Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Reality TV #2

It’s dark outside; inside the windows are laced with moisture and the radiators are groaning with the effort of heating the space around them. I am sitting on the sofa with my computer on my lap. Although I no longer go to an office I still have to get up early to work. Sometimes when I tiptoe downstairs a floorboard creaks and my daughter squeaks and half-awakes from dreams of princesses and monsters.

Between key-taps I watch a man and a woman in the glow of the television. Like me, they are sitting on a sofa. They repeat smiling interviews with uncomfortable guests over the course of the morning. The talk is of strikes, economic crisis, financial bail-outs. Then there is a feature about shoppers, then a weather forecaster standing in a snowy garden.

My daughter comes downstairs and heads over to where I’m sitting. I say hello and she sits down against the arm of the sofa with her thumb in her mouth. I switch over to a children’s channel and bright cartoon figures jump from the screen.

I am poring over my computer, tapping and flicking my eyeline up towards the screen every so often to see what I’ve written. I change a spelling here and there, red lines underscore words the computer doesn’t understand. My daughter narrates the plot of the programme she is watching but I am only half-paying attention, grumpily grunting as I scour the financial world for interest. The figures at the bottom of my screen tell me my deadline is fast approaching. Suddenly my daughter’s voice drops and I look up.

“Daddy… you’re not even listening to me.” She reproaches me tearfully.

I look at her, my fingers poised over the keyboard, images of financial ruin on the computer screen. And I realise, suddenly, that it’s not important. The world my daughter lives in: the cartoons, the good-natured babble – that’s the important one.

I lean over, give her a kiss and put my arm around her.

“Ok” I say, looking at the television “Tell me what’s happening”.

16 comments:

Miriam said...

Beautifully written, as always, SAHD, and, in the aftermath of Natasha Richardson's tragedy, I would say how wonderful of you to prioritise that moment. I often used to say to mine "in a few minutes" but, as a friend says, a few minutes time does not exist.
Delighted too that you made this post in under 4 months.. getting closer together now, we might soon have one a week?? No pressure,just teasing, I enjoy your writing sooo much, take care, mimi

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks Mimi, how many times does a parent say 'in a minute'. Yes the next one forming already... I think I might get the hang of blogging eventually! Thanks again!!

Suffolkmum said...

Wow, how fantastic to see a post from you. I kept checking ... blogging breaks are needed, sometimes - I should know. Your life sounds like mine, constantly on the laptop, constantly saying 'just a minute', little interest in work but I have to summon it up from somewhere!

Holland Park Football said...

Great to see you blogging once more SAHD !

Beautifully written as always

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks so much Suffolkmum.. yes it's good to be writing them again. You're right - just the same!

Thanks HPF and thanks for comming!

Livvy U. said...

Ah,there you are. Good, good.

You capture something here, about the importance of something, something so difficult to do, being in the moment as much as possible with one's child. It's a reminder, a nudge. It's important.

It's also lovely to see you writing again.

Livvy

Stay at home dad said...

Hi Livvy. I have been over to your blog and the fact that you have found time to visit and leave a comment is a great compliment.

I do hope things are ok and thank you for your kind words.

And yes, being in the moment with a child is the greatest difficulty and yet pleasure.

Sahd

Maggie May said...

I think we all experience this kind of thing.
With me........ its my granddaughters and sometimes my grandsons. They are all so precious and unique.

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Maggie. Yes it's something that we can all identify with but is usually lost in busy everyday lives.

kderington said...

That was a great post! I get so caught up in cleaning or doing chores around the house that I forget about my sons. My son comments to me sometimes that I don't play with him. We all need to live in the here and now!

Spark Dad
www.sparkdad.com
@kderington on Twitter

Omega Mum said...

You know, I like the sensation of time passing in your blog. It's March 2008 and you're moving. Now it's March 2009 and you're still lovely and caring. Could you fast forward a bit and give me a feeling that life's still going to be worth living in 2010?

Holland Park Football said...

Come on SAHD

We're all waiting here...................

Mimi said...

Yes, SAHD, what about that post that was forming?
I've started a blog,you're v welcome to visit,not nearly as good as yours, but I felt it was time to stop commenting-only, hope all's well with you, mimi

Stay at home dad said...

Hi kderington and thank you very much. Yes work gets in the way inside and outside the house. Good luck with the blog...

OM!! Hello and how are you? I'm sorry I haven't been visiting much.. looks like just you and me (sort of) nowadays. Things will always be ok.

Thanks for the nudge HPF and Mimi... I'll get onto it... and good luck with your blog Miriam...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

ah but do your really want to live in the world of iggle piggle and peppa pig? perhaps all your daughter needs is a reality check, 'listen honey, the world is falling apart and soon we'll all be dead from Pig Flu, there is life outside the tv you know'.

Only yoking...

good to have you back.
Pigx

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Pig... good to have you back too!(?)

Steady... and yes I think life with the Pig family would be quite fun.

Sahd