IN WHICH OUR YOUNGEST CHILD WORRIES THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF US….. AGAIN

We had a bit of extra money drop into the account this week, so it was decided, on the way home from work yesterday, to swing into the shop and pick up the Christmas layby. Yes, we had the kids with us, but that wouldn’t be a worry– the stuff you layby is always wrapped up in thick black plastic bags and is pretty damn unidentifiable.

Quick lesson: if you’ve forgotten that you’ve bought your daughter a hula-hoop, she’s gonna notice when they bring it out. Unwrapped.

Bugger.

So we apologise to Erin, and ask her what she wants to do– would she like it now, or would she like to wait until her birthday, knowing that it will be one of her presents?

Before she can reply, we get this from Connor:

“I know! What if we cut her head open, pull her brain out and replace it with another brain so that she doesn’t remember?”

His sister’s reply? “Ummmmm, I think I’ll wait.”

Connor. The problem solving animal.

SOME DAYS, YOU GET THE BEAR

Today has just been one of those days where the good arrives in numbers.

This weekend is Luscious Lyn’s annual Jehovah’s Witness convention, so this morning the kids and I dropped her off at the Burswood Dome and shuffled into the Perth City Centre to pick up Blakey Boy’s birthday presents for next weekend.

As always, kids + me + Perth = the museum, to gape at the mummified thylacine, boggle at the size of the muttaburrasaurus skeleton, open all the drawers in the discovery centre, and generally run up and down the corridors pretending to be dinosaurs. Where the kids used some of their going-out money to make their Mum a badge because they decided she needed one to make up for not being with us. And the birthday-shops in question had mega-cool stuff just begging to be Blaked. And Connor was pulled out of the crowd around a street magician to be his assistant for a bunch of tricks. And even the happy meals the kids had for lunch contained exactly the right random toys to make them happy (A Wolverine for Connor and a singing Smurf for Erin.)

An anonymous street magician and the C-Train deliver the famous ‘Making Sure the New Pope is a Fella’ trick….

I, of course, did not have a kiddie-toy happy meal. Because I had already picked up these in the shop before lunch. I am 40, and I play with grown up toys….

Even my Ninjago will be ex-ter-mi-nated….

And to top it all off, my first short story acceptance in several months has dropped into my inbox this evening. Subject to editorial requests, Comfort Ghost will appear in the upcoming ASIM 56. I’ll let you know when.

Some days, everything comes up sunny.

SIGH. HALF OF THAT GENETIC MATERIAL COMES FROM ME…..

Connor runs into the reading room, throws himself onto his back on the floor and starts waving his arms and legs about, shouting “bubble bubble, bubble bubble”. Then he rolls over onto his face and lies very still. He does this three times, then yells “I’m pancakes!” and runs out of the room again.

I go quietly back to my book and try not to think about him choosing my nursing home….

As if that wasn’t enough for the week, a couple of days later I wander into the kitchen to find Luscious  laughing her shapely ass off. The young master has recently held the view that curly-haired people know everything. Why? a) because he has curly hair, and just possibly b) because his curly-haired father has told him so 🙂

So, in proving some arcane point of 5-year old’s knowledge to his mother, they have this conversation:

LYN: How do you know?
CONNOR: Curly haired people know everything.
LYN: But I’m your Mum.
CONNOR:Yes.
LYN: Mum’s know everything.
CONNOR:…..Yyyyessss…..
LYN: And I have straight hair.
CONNOR: Yes.
LYN: So how do I know everything if I don’t have curly hair?
CONNOR: (Pausing just long enough to trick his Mum into thinking she has him out-logicked). I’ve made you some!

De-FEATED!

TAKE THAT, CHILDISH SENSE OF WONDER!

Driving home from the Worlds Next Door launch, Lyn spots Venus out the car window and points it out to the kids, which prompts us to have a conversation about the planet, and why it’s so bright, and all of that sort of kiddie-inspiring sensawunda stuff. Shortly afterwards….

CONNOR: (gasps) Venus is following us!
ME: Oh no! Maybe it’s stalking us!
LYN: Maybe it’s because women are from Venus, and it can see there’s two girls in the car so it’s attracted to us and wants to be with us!
ERIN: Yeah, or maybe it’s just that Venus goes around the sun the same way Earth does so it looks like it’s moving at the same speed Earth is.

Well. Yes. Maybe it’s that.

Fuck you, childhood world of magic.

HIGH FIVE!

5 years of my wondrous, joyous, wildly brilliant boy.

He can’t decide whether he’s going to be an astronaut or the Stig when he grows up, so he plans to be both. He knows that his secret Santa is Santa, and is the terror of face-painting ladies everywhere with demands to be made up as The Hulk or Four-Arms or (on one memorable occasion), two dragons fighting. When he hugs he does it with his entire body—arms, legs, and head—and he is the inventor and proud copyright owner of the noggin bonk kiss. He will be the first man to set foot on Mars, and while he’s there he’ll probably wee-write his name in the sand for a laugh.

He is unutterably, indisputably, and infinitely precious to me. I would burn the world rather than see him suffer a single moment of pain or misery.

Happy birthday, my beautiful little boy.

SNIPPETAGE

BIT THE FIRST: SCIENCE, THE LAND OF 2ND-HAND COMEDY

Just when you think paleoscience is a field populated by old guys with their long, receding silver hair tied back into ponytails that weren’t even fashionable when they were supposed to be, and whose language and interests are as dry and dusty as the fossilised turds they spend half their lives digging out of some godforsaken desert (Actually, I don’t really think that. I’ve always wanted to be a paleontologist, always always always, and frankly, I’m just bitter and jealous because it never happened), comes this wonderful bit of comedic happenstance to help you realise that these guys just have to be as brilliant and cool as their jobs.

The thagomizer. Use it in conversation today.

BIT THE SECOND: WTF QUESTIONS

For no reason at all, whilst driving in the car with Connor this morning, in the midst of no conversation at all, out he pops with this question:

Daddy, do penguins do popoffs?

Where’s the chapter on that, Christopher Green, you bastard?*


BIT THE THIRD: I KNEW HIM WHEN HE WAS JUST A FOLK SINGER

Anyone who’s been paying attention will know that I’ve been pimping one Jason Fischer as the next great thing in Australian SF.

He’s just won first prize in his quarter of this year’s Writers Of The Future.

Prophecy ful-fucking-FILLED, baby!

Boy’s gonna be a legend, mark my words.

*Christopher Green refers, of course, to the well-known Australian parenting author, not the uber-cool, long-haired, mad as a cut snake, Gene-Simmons-boots-wearing Melburnian SF author, who is a pal and almost 100% guaranteed not to be a bastard. Although he may be Mafia.

A CONGREGATION OF CANTLETS

1. I’m sick, Connor is sick, we go to the doctor’s for a checkup. It’s sniffles and running noses all round, so it’s bound to be just a cold, but Connor’s got a chesty cough and I need the sick note for work, so we find our nearest medical centre and make an appointment.

This is our first visit to a doctor in Mandurah, so Connor receives The Talk before we go. Once there we’re called up; enter the doctor’s room, and the doctor, who is the kind that keeps a big plastic tub of his jelly beans on his desk, turns to Connor first. After the usual “What’s your name? And how old are you?” pleasantries, and assurances that no needles will be utilized (Connor’s current doctor fear); he asks Connor what’s wrong with him.

“I have Spine Flu!” is my son’s cheery reply.

He earns three jelly beans for that one.

2. I’ve written the beginning of the novel. I’ve written the end. I’ve written 80 000 words of the middle. It’s just the remaining 20 000 words of holes that I’m having trouble with. Between work, overtime, the house, my family and my own natural inclinations I just can’t get it together to make a concerted effort at finishing it off. It’s enough to prove that I’ll never be successfully serious (or vice versa) as a novelist. I’d be less worried if I was any good at my job. Meanwhile, those whose career arcs roughly parallel my own sail into book deals with Orbit, Harper Collins and the like…

3. My third period of mentorship for the AHWA is drawing to a close, and third time is likely to be the last. Much as I enjoy it, I’m unsatisfied by my efforts this time round—disruptions have been plentiful, and I don’t feel like I’ve given my mentees value for money. I do what I can, but am beginning to think that what I can do isn’t enough any more. It’s time to take stock of what I want to do, and what I need to do, and put one before the other.

4. I’d be able to get medication if I could translate all this ennui into full-blown depression, but it seems like too much hard work.

5. Every time I think I should just chuck it all in and become a professional poker player I go online and some bugger beats me with something like a 7-3 off suit.

6. We finally get around to watching the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. It’s enjoyable, for the most part, although I’m of the opinion that it starts fantastically well and then gets more and more ordinary as it progresses. Late that night, Lyn and I lie in bed together and dissect the movie, and I’m struck by an experience I’ve not had to such an extent since Independence Day—that of thoroughly enjoying a movie whilst watching it but then discussing it afterwards to the point of considering it a failure. It’s a strange experience, to persuade oneself of an opposing viewpoint after the direct experience. We are agreed, however, that Keanu Reeves has found his niche over the last decade or so. As Lyn said, after the Matrix movies, Constantine, and the terminally tedious A Scanner Darkly, she can’t think of another actor as suited to effectively playing characters so utterly removed from even the most basic of human emotions.

7. No such trouble earlier in the day, when we watched Igor with the kids—that one stayed ordinary all the way through…

8. If Captain Beefheart, Captain Sensible, and the Captain from Captain & Tennille were all on the same ship, how would they decide who got to steer?

TIDBITS TO TIDE YOU OVER

Things are still mega busy at the new Batthome, so just to keep in contact, a couple of thoughts–

ON THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Is the anything funnier than seeing a fat, shirtless, toothless Geordie man crying?

ON POULTRY BEHAVIOUR

So to bide our time while Mum nipped into the shop, Erin, Connor and I sat in the car and told each other jokes. I was still crying with laughter from this effort when Lyn got back:

ERIN: Connor, why did the chicken cross the road?
CONNOR: (Pauses for well over half a minute while he contemplates possible answers. Finally….) Because he’s stupid?

Laugh? I nearly wet myself.

More soon, with added substance!

AND AT THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM

Our little boy has started kindy. And he does love it with an all-encompassing four year old’s love.
And he’s too damn cute to boot 🙂


This photo taken two hours before first day of school actually due to start.

Off at last, off at last, God Almighty, off at last!

If you’re not going to eat them, ‘tag and release’ is really the most humane option

Let the laaaaaaaaaaaaaarnin’ BEGIN!

TWEET TWEET

  • Ooooh, I could turn Corpse-Rat King for home, or I could add another section right here and stretch it out a bit. Both options look good.
  • Mad Max. Top Gun. If someone wants to nickname you ‘Goose’, just say no.
  • @seanlindsay Corpse Licker?
  • @seanlindsay No! No! (wait for it): CORPSE FELCHER!!!!!!!
  • She *said* multi-story parking, but I *heard* Montessori parking. “Oh, park where you want. As long as you get there in your own time…”
  • @seanlindsay Crossing lines is what Tiggers do best 🙂
  • Hope everyone is having a great time advancing their careers while I sit here ploughing through my first draft. (utters exaggerated sigh)
  • #review140: Mad Max and Bolt (now *there’s* a double feature)– twitter.com/review140
  • I know it’s my job to make sure he grows up speaking well, but I’m really going to be sad the day Connor stops caling lemonade “ermonade”
  • My little boy’s first day at kindy. The house is all a flutter, especially young Mister Excited 🙂
  • Picked up Connor from his first day at kindy. All my kids at school: what a weird feeling! #

HOW TO MAKE YOUR DADDY’S HEART GO ALL SMOOSHY

Connor lying in bed, settling down to sleep. Me lying next to him, reading. A little hand comes over my chest and wriggles upwards until it’s nestled in the crook of my neck.

CONNOR: I want a huggle.

I scoosh down, and we huggle. The next exchange takes place in whispers.

CONNOR: I love huggles.
ME: Me too.
CONNOR: I love huggling you.
ME: I love huggling you too.
CONNOR: I love you.
ME: I love you. You’re my favourite little boy.

Short pause. Connor shmooshes his face into my cheek.

CONNOR: You’re my favourite big boy.

Internal awwwwwwwwtometer duly explodes….

TWEET TWEET

  • Crap, it’s morning. Lunch with stepdaughter today, plus editing novel so I can show agent I haven’t just been avoiding her for last 6 months
  • There’s a fine but significant, difference between “secret cross-dressing Nazi” and “secret Nazi cross-dresser”
  • Number of times my wife will tolerate me answering a “Where did the (thing) go?” question with “Silicone Heaven?”– once.
  • Lessons my 4 year old has just learned- don’t blame things on the 7 year old when she’s been at her Nanna’s house since Friday.
  • Best way to stop the 4 year old chucking a paddy because he wants to drink the vinegar? Let him 🙂
  • “Would you like some more?” ……………………………………………………. (little voice) “No fanks you” :))))

OOOOOOH, SCARRRRRYYYYYY….

So for reasons known only to themselves, Erin and Connor have decided to tell each other scary stories every time we go out in the car. Today, Connor goes first.

CONNOR: There a scary monster. And he climb the stairs!
ME: (After a pause) That’s scary, Connor. Is there any more?
CONNOR: Dum dum DUMMMMMMM!

Short pause while I crash the car…..

HIT AND RUN

Now, normally, when Connor has one of his so-painfully-ridiculous-it-could-only-happen-to-the-C-train accidents, there’s an element of comedy involved, even if it’s hidden way down deep and available only as an Easter egg on the extras DVD of his life…. but not today.

Today, while he and his Mum were walking back from dropping Erin off at school, he was run over by a kid on a bicycle. Ploughed under by a little bastard who then raced off without making sure he was okay, because, as we found out later, he “thought he’d get away with it.”

Erudite readers may realise, from that last sentence, that he didn’t.

Later in the day, after she’d taken him to the doctor, and had all his contusions cleaned up and dressed, and received the news that they won’t be able to tell whether the mess his nose has become is broken until the swelling goes down, Lyn went to the school to make a complaint. After all– one of their students, on their grounds, during school hours. If we were going to receive any medical bills, they were going to be forwarded somewhere.

And guess what? Someone had seen the incident, and reported the kid to the office. And he’d been identified. And slapped with detentions. And once they copped a look at Connor, they upped the ante– more detentions, and now his parents are going to be brought in to have the matter discussed in the sort of detail that I can only hope leads to him nto being able to sit on that bike for a very long time.

So: kudos to the person who did the rigth thing and reported the little shit’s actions, and kudos to the school for taking the matter seriously and acting quickly and decisively to instigate appropriate consequences.

But, still– my little boy may have a broken nose, and still– he’s spent the day in a daze, and still– someone out there hurt my little boy. And I’m consumed by rage when I consider what could have happened, and how a ten year old kid can do something so heartless and then ride away as if nothing had happened.

Simple rule, people: hurt my child, run for your life.

NO REST UNTIL… WORK TOMORROW?

There are times when having a big backyard and jumbo sized patio makes this house the best investment we’ve ever made.

Yesterday, for example.

Whilst a dozen kids aged between Jack (one) and Cassie (seventeen) rampaged their way back and forth from sandpit to swings to multi-ball brandy to climbing logs and back, we adults who had gathered for Erin and Connor’s joint birthday get together sat around the patio table in relative peace and quiet, quaffing mint juleps and watching the sun set over the cotton fields….. okay, so we had a sausage sizzle and beer and stuff, but it was still good. And Connor and Erin made out like bandits, the lucky doers.

We started the occasion with an influx of friends and family at 11am, and ended it 12 hours later with our in-laws and Cassie & her fiance Mark, who had been unable to get to our place before the evening due to work. We had a brilliant time, and the kids were in kid heaven, so a big thank you to everyone who joined us.

Now to clean up…..

FULL OF SUGAR, SHOWERED WITH GIFTS, HAPPY

Well, we managed to avoid a watermelon dinner 🙂

Thanks to a concerted campaign from Mummy, the brand-new four year old settled on tacos for tea, and scored himself a whopping great jam doughnut for his dessert. Needless to say, he was pleased with his choices, as were the rest of us– much wolfing down was accomplished.

And see if you can guess what present he loved most– the play-doh and accessory set from the whole family; the two Ben 10 Alien Force figurines (Spidermonkey and Swampfire, I’m told, for those with a need to know. I know them only as ‘the blue one’ and ‘that one looks pretty cool’) from the same source; or the Ben 10 soccer kit his big brother Aiden bought him?

I’ll give you a hint: he’s sleeping with his shinpads on….

I think it’s fair to say he had a good birthday 🙂

LAUGHING MY ASS OFF

When the kids have a birthday, one of the things we do is let them have whatever they want for dinner— doesn’t matter if it’s McDonalds or Chinese or Sizzler or something home cooked, as long as it’s not too outrageous, they get what they ask for. For Aiden’s birthday, went out to our local curry house. For Blake we made pizza pie and home-made wedges, and so on. We asked Connor this morning, fully expecting the answer to be one of pizza, sushi, or McDonalds.

He said ‘pineapple’

He’s said ‘pineapple’ now for just on 5 and a half hours. Until Lyn rang me five minutes ago to say she’d finally, after 5 and a half hours of solid negotiation, managed to get him to change his mind.

Now he wants watermelon……