Sometimes, I admit that I give the old man a bit of a hard time about his parenting skills on this blog.
Parenting doesn’t come naturally to anyone; it’s just that some people are better at faking it than others.
The old man took some annual leave this week and has had the opportunity to spend some quality time with his children. What he had forgotten, unfortunately, in his belated quest to bond with his children, is that teenagers don’t necessarily want to spend quality time with their parents.
Luckily for him, though, our youngest hasn’t quite reached that age yet and is still easy to manipulate still compliant, and if I’m honest, a bit of a daddy’s girl too.
We are lucky in that all of our kids have talents. Kurt has a talent for music, making lots of noise for no apparent reason and attracting trouble. NC has talents in science, creating unnecessary mess in her bedroom and an in-depth knowledge of rocks, as well as wine which she inherited from her mother.
But neither of them has ever shown any huge aptitude for sport. He denies it, but that must have been a bitter pill for the old man to swallow for he assures us that he used to play sport to an exceptionally high level.
Admittedly, NC did play soccer for several years and even won a trophy for breaking more bones than scoring goals and one of the highlights of her sporting career and a big bonding moment with her father still has to be the day she broke her collar bone and the old man insisted she get back on the pitch and ‘not let her fucking team down’. Kurt dipped his toe in the game of soccer too, and like the old man he was fast on his feet, but unfortunately he was a little too accurate at scoring home goals because he could never remember which was his goal.
The old man consoles himself by blaming me for our children’s allergy to sport.
Yet our youngest has not only demonstrated a natural aptitude for ball sports, we have discovered that unlike her siblings, she also has the right temperament to learn. She watches carefully, listens and doesn’t argue. And she is always desperate to please her dad.
So while I have been working my butt off this week, while the old man lolls about the house on holiday pretending to find a balance between doing fuck all relaxation and spending quality time with the kids, he has secretly been spending quality time coaching our youngest. You see, she hasn’t reached the magic 13th birthday yet, when like her siblings she will no doubt wake up and suddenly despise us for no apparent reason.
And I have to give the old man credit on this occasion. He has taken his parenting responsibilities seriously this time. Lucky third, maybe? That man has taken her out to the park every day and they have come together, united, and returned looking relaxed and happy with their new father/daughter bond.
He came back today with tears in his eyes to show me the results of this new-found parenting knowledge.
It seems there are some rewards to parenting after all.