Demons in Disguise…

Hey Campers,

As anyone who has spent even the smallest amount of time around children has undoubtedly discovered, appearances can be quite deceptive. No matter how angelic the littl’uns may seem on the surface, it usually doesn’t take long before their true demonic nature starts to make itself known. My own children are no exception. Much as I love them, I know only too well that they can go from adorable to anarchist in a heartbeat. Often without any warning, a terrible tirade is unleashed upon all the poor hapless souls in the immediate vicinity.

Granted, my two are far from the worst of the ones I’ve had the misfortune to encounter, although they do say that you tend to have a higher tolerance for your own offspring’s shenanigans. Indeed, I have found this to be true, especially after a fortifying gin or three.

That being said, mine are both unarguably cunning little creatures that have firmly wrapped my husband and I around their sticky, little fingers. Sadly, all it takes is an unprompted cuddle or a wonderfully cherubic laugh and I find myself forgiving them almost any transgression…almost…I still mourn the loss of my MacBook to a toddler-spilt tea.

demonsindisguise

In a strange turn of events, my children’s almost supernatural ability to ingratiate themselves isn’t just limited to us. Certainly, friends and complete strangers often come up to us and gush about how gorgeous they are, especially their big, beautiful blue eyes. This in turn has resulted in an unexpected windfall. Upon taking my son for a walk to the boulangerie he’s often given free pastries by the adoring staff. Not only has this happened at a few different places here in gay Paris, but has even occurred when we were away on holidays. Unsurprisingly, my son soon realized what was happening and began to work this to his advantage, knowing that half-hiding his face and giving a shy smile seemed to increase the likelihood of a complimentary pain au chocolate or a Madeleine being thrown into the paper bag along with our other purchases.

Beneath my son’s carefully cultivated innocent façade resides an evil mastermind in the making, I tell you. He has also developed an uncanny knack for finding the way to get at what he wants, regardless of what methods we go to in order to prevent such things. For instance, using his bike as a battering ram to get through the baby gates we’ve put up to keep him out of certain areas, although he’s now found that shaking them violently also works to unlatch them. His latest feat of mischief was working around the ‘no-spill’ design of his newest cup. It took him all of two minutes to work out that if he tipped said cup upside down he could use his fingers to help free the liquid inside and then indulge in one of his favourite games of drawing pretty patterns on the floor with whatever he’s been drinking.

While his sister is still a tad too little for such malfeasance, I can tell by her cheeky smile that it’s merely a matter of time before the two of them team up and become an unstoppable force for mayhem and destruction. I’d better start stockpiling the Xanax now.

Tchao! Tchao!!!

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!!!

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 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.

The Love That Dare Speak Its Name!

Well, the disgraceful, repugnant and thoroughly hateful plebiscite is now in full swing and what a most pleasant time is being had by for all. As predicted, a full-scale smear campaign is in effect, where the YES camp have been portrayed as aggressive bullies who won’t be happy until every man, woman and child has been indoctrinated into an unnatural way of life. Naturally, this has led to further hysterics by those on the far right and trickled down into increased violence against those supporting marriage equality.

To be honest, I’m fucking sick of it! I’m sick of reading about the latest lies from the NO side. I’m sick of fighting for something that shouldn’t even be an issue in our modern age. I’m sick of being told that we must be grateful for whatever legislative scraps the government deigns to give us. I’m sick of having to explain to my European friends why Australia is so backward on this issue. I’m sick of hearing ridiculous arguments about how marriage equality will be the end of civilization, as we know it.  People are going to be forbidden to use the terms ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ – really, Pauline? What fucking planet are you living on??? The only thing happening in countries where it’s been legalised, is that more people are getting married and the religious zealots are far less content.

And I’d just like to thank…

Hey Kids,

This is a missive I’d planned to write before the start of the New Year, but the early arrival of my progeny intervened and threw my schedule into a bit of a spin. Now that I have a bit more time, even though it’s a month or so late, I’d like to follow in the grand tradition of people taking to social media to sum up the triumphs and failures of the past year in a gushing Oscar-style acceptance speech format.

On the world stage last year was rather…sucky, to say the least. The main culprits being the growing global social conservatism that led to some truly scary individuals rising to power and the Grim Reaper cutting a swathe through far too many talented idols…I’m guessing they needed better celestial entertainment.

WHO’S YOUR DADDY?

Hey Kids,

It’s official – I’m a Daddy…and not just to young, impressionable twinks.

I’m coming up on two weeks of fatherhood and very happy to admit that I’m still bumbling about in a state of awe and shock. Not to mention the fear that creeps in whenever our pint-size man stops moving in his sleep and second guessing myself about absolutely everything, which I’m assured by more experienced parents will probably pass in thirty years or so.

It would be fair to say that Nathaniel Yves Peter Dhalluin-Goninan – the excessively long name is a French tradition – has me well and truly wrapped around his adorable petite fingers. Indeed, my whole world has quickly come to completely revolve around the needs and wants of this wonderful little bundle of joy. Thankfully, we have a handy app that tells us at a glance how long it’s been since we cleaned and fed him without having to calculate with our sleep deprived brains. Actually, on that point it hasn’t been too bad at all, with my beloved and I taking turns with both baby care and having naps throughout the day so that we aren’t complete zombies. This will, however, be tested when Antoine goes back to work in a few weeks and full daytime care falls to me.

The Peacock Has Landed.

Hey Kids,

Tis the season for miracles and I’m happy to report that’s exactly what’s happened here in gay Paris, as my sparkling clean apartment can attest. That’s right, I’ve gone full on Papa Peacock and started nesting, although it was bound to happen given the nearness of our new arrival. Admittedly, I’ve always been houseproud to a certain extent but I was by no means OCD about it all…until now. This past week my cleaning routine has switched into hyper drive, going far beyond the usual tidy up – polishing light fixtures, scrubbing cornices and doing inventory of all the cabinets. Even the cats, with their keenly developed habit of cleanliness, have been looking at me like I’ve lost the plot.

THE BIG ONE: PART 1 – MERRY OLD LONDON TOWN

Hey Campers,

That’s right, dear friends, the festivities to commemorate/commiserate my entering a new decade of life are well and truly underway. For those I haven’t already bored senseless with my plan to properly celebrate my 40th, I have gone slightly overboard and organised four parties in four cities – London, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona – all of which coinciding with gay pride events to maximise the campness, of course.

Well, we’ve just gotten back from the first leg of the Jimivities in Londonia and what a lovely weekend it was! If I’m to be totally honest, the celebrations actually started last Thursday night whilst still in Paris, as two visiting friends dragged me out – kicking and screaming, I might add – to have cocktails. But I digress.

First off, I must say a big thank you to the wonderfully generous Azeem and Erik for hosting us in their altogether stylish and handily situated apartment – smack bang in the heart of the action for the weekend. Unfortunately, a late arrival into Kings Cross – personally, I blame Brexit – meant that we ended up having a quiet evening in with our hosts, instead of painting the town pink straight away. That being said, it was more sensible to rest up for the days of fun ahead…dear gods, I’m already sounding like an old man!

Cut The Bull!

We may have had a change in Prime Minister in Australia not so long ago – the fourth in five years, mind you – but the conservative, backward attitude remains the same. Why oh why is it so difficult to change the definition of marriage to offer equality to all? They did it once to exclude same-sex unions without a great deal of legal fuss so I see no reason why they can’t change it once again. A free vote amongst the politicians themselves would easily do it. Honestly, I can’t believe that this continues to be such a divisive issue.

This is obviously a topic that is dear to my heart as it affects not only family, but also my friends and myself. Granted, I’ve been able to realise my dreams of legally wedded bliss in my adopted homeland but I’m still forbidden do it in my motherland. One shouldn’t have to flee your own country simply to get hitched. Australia is better than that…or it damn well should be.

And the promise of a plebiscite, are they kidding??? It’s purely a stalling tactic by the current government, which is hell-bent on dragging it out for as long as possible in order to delay the inevitable change in law. Our fearful leader, Malcolm Turnbull, claims that it will allow every Australian to have their voice heard, even though he was originally against holding the plebiscite in the first place. Spending well over one hundred million dollars to ask a question they already know the answer to – polls have consistently showed that it has had majority support for the past few years – and which won’t be even legally binding, leaving the government to do what they please anyway. Several politicians have already stated their intention to vote against marriage equality regardless of what the Australian people say.