Braces off

perfect-teeth_316-9

You should thank me for NOT posting some of the other images one gets when Googling “crooked teeth”.  Image courtesy of http://www.mydentail.ie

As parents we are very much aware of events in the lives of our children, especially when it comes to signs of them growing up.

We celebrate their first tooth, their first word and their first step.  We celebrate their first successful poop in a potty.  And then commence to change a thousand soiled underpants thereafter.  We celebrate their first day of kindergarten with tears of joy and their last day of high school with unattractive sobbing. Continue reading

Ten reasons why parenting teens and parenting toddlers are exactly the same thing.

I’m half-way through the war and I’m happy to report that there’s only been a limited amount of injuries and no casualties.  One can only hope that the post-traumatic stress of the battles won’t cause excessive psychological damage in the long run.

The war I’m referring to is trying to get my spawn to migrate from kids to teenagers.  And I have two.  Don’t feel sorry for me, just send money.  And alcohol.

Seriously though, thus far they haven’t turned into the raging hormonal freaks so many other parents warned us about.  They’re merely two hormonal, moderately erratic, older versions of the loving kids that used to live in our house.  Two people trying to understand who they are, where they fit in and how to cope with life.  We pray that this journey of discovery ends in complete acceptance and unconditional self-love. Continue reading

Breaking your arse and other realities of the South African judicial system

appearing

People with confused expressions were lining the hallways.  All of them sitting on the hardest bench in the history of mankind, waiting. Waiting to die, waiting to live, waiting for an absolution that would never come… (Sorry, I watched Titanic last week.) In reality it was nothing that dramatic, they were all just waiting for their turn in the witness stand, ready to condemn another criminal to a few months in prison.

Which is why the Wife and I were spending the day surrounded by cops and robbers. Continue reading

Calling Shotgun! might even result in world peace

shotgun1

In that moment when Henry Ford invented the first black car, he introduced an eternal battle among all siblings.  A universal crisis facing every parent on a daily basis.  A headache inducing logistical nightmare, and another reason why Cain killed Abel.  I’ll bet my salary that someone, somewhere is having a fight about it right now. Some poor father having to decipher and figure out which kid gets to ride in the front seat…

With my limited attention span I barely remember what stuff to buy on a trip to the shop, never mind trying to remember whose turn it is to take that coveted spot next to me. Continue reading

All about me

I normally don’t react to daily WordPress prompts when it clutters fills my mailbox.  Most of them slip through the cracks but there are some….Like when the prompt is All about me.  I’m way too narcissistic and self-centered to ignore this one.  It wants you to Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.  Which is exactly what I’m NOT going to do.  For I actually have a page that explains Why I Blog, aptly called All about me, but I had it first.

I figured it was high time to introduce the person behind Ah Dad… Let’s start from the top with a family-selfie aka  A FALFIE

I'm the fly.

I’m the fly.

Continue reading

Things I learned on Christmas day

This post would obviously not reflect the lessons already learned, like the true meaning of Christmas, how to wrap a gift that doesn’t come in a box, and the anxiety of a male forced to accompany the wife on a last shopping spree.  (Technically I’m still battling with that last one!  I morph into a mutation of a crying baby, tantrum throwing toddler, slouching teenager and aching geriatric all in one.)

Weird shit I tell ya.

The few things I did learn on this Christmas day would probably be considered common sense, but give me a break for I need to come  up with new material for my blog, which I desperately neglected over the last two/three weeks.

1. I understand why gluttony is considered one of the seven deadly sins.  Because I almost died of the amount of food I consumed over the last two days.  My belly button popped and my stomach was hanging over my knees.  I was constantly uncomfortable, felt slightly guilty, hid my gym membership and just. kept. on. eating.  I’m ashamed.

2. The idea of inviting extended family to join on this day looks great on paper, but you will learn quickly that sharing a portion of the same DNA would be the only thing you’ll have in common with people you see once a year.   You will understand that there is life beyond our blue sky, cause I’ve ask myself numerous times from which fucking planet does all these uncles, aunts and cousins come from.  Awkward moments of silence, watching channels I didn’t know existed on cable and sitting through hours of the MOST boring stories ever conceived by humanity, tempted me in shoving my finger into a pencil sharpener as a reminder that there are things that can hurt more than spending countless hours with a weird extended family.

3. The youngest member of any family will get the most attention.  Fact.  Doesn’t matter what that age might be, it can range from three weeks to 14 years.  Everyone will goo and ga and take photo’s and comment on every action of the said little person.  And those actions will include s(h)itting, playing with a piece of chocolate wrapping paper and talking in some gibberish language, also spoken by adults after too much wine.

The last lesson was actually just a reminder of how amazing this specific fake-tree-fake-snow-too-much-food-holiday actually is.  (At least down here in Africa, where the chance of seeing snow in December would be equal to finding a good Adam Sandler movie.)  It’s a wondrous holiday where we can reminisce in the blessings we receive daily.

It reminded me of how fortunate I am to have a shitload of good food on the table and a SUV full of the weirdest family members, all laughing, sharing, giving, talking, eating.  It’s the one day where normal definitions of dick/dueche/bitch/idiot/annoying doesn’t apply and we accept one another with all our faults and hazzles and just hug and share and love. (It makes it easier when there are some colorful wrapped boxes involved…)

So I trust everyone had a very, merry Christmas.

No-one survives on their own – A lesson I learned from The Walking Dead

Let’s start with the obvious: The Walking Dead is f 🙂 cking awesome.

walking dead

Oops, an f-bomb, and this on a child friendly blog, what kind of parent am I?  A great one, if you ask the right people, but also a parent who understands that in specific descriptive situations, no word in the English language works better.  Mainly because words like prodigious is not only pretentious but I don’t know what it means.  There might be some great arguments for using the words brilliant or awe-inspiring; but thanks, I’ll stick with my chosen expression of profanity in the context of my statement.

Season 3 was the stuff of nightmares, not only for all the blood, guts, anxiety, severed body parts, squishy sound editing, trauma, relief and awesome make-up, but for introducing a villain that makes the zombies look like the good guys.  Aka the new face of the boogeyman, the one-eyed lunatic, The Governor.  And believe me, Arnold has nothing on this guy, not even if you consider his shenanigans with the help.  This guy brings a total different definition to the concepts of fatherly love and mental instability.

The other lesson we learned in that final moments of the finale, was the reality that people need each other.  Rick made an observation that: “We cannot do it on our own, we will only survive if we work together.” To which Daryl replied matter-of-factly: “It’s always been that way, even before all this shit, it’s always been true.”

Eureka!  Give that man a bells.  He has wisdom and can shoot an arrow, even after he *spoiler alert* shoved one into his brother’s eye socket.

So because we learned it from TV, it has to be true, right?  No stupid, it’s been a known fact for millenia.  Humans cannot survive on their own.  We need each other.  We are genetically programmed by our Creator to convert in herds.  To run in packs.  How else do you think the first family got around to enjoy some juicy Mammoth steaks in year one of human evolution?

As I was sitting at a pool bar, in the semi-hot moonlight of the Dubai dessert, minding my own business, tweeting, and thinking about my next post, (and yes there was wine and shisha), it became apparent how much humans like other humans.  A woman  to my right was shrieking like a cat in a tumble dryer when she was surprised by a friend, whom she obviously  haven’t seen for a while.  From her reaction it seemed her friend was raised from the dead.  (Sorry for another zombie reference.)

Finally relieved when they left, I scanned the area and all around me people were having fun in the company of other people.  The laughing, talking, drinking, laughing, rubbing, (yes there were some rubbing), were all happening where people were in groups.  Even if said group is two.  The interaction created a buzz that drenched the crappy music echoing over the speakers of the pink bar.  People have the ability to make other people light up.

By comparison there was the elect few who was sitting by themselves,  Looking solemn, sad and pathetic.  I’m kidding.  But imagine for a moment a single guy or gal laughing hysterically at the night sky.  Nuff said.  So most of the single people around the bar area had serious faces, probably thinking about life, work, family, relatives or when that prostitute across the bar will make her move on the desperate guy on her right.

I sat in silence and sipped my beer, grateful to know this was only a temporary loneliness, actually relishing in the quiet moments after almost winning the rat race twice that day.  I understand that I am blessed for having someone across the waters waiting on me in anticipation.  Someone who’s is literally counting down the hours of my return, who flipped the hour-glass as soon as I left the building.  Tomorrow night our little herd will be grazing again, together.

And then my thoughts starting drifting on the wafts of the shisha-smoke to some of the real lonely people in the world.  Those who never gets the surprise visit, the unexpected smile, the wondrous warm embrace, the invitation for social interaction.  Not even a phone call or an e-mail.  Like infected souls, isolated from human contact. People in old age homes, orphans, the homeless and destitute.  Name them, so many wandering this earth alone. Never having the pleasure of their own faces lighting up.

And they shouldn’t be alone.  None of us has too.  No-one is suppose to be alone.

For being alone for too long might result in you forming an endearing friendship with a painted face on a basketball.

“Hi Wilson!”

What do ants know that we don’t? My take…

After a recent tweet by one of my 5 6 followers on Twitter relating to an article published on www.wired.com addressing the same title, it got me wondering what do the little six legged critters know or accept, that humanity is still battling with today.  What knowledge did their little philosophers dish out to allow everyone to co-exist in perfect harmony.

What makes them so successful, living in such close quarters with a million of their brethren?  What secrets have they accepted as reality and what are the things they stopped fussing about?   Like gravity, those inevitable, in arguable truths of life.

1. Family is important.  Did I mention the fact that they live with millions of their brothers and sisters, and that they all work together?  No doubt that they nailed this one.  I am not saying there are no bickering in the ranks, or no insults in the nursery, I am just saying that ants understand that it’s not necessarily about liking your family, it’s more about accepting them.  Ants must have the uncle who enjoys his drink a little too much at weddings, who starts using undiscovered profanity and hugs every one a little too often.  Or the ant-aunt who kisses everyone at the reunion, with so much slobbery passion that you need a towel to dry your mouth and chin afterwards.

Ants accept the importance of family, that coherent bond that cannot be broken, the same blood coursing through their little exoskeletons.  They accept that there is no choice in the matter.  Ants don’t go around and say “I have a brother like a best friend”, no it’s the other way around.

2. Men are stronger, but woman are the force of nature.  Why else would we refer to Earth as a Mother?  This has been proven countless times in history; a lot of powerful men fell damn hard in pursuing their desire to please the lady.  Kings and leaders and presidents.  Men are strong, we fight for what we believe in, we protect those things that’s important to us and we will lay our lives down for our loved ones.  Soldiers, a first line of defence, but we all know that BEHIND EVERY SUCCESFUL MAN…. is the queen Ant.

The essence of our own White Houses resides in mom.  She is the stabilising force, the one who brings serenity and peace.  The Ant Queen who transform the four walls of the building we sleep in, into a home.  You might think she only idles around, laying eggs all day, but remember she is the centre.

Don’t agree?  Well my experience taught me that When the wife’s happy, everyone’s happy.    Ants know that too.

3. Saving can save your life. Remember the story of the ant and the grasshopper?  It’s all about being prepared, looking out for the bad times when you’re living in the good.  I am not talking about stocking non-perishable food our of fear that aliens might invade on 20 September 2014, I am talking about planning.  It might be for retirement or sending the kids of to college or finally taking that dream holiday to Turkey or Mars.

Ants understand the need to plan and we better get with the program soon.

4. It only takes on bitch (or ass) to ruin everything.  The success of the colony resides in the queen doing her job, laying eggs, millions of them.  Everything else flows from that.  What if the queen suddenly wakes up one day, throws a hissy-fit, screams about her monotonous life, grabs her Gucci-bag and slams the proverbial door in the shocked faces of the workers attending to her.  It will be a royal screw-up, that’s what.

Without the queen ant nothing makes sense.  Nothing is worth doing.  The colony will be in tatters.  Soldiers will probably fight for rank, while the workers will run around hysterically, bumping and trampling one another.  But it won’t happen.  It just doesn’t work that way.  The queen understands her responsibility and accepts it.  She doesn’t moan or complain everyday about the cards dealt to her.  She just does what she’s suppose to, to the best of her ability.  Chin up and push, that’s her motto.

So dear human, don’t be the prick who always challenge the status quo, who always complain. Find some pride in what you’re doing and try to take some responsibility for your own actions.  Make your own choices, stop blaming others for your failures and seek your own destiny, for no one else can do it for you.  So, don’t fuck it up, for it only takes one.

5. Everyone is replaceable.  Harsh but true.  Let’s say the queen does find a drone, leave the colony and elope to Ant Vegas.  What happened?  Do you want the truth?  Can you handle the truth?  Well, they will just find another one.  It’s simple, it’s survival.

In Homo sapiens, we find those unique specimens who consider themselves to be slightly evolved, just that little bit better than all the other normal people on the planet.  Slightly more intelligent, beautiful, successful or whatever other characteristic they posses that allow themselves to feel superior.  Why there are always certain humans that can brand themselves as “God’s gift to humanity” still amazes me daily.

Please don’t overvalue yourself.  Your mom might think your special, but she’s the only one.  You are NOT Christian Grey, for he only exist in awful literature.  Before getting suicidal and rubbing your wrist on the pavement, remember that you are UNIQUE, not special.  When you moved on, or changed, or disappeared, or died, life will go on without you.  The truth is that it might take a day, a month or even a year, but things will go on.  So get off that throne you placed yourself on, because aint no-one bowing today.

The slight twist of this fact is when you’re a nice guy.  When you are able to spread happiness and laughter with a positive attitude.  When you make the people around you smile.  It still won’t make you special or irreplaceable, but it will make you unforgettable.

6. Teamwork is everything.  In between the daily routine of more than a million bodies, fists and insults must have flown.  It would be impossible to think that everybody likes everybody.  Their secret is that they understand that you don’t have to like everyone you interact with, but you have to stuff that opinion where the sun don’t shine, and work as a team.  Leave the high heels, attitude and boxing gloves at home. Teamwork allows us to achieve a very specific goal that will benefit everyone.  It’s about doing your job and not care what the next person is doing or not doing.  That concern belongs to someone else, hence soldiers and the queen.  Focus on you and the rest will take care of itself.

7.  Humans are cruel.  This is a harsh truth, but what little kid who owned a magnifying glass, has not tried to roast some ants.  It’s universal.  We all tried it and probably enjoyed it.  Don’t feel bad.  All humans are born with the potential of becoming a serial killer.  We are born with an inherent desire to do the wrong thing, thanks to a snake, an apple and a lady called Eve.  With many years of evolution, guidance and conditioning; most of us are able to bury those demons in the deepest, darkest places of our existence and keep them there.

Sadly however, specific individuals let them escape and they release violent, irrational, criminal behaviour that becomes massive rocks thrown into our pools of serenity, creating big ripples of shock, despair and tragedy.

Imagine for a moment if you will, if no-one ever threw that stone.  If humanity could forget greed, intolerance, envy, preconceptions and all the other irrational reasoning we might have for acting on that hidden demons.  Imagine if peace could roam earth and all of us could remove violence as a word from the dictionaries.  Imagine if we actually cared about our neighbours, about other living things or just the planet for that matter.  Imagine what an amazing colony of humans we would be.  We would be like ants, only better.

Oh and another thing Ants will tell you is that Anteaters are much more dangerous than they appear.

Thanks to Deborah Gordon for the inspiration, whoever you might be.  If you are keen on reading the actual article on “What do ants know that we don’t” written by the lady, it’s available on the link below.

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/07/what-ants-yes-know-that-we-dont-the-future-of-networking/

Society + Expectation = Inhibition

I once saw a sign that said: “Don’t dance the dance that people expect you to dance, dance your own dance.”

The grammar might be poor, but the message is clear.  This could not be more evident than during our summer holiday of December 2012.

The resort where we were spending our lazy days held a social event one evening, an informal dance for all the guests.  This was the first time where my family could share the dance floor and get “chiggy with it”.  We had so much fun.  My son being an avid follower of most rap music was showing off the moonwalk, shuffle and various other unknown dancing styles.  I am not sure he got them all 100% right, but I thought he was pretty good. (As most unbiased parents do)  He was dancing his own dance.  Then he stopped abruptly and left the dance floor, sat at our table, Blackberry in hand.  We lost him.

I was really confused, but my wife had this expression of concern and pity.  She obviously picked up on something which I did not.  Being tuned in to your kids is a skill that mothers receive upon birth, whilst most fathers spend a lifetime to acquire it without much success.

When the song ended, she pulled me aside and showed me the two boys who were sitting on the side, pointing and giggling to the kids on the floor.  I was immediately pissed off, wanting nothing more but to ring their little necks.  These two (insert rude word here) didn’t have the guts to participate, but felt it their obligation to point and criticize those who did.  Like most people in life.

Their pointing was like a canon, blowing my son’s confidence out of the water.  What bothered me more, was the fact that my son actually cared.  That became my mission:  To teach my kids to not be limited or confined or even defined by the opinions or expectations of other people.

That is why peer pressure is so rampant today.  People are to bothered with what other people think of them.  (It does become important when most people think you’re an ass!)  But even movies portray popularity as the ultimate goal for teenagers.  The rest of the kids are shown as either geeks or goths.  That can’t be a fair portrayal of school, can it?

The sad thing is that peer pressure is not only caused by the kids, some parents are actually adding to the mix.  They create the expectation, setting standards for the children to achieve.  As parents, our job should be to encourage our kids to aim for anything, teach them that nothing is impossible.  Sent them into the flower bed of life and allow them to pick any bouquet that they want.

It is not our job to give them a journey guide on a path which we selected for them just because the destination is our definition of success.

We should redefine the word success as seeing our kids happy in whatever they choose to do, even if they want to become a tattoo artist.  Gulp…

(OK, maybe some guidance in moderation is acceptable.)

The missing angel

When they do the daily roll call for the army of Angels in heaven there is always one angel unaccounted for.  They do this check in order to assign the various responsibilities.  Sending forty angels per kid to playgrounds around the globe, assigning seven angels per teacher to avoid violence and then a few are dispatched to assist any person who gets into a cab.  I know about the missing angel because she has been living in my house for the past 11 years.  I can only imagine all the “Reward if found” posters in the golden city.

The angel escaped to earth in the form of a baby girl who was handed to us on 25 July 2002.  My wife expected to go in that day and come back with a new baby, but instead we got her, our own angel.

July 2012 028 mod

She has blond hair, which only appeared after six months, and blue eyes, one lighter than the other.  In her human form, though beautiful, she almost went unnoticed, but then she would laugh.  Her secret known to everyone for it is a heavenly sound.  It originates in her soul, flooding her heart and bursting out in a hysterical sound that brightens up the day.  Every person within hearing distance suddenly smiles, thus having the ability to shine light into every dark crevice of humanity.

With time, she gained some more human qualities, or simply put, produced estrogen.  The female hormone infiltrated her system and made her more unpredictable.  Now we call her our four-seasons-in-a-day-daughter.  She has a unique ability to experience life in the most excessive way, like when she falls, she does not cry, she sobs uncontrollably, when her tummy aches, she basically is on the verge of death and she takes her schoolwork way to seriously, almost to the point of obsession.  And everything is an event.  But then she laughs.

Sometimes I close my eyes even when I am very far away and just imagine the sound, imprinted on my brain.  The only thing that saddens me is the fact that even angels have to grow up.  Is there anyone out there who can cure this disease of growing up?  It is a sickness that infiltrates the lives of our children to the point where they eventually want to leave the house.

Even so, while this missing angel is still amongst us, just note that I have bought a double barrelled shotgun to protect her from any mortal man who is stupid enough to try and take her away from me, just saying.