Two Guys, Two Kids, Two Cats.

Hey Campers,

It’s been nearly four months now and I still find myself struggling to find the words to describe the experience of becoming a dad for the second time. Actually, no that’s a lie. I do have the words and it’s pretty much along the lines of “what the hell were we thinking!?!”

Personally, I blame our eldest child for hiding his true demon spawn nature, thus tricking my husband and I into thinking that this whole parenthood thing wasn’t so bad after all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d happily disembowel anyone who came close to threatening my children’s happiness and while they continue to melt my heart on a daily basis, it certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park. Unless, perhaps, if that park was situated in the seventh circle of hell. Certainly, it’s more mentally and physically gruelling than I ever thought possible. Exhausted doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if this was exactly the sort of torture that happens at shadowy black-sites once waterboarding has failed.

Tell us what we want to know or it’s toddler duty for you!

TGTKTC

In fact, I think you’d be hard pressed to find any parent who didn’t question their life choices after a particularly trying day of being a tiny person’s emotional punching bag…I do it several times a day.  Do I imagine what it’d be like to runaway and live by myself on a tropical island? Sure. Repeatedly…I’m doing it right now.

Instead of merely doubling the workload, the new arrival has somehow managed to quadruple it. Granted, we do have help in the form of a part-time daycare, but even then it has at times been a real struggle. Between a pathologically jealous toddler, a colicky baby and two kitties that are openly resentful of yet another thing that takes away from their much-deserved attention, I’m more than ready for a nice quiet stay in a sanatorium…or a daily bottle of wine with a fistful of Xanax.

That being said, I do find that I’ve begun to accept the things that I can’t change. For instance, I’ve come to the realisation that it’s practically impossible to have both my children content at the same time…unless one of them is unconscious. By which I mean asleep and not drugged with cough syrup…I promise.

I’ve also learnt that parents do indeed have favourites. For me, it’s the one who isn’t currently screaming at me, and in the depressingly frequent case of a dual tantrum then my affections transfer to the nearest cat. Not that I’d ever tell them of course, I don’t want to be completely responsible for their inevitable therapy.

Must away, I can hear both my beasts stirring from their blessed, and sadly too rare, joint naptime.

Tchao! Tchao!!!

Third Time’s The Charm…

Hey Campers,

As I sit before my laptop, huddled for warmth against the harsh Parisian winter, I’m wont to reflect upon our recent scorching-hot sojourn to The Land Down Under. To be fair, I’m actually feeling rather toasty, as while the current outside temperatures leave a great deal to be desired, our central heating works wonderfully well and even when I’m occasionally forced to venture outside, my wardrobe contains a most fabulous array of winter finery to protect my delicate self against the unforgiving elements. But I digress.

It’s hard to believe that our time in Aussieland has come and gone so damn quickly. It seems like only yesterday that I was at the airport fretting about the prospect of taking a toddler on two long haul flights to reach our destination. Happily, our offspring was relatively well behaved, but it’s still not an experience I’d recommend to anyone…unless you have a nanny taking care of them in cattle class while you relax in the comfort of first…one can but dream.

Sadly, it wasn’t possible to catch up with everyone we would’ve liked to, as family obligations and the breakneck passage of time conspired against us. In all honesty, I’d already presumed that this trip was going to be rather different to my typical jaunts back to the motherland, mostly due to the fact that we’d added a new member to our travelling party. Naturally, my ridiculously extended family was all very keen to spend time with the newbie around his first Australian Christmas, meaning that my usual schedule of evenly dividing my time between family and friends was forlornly cast aside. The relentless heatwaves and a carsick-prone child also hindered our ability to get out and about, and left us with just a touch of cabin fever and a few familicidal urges. My husband then flying back to the Continent – somebody needs to keep working – and leaving me a single father for the second half of the trip certainly didn’t help matters.

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My feelings of frustration were further amplified by the fact that when I was able to briefly escape my parental duties, the weather gods decided to taunt me mercilessly. The first two visits down to Sydney saw the previously aching-hot, blue-skied summer days replaced by grey unpleasantness – only for the duration of my stay, mind you – and consequently prohibited my so desperately sought after solitary beach time. As something of an avid, and admittedly borderline-obsessive, sunworshipper, the whole experience was absolutely devastating and had me questioning my life choices and wondering why I was being punished so unjustly. Fortunately, on the third such attempt, the weather gods relented in their cruelty and I was able to enjoy the sun, sand and surf for two whole days just before returning to the Arctic north.

That being said, we still managed to have an agreeable summer break. Indeed, my darling son had a most fantastic time being welcomed properly into the family fold by his cousins – a daunting amount of excitable littl’uns running riot all over the place.  Then, of course, we were finally able to keep our promise of holding a third and final nuptials in Australia for my extended family and friends who’d missed out on the previous celebrations of our love. In spite of the oppressive heat and vicious mosquitoes, it proved to be a lovely day and it was thoroughly delightful to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a long while, as I proceeded to get drunk on bubbly.

Hopefully, next time we visit we’ll be slightly better prepared and see more of our adoring fans, although by then there’ll be yet another travel companion, so it’s anyone’s guess really.

Must away, the gym is calling and I need to answer for my holiday sins – namely those unwanted kilos that crept on over the festive season as I seemed helpless to stop myself devouring anything vaguely edible that crossed my path.

Tchao! Tchao!!!

The answer to life, the universe and everything…

Hey Campers,

It’s been a few weeks since the forty-second anniversary of the world becoming Jimified, but the celebrations continue with the random arrivals of belated birthday gifts – my POP figure collection is starting to become hoarder-like.

Oddly enough though, nothing much appears to have changed. Foolishly, I’d hoped that with another year’s passage, perhaps I might have also miraculously managed to become a tad wiser, especially since my age now corresponds to the answer to life, the universe and everything – according to Douglas Adams, at any rate. Sadly, this does not appear to be the case, and I appear to still be very much a kidult.

theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything

Admittedly, fatherhood has aided in my growing up a smidge. For instance, my big nights out where I come home at some ungodly hour are few and far between, mostly because I know that however little time I leave myself to sleep won’t have the slightest effect on what time my son will demand my attention the following morning. My husband maintains the astonishing ability of being able to sleep through our child’s plaintive demands, no doubt reassured by the fact that I’ll be the one roused from my slumber more easily…until I shake him awake and inform him it’s damn well his turn! But I digress.

To be fair, I don’t really feel that much older, apart from that odd cracking sound my left knee makes and those malicious silverish hairs that make an appearance from time to time…before they are swiftly removed. As everyone knows the secret to looking youthful is a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude…of course, the flawless handiwork of my ‘beautician’ may have a hand in keeping my complexion preternaturally smooth.

Anyways, I had a most lovely birthday day, kicking off with my habitual champagne pancake breakfast, which my son shared in this year – the pancakes not the champagne, although he’s French…so probably next year? After our delightful nanny came to take the beast off my hands, I retreated off to the Bois de Vincennes for a spot of sunning myself, whilst working on my latest literary project. Then it was prancing off back home, in order to primp and preen, before heading off again to the Carrousel Français for wine and nibbles with friends. This was finished off with a scrumptious banana cheesecake from my beloved – the man is truly an artist in the kitchen.

Must away, I hear the wonderchild awakening from his nap, no rest for the wicked and all that.

Tchao! Tchao!!!

Spring in my step…

Hey Campers,

After a few false starts it appears that the springtime is finally upon us. As the temperature soars into the high twenties I’ve been taking full advantage of the lovely warmth and sunshine. The wonderchild and I have resumed our daily promenades throughout the city and enjoying the beautiful vistas of the Buttes Chaumont. Bonus exercise for me and a bonus nap for Nate – win/win for all.

I do so love this time of year. Having the windows open and letting all the fresh pollution into the apartment. Hopefully, my recently replenished jardinières and the newly leaved trees outside will negate some of that. It’s also time for the annual cleansing of the apartment, as I desperately try to declutter our increasingly full living quarters. Why do children need so much stuff??? I swear he has more possessions that my beloved husband and I combined.

Curse of the Sweet Zombie Jesus.

Hey Campers,

As I re-emerge after a weekend-long orgy of chocolate and hot cross buns – sadly, the only type I participate in these days – I thought it high time to write one of my long rambling missives. Not to mention that keeping my fingers busy does help fight my newly developed addiction to the aforementioned hot cross buns.

Granted, I was quite the fan of this baked treat before the festive season but my consumption recently jumped up at an alarming rate, from once a month, to weekly and now daily. Why oh why must Marks & Spencer have so many delicious flavours?  You should really try the orange marmalade flavoured ones. Thankfully, their thoroughly tempting range will undoubtedly shrink back to normal now that the sacred time of the Sweet Zombie Jesus has passed.

Dashing Through The Snow…

Hey Kids,

As the year draws to a close, unlike my jeans whose top buttons have never seemed further apart after all the festive shovelling of food I’ve been doing into my mouth, I thought it high time to issue one of my increasingly infrequent, rambling missives.

For the past week we’ve been enjoying a rather lovely White Christmas. Indeed, I’m currently on the lounge with a big soothing pot of tea and watching the snow come down in flurries outside. As per tradition, my mother-in-law is trying to kill me with food. I used to think it was because she thought her son could do better than me, now I realise that it’s simply her mission to make everyone around her fat. Thank goodness, the summer holidays are half a year away and I have time to transform myself back into beach body ready. In my current state, helpful environmentalists would be trying to roll me back into the water.

The Evil Queen and the Precocious Princess – LIVE!

Hey Campers,

It’s finally happening! My first full-length play – The Evil Queen & the Precocious Princess – is getting its world stage debut, right here in gay Paris! Tomorrow, my special brand of camp mischief gets thrust upon an unsuspecting public – one only hopes that they get the joke. If you’re in Paris this week or next, grab your tickets here!

Following last year’s well-received play reading, where there was many a chuckle from those in attendance – although the free flowing wine may have contributed to the audience’s enjoyment somewhat – my madcap fractured fairytale is back! Just in time for a spot of festive cheer, we shall be gracing the stage of the Théâtre de Dix Heures, as part of American Wednesdays – a joint production with my beloved Big Funk Company.

american wednesday event 5

In the grand tradition of English pantomimes there are bawdy jokes, copious amounts of over-the-top acting and a helping of cross-dressing…I may also have thrown in a buff Prince, clad only in tight pants and a leather harness, for good measure.

To say that I’m excited would be something of an understatement, but there’s also a good deal of nervousness and general terror in the mix as well. It is my first whack at directing in quite a while, but I’ve found that dealing with actors requires the same skills that one develops from trying to wrangle my son and the cats. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my wonderful cast but there have been moments where I’ve seriously considered binding and gagging them just so I could hear myself think for a minute or two.

Currently, my lounge room is awash with glitter as our low, low budget has seen me fashioning most of the props myself.  Of course, when we eventually take the production to the West End, I’ll have loads of cash and minions to do all that kind of thing for me.  And to be fair, I’ve had trace levels of glitter lingering about the place from numerous parties over the years and it does get in one’s blood after a while.

Well, must away as there are several last minute tasks to get through and actors for me to shout at and throw my hands up in despair.

Tchao! Tchao!!!

The Joys of Daddyhood.

Hey Campers,

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted about the trials and tribulations of Daddyhood, mostly because it’s been so dreadfully time-consuming, energy-draining and generally only leaves me mentally fit for watching Gilmore Girl marathons. Don’t get me wrong, Nate is pretty damn awesome – most of the time, although there have been several occasions where we’ve genuinely wondered whether or not he was temporarily possessed by a demon spawn. But I jest…sort of.

All in all, I’m very much a happily married father of three – yes I include the cats as they are just as needy as any human child, let me tell you – and wouldn’t trade it for the world. That’s not to say, I’ve managed to completely master the tricky balance between maintaining any semblance of my own life and making sure every last whim of our little beast is sated.

MAYHEM IN MEGÈVE!

Hey Campers,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…actually it was mostly the worst. Our sojourn, off to my favourite alpine retreat, got off to a rather rocky start, let me tell you. I’d been looking forward to our early-summer getaway to the family apartment in the French Alps, where I would have both my husband and mother-in-law on hand to help me wrangle our beloved bouncing baby beast. Consequently allowing me to have time to relax and catch up on my writing. Alas, it was not to be.

Upon arrival we discovered the weather was decidedly chillier than anticipated and that the heating for the building had been turned off in anticipation of the usually warmer season. Added to this, the cold water had been switched off while the pipes were being replaced, so that we had as much scalding hot water as we liked but nothing else. This meant that the toilet needed to be manually filled to flush – like peasants we were – and showering was nigh on impossible – I’m not a fan of baths…except for the ones with the blood of virgins, but that’s far too fiddly to organise in the Alps.

Granted these were somewhat minor inconveniences but then my darling mother-in-law managed to throw out her back and retreated back home again for treatment. And to add insult to injury the indoor icerink was closed and I would be denied my Disney Ice Princess playtime.

Lord Of The Bunnies…

Hey Kids,

As we celebrate this special time and bow down in chocolate worship to our benevolent overlord, Emperor Bunny, I’ve had a chance to pause and reflect upon the new life on which I’ve embarked. Our beloved bundle of joy has rocketed past the three-month mark and continues to change and grow at an astonishing rate. In fact, he’s already grown out of a good many outfits, including three of my absolute favourites, which I very reluctantly packed away until they are needed again for a future sibling.

Indeed, the wunderkind has been hitting all sorts of milestones, becoming more aware of his surroundings, grabbing a hold of things, discovering his body and trying to talk. Not to mention laughing and smiling at blank spots on the wall and ceiling, having us thoroughly convinced that our apartment is haunted. And, perhaps most importantly, he’s started sleeping through the night, in his very own room no less. Naturally, the first time he did it we freaked out thinking that something was dreadfully wrong, but after a few days we were simply grateful for the unbroken sleep.