Saturday, 28 June 2008

Space and Time

The seagulls followed us home. I watch in the playground as they skid overhead yelping and flapping. Then they are gone. I wonder why they were here, where they are going.

My daughter slams into me and hugs my legs, her face pressed sideways and arms spread wide. I try to enjoy these moments. I know you must. But still time leaches through me. As I hug her in return I can feel it escaping between my arms.

I have a new feeling now, in the playground. I stand watching my daughter as she jumps up and down climbing frames, remembering the early faltering steps, the clutching at the handrail, the worried looks back. Then I would loiter nearby, ready to catch her if she fell, now I hardly need to pay attention.

My daughter sees me looking upwards and follows my gaze.

“Can birds touch the sky daddy?”

Her questions have become more tricky. She throws queries out and expects a neatly packaged response. It takes more knowledge than I have to do it properly. People write books on these sorts of things. I tell her something about air and wings.

“Oh.” she says, seriously. Then her little lop-sided smile returns. “Pretend I’m a fairy, daddy.”

I pretend and she whirls around the playground in her fairy world. A little girl about eighteen months old stands watching her in fascination, the way my daughter used to look at the older girls. My daughter skips around her, stops, smiles and moves on. When we leave the playground I say to her

“That little girl is the same age as you were when I started looking after you. What do you think about that?”

“Hmm” she says. “Can I have an ice cream?”

49 comments:

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Sweet, as always.

David Derbyshire said...

Time plays some funny tricks on us. My daughter is five now. It doesn't seem that long ago when she was tiny and I started looking after her. Come to think of it, it doesn't seem that long ago that I was single; the last seven years have flown by.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

oh it's horrid to think that they're growing up. I try to savour every moment, but sometimes I'm too frazzled (or sozzled)fully appreciate. Then some older, wiser person will tell me all about what it's like when they don't roll home until 3am, and I realise I should be paying more attention now.

Top tip: always refer tricky questions to your other half, 'ah, now that's a question for Daddy...' always works a treat.

So good to have you back SAHD, for a while there I thought Elsie B had taken over your blog. Shocking behaviour.
Pigx

Elsie Button said...

blimey, children ask the most amazing questions, don't they. What exactly did you say to her about air and wings?! I am going to be rubbish at answering such questions, and will send Betty to her dad for an answer. I remember when i used to teach, a little girl asked me a question about where fairies lived and i gave her such an elaborate and wild answer that it got back to the head, and i got a telling off!

Stay at home dad said...

She seems do do it with no effort at all. Thank you xbox.

I understand totally, david. My daughter will be five in the autumn. Although I can't remember being single - sounds relaxing though...

Er Pig, I am her daddy. Yes, it's always irritating when someone hijacks your blog with better material. Thanks and enjoy your holiday.

Ah Elsie. Lol at your story. Usually I do come up with something, but on that one I just kind of burbled into silence. There's not really an answer as such is there...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I was using 'Daddy' in the liberal sense, meaning 'Mummy' in your case.

Keep up Sahd.

Stay at home dad said...

Nobody can answer those questions. There should be a handbook or something...

Can Bass 1 said...

What ho! SAHD. Nice post (and what a lot of friends you have!). Anyway, enough of this airy parsiflage - I see from your profile that you claim to be 'strangely obsessed' with G&S. Strange is the word. I prescribe a hearty dose of Palestrina - starting with the Missa Papae Marcelli, on a loop if necessary. That should cure you.

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you can bass. It isn't Gilbert and Sullivan, it is Gilbert O'Sullivan, which may be worse. Anyway the Palestrina will probably cure that too, thanks for the tip...

The Dotterel said...

I remember those moments in the park. It won't be long now before my daughter takes her little brother through the moves...

Stay at home dad said...

None of that for me... Once it's gone it's gone. Good luck to you the dotterel!

DJ Kirkby said...

I love that she was more concerned about ice cream than your comment! I expect that wont change until she is much, much older if our teenage boys are anything to go by.

Stay at home dad said...

That will change, DJ?! Thanks for coming by...

The Grocer said...

Good to have you back. Your post as many before seems laden with melancholy, great image as usual though.
Now on to business as I'm about to have no career having sold The shop, what about this Handbook, perhaps we could pitch an idea to one of these publisher types. How about "The Answer Book for Dads"?

The Esk said...

SAHD, you've hit an interesting point. The evolution of parental responsibilities at the playground is very subtle, moving from hovering next to your charge watching every move to eventually sitting on the bench, reading a paper wondering how quickly one can say "time to go"

rosiero said...

My daughter was that age yesterday. A small cuddly bundle of non-stop questions and make-believe. Today she is 16...soon to be 17. Make the most of your little girl - the time just zooms past.

Jan said...

Good to read you again and hear more re this daughter of yours. She's growing up fast and it's great to see!
Enjoy it all, including the happiness of moving on..to new exciting things.
Memories will keep if well stored and can always be reached if needed.

Stay at home dad said...

Hello The Grocer - hmm, that's me laden with melancholy good description. Book is a good idea alright, we must talk more...

Hi The Esk. Yes there is always evolution. I just find it scary.

Rosiero, I can believe your timings, time moves fast when you are focusing on something else.

Thanks for giving me the nudge to do more Jan, much appreciated. This is a useful box for the memories.

Sparx said...

I can imagine this happening to us soon - today I passed someone with a small baby and though that only a year and a half ago, that was us... great post as always.

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks sparx. Yes, you can see why people go for a second one...

Maggie May said...

Sweet! She reminds me of my little granddaughters in so many ways. They are a blessing, aren't they?

Stay at home dad said...

Hi maggie. They certainly are ... and nice for you to have it all over agin.

Millennium Housewife said...

The cute bit goes so quickly doesn't it? A lovely, evocative post. Just think of all you have ahead; hormones, boyfriends, blaming you for everything, becoming simply The Wallet, driving lessons, pubs, worry worry worry... Ah, lets hang onto the early years... MH

Hadriana's Treasures said...

There's a special mention of you over at my blog SAHD. Like the mention of the ice cream...not a day goes by...without the mention of one by our nearly five year old. Hard to put her off though.

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you millenium housewife. Yikes, is it that bad?!

Hi hadriana. It is the season isn't it... thanks I will come over...

CrazyCath said...

Your sweet memories are a lovely time capsule away from the madness. Sometimes I just come here to bask in it again, it's stillness, the moment, the magic.
Thanks again for sharing.

Anna said...

I just want to say that we appreciate that you bring a fresh, new style to blog writing! Congratulations on such a nicely developed narrative and in sharing those special moments. We included your blog in wrap of of stay-at-home dad blogs at m80parents.blogspot.com

Best, Anna

Stay at home dad said...

crazycath, thank you so much, that is such a kind thing to say.

Thank you anna, I will take a look.

Livvy U. said...

Your 'nudge' worked...thanks, I think. Now, where's your next, I need a good read.
Livvy

Stay at home dad said...

I'm glad livvy! I'll come and see and your point is taken. And thank you.

Lilly said...

hi SAHD! lovely to read about your thoughts and adventures again. "Take a moment" with your little girl... soon the hormones will kick in and she'll be someone completely different. They "come back" at around age 24. You sound sad, though. Hope everything's okay. x

Stay at home dad said...

Hi lilly. Thanks and I will! I'm sad she's happy - that seems to be the way it is....

Monique said...

I think at-home dads rock! I was quite the daddy's girl growing up too and think it's so sweet how your little girl has such a great bond with you. I love your blog! Oh, and since you are an at-home dad I thought you might like to check out the short documentary on my blog about other at-home dads in San Francisco.

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks monique, it's kind of you to say, and I will check out your film.

@themill said...

Snooping around the edges of Blogland on this grim day. Lovely posts as always SAHD, but the small boy who used to hold my hand as we watched the waves is now living in your new neck of the woods. He was probably surfing at Baggy Point. Tempus fugit...

Stay at home dad said...

Hello @tm, nice to see you. Yes, time flies but you can sometimes hitch a ride....

Lilly said...

Soooo.... are you writing a book then? That must be why you're not writing in your blog... okay, I'll wait patiently for the book. Hope all's well with you! x

Scribble said...

At last I've found a new blog to enjoy. I've been around quite a few this morning. I seem to have come across a lot of 'Mummy' blogs but they all seem like strong minded and politically savvy warrior women rather than 'Moms' (nothing wrong with that of course) and all bang on about Obama and his battles for presidency! How refreshing to find a Dad. Thanks Scribble

Stay at home dad said...

Thank you Lilly but you will be waiting a log time - I have tried and failed.... I will be posting soon though. Thanks for coming by.

Thanks Scribble - glad you are refreshed!

anyscribbles said...

Hi again SAHD,
I've so enjoyed reading through your archives and am sorry I have come to the final post. I noticed there are quite a lot of gaps, weeks without posts and that you write less these days. Are you working on anything else? I think the descriptive element in your writing is excellent and very readable. I see no reason why you couldn't turn these posts into a book about a stay at home dad. There's a lot you have not written about such as how your wife fits in and how she feels and reacts to the situation. The whole SAHD thing is interesting as it is a *relatively* knew thing. Keep writing here though, I look forward to your next post!! Thanks for a very enjoyable blog. Scribble.

Cherie said...

well if that is the case then I am glad you blog! Your writting is such a perfect snapshot of parenthood!

Livvy U. said...

Hello. You have an award waiting on my latest blog post - purely selfish, as you'll see.
But if you don't care to take the bait, Happy September.

Lilly said...

HELLO!?

anyscribbles said...

Hey SAHD
Hope you're thinking of posting soon. Keep popping by but....

Are you working on another project? Hope all is well anyway.

Scribble

Roger Hutchison said...

Your pose is poetry. I'm looking forward to more of your insight.

Miriam said...

Hi SAHD, missing you and your wonderful writing. Hope all's well with you and daughter, and looking forward to another good read whenever you post again. I agree with previous comments about book, I think it would be bestseller like WITN, mimi

LANA said...

You tell that playground story well. These are the times that we will remember as our children grow. It is great the way a child thinks; from one favorite activity to the next!

The Esk said...

Stay at home dad has become stay away dad :(

Stay at home dad said...

Hi again Scribble. I did try to get something going but have had no luck and need to go back to the drawing-board again. Thanks for your comments though they will help me try again!

Thanks Cherie!

Livvy, hello, I don't know whether I visited or not but will do so again. Hoppe you're well.

Hello Lilly!!

Thanks Roger, very good of you to say and great to hear.

Mimi, thanks for your encouraging comments and I', very grateful. I have tried and will do so again. WITN.. if only!

I know LANA and thank you...

The Esk, now I'm I'm back dad...!