Living in the same house as a 9 year-old girl is a challenge – me being a non-breeder for all of my 55 years on planet Earth, despite ‘trying’ through two marriages and a few lovers.
So, I’m a late comer to my ‘also-Dad’ status as the partner of a mother of one. Miss Nine is pretty special – a volatile mix of high intelligence, artistic temperament, a love of high drama at any opportunity, an enviable prowess in burping and farting, a beguiling charm, and a vocal range that goes from a roar to ultrasonic ear-splitting screams.
She has the ability to talk on an adult level on many subjects - and then break off to have an intimate tea party with her soft toy collection.
On the odd occasion when I am left to babysit, I end up being lured into reading numerous horrendous children’s books, making hot chocolate, and making up stories from scratch. Lights Out deadlines seem to stretch magically as I am coerced into … just … one … more … chapter pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaase!!! I am invariably caught out by my partner returning from orchestra practice – waaaay past bedtime, me (with wine glass), and Miss Nine engrossed in another chapter of Enid Blighton’s Subtle as A Train Crash cautionary tales, house lights blazing and all wide-awake.
Still I did get an ‘also-Dad’ Father’s Day present. “It’s SO Phil!,” She enthused to her mother when she bought it. It is a bewildered paper weight bear, with a snow globe attached to the top half of its head – like a brain surgery add-on. Inside the snow globe is another smaller bear more depressed looking , seated, with a small red heart in its upraised hand.
It’s SO me.
Phil runs wine tours in Auckland. Why? He asks himself.