I reached two milestones of motherhood this week, unfortunately of the kind that are to be denounced rather than celebrated. Before I tell you, I need to apologise to my dad. I remember when Silverchair’s album Frogstomp came out in 1995, when I was 14. My sister had the CD and it got constant airplay at our place. The first time we played it, dad said, “Oh, is this The Silverchair? Yeah, I’ve read about them.” We fell apart laughing. The Silverchair? THE Silverchair? We were like “Yeah dad, it’s our new reel-to-reel of The Silverchair.” We ridiculed him for about 10 years over that and he always said, “Your time will come.”
My time has come.
Obviously Joel and I still think we’re as young, relevant and engaged with youth culture as we ever were. Even if any actual youth we come into contact with immediately dismiss us as of their parents’ generation – or, even “sadder” than their parents’ generation because we still think we’ve got it.
I haven’t made any musical faux pas yet. I know who the kids get down to and I can understand (and speak, in the privacy of my own home and my Facebook page) their speak. However, Joel now makes “dad jokes” with abandon and to be honest they are hilarious. Even if they’re terrible, and not funny at all, in fact particularly if so, it’s like a compulsion – he just has to say them. The other day we were driving past an open field near here set up with obstacles where Scout groups and bucks parties do mock war games. The local herd of cows had somehow got inside and were wandering around looking for a way out. As we drove past, Joel turned to us proudly and said “Oh look, moooooving targets.”
(We laughed all the way to our destination).
Jokes of this calibre would never have been considered for public consumption before we had children. They’re not clever and most of all they’re not funny. How things change.
For me, as the mother, I don’t have dad jokes BUT I DO HAVE BAD STYLES.
It was Rufus’s school sports day last week at the local beach. The whole school was there. It’s a hard gig to get 70 under-5s to participate in stupid games while not chucking sand in each other’s eyes and/or drowning, and the staff were not unlike Ben Stiller in Dodgeball in their militaristic execution of the event.
Miss Sandra about to let off another blast of the whistle through the loudhailer. Unnecessary. But she really kept things moving as the weather turned from merely overcast to very cold and pelting with stinging rain drops. Joel might be able to issue a decent dad joke on command but we are in other ways usually unprepared for anything to do with parenting, so we didn’t have any jumpers or jackets on hand. We did, however, have a “picnic rug” (in fact some sort of tie-dyed tablecloth we found in the house when we moved in, obviously we don’t actually have a picnic rug).
I didn’t give it to Rufus, I just wrapped it around myself. That way I could be warm and he could bask in the reflected glory of how fashion-forward I am.
Having proven myself in the style stakes, I then proceeded to get my Tiger Mother on. Most alarmingly I have no memory of this but here is photographic proof of me chasing Rufus along exhorting him to go faster in the egg-and-spoon race. Look at my serious face! DON’T YOU DARE DROP THAT BLOODY EGG OR SO HELP ME I WILL BEAT YOU WITH MY THONG!
Rufus might have disappointed me in the egg-and-spoon race and various other in my view pointless activities like sandcastle-making and tossing hula hoops around buckets, but when it was time for the tug-of-war, he could not be denied. Towering over his classmates and sometimes literally twice the size, he was on one end of the rope while his diminutive classmates took up the other end in groups of four or five, only to be brought to the sand. It was hilarious. He’s such a gentle boy; we’ve got problems if he ever works out by accident what sort of punch he could pack.