Friday, 15 June 2007

Sleepyheads

After school my daughter and I stop off at the park. We sit in the shadow of the Albert Memorial sucking Fabs and chatting. I learn an awful lot over lollipops. Today she tells me how PC Turtle came to visit her nursery.

“What did he do?” I asked, unsure if she was telling me about a book or something real.

“He talked to us about strangers.”

“What did he say?”

“You don’t talk to them.”

“Very good. Anything else?”

“If you tell somebody, they’ll run away.”

At first I wonder if this is all a bit too much at three and a half. But then I realise we’ve already had the same conversation. I don’t really think she understands what a stranger is though, if she did she wouldn’t speak to anyone at all.

On the way back home she falls asleep, with her legs daintily crossed and her hand under her chin. We gently squeak to a halt (the silent Prius parking means the manoeuvre is all clanking and swishing). I carefully lift her out of her seat. Perhaps a little too carefully. After I’ve gone a few steps she raises her head suddenly and sings loudly

“I like to move it, move it….”

“What?” I ask, open-mouthed.

“It’s from Madagascar ,daddy.”

We bought the DVD a few months ago and haven’t watched it since then. Don’t ask me why or how it came into her mind at that moment.

“IS it?” I laugh. She laughs. We both laugh.

After lunch it’s my turn. I close my eyes, sitting on the sofa, while children’s programmes play. Music threads its way through my consciousness as I drift in and out of sleep. Nothing I can quite put my finger on, but flashes of youth, summer, the days before marriage and children.

Daylight crashes back in, accompanied by a hard jab in my leg

“Wake up daddy.”

“What?” I yawn.

“I don’t want you to be asleep.”

“Why?”

“We need to watch together.”

I watch, as an insane-looking presenter fashions a snowflake out of talcum powder and a doily.

“Now, concentrate daddy” advises my daughter.

26 comments:

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Yeah, but aren't you lucky that she doesn't make you watch Big Brother!

beta mum said...

I find stranger danger a bit of a difficult one at that age, when they're never on their own.
My daughter used to tell me not to strike up conversations with other parents in parks when she'd just had an earful of it at nursery - and I'm very chatty when in a park with the kids.
Statistically it's people they know they should be avoiding, and you can't tell them that.
I've talked about it to Ben recently as he goes to the shop on his own, but I don't want them to live in fear either.
Tricky.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

What a lucky little girl your daughter is to have a wonderful daddy. I remember sitting on park benches with lollipops, discussing everyday stuff with Amy.
Now I just sit on park benches.

Motheratlarge said...

Nice posting, Stay at Home Dad. Enjoyed it. Ah, those balmy pre-children days, I often dream of them, yet miss daughter so badly whenever away from her.. nope, it doesn't make sense. I'm adding you to my blogroll, by the way. :)

Stay at home dad said...

No, Wakeup, it will be a while until that. And in fact this is the first year I've weaned myself off it!

BM, it is an odd one. And you're right of course about the people (men) they know being the most dangerous. I will have to work extra hard on that one, since she is possibly more used to men than many.

CJ we all know I'm the lucky one! What a poignant remark; mind you if I sat on my own near a playground I'd probably be moved on...

Thank you M@L. Yes, I feel the same way, exactly. And as you can see I can't find the sense in any of it either. Thanks for the blogroll. Will update mine shortly.

mutterings and meanderings said...

SAHD, I have got you with a tag that asks specific questions. Come to my blog for more details ...

@themill said...

'Wrapped around her little finger' I think is the expression. Lovely blog

Stay at home dad said...

M&M, I've avoided this until now but I'll come and take a look...

Thank you @TM. I'm actually quite strict. Really!

carrie said...

That song is one of my daughter's favorites too.

That, and some Coldplay song that she insists is from "The Wild" (the Madagascar knock-off).

They crack me up!

Carrie

Dad Stuff said...

Conversations with children are great to peek into their world.

My daughter likes the song "Who Let the Dogs Out!", complete with woofs.
Great post.

Stay at home dad said...

I had never heard my daughter sing it before and she's been singing it non-stop now. All very odd, but good she's not the only one Carrie!

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Dad Stuff and thank you. Yes, it's a different world. Listening to that song must be a cracking experience...

Omega Mum said...

It's a difficult one. I think you have to find your own way through it all. It's the problem of giving them advice that makes sense - children are so quick to spot flawed logic. But it's a lovely bit of writing.......

Stay at home dad said...

Yes OM. Logic doesn't seem to be the province of us adults. Thank you, much appreciated.

Jan said...

It COULD be very useful....this special doily, so DO wake up and concentrate, SAHD!

Iota said...

I run workshops teaching parents how to sleep with their eyes open. You might find it a useful skill.

My daughter likes those drinking yoghurts you can get, and has adapted the Madagascar song to "I like a smoothie, smoothie". (Or did I think of it myself and teach her? Can't remember.)

Stay at home dad said...

I know, Jan, I know. And you never know when, either...

Useful Iota. Please tell me more. I like a snoozie, snoozie...

dulwichmum said...

You are a lovely lovely daddy. I had a daddy like you. I am glad for your little girl. You really make me smile.

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you so much Dulwich Mum. Like most dads I try my best. And how nice that you speak so fondly of yours.

DJ Kirkby said...

Ah isnt that just the worst?! I find myself silently pleading for each show to end. Happy Father's day, hope it was a wonderful one for you.

Stay at home dad said...

I think you have to be very relaxed to watch kids' TV... and I am wearing my present now!

Drunk Mummy said...

FAB ice lollies - instant nostalgia! I used to snooze on the sofa during kids TV programmes too. Although I used to call it 'just resting my eyes.'

Stay at home dad said...

Yes, it is nostalgia on a stick... You've reminded me now of how I used to dislike my parents sleeping in my presence. Is it a security thing I wonder?

Elsie Button said...

reading this made me can't wait til betty is talking and coming out with the wonderful, sweet, and amazing things that children do. not that i'm wishing her baby months away... babies are pretty amazing too.

what's the weather like in london today? it's shit here. this, plus post holiday blues.. :-(

Stay at home dad said...

Hi Elsie, sounds like you had a nice time. Yes, it's fun when they can communicate with you and easier in many ways too.

Pouring down here one minute, then sunny the next. Perfect weather for going swimming...

Scott said...

Great writing. Why did you stop?