A confession. This is a rewrite of a post made on a previous blog and I’ve given it a bit of tweaking here and there. It was popular then so now, in its sleeker and less baggy edited form, it should – even if not any better – be at least faster to read than it was then.
This also forms my entry to the #BlogBattle Stories for this month with the theme word of ‘Heart’. The word didn’t appear in the original story so I tacked it on at the end there to make it fit better.
Honesty and a complete lack of tact gets me in all sorts of trouble but I often get some funny stories out of it. Like this one. But some mischief helps as well.
I’m all Heart
Like many of you, I have had a child or two. Some of you are Catholic so have many more than two, but, on average, I think a lot of people reading this will be aware of caring and providing for at least 1.78 children. On average.
In my case, I fathered them, which I think is generally accepted as the easier and more favourable part. My daughter is now a teenager. At seventeen she is now in to the second year of what we in the UK call ‘A’ Levels – which is the level above the one I got to when I finished getting any schooling at all – and possibly a precursor to a university for her.
Somehow though, regardless of her A* predictions for them and the glowing academic record – the like of which I would beat the ‘swots’ for in my then altogether less academic style of real world education – she thinks I am some sort of a genius.
“Dad, you always know stuff,” she says, which is true.
Whether the stuff I know would need any greater in-depth study at an Oxbridge university and would be any use to anyone at all is another thing. And it’s never quite the right time to admit that some of the stuff she thinks I know is made up on the spot.
She also says “Dad, you’re so funny,” and then smiles enigmatically, so I’ve no idea what sense of the word funny she might actually mean.
Mrs Bryntin has the same smile.
Anyway, although when you first have a child – and of course it is perfect and so you post photographs of it on social media to share with your friends and family every five minutes for the first three years or so of its life – gradually you become aware of a few rough edges as it successfully devours any parental resources around it. By teenage, the rough edges can become chasms at home but be strangely sanded down smooth, possibly veneered over or just missing entirely on social media at the same time.
My daughter has thankfully not yet presented us with any major chasms but does have a couple of those little edges.
The first is that she has a slight problem with a tongue-tie, so ‘S’ sounds can be a difficulty – to the extent that one of her A level subjects in school is Biology and that her teachers and entire class knows not to get her to explain anything using the word ‘photosynthesis’ in it. This is liable to generate mostly only sibilance, saliva and showers. Diplomatically, and to save issuing umbrellas, they let her get away with ‘the light to energy thing’ when asked to speak aloud.
So, a caring Dad, knowing that she’ll need to be making notes a lot at school, and that his daughter loves proper stationery instead of using computers, can buy his clever daughter a nice gift at the start of the new term. So I bought her a new notebook with a cover design that sort of had a Biology theme on it.
She loved that.
Couldn’t say it, but loved it.
I could tell she loved it, she was moved to speechlessness (which she can’t say either) and I think there was a tear or two forming as well.
The other rough edge is that she has developed a little bit of OCD behaviour.
For example, fuelling the car when she’s a passenger is often a lot more expensive than I planned as I try to stop the price display on exact round numbers. £29.97 or £30.01 is likely to have her in something approaching a catatonic state with a frozen look of shock on her face so I have to go on to £31.00… miss, £31.02, try for £32.00, etc, etc, until either I hit one right (“£47.00! At last…”) or I can’t fit any more fuel in the tank at £45.83 and we’ve had to call an ambulance.
She once went off into the study to do some homework quietly and came out three hours afterwards with an almost angelic and self-satisfied look on her face. I thought it was just that she had finished the homework successfully and didn’t particularly comment but I noticed when I went into the study the next day that my one large mixed jar of assorted sea glass, collected on the local beach, was now in five smaller jars of different colours and seemed to have been sorted into a size order with the largest pieces at the bottom too.
So today, being Friday, and her living with her Mum about an hours drive away, we had our regular weekly catch up on a messenger app, with a little written summary of how we’ve each been and perhaps to share a picture or two.
Today, I posted her a picture of some nice socks from a pack that my Mum had bought me for a Christmas gift, and I was now proudly wearing a pair of. I might have mentioned that they were both right-legged socks too.
Honestly, there are all sorts of sites giving sterling advice for successful parenting out there on the webs, but not one of them can tell you how to – reliably, and remotely – reduce your lisping, slightly OCD teenage daughter into a frozen catatonic state at will.
I’m all heart.