Tag: funny

Is my daughter a natural born killer of flies? Blog

Natural Born Killer

I hate flies.


For whatever reason, I can’t abide their existence in my house. In my mind they are symbols of filth and spreaders of disease. Their presence is not common in my house, but when one somehow finds its way in… its days are numbered.


I hate flies, but I hate polluting my home with aerosol poisons as well. I’ve never gone for the kill everything approach – I’m more hands-on.

My preferred method of dispatching an errant fly is the tea towel whip method. If you are not familiar with this method, it basically involves rolling up the closest tea towel then attempting to flick the disease-ridden insect out of the air. Sometimes it takes a few goes, but usually it’s fairly effective.


The Giant Blowfly

Giant blowflies are the worst of the worst (even if they do make for good photos). One made the fateful mistake of entering my house a few weeks ago. Quick as a flash I had the tea towel cocked and my sights set on the buzzing beast.


Hannah had been playing in the living room, but the jet-engine-like drone of the oversized insect had disturbed her from her play. She was now standing at my feet, clinging to my legs for dear life lest the beast attack her face (she may have had an unfortunate facial interaction with a fly a few days prior). She watched as I followed the blowfly with laser-like precision until the perfect time to strike…




The blowfly was neutralised by a brutal direct hit. The sound of the tea towel slapping the kitchen bench was explosive. It echoed through the house (probably the whole neighbourhood) and was immediately followed by the most pleasing of silence – the absence-of-fly silence.


Hannah had watched the whole thing. She had flinched at the speed and sound of the tea towel whip, but she had watched and she had understood.


Natural Born Killer… Maybe

A few days later another unsuspecting fly entered our house. A smaller, quieter fly, but still a disease-ridden monster that had to be dealt with. Swiftly.

I hadn’t seen or heard the fly, but Hannah had.

Emma noticed Hannah’s actions first. She noticed her get up from her DUPLO and walk with purpose into the kitchen. She watched Hannah remove the tea towel that was draped over the oven handrail and she watched her swing it around in an attempt to make a whip.

Emma had no idea what the determined toddler was up to. She hadn’t been around for the blowfly incident and so was oblivious to the modelling that I had provided Hannah with. Emma watched, mesmerised as the toddler zeroed in on the little buzzing insect that was now buzzing near a window.

Hannah swung her whip. She got it nowhere near the fly, instead it fluttered gently around her own head. Not a bad effort though – she’s not even two years old. The failure didn’t deter her, she tried again, and again, and again…

Hannah didn’t manage to kill the fly that day, but her dogged determination to dispatch the bothersome bug was impressive. She may not be a natural born killer of flies, but even at this early age, Hannah is the kind of person who can spot a problem and try to deal with it. She is also willing to persist even when the task is tricky – not once did she turn to us for help. I think those are pretty great qualities for a toddler to be developing.

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Kimono Hire Kyoto Blog

Kimono Hire in Kyoto – Don’t Be That Tourist

I like the traditional kimono. They are beautiful, elegant and distinctly Japanese.


What absolutely drives me nuts is the tourist obsession with kimono hire in Kyoto. I’m sure it’s not a new thing, but the phenomenon now appears to be totally out of control.


When I was a boy…

I hate to be that kind of old man that wishes things to be the way they were back in the day. However, in this case I have no choice but to refer to our last visit to Kyoto.

Sure, there was the occasional Gaijin in fancy dress – wandering through a shrine, desperately hoping for a Zen experience as they took a sudden, intense but ultimately futile interest in Eastern religion as a way of rationalising the emptiness of their meaningless existence…

But they were few and far between. Glimpses of kimonos were rare treats. Most of the kimonos were refined, conservative in their use of colour, intricately detailed and worn by older women with elegance, precision and poise. Essentially, they were worn by women who well-and-truly understood the tradition in which they were participating, and as such, we (the tourist) were rewarded with an ever-so-brief window into another time and a fascinating part of Japanese culture.


But now…

Kyoto is a town dripping in history and culture. Because of this, it attracts droves of tourists. For some reason, just seeing the amazing sites on offer is no longer enough for a lot of these people. They feel the need to go a step further and dress up.


How could you resist?


Naturally, there is now a booming trade in kimono rental in Kyoto. On every street corner there seems to be a place to rent one. Most of them offer endless options and garish look-at-me designs.

These places are extremely popular, and not just with foreign tourists. Young Japanese women seem to be drawn to the practice of travelling to Kyoto and dressing in kimonos to visit historic sites.

You might think that young Japanese women would able to effortlessly pull off the kimono… but you’d be wrong.


Modern technology and ancient tradition

The main problem (from my perspective) that these young women face is the obsession with the selfie. You see, it’s very hard to pull off grace and elegance when you have a mobile phone permanently glued to your hand and your whole being is dedicated to finding the perfect angle to photograph yourself in front of a holy icon.


Kimono Hire


The kimono and the mobile phone just don’t mix. They are two very different icons from very different times. As soon as a phone (or any electronic device) is added to the outfit, the whole illusion is shattered and the wearer is exposed for what they really are – a tourist playing fancy dress.

With so many of these tourists on the streets of Kyoto, the glimpse of a kimono quickly loses its appeal and it becomes more comic relief.


Kimono Hire
“Take a picture of me taking a picture of her taking a picture of herself”


Look carefully

With all the tourists in loud kimonos, it can be easy to overlook the real thing. But they are still there and they still evoke a sense of traditional Japan. Keep a keen eye open and you will see them. They are more restrained and far more dignified. Often they are worn by older women. These are the authentic glimpses into the Japanese lifestyle that you are looking for.


The blokes do it too

I can’t tell you how many self-aware, awkward-looking young blokes I saw being dragged along behind their partners, wearing the male kimono.

Almost every one of them had the look on their face that said “I don’t want to be here”, yet there they were… and they were being photographed by people like me, who found the whole spectacle entirely amusing.

One poor young bloke stepped out of the hire shop in a highly conspicuous and not-at-all traditional red outfit, to a burst of laughter from his partner. She had obviously put him up to it, yet there she was, mocking him as soon as he stepped foot outside the shop. Poor bastard.

Then there were the two blokes who were walking along, dressed up together. They had clearly decided to do it for themselves, and they owned it. Every five metres, they stopped and took a photo of each other.


Enjoy Japan as a tourist, by being a tourist

Japan is a wonderful, amazing place. Anyone who asks me if it worth visiting is subjected to at least an hour’s-worth of rambling about how wonderful it is. But part of that wonder is in the observation of the culture – something so far removed from my Australian life that it is fascinating to me.

I go there as a tourist to see it, not to pretend to be part of it. And when others are there and pretending, it muddies the waters. It makes it hard to know what is real and what is dress-up. I want to see the authentic scenes and I feel a little disappointed that those scenes are becoming more and more obscured.

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Carpark Cretin Blog

Carpark Cretin – The Worst of Humanity

Disclaimer – this post contains language that some may find offensive. Not a whole lot really, but just enough that I thought I had better warn you. Regular readers of Blog of Dad know that I rarely use foul language, but I’m also a firm believer that some kinds of stories just can’t be properly told without the occasional F-word, S-word or cleverly-alluded-to-but-not-actually-written C-bomb.
So, if you are offended by these kinds of things, I respectfully ask that you direct your attention towards one of my many not-at-all offensive posts. If, however, you enjoy a good story and can handle a swear or two, read on! (Oh yeah, there is also a part where a fictitious character uses demeaning terminology to refer to another fictitious character with a disability. You’ve been warned, please don’t complain).

What is it about carparks? What mystical power rules over them, that turns seemingly decent humans into raging, frothing-at-the-mouth beasts within seconds of entering?
I seem to ponder this question regularly. The reason is that every time I enter a carpark these days, I seem to bear witness to the mind-numbingly stupid, the grotesquely selfish and the absurdly absent-minded behaviour of the people I’ve now dubbed the carpark cun cretins.

What is a Carpark Cretin?

A carpark cretin is a perfectly normal human being, with one horrendous flaw. In any other situation, they appear to be one of us. They hold down jobs, they have friends. Some of them have even managed to procreate. But, insert a carpark cretin into an automobile, and place that automobile inside a carpark, and their fundamental deviation from acceptable humanoid characteristics quickly becomes exposed.
Within seconds, the carpark cretin will cause unimaginable pain and suffering to all those around them. They will immediately forget that humanity is only able to maintain its fragile harmony because of a general consensus that a minimum standard of behaviour be adhered to by all.

How to spot a Carpark Cretin

There is literally no way to tell a carpark cretin from a regular human being, unless you place them in a carpark.
See old Doris over there? That’s right, the 83 year old nanna who doesn’t ever miss church on Sunday, who has volunteered at the local homeless shelter for the past 30 years? The Best and Fairest award winner at the local bowling club for the past three years straight! Ah Little old Dot, a shining example of what humanity is all about…
Except, put her behind the wheel of her 92 Corolla and watch in awe as the beast is unleashed. Watch, spellbound as she executes a perfect burnout while reversing at 60km/h in order to cut you off from the space for which you’ve spent the past 5 minutes diligently waiting.
Yes, it’s at that moment, as you watch Doris elegantly flip you the bird in response to a polite toot of your horn, that you realise that she isn’t a shining example of a bygone era of manners and respect. She’s a cretin. She claims she didn’t see you waiting for that spot? Don’t believe it for a second, you’re dealing with an A-grade carpark cretin. Make no mistake about it, good-old God-fearing Doris would tell the Pope himself where to stick his fancy glass box of a car if it came down to the last parking spot at the local IGA.

“Surely Doris is a one off?” I hear you shout!
Sadly she is not. What about your best mate Ben? The A-grade student in high school; completed his law degree so that he could voluntarily represent refugees and the terminally ill; rescues kittens from drains in his free time…
Let me tell you something else about Golden Boy Ben. Once his bonnet edges past the boom gate, he believes in only one thing. Anarchy.

Pedestrian crossings? Piss off.
One Way signs? Piss off.
Give Way signs? Piss off.
Park within the lines? Piss off.
Disabled parking spots and Parents With Prams? They can fuck right off.

Once he’s in that carpark, Ben just doesn’t give two shits if Disabled Dave has to roll an extra kilometre in his wheelchair to reach the front door. That just isn’t Ben’s problem. Yes, Golden Boy Ben is a carpark cretin. He actually can’t help it, It’s genetic. It’s buried somewhere deep in his DNA, right next to the full-blown arsehole gene.

Who Put A Bee In Your Bonnet?

Okay, I’ll admit it. This post isn’t really about Ben and Doris. They aren’t even real people, just conglomerations of various poor behaviours that I have witnessed over the years. Really, they are just a primer to the actual, genuinely real story that occurred before my very eyes, just the other day…

This event happened as we were leaving a busy carpark at a small local shopping centre. We were returning to our car when the window of a pretty flash-looking silver convertible rolled down. A head poked out of the window. It belonged to a rather rotund, middle-aged woman.
“Are you leaving?” she enquired?
“Yes,” I replied. “But we’re way down there.”
I pointed vaguely in the direction of the bottom of the carpark. I had feared that I was dealing with a cretin, and I wanted to make it obvious to the woman that there was a long line of waiting cars between her and our precious parking spot, lest she try something rash.
“Oh, that’s okay,” she replied. “I’ll see what I can do.”
That phase set a few more alarm bells ringing. I’ll see what I can do are not the words of a woman resigned to missing out on a parking spot.
We continued on our merry way back to the car, without further bother from the numerous other patrons who had optimistically entered the tiny carpark.
Upon reaching our car, I signalled to the driver of the closest car that we were about to leave and she quickly flicked on her indicator to show her intention to fill the soon-to-be vacated position.
I began the task of loading the car, then jumped into the backseat to do up Hannah’s seatbelt. It was then that I heard the voice of the cretin…
“That’s my spot!” boomed the voice loudly.
The cretin had completed a lap of the small carpark. She had now pulled up directly behind the mother who was patiently waiting for my spot.
The mother, wisely, chose not to engage in dialogue with the cretin.
“That’s my spot!” exclaimed the loud voice again. But this time it was accompanied by the blast of a horn.
The unfortunate mother who had been patiently waiting for the parking space was left with no choice. She had to engage in dialogue with the cretin, in order to explain the bleeding obvious.
“I’m sorry, but I was here first,” She stated in a voice far calmer than anything I would have been able to manage if placed in that position.
“…but I bagsed it!” came the incredulous reply of the cretin.


This middle-aged woman had resorted to the tactics of Sydney primary school student, in order to try and claim a spot in a carpark.

“You can’t bags a spot in a carpark!” replied the mother, now clearly a little flustered by the unexpected, childlike antics of the cretin.
“Yes, I bagsed it when I was over there,” replied the cretin, the tone of her voice clearly indicating that she believed she had delivered the irrefutable evidence that would secure her the spot.
“I’m sorry, but I was here first. Perhaps there is a spot further round?” came the remarkably measured response of the mother. She had done well to quickly regain her composure. Unfortunately, the poor mum hadn’t quite bargained for the extreme cretinness of this particular specimen.
Her logical response was met with a second blast of the horn, followed by another outcry of “but I bagsed it! You should go to the other spot.” (The cretin was, of course, well aware that there were no other spots as she had just completed a lap of the carpark.)

The timing of this last outburst was perfect. It happened just as I was moving from the backseat to the front. My impulse to laugh heartily at the absurd took hold. It was further compounded by inadvertently making eye-contact with the remarkably cool-headed mum. The result was fits of laughter from both of us.
I think our laughter must have enraged the carpark cretin, but it was also enough to show her that the battle had been lost. No matter how much she complained, she just wasn’t going to convince the mum of the mystical powers of bagsing a spot from across a carpark. She gunned her engine, scowled, gave a final blast of the horn for good measure and drove off.
I dared to shoot a final quick glance at the admirably patient mum in the other car. I gave her a shrug of the shoulders as if to say “what was that all about?” Tears of laughter ran down her cheeks. Thankfully she too had been able to see the funny side of her close encounter of the cretin kind. It hadn’t ruined her day, it had just given her a most excellent story to retell to her family and friends.

As for the cretin, she was last spotted re-entering the tiny, clearly full carpark. No doubt she was hell-bent on bullying some other poor soul out the next available spot. It honestly wouldn’t have surprised me to learn that she had now “bagsed” every spot in the small carpark. As we drove down the street, I noted the abundant street parking that was available less than 50 metres away.

Monday Stumble Linky
Me, Being Mummy
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The Train Lives Blog

The Train Lives!

Regular readers may remember the devastating events of a few days ago, where a large amount of water was accidentally used to drown one of Hannah’s favourite toys – her battery-powered train. At the time, it appeared as if the train was well-and-truly ruined. The circuits shorted, controls rendered useless by the unfortunate spillage.


At the time, I proclaimed that:


I’m no electrical engineer, but I’m pretty sure that water-induced short-circuits are irreversible – Dad, 2017


It turns out I was absolutely correct… about not being an electrical engineer.


The Moment of Truth

Last night, in an act that some may describe as desperately optimistic, I retrieved the crippled train from its resting place on a high shelf in the laundry. I had placed it there on the night of “the incident”, in the vain hope that a good drying would magically fix the problem of the haywire circuit. I know, it sounded stupid to me at the time as well.

Except that it wasn’t. Through some kind of electronic wizardry, the favourite toy fired into life as if it had never received its impromptu shower.

I held my breath. Could it be possible? Could the simple process of fully drying the train have been enough to save it from becoming yet another burden on the local landfill?

I pressed a button. It did exactly as it was supposed to. There was no random noise, no sudden start-stop of the wheels. I pressed another button. Another prefect performance of its allocated task.

The final test remained – the smoke-stack. In the moments after the drenching, the smoke-stack refused to register at all. It appeared to be the key source of all the issues.

I took a few deep breaths. A bead of sweat formed on my brow. This was it. This was the moment. Would the train miraculously work as it was supposed to, or would my dreams come tumbling down in a landslide of malfunction?

The previous eight months flashed before my eyes – the excitement of Christmas Day, the joy on the grandparents’ faces, the first time Hannah explored the functions of her new toy, and every press of every button between then and now.

I closed my eyes and pushed down on the green stack.

“1,2,3, chug along with me!” exclaimed a familiar female voice. On it went as the wheels began spinning.

I opened my eyes and looked on in amazement. The train performed its act, as if nothing had ever happened. I pressed the stack again. As it had always done, the song and wheels abruptly stopped with the accompanying hissing sound of a steam locomotive stopping at a station.

I pressed the stack again and once more, off it went, this time on an ABC song.

The train lives! It is as good as it has ever been!

DIY 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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Guest post, Hannah, typing, keys Blog

Dude, Where’s My Car (Keys)?

As a parent, I try to be ‘present’ as much as possible when I am around my daughter. I love the times when she has my full attention, and we play together or read books, or play hide-and-seek.

Sometimes, adult things just need to be done. Bills have to be paid, emails responded to, cooking done… it’s just not possible to give a child 100% of your attention, all the time. But toddlers don’t understand that. They have particular feelings at particular times, and these feelings are quite separate from your desire to get things done. As a consequence, distractions are sometimes required.

Take, for example, my experience last night. I was sitting at the table, tapping away on my laptop keyboard, when Hannah wandered over and took a great interest in what I was doing. Not content with watching me type away (Hannah is never content to just watch), she insisted on being part of the action. I can’t blame her, the clicking of keyboard keys and the bright screen are enough to entice any toddler to interaction.

I needed a distraction and I needed one quickly. I was in the zone with my writing and I really didn’t want to break my concentration at that point (It’s always so hard to start again, and it’s never as good). Almost absent-mindedly, I reached for the one thing on the table that was even more enticing than the laptop – my keys.

What is it about keys? I don’t understand it at all. I used to laugh at the stereotypical image of a parent dangling a set of keys in front of a baby, but I don’t laugh any more. Keys have a mysterious power over the infant mind. They hypnotise it in ways that even science can’t explain (I’m assuming this, I have in no way bothered to research the validity of this statement). It works. I don’t know why, but it just does. Anyway, back to the story…

I handed the set of keys to Hannah without a second thought and I carried on writing. The distraction had worked and Hannah toddled off to examine her newly-acquired treasure. All was good.

The only thing was, I had broken the golden rule of letting a toddler play with something they shouldn’t otherwise have – I hadn’t watched what she did with it.

This rule is fundamental and universal. Take, for example, letting your child play with a pen. She will examine it carefully, and look ever so grown up with it while you have your eye on her. But dare blink and immediately a blue line will appear on the wall. You will then look down at your child and she will innocently look back up at you, blue ink all over her face and the remanets of an exploded blue pen in her hand.

Or your phone. The innocent and adorable child, sitting at your feet and swiping through some mindless game, will flush that bad-boy down the toilet if given even half a window of opportunity.

After a substantial period of quiet play by Hannah and excellent writing by me, it began to dawn on me that I had made a terrible mistake. A niggling little sound at the back of my mind turned into full-blown alarm bells as I realised that Hannah had moved on from the keys, and she was now playing with her toy train.

I snapped out of my writing haze and focussed fully on the burning question – Where are my keys?

“Where are my keys?” I asked Hannah, fully aware that it would be futile. She looked up at me briefly, smiled, then returned her full attention to her train.

I tried to retrace Hannah’s movements in my mind, but that was useless. My attention had been on my laptop and I had no idea what she had been up to. I had vague recollections of her wandering past the table and towards the stairs, but that was it. They could be anywhere in the house.

I began looking in toy boxes and drawers. I searched under the cushions on the couch, then under the couch its self. I headed up stars and checked the bedrooms. Nothing.

I headed back down stairs and resigned myself to a thorough search of the house once Emma returned home. I was annoyed that I had so easily given away something so important, all for the sake of a few minutes of uninterrupted writing time.

When I returned to the play mat, Hannah was still sitting and playing with her toy train. She was completely oblivious to my frantic searches. Defeated, I slumped into my chair. Hannah was still engaged with her train, but I was no longer in the zone to write.

A short time later, Emma returned home. We said our hellos, then almost immediately she looked to the spot on the play mat where Hannah had been sitting.


“Why are your keys on the floor?” She asked.


The Pramshed
DIY Daddy Blog
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Toddler Playground Carss Bush Park Blog

The Other Children in The Toddler Playground

Now that visits to playgrounds feature heavily in our weekly routine, I’ve begun to notice a few similarities between the children that I see at each playground. As someone who forms his understanding of the world through sweeping generalisations, I have spent my last few visits to playgrounds observing the other children there, and placing them in categories.


The King (or Queen) of the Playground

You know this kid. He’s the one that sits at the top of the slide and doesn’t let anyone else go down. She’s the one who pushes others down the stairs, or hogs a particular piece of equipment all for herself, the entire time you’re at the playground. The ruler of the playground is usually just that little bit older than the rest. He has no ability or desire to share and he becomes extremely agitated when his dominance is challenged.

These kids may appear fearless, even like miniature schoolyard bullies. However, their tough-guy façade tends to crack fairly easily.

Last week Hannah managed to wrestle the baby swing from a helmet-clad toddler who was hell-bent on dominating it, despite the apparent unwillingness of any adult to lift him up and place him inside. He had been holding the damned thing for a full five minutes before Hannah got jack of the situation, toddled over and went head-to-head in a battle of ‘hold and pull’.

This kid had already chased away a grandmother with a small baby, by racing over and yelling “it’s mine” as she attempted to give her granddaughter a quick swing. The poor old darling seemed quite flustered by the interaction.

But he was no match for Hannah. Her tiny hands grasped the black rubber and they refused to budge, despite the young tyrant’s best jerky efforts. “Aw, you’re sharing” I interjected from the sidelines, which no-doubt fuelled his ego-centric rage and resulted in a few more attempts to regain sole control of the contraption. However, he hadn’t counted on the tenacity of a baby girl with surprising strength and a bloody-mindedness for swinging that matched his own. He relented and retreated to the big-kid swing, where he sat sulkily and complained about not being pushed, for the next five minutes while Hannah swung away joyfully. As soon as Hannah alighted, he raced back across and resumed his position at the ‘throne’, much to the dismay of the grandma who was once again hovering hopefully nearby.


The One Who Always Gets Hurt

Just this morning we were at the soft play area in a shopping centre. As I watched Hannah play I noticed a little boy, perhaps three years old, out of the corner of my eye. He was climbing the staircase of a slide, it was no more than a metre high. Somehow, he pulled a backwards summersault off the side and landed face-first on the soft-fall surface. Despite the meagre size of the equipment it really looked quite painful, so much so that I let out an audible gasp. The boy’s father was close by and he rushed to his aide.

Following this adventure, I went for a quick browse of a shop While Emma stayed with Hannah. When I returned just a few minutes later, Emma regaled me with a story of a little boy who had almost taken out Hannah in a spectacular fall off the slide. It felt like déjà vu as I listened. Then Emma pointed out which child it was – the same bloody kid! In the space of ten minutes, the child had managed two life-threatening falls on what must be the safest play equipment in Sydney.

This wasn’t a one-off occurrence either. The other day I watched a kid with his arm already in a sling, majestically pirouette from one stepping-stone to the next, until he gracefully slipped, tumbling head-over-arse and landing on his one good arm. Some kids are just born to have spectacular stacks.


The Nice Kid

I’ll admit it, this one surprised me. I was expecting all other kids at the playground to be self-centred jerks, or at the very least uninterested in the activities of a little baby girl who is just finding her way around. But time and time again, a little darling has absolutely blown me away with his or her generosity or kindness towards Hannah. Every time it has left Hannah with a great big smile on her face, and hopefully taught her a thing or two about positive human interactions.

Several times girls who are a few years older than Hannah, and otherwise alone on the playground, take her under their wing and show her the ropes. They play with her, show her how to do things and even share their toys with her. Hannah, in return beams great big smiles and fully engages in their games.

One child that particularly surprised me recently was a boy of primary school age, who had some of the sweetest interactions with Hannah yet. He had sent his football down a slide and it had rolled off the edge, straight into Hannah. She had looked monetarily shocked, but not upset. He came down the slide after his football and went straight over to Hannah to check on her. Seeing that she was okay, he then offered his football to her to play with. She showed some interest and her interacted with her for quite a while. He even showed her how to use another interesting piece of equipment at the playground. The young boy was so engaging that at one point, another young girl of about Hannah’s age crawled over, and they both sat side-by-side watching the boy. It was really beautiful to watch and I felt such joy that there are kids like that around. It taught me not to be such a cynical old grump.


The One With Parents Permanently Attached

Little Johnny should be able to climb to the top of the slide by himself, after all, he’s six years old. But he can’t, because for his whole life he’s relied on a helicopter ride straight to the top. This kid can’t do anything for himself, and when he is faced with even the slightest glimpse of independence, a parent magically appears with a fresh roll of bubble wrap to protect him from the threat.

Ha has absolutely no social skills, because he hasn’t been provided with the opportunity to develop them. His views about other children range from mild annoyance to bewildered hatred. His parents can often be seen forming a kind of makeshift human barrier between him and the great unwashed.

But all of that is okay, because he’s not going to have to learn how to wipe his own bottom until he leaves for university – he’s living the dream!


The One Without An Owner

You can spot this kid easily. He’s the one hanging upside-down by his ankles from the top of the rope gym when you first arrive. A quick scan of the playground will reveal that there isn’t a parent in sight, yet this kid seems quite at ease. He doesn’t think he owns the playground, he just happens to live there.

These kids come in two flavours – the ones who keep to themselves, and the ones who attach themselves to your family.

The ones who keep to themselves normally drift between the pieces of play equipment, choosing the least populated activity. Sometimes they even scurry off into the bushes for a while, no-doubt seeking some downtime from the hustle and bustle of a busy playground. They re-emerge later, sometimes after several hours – long after you think they’ve gone home.

Then there’s the one who tries to join your family. She just happens to play on the same piece of equipment as your child, and before you know it she’s eaten half your picnic. When you go to leave the park, she’ll look at you as though you’ve just run over her puppy.


The One Who is Stuck

He’s ten centimetres off the ground, but that doesn’t stop him from calling for help to get down. He doesn’t scream at the top of his lungs, instead he opts for the continuous “help, I’m stuck” said at normal speaking volume. He knows someone will come to help, they always do.


The Bolter

This kid has a twinkle in her eye and a penchant for playing on motorways. Her parents have learnt that she can only be taken to fenced play areas, and even then that they need to be constantly alert to the possibility of escape. She can be spotted loitering around the one exit of the playground, just waiting for a careless person to leave the gate open a fraction of a second too long.

Heaven help her parents if they glance at their phone to check an email. It will almost certainly result in a manic chase across at least three lanes of traffic. This child’s parents have the thighs of Usain Bolt and they’re probably quicker off the mark.


The Perfect Child

This is the one who’s behaviour you just can’t fault… you can’t help it that they just happen to be your child…


I’m pretty sure this is the definitive list, but if you happen to spot any other types of children who I’ve neglected to mention, feel free to drop it into the comments. I’ll be sure to keep an eye open for them the next time I’m at the playground.

One Hull of a Dad
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