As I sit here typing away on the first day of six weeks parental leave I thought it somewhat apt that I started this post with the inaugural blog that kicked off Diary of a Farmer’s Husband. Having re-read “Parental leave, Presidency and P.O.O” what struck me most was how much has changed in four years, while I obviously still think i am indispensable from a company perspective owing to a polite yet rather forceful suggestions from my new boss and closest colleague I won’t be dialing into any teleconferences this time around.
There will also be no childcare presidency to grapple with as after four years of being heavily involved with this organisation it was time to move on. In one sense the overall experience was starting to mimic the type of relationship you have in your early twenties when you are trying to help someone through some reasonably obvious issues only to have the girl in question not acknowledge or simply completely ignore your advice. On the other hand the committees and the majority of the staff I worked with over the years contributed hugely in assuring the financial sustainability of this vital local service.
While the P.O.O. Is never likely to change at least I won’t have to deal with using cloth nappies this time around which in my mind joins “My kids will never eat in the car” and “I’ll never let my kids watch iPads in restaurants” on the list of aspirational yet delusional goals first time parents set for themselves.
The delightful catalyst for me taking parental leave this time around is the lovely Anna Grace Horstman who was born on the 17th January at the very civilized time of 10.20am and from the outset launched a charm offensive to which no-one (particularly her Mum and Dad) has been immune to. To this point Anna Grace (or AG as I have fittingly nicknamed her) has been the model baby so much so that at one point I was even seriously considering the “one more to make four” hypothesis I read recently on a parenting website although the reality is AG will be the final piece of our family puzzle.
One of the many magical aspects of AG’s arrival was that our au pair at the time was able to share in the pure joy experienced by family and friends when a baby is born. It was a lovely moment for Wifey and I when AL (Absolute Legend) got to cuddle AG only a few hours after the birth particularly considering what a wonderful contribution she had made to making the last few months of Wifey’s pregnancy as easy as possible. If you are reading this Lex, I also wanted to say thank you again for all you did when ASH became so unwell in the early stages of WIfey’s pregnancy, the first cuddle/hug you have with Anna Grace will no doubt be a very special one.
I should of known that any girl born near Bremen in Germany (birthplace of the beer Becks) would likely be a brilliant fit for our family as our au pair however AL exceeded even those lofty expectations. Blessed with a cheeky smile and innate ability to sledge me mercilessly Wifey and I both thoroughly enjoyed having AL in the house and that is even before I get to how amazing she was with ZANALIE (my new combination name for Zach, Anna and Amelie).
Lisa (her real name) was here for both Christmas and Easter (where she admirably performed the role of ‘Easter Lisa’) and made both of these already exciting times of the year unforgettable for ZCP and ASH. In December it was a string of 25 little presents hung up in their bedrooms enabling them to open one present everyday until Christmas Day while at Easter there was the magically appearing “Easter Nests” that housed little gifts throughout the holiday.
Keeping the present theme going AL will also be remembered for getting me one of the most useful birthday presents in living memory as being very partial to the odd “roadie” my adult sized “sippy cup” in the shape of a wine glass was pure drinking genius.
Towards the end of her stay we also had the pleasure of meeting AL’s boyfriend who made the long trip from Germany to spend some time with Lisa and get to know us. With one notable exception we all thoroughly enjoyed Aaron’s stay with ZCP I even asking at one point if AL’s beau could be our next au pair.
The only blemish came one evening when Aaron produced a bottle of Germanic firewater called Korn which we proceeded to demolish in double quick time with me adding in a cigar along the way for good measure. Now while I haven’t investigated the pharmacokinetics and possible drug interactions between tobacco and grain brandy I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some mild hallucinatory properties associated with this combination based on how I felt the following morning….
Needless to say it was pretty sad when AL left us and in hindsight it might have been worthwhile securing a sponsorship from Kleenex for the drive down to Perth as Lisa and her friend Laura who was also leaving her host family alternately shed tears for the first 100kms or so.
So with the lovely AL having left us for an East Coast sojourn before heading back to the Motherland it is my turn to step up as ZANALIE’s new au pair, WIfey’s insistence that in fact it is actually me just parenting and that I won’t be getting a weekly allowance has initially thrown me a bit but I am confident I will work through this early setback.
I have to admit to have really enjoyed my first few days of full time Daddy Daycare although I had forgotten how long it takes to hang out kids washing and that wearing a baby bjorn for long periods of time is actually more physically taxing than you would think.
While it has been drier than a Saharan sauna out at Mulga Springs there is a decent front on the horizon meaning my next blog will be dominated by seeding short stories although I will find time to discuss WIfey’s latest media success and the off chance that DOAFH might be getting some media coverage of it’s own.