Tag: fun

book, heavy, trilogy, paperback Blog

The Book and The Staircase

Having a toddler is fun. Much more fun than a baby. They are interactive and mobile. They live to learn, to explore. They have just begun the great journey of understanding the world around them and it is a delight to observe.


With exploration comes experimentation, and in Hannah we undoubtedly have a budding scientist. She observes and she examines everything in her world. For the past few months her favourite toys have been the ones that involve stacking or nesting objects.


Sometimes, however, the inquisitive mind of a toddler drives them to conduct “experiments” that have less than desirable outcomes for us adults. Experiments with food, excrement, paints and crayons are well documented by frustrated an bemused parents across the globe. Thankfully, we have not had too many of those yet.


Hannah’s latest series of experiments are firmly planted within the field of physics. She is obsessed by the movement of objects and she appears to have a burning desire to push everything within reach to its breaking point. Her mechanical toy train, for example, was recently placed on top of the lounge and then sent on its merry journey. As it recited the ABC, it elegantly performed a front half-flip and landed upside-down on the hard tiles – song still blaring in the vaguely annoying American accent. Hannah’s reaction to this was, of course, to immediately pick it up and try to repeat the process.


Today, Hannah decided to take her physics experiments to the next level. She had been sitting on the floor next to me, happily pulling novels off of the bookshelf while I sat and typed. This activity has never bothered me too much, she is normally reasonably delicate with the books, often choosing to flick through the pages or admire the pictures on the front covers.


However, this time she suddenly stood up. In her hand was The Bourne Trilogy – a hefty book. Purposefully, she looked out of the door and towards the staircase. A plan had formed in her mind – an experiment to test the effect of gravity on the humble paperback. In an instant, Hannah was off. Trailing close behind her was me. I had seen the look in her eye and almost immediately I knew what she was up to.


A part of me – the responsible, adult part of me – knew that the experiment had to be stopped. After all, children cannot be lefty to throw objects down stairs according to their whims. Imagine the chaos! Another part of me – the perpetually juvenile – insisted that the experiment be allowed to continue. What harm could come from it?


The adult side won the battle this time and so I called out to Hannah “stop, don’t throw the book”. Despite my speedy reaction, Hannah had reached the top of the staircase first. The sound of my voice had interrupted her, mid wind-up. Hannah turned around and faced me. Despite her young age and inability to understand the specific words, Hannah knows an instruction when she hears one. Comprehension dawned as she looked at me, then down as the book in her hands. She turned back to look at the staircase, then she looked back up at me again.


An internal struggle was undoubtedly raging in her little mind. It was written all over her tiny face. In direct competition was the burning desire to complete her experiment – to add to her growing neurological catalogue of “things that happen when I throw stuff”, while at the same time she wished to please the “bringer of afternoon snacks” (me) by doing as I asked.


“Can I please have the book?” I asked, while inching closer to Hannah, who was still standing in her commanding position at the top of the stairs. Once again she looked at me, at my outstretched hand. Once again, she turned back to look at the stairs. It was now or never. Shortly I would be in a position to grasp the book and the opportunity to conduct the experiment would be lost.


Hannah wasted no more time, she heaved the book above her head and hurled it with all her might. It spun through the air in slow motion and gracefully cleared the first five stairs. On the sixth it landed with a thud. The spine-side corner hit the steps. The pages splayed open. The book tumbled down a further four steps, then stopped.


Hannah smiled and let out a pleased sound. Her experiment was complete and the results were very satisfying indeed. I looked at her and tried to hide my smile. Despite my best efforts at presenting as an adult to Hannah, I had undeniably enjoyed watching the spectacular journey of the book almost as much as she had. Despite the hard landing, no damage had been done to the book. I appreciated that Hannah had formulated, then conducted an interesting experiment.


Do I want Hannah to throw books down the stairs on a regular basis? No, of course not. But I don’t believe she will. If she does persist with doing it, it is then my job to teach her that it is not appropriate. Some may suggest that I have made this task harder for myself by failing to stop it the first time, but I’m not so sure. My observations of Hannah to this point lead me to believe that she gets great satisfaction from turning the unknown into the known. It is possible that had I stopped her the first time, her desire to throw books down the stairs may have grown.


I could be wrong. Maybe I’ve created a monster. Time will tell…

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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Dad jokes, joke Blog

How to Spot a Dad Joke

Something strange happens to many men at a certain point in their lives. It’s not so much to do with age as it is with mentality.

For me, I began to notice it several months before Hannah was born. It was a subtle, yet significant change to my persona, to my psyche. I started seeing the world in a slightly different way, as if things had ’tilted’ slightly. Different things became amusing. I began to hear words in different ways. Phrases began to escape my mouth, without filtration. It became clear to Emma, long before it was clear to me – I had begun to tell dad jokes.

This will most likely happen to you too. But fear not. Becoming a dad joker is a thing to embrace. It’s an adult milestone. Don’t fight it, enjoy it.

I’ve put together this guide to spotting dad jokes. It also contains some fine examples of the kinds of jokes you can expect to begin telling. Feel free to use them and to adapt them. No-one owns dad jokes, they belong to the universe*.


Sure-fire ways to know if you’re telling a Dad Joke:

The joke involves a pun

Often, it is based around a homophone, or around a word that sounds like a phrase with totally different meaning. Dad jokers are particularly good at this.


dad joke

Nobody laughs, except you

Indicators that you’ve just told a quality dad joke include an eyeroll by the Mrs or a groan from a child. Extreme dad jokers are sometimes even pre-empted by a “no dad, please don’t”, squealed by a child frantically searching for a normal upbringing.

Meanwhile, you find the joke that you’ve just uttered so amusing that a large grin has spread across your face. If it is particularly funny, you may even allow a large belly laugh to escape.

dad joke, bored

dad joke

A strong feeling of déjà vu

Have we been here before? Yes. Many, many times. Your wife didn’t laugh the first time you told her the joke and she sure as hell isn’t going to laugh the tenth time you say it. Dad jokers have a tendency to try and wear down their audience through repetition. It doesn’t work. Ever. But they try anyway.

dad joke, jokes


dad jokes, joke

Other dads find it funny

If you are unsure of whether you are about to tell a dad joke, quickly run it past the dads on Twitter. If they express amusement at what you have said, be warned. You are about to tell a dad joke. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it, in fact the nature of dad jokers most likely compels you to tell it. If you’re lucky, the Twitter dads will respond to your dad joke with a smorgasbord of their own. This will provide you with a whole day’s worth of material to try out on the family.


Dad jokes, joke

Dad jokes, joke

That’s it from me. For more fantastic dad jokes, I suggest you head on over to a few of my favourite dad-bloggers and check out their fine collections:

Daddy Poppins – Dad Jokes

Virtual Wombat – 20 Eyebrow Raising Dad Jokes – Tumble Weeds Guaranteed

*Jokes may actually belong to people. If any of these jokes belong to you from a legal perspective, please let me know and I’ll remove them immediately.

Twin Mummy and Daddy
One Hull of a Dad
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Botany bay, sunrise Blog


One of my favourite things to do is get out of the house before dawn, drive to a beach or river and set up for a sunrise photo shoot.

It was an activity that I used to do semi-regularly, but with work and family commitments it had been a long time since I’d had the opportunity. A couple of days ago, however, the timing was right. I had a late start to work, but I also had to be out of the house before Hannah woke up, so that I didn’t interfere with her usual ‘grandparents day’ routine.

I threw my photography gear into the car and headed for a special spot that I’d had in mind for some time now. It’s a place that I had first noticed over a year ago, when we had gone for a walk with Hannah in the bassinet (how quickly things change).

The Intended Subject

The thing that had caught my eye on that walk was a disused and semi-deconstructed pier. It must have fairly recently fallen into disrepair, as I actually have recollections of visiting the same spot as a kid, and watching small fish from the end of the pier. So it was surreal to see it now, disconnected, abandoned and slowly being swallowed by a sea of sand.

I arrived ten minutes before the advertised sunrise time. The pre-dawn glow told me that sunrise was imminent and so I set about finding the best place to shoot. However, immediately I had a problem. A sign informed me that the beach area was closed for maintenance. Normally such a sign wouldn’t bother me, but this sign was also accompanied by a great big digger in full swing. Also nearby was a worker in fluorescent gear, whose sole job appeared to be making sure people like me didn’t get too close.

bulldozer, beach, sunrise
No photos from the beach today


I cursed my bad luck. The photo that I had in mind relied on access to the beach. I had hoped to capture the sun rising behind the dilapidated pier. I quickly scouted the area for a new point of view. I didn’t have much time and I sure wasn’t about to waste a rare opportunity to capture a sunrise.

A Different Point of View

From up on the walkway I found a spot that looked directly down the pier. Interesting clouds had formed over Towra Point, on the other side of Botany Bay, and a hint of pink could already be seen. I set up my tripod and set about taking a few long exposure shots in the final moments before sunrise.

Already slightly pessimistic from the limited access to my subject, I was further disheartened by the thickness of the cloud cover. Sunrise came and went, and all I had to show for it was some muted pinks and purples in the otherwise grey sky. I didn’t mind too much as it all worked together to make a grungy, apocalyptic-feeling picture. It wasn’t what I had set out to capture, but that’s the nature of photography sometimes.


A Brilliant Sunrise Through a Telephoto Lens

After taking the photos I switched to my zoom lens. I was sure that I had captured the best of the sunrise and the colours in the sky had begun to fade. I decided to go for a little walk and see what details I could capture. A couple of ibis birds walked past, and I took a couple of snaps of the Bin Chickens.

All of a sudden, a sharp ray of sunshine poked out from behind the clouds over Port Botany. In the blink of an eye, the whole scene changed. Golden light flooded into the bay and across the beach. The sunlight reflecting off the water was blinding, and everything in that direction suddenly became silhouetted against the brilliant sky.

I was stuck with my Telephoto lens. I was unsure of how long the glorious moment would last, plus by now I had thrown caution to the wind and jumped down onto the beach. I didn’t want to risk missing everything or damaging my equipment, so I set to making the most of the situation and shooting the scene in front of me.

On reflection, the 55-300 mm lens that I was using worked quite well. Port Botany is a fair few kilometres away from where I was standing, and this lens enabled me to capture some interesting perspectives. I took a couple of shots to stitch together as well, in order to try and capture some of the wider view.


All things considered, I was pretty happy with my morning. I witnessed a spectacular sunrise and I captured some decent photos. I really should make the effort to see the sunrise more often.

DIY Daddy Blog
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Megablocks, construction, blocks, car Blog

My Sunday Photo – From Destruction to Construction

My Sunday Photo for this week is of Hannah’s first Mega Bloks construction

This photo represents the reaching of a significant milestone for Hannah. It is a record of the first time that she has successfully constructed something with blocks.

She has been playing with blocks for a long time, but that play has involved watching me build things, then knocking them down. She has had destruction mastered for many months now. But this week, she took herself over to the block container and started building.

Every block on the contraption was placed there by Hannah. I was particularly impressed with how tall she made her tower. She was also tenacious in building it, as on many occasions it fell down. Each time, Hannah examined the pieces and found a better way to put them together.

When Hannah completed her construction, she drove it around for a while making ‘brmm brmm’ noises. As if I wasn’t proud enough already…


Megablocks, construction, blocks, car

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Guest post, Hannah, typing, keys Blog

Guest Post – Hannah

Every good blog publishes guest posts from time to time. It’s a good way of building networks and adding a more diverse range of voices and opinions to one’s work. It breaks up the monologue, which can become a bit stale, a bit repetitive, even a bit boring.

Hannah has been watching me work on my blog for a while now. I try to explain to her what I’m doing and she seems interested enough. But I have a sneaking suspicion that has more to do with the clicking buttons than the hilarious aspects of parenting that I’m constantly immortalising.

It has now reached the point where she clambers her way up into my lap, then reaches for the keyboard with tiny, sticky outstretched fingers. This has become somewhat of a hindrance to my writing, but it also serves the more useful purpose of pulling myself away from the computer and engaging with Hannah.

Today, however, I thought to myself ‘I wonder what Hannah would write?’

What a great idea! What could possibly go wrong? Hannah has been infatuated with the keyboard for a while now, why not give her free reign, and see what blogging gold she comes up with?


So here it is. The first ever guest post on Blog Of Dad – Hannah

Hannah is a 14 month old girl. Her real name isn’t actually Hannah, but due to a healthy dose of ‘privacy first’ from her father, she’s not allowed to use her real name on the internet until she is 25. We sat down for a question and response session. I asked the questions and she typed her answers.



Hannah, how do you like being a baby?

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What are your thoughts on nap time?



What are your goals in life?

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Who is your favourite parent?




What are your thoughts on current geopolitical issues and what could be done to ease tensions in the South-China Sea, and on the Korean Peninsula?



*Section removed*





What is your favourite button on this keyboard?



Thanks Hannah. I think that has provided readers with a valuable insight into the life of a 14 month old. I will, however, have to have words with this ‘KiMMMM…’ person. How about you pick a biological parent next time…


I must admit that I have edited Hannah’s response slightly. The reason is that she somehow managed to paste sensitive information from a work email that I had just sent, into her response. While I was thoroughly impressed by Hannah’s newfound knowledge of keyboard shortcuts, I thought it best to remove that information.

To be honest, I don’t even know how she did it. I left her playing with the keyboard for a couple of seconds while I fetched the camera. When I returned, I was very briefly astounded by Hannah’s rapid improvement in spelling and sentence structure. Then I realised what had happened. Who knows what other mischief she got up to in that short time. I hope she didn’t email somebody…


I’ll leave you now with this parting comment, made by my wife, Emma, made when she read this post –


“Makes more sense than some of yours” – Emma


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My Sunday Photo - Sydney Park, wetlands of Sydney Park Blog

My Sunday Photo – Wetlands of Sydney Park

My Sunday Photo for this week is of the water feature in the wetlands of Sydney Park.

Hannah and I have started to make it habit to find a new, most excellent park in Sydney each week. Last week was the wonderful Carss Bush Park, with it’s fantastic playground and bayside setting. This week, the park that we discovered was Sydney Park.

Deep within the heart of this expansive park is the wetlands of Sydney Park. They form a wonderful oasis, so close to the Sydney CBD. Find the right spot and the stresses of modern life wash away.

My Sunday Photo - Sydney Park, wetlands of Sydney Park

Hannah and I had this spot all to ourselves as we ate our grapes. I immediately felt a great sense of calmness. The sound of this spectacular water feature removed and hint of the busy world around us. Every now and then, water birds casually swam past as they too searched for a morning snack. Some people leisurely wondered past on their morning walk, but no-one stopped to share the peaceful space with us.

I chose this particular photo as My Sunday Photo because I liked the effect of the slightly longer exposure on the water. I didn’t have my tripod with me, so I had to brace myself on the handrail in order to keep the camera steady. The exposure was 1/8 sec, which is usually far too slow for me to get a decent shot hand-held, but I seemed to have gotten lucky with this one.

The seagull appeared at just the right time. He hovered over the water feature, wings a blur of movement but the rest of him just still enough.

You can read all of my thoughts about the wetlands of Sydney Park, and see some more photos here. Besides the wetlands, there was plenty of other spaces to enjoy, especially for those with children.

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The local park, play, dirt, hand, baby This Compact Family Life

The Importance of The Local Park

There are some downsides to compact family living. Obviously, sacrifices need to be made for a family to occupy a smaller footprint than that of the traditional family home. Often, that sacrifice is most felt in the backyard. That’s where the local park becomes vitally important.

When I think back to my childhood (perhaps through rose-tinted glasses), the backyard was very much a key feature. We were lucky enough to live in houses with expansive areas (at least from my tiny perspective) in which to play and explore. I spent countless hours playing with balls, toys or mud. Sometimes we used nothing more than the combined imaginations of my brothers and me to make our own games.

At our townhouse we have a small backyard, but it’s really not conducive to the running around and exploration that I had as a child. I don’t want Hannah to miss out on those experiences either, as I believe they were such a fundamentally important part of my formative years. I want Hannah to develop a love of the outdoors and a desire to explore and experience all the things that nature and life has to offer.

The local park – Ideal replacement for the family backyard?

Since Hannah has been mobile enough to gain enjoyment from outside play, we have made it our business to get to know all of the parks in our immediate vicinity. Each one offers something different and none of them are perfect. But, together they offer the opportunity to somewhat replicate the ‘backyard’ experiences of my childhood.

The little toddler playground a few blocks away offers well-maintained play equipment that is very suitable for Hannah’s age. She can easily navigate her way to the top of the slide and on to the platforms. It also has some equipment that she is not yet able enough to use, so there is scope to continue to ‘grow into’ the little playground. It doesn’t offer much in the way of nature though.

Other playgrounds within easy walking distance offer equipment that is more suitable for older kids. For Hannah, these are still very much interesting places to explore. If nothing else, she enjoys sitting in the wood chips or digging through the mud. She seems happy enough to spend a full ten minutes picking up handfuls of wood chips and letting them drop through her fingers.

Other areas offer nothing in the way of play equipment, yet they provide grass and trees, and shrubs. Some even offer small creeks. They are the places that will come into their own as Hannah grows into a little toddler who wants to run, hide and explore. They are an attractive ‘blank canvas’, on which Hannah and her friends will be able to imagine up all kinds of games and experiences. These wonderful strips of green in suburban Sydney will be the backdrop to the great mum/dad and daughter moments – learning to kick a ball, to ride a bike, to catch a tadpole.

The downside of a small backyard

Of course, there are downsides to not having a large backyard. Hannah will require constant supervision for many years to come as she uses these facilities. I can’t yet even imagine the day that she asks to go to the park by herself, or with a friend. To be honest, the thought fills me with a mild panic, even at this very early stage.

We have to travel, even if it’s just a couple of minutes walk down the road. Sometimes Hannah is reluctant to sit in her stroller, so that means being carried to and from the park. It can also put us off making the effort if the weather is looking a little questionable. That’s something that is not an issue when you have your own backyard – just play until it rains!

The benefits of the local park

But there are many, many benefits too. Hannah has already begun to benefit from the social interactions that the park provides. As an only child with no cousins, regular play and interaction with and around other children is vitally important. It is something Hannah just wouldn’t find in her own backyard. Hannah consistently shows that she finds great joy in other kids. I definitely see it as my responsibility to ensure she has ample opportunities.

The lack of a large backyard also means less maintenance for Emma and me. A large backyard requires a large upkeep. That is time that would have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere would be our play time with Hannah. Our small strip of grass takes a matter of minutes to run a push-mower over. Every now and then, the plants need a few minutes with the hose. When we want a larger piece of grass on which to play, some kind council worker has already put in the hard yards of maintenance. We just have to turn up and enjoy it.

The final benefit of fully utilising the local parks around us is that it gets us out of the house. It is far too easy for me to become comfortable within these four walls. Despite living what I regard to be fairly modest life, this townhouse contains so many things that can entertain me and consume me. If I’m not careful, I could easily go for days without seeing sunlight. The knowledge that I need to get Hannah out to a park (almost) every day is a wonderful motivating factor.

And as soon as I step out into the fresh air and am surrounded by the trees and grass and people and bird-life, I’m reminded of why these experiences are so important. It is good for the soul, it refreshes and energises, it relaxes and helps me to regain perspective. When I go to the park with Hannah it takes me away from all the other stresses and strains of grown-up life, and it places me wholly within that moment. It forces me to be fully present and to enjoy the shared experiences with Hannah.


Sydney’s best parks and playgrounds

I have begun a mission to find Sydney’s best large parks and playgrounds. These are the ones that I will review regularly as part of my Family Fun in Sydney section. I began with the amazing Carss Bush Park – very much worth a day trip! Check back regularly as Hannah and I uncover more great parks. Also, please leave any suggestions for our next place to explore in the Sydney area.

DIY Daddy Blog
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