

That's a mushy sentiment, for sure, but it's Valentine's Day so I'm allowed to say it, and I'm allowed to say this:

That every time I look at you, I see your mum and how much I love her. That every time you smile at me, I see her smiling at me, looking at me with love in her eyes and joy in her face.

Happy Valentine's Day evey.

February 09, 2007

Bram Likes Lasagna

Lasagne 04
Originally uploaded by Grumpy in Maine.
post goes here when i get a second.

February 02, 2007

on yer bike

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.

I don't think, punkin, that I was ever prepared for seeing this. I don't think that, in the years (yes, years) that it has been since we first began planning your arrival, I don't think that I ever fully grasped the concept that I would be able to, as a Dad, get the chance to watch you go for your first bike ride.

The night before Christmas, when, as we know, all through the house blah blah blah, while I was using all of my skill and several tools to skin my knuckles and assemble your velocipede, I don't think that I knew what a charge it would bring.

When we draped a blue sheet over the assembled device, when we finally toddled off to bed, for what I'm certain was our last Christmas Eve prior to full blown major excitement, I still hadn't figured out what it would mean to me.

Some of my own most treasured memories, memories that I know I will carry forever, are of me, my dad, and my bright red bike.

When I saw you take in the fact that there was a large orange bicyclating transportater resident in our living room. When you immediately spent four minutes getting on it, getting off it, getting on it, getting off it, then getting on it and refusing to dismount.

When you mandated that you would only eat breakfast while resident on your bike, when we took it outside and your mum and I took turns to whizzzzzz you up and down the street, it was nothing short of a defining moment in my life.

I seem to be having more of these recently. It's probable that my time away from you drove home to me how much of me is you.

It's important for you to know, when you run and play and jump and laugh uproariously when I blow bubbles in the bath, that your every squeal of joy is a sonic boom that buoys my soul.

That the influx of pride that overwhelms me, watching you fall over and then get back up in your indefatigable way, dusting off your hands noncholantly and carrying on with what you were doing with no dip in confidence, it's a rush like no other.

I see this opportunity, this chance to watch you grow and learn and laugh and cry, as the greatest boon ever granted to any man.

I promise to try to remember that, next time you throw your toast at me.

Love you.

January 30, 2007

Getting off on the right foot

Originally uploaded by billyjoebob.
It seems, punkin, that we have inadvertantly caused some consternation.

That people, unbeknownst to us, have been so frustrated by us taking the summer off that they have taken drastic steps.

We do not in any way condone this kind of behaviour. The practice of "de lurking" is one that is fraught with danger, and in our opinion should be avoided at all costs.

People out there, punkin, in blogland, do however deserve an explanation for the lengthy absence of your wordy old dad, and so they shall have one.

I went on holiday.

This is not to say that I spent a great deal of time swanning about in tropical climes, sipping on drinks in coconuts and waving languidly at passersby on sparkling motorboats (although we DID go to the beach - photos on flickr).

Your dad, rather, took some time out to get a sense of perspective on life, to figure out where he was going and, more importantly, how he was going to get there.

We're happy to report that, whilst we're still not in the posession of a detailed minute by minute runsheet for the next forty years, that at the very least we're looking like we know which way is up. The frantic and drastic dervish whirling of my moral compass has slowed somewhat, and I'm able for the first time in a long time, to take stock of my actions BEFORE I'm in the middle of them.

This, you should know, is a major step.

Love you.