We’re on our way to Bunny World for the start of the summer season. Gilbert O’Sullivan is playing in the car, just like he always does. He’s reliable like that.
It's over now
you've had your fun
It seems it’s not just me. Or maybe I’ve been listening to him too much (some would say any O’Sullivan is too much). Is it the move? Is it age? Will I be like this forever now? Or just while my daughter is growing up? Is this what being a parent is?
..that much easier to be gone
One way to mask all this is to sit in an office doing something you don’t care about but which occupies most of your time. Not me, I’m off to Bunny World.
We arrive, my daughter drooping in her seat like a thirsty flower. I wake her up and she totters towards the turnstile with her thumb in her mouth and her hand in mine. We buy our tickets and bag of feed (one bag only allowed today, as the animals ‘might not be hungry’). We move through to the play area outside and the mums everywhere. I had forgotten the mums everywhere. They cluster. They chat. They laugh. I like mums as much as the next stay at home dad. But it’s always a shock. They watch me, I think. Well you would. A hairy guy with a girl in a bunny mask. It’s amazing to think I used to sit in an office pretending to be interested in computer screens and telephones. While the mums were all at Bunny World. I had no idea.
A few weeks ago at the Cotswold Farm Park there was a maze with questions and answers, one of which sent you down a dead end, the other onto the next question. I got half of them wrong, sending us careering down cul-de-sacs and having to squeeze back past annoyed parents and children. I feel like that nowadays. I’m a little lost. But it’s ok. It’s better than the charts and meetings and suits and all the stuff I could never work out the meaning of. I know now. There isn’t one.
My daughter runs to the swings, feet flapping and arms whirring. “Chase me daddy, chase me…”
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
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'like a thirsty flower' - That's lovely and I remember it so well. I do wish we'd had a car with air con in the days of driving into France with four children as it definitely helps the thirsty flower syndrome. Sounds a great way to spend your day, but doesn't your wife resent you having that time with your daughter? I would've hated it and felt I was missing so much.
Lovely that you can though and do enjoy it because before you know where you are you will be walking your beautiful daughter down the aisle!
Yes @TM, right on all counts. They were some hot trips to the south of France.
And yes, our aim is to shift the balance back, but once its already shifted one way it's difficult to do it quickly...
We used to camp in France and I have lots of images of us all baking in a steamy car...but those holidays were brilliant!
BUT TIMES CHANGE...
Last yr I went to Thailand with husband to meet up with eldest son, partner, grandson (aged 1 then)..
They were travelling around SE Asia ( brave with a babe but it worked fabulously and he loved it) so we met up in Bangkok.
We then went by train to the coast enroute to island Ko Tao ( a diving island)
AND we had The Hottest Journey Of My Life....
7 or 8 hrs in a train with no air conditioning at almost 40 degs all night...
and the babe and me slept right through it! HA!
Sounds wonderful Jan... and certainly a brave holiday destination with a baby!
Was it overnight? A decade ago I travelled with my wife by train from Bangkok to Penang in Malaysia and I remember the bunks with curtains and the breakfast-with-a-view in the morning. Train journeys are different somehow aren't they...
What next? 'Bunny is rich?' Just don't do 'Couples' - they multiply too quickly. Get you, Mr Updike....
Do you know, for a moment I thought you meant that Gilbert O'Sullivan was playing at Bunny World!
I started to think that maybe his star was dimming a bit, and that he had exhausted all the panto opportunities.
Bunny World sounds like fun!
'A little lost' - The mums may look like they know what they're doing, but trust me, we're often feeling just as lost as you feel. It's probably a bit lonelier for you, though, who can't hide in the pack.
Consider your good fortune, SAHD. I take the chldren swimming every week and I take a book with me to pass the time while each one is swimming.
But do I ever get a chance to read it?
No, i do not.
I am plagued with mummy chit chat that I could happily do without, that I yearn to do without.
Perhaps if I were a man, they'd leave me alone with my book.
What do you think?
Well spotted OM... that was my WITN moment!
DM - on re-reading I see what you mean. Now that would be entertaining among the sheep and pigs...
Livvy, I'm sure that's true and maybe it's more lonely in the pack sometimes. But it does feel like professionals versus an amateur.
BM - that's very intereesting. I hadn't thought of that. They'd leave you alone alright; but you wouldn't enjoy your book!
Yea! I love this posting. Let me tell you there is NO handbook on parenting that covers it all. We all just stumble along trying to do the best we can, reading the latest advice but knowing our children are individuals. I think you traded UP in the job market.
You make me ponder the 'children' question very often sahd (whether to have some or not). Not many people can do that. Thanks - I'm grateful for your blog!
In answer to your question, SAHD:
We left Bangkok about 8pm by train and had dinner then settled down about 10, I suppose, sleeping till we hit the coast at something like 4am.
We then took a boat across Gulf of Thailand to Ko Tao.
My son and husband went off down the beach in search of accomodation while I waited in a beach bar with babe and his lovely mummy...when the menfolk returned, we were all fast asleep on the floor!!
Your ladyship, you are meant to read stuff? OhmyGod!
Thank you Dee - I'm grateful for your comments... My advice would be - start with one.
Fantastic Jan. Brings it all back. Now I must go and write my version of The Beach.
One day you will drive past Bunny World and feel a real sense of loss that she no longer wants to spend time there. Incredible but true.
Sounds like a lovely place to visit. We have bunnies hiding under our sheds which drive the dogs bonkers in their desperation to capture one.
It's much easier to do a journey if the bairns fall asleep. I love your 'thirsty flower' description by the way. Crystal x
Hello Alice C. Don't get me started...!
Thank you crystal. Funny how these descriptions occur to you.
The bunnies at Bunny World are very slothful creatures. Never mind hop, they can hardly drag themselves in the direction of food...
Loved this blog. I have firmly adult children now (which is so good you wouldn't believe, funny, interesting, kind, laugh aloud people who you'd like to know even if they weren't related, forgive me, sounds like boasting but is amazed gratitude). Sounds like you have got the measure of this SAHDing, never easy when you don't have a model. Enjoy it, in all its glorious fabulous messy wonderful boring mixedupness.
Thank you Elizabeth, Very kind of you to say. Yes, I can quite believe that of the adult children; in fact I feel that way even now!
Very sweet. My Daddy worked midnights when I was small. I always was secretly thrilled to turn up a bit sick as I got to stay home with him. I can remember pushing for a doctor trip just to stop by his favorite restaurant for lunch with his farmer friends. Lucky little girl you have there.
Hello and thank you Kaycie. I'll be sure to tell her that later. I know what she'll do. She'll smile and say "Noooo daddy..."
I would much rather be at Bunny World than sitting on the office. As I don't have any kids I suppose I would have to borrow a couple or just go on my own.
Oh, SAHD, I am just as confused at home as I was when I worked. The mums might all stick together but they are just as clueless as non-mums, men, stay-at-home-dads, career people, what you will.
I wish my daughter was still young enough to visit Bunny World - unfortunately it seems to be the equivalent of Bunny Girl World at the moment.
Gwen, DON'T GO THERE ON YOUR OWN!!
Debio, it's better being confused in company though. Er, where is this Bunny Girl World exactly? (A friend wanted to know..)
Bunny Girl World! Now that would be interesting, Debio. What about Bunny Boy World? SAHD, you think when they get older, you can take them to more sophisticated places. WRONG!! They want the Croccy Trail, they don't want the museum. Culture? Hah!
Bunny World - is that it? No token ferrets or, (God forbid) the odd Guinea Pig???
I love your description of the Mummy clusters. When I first arrived I always felt like the outsider. My crime was to not know anyone - and to not know which coins meant what. But now I suppose I am one. For a few more months at least. I promise to be more friendly towards hairy men with daughters from now on!
Wow. Bunny World ...
Do they charge you to get in?
You can see tons of 'em for free round here...
Bunny Boys Wakeup...? Eugh. I agree with you on the museums, but my daughter does have a soft spot for the big T Rex at the Natural History museum (and the big smartie biscuts).
Thank you TGW, we need all the help we can get. There are other animals, but what always amuses me is the reference to Bunny World as the killer attraction (as it were).
Yes M&M and not cheap either. On this visit a toddler fell into one of the bunny pens and landed on a bunny. It barely flinched. I'm wondering if they're medicated somehow. In their natural habitat might be much nicer.
There is a v. nice SAHD with a child at same nursery as my daughter. A lovely man, and I would like to be friendlier towards him but worry any interest on my part might be misconstrued, or the other mums would laugh at me. He is often on his own, poor chap.
Bunny world... we have no such thing here, Donkey and Owl world yes, bunnies no. We ahve tor esort to going to the local pet store to watch bunnies, now THAT makes for a fun day out...sigh
This all rings so true to me. My husband stopped working 'properly' seven and half years ago to look after our first child. He always felt he was on the outside peering in, never quite trusted, not wanting to belong but certainly not expecting to be looked on with such suspicion.
Even now after all this time and three children later he was just last night saying that he feels such an outsider at our new country school. What had become the norm in London is still viewed with extreme wariness in the countryside.
Told him they were probably all in love with him as he is such a fine figure of a man... funnily enough that cheered him right up.
PS - re yr comment on my blog, Ice cream in the park. How jealous are you trying to make me?
M@L, I can imagine that; interesting to hear from the horse's mouth though. I can't speak for the other mums but if you've been a sahd for any length of time a gesture of friendliness would be unlikely to be misconstrued.
DJK, Owl World and Donkey World wouldn't have quite the interactive element I imagine. Hanging out in pet shops does sound a teensy bit dull, and dangerous.
DL, good on your hubbie. I don't know about his figure but he does sound a fine man. If it's become the norm in London though, I can't say I've noticed!
Lucky, lucky you - to be able to hang out with the "mums".
I hope you have a great Father's Day weekend.
Yes, lucky me. Little do they know, I'm watching them too...
Thanks Carrie, have a nice time yourself.
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