Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Births, Deaths and Near Misses

Much as you'd expect, the media has been saturated today with reports on Steve Irwin's death. As a result it's been impossible to avoid awkward questions from my daughter about what happened ('Why's that man on the TV again?'; 'Why do they keep showing pictures of sting rays?'; 'Why are those people sad?').

Every parent has to do the 'Death Talk' at some point - it's as inevitable as the 'Stranger Danger' chat or as the 'Birds and the Bees' used to be before schools started to provide decent sex education. I'd not anticipated having to do it as early as this, however, so was put on the spot somewhat. General wisdom is that you're upfront and honest about it, while preserving tact and gentleness where possible. So that's the angle I took.

Now she's scared of dying, old age, hospitals, sting rays, sharks, going to the beach, vets and falling off her scooter.

Apart from that I think it went pretty well.

On a slightly more 'up' note, today was my son's third birthday, so this morning we were all celebrating (although that was as much for the fact that last night he slept though for the first time in months).

Somewhat surprisingly, he was more interested in breakfast than his presents (note to self: feed children more before bedtime), but once the eating was out of the way it was down to business. A brief struggle with wrapping paper ended in his selflessly surrendering the present-opening to his big sister, content to simply make off with the goodies once all that tedious ripping business was out of the way.


Smart lad.

For me, the disposal of the wrapping paper kicked off an hour of searching for batteries and struggling with obtuse instructions in the quest to build a motorised stunt-car raceway. He was very pleased with it when it was finished, although I found that the novelty of watching a Hot Wheels knock-off zipping round and round in circles wore off after, oh, a good five or six seconds.

Today's work tasks, meanwhile, left me feeling very much like the toy car - chasing my own tail. My assignment to interview a prominent local football star has been derailed by his team's preparations for the upcoming finals series, preparations for which the term 'siege mentality' barely does justice. Coming up empty after a number of calls, the only option remaining was door-stepping the interviewee, which flies in the face of the upbeat, happy article I'm supposed to be writing.

Back to thumb-twiddling then. I do like a good twiddle.

2 Comments:

Anonymous James said...

I just gave up smoking, again, finally. My timing was brilliant, as my eldest daughter, who I have hidden my black lung from all these years, was sitting on the couch with me when the mouth cancer advert came on. She turned to me and said, "Dad, how long did you smoke for?" I almost said, "oh from 14 to... last Wednesday", but "long enough to hate it" sufficed. Tough questions. Honest answers. Ah parenthood. Now if I could just get the wife off the bloody things....

4:29 PM  
Blogger Pete Kempshall said...

Simple: just ply her with alcohol until she's too drunk to light up.

6:17 PM  

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