Dear Dave

Saturday 17 March 2007

Big Friendly Daddy

Dear Dave,

You're right - you do wonder what they're going to remember.

You slave away day after day. You get them out of bed, dress them, feed them, keep them entertained, undress them and then get them back into bed again. You wash up, wipe down and hoover around. You play games, run about and get head-butted in the privates. You pour your very life and soul into keeping them happy and turning them out right. It's hard work... You kind of want them to remember something of that. If nothing else, it should count in your favour when they're choosing your nursing home.

Sadly, however, Sam's memory of early childhood will probably be so hazy that he will believe that he was raised by Bob the Builder and a crack band of Teletubbies. Your years of sacrifice will be forgotten as he smiles wistfully at happy memories of talking machines, Tubby custard and enormous rabbits. He will build a shrine to Laa-Laa and you will spend your twilight years in a coalshed in King's Lynn.

I'm sorry to say that your future is bleak. I think mine might be worse, though. Not only am I going to be there in that shed with you, my kids will skimp on the extras. You at least will get food and a blanket, I will get to starve in my underpants. Every so often a little goblin will come round and poke me with a stick.

I mean, Marie's two-and-a-half and she already thinks I'm an imbecile. Today I was talking to her about how we'd been on a bus at the weekend. "No, Daddy," she replied. "We go IN bus." It was a hard one to argue and doing so only made me appear more of an idiot.

I then got a further insight into how she views me. She insisted she wanted to watch something she referred to as Me & You. She started hunting through the stack of DVDs but couldn't find it. "We watch Me & You!" she shouted desperately. I had no idea what she was talking about so I tried asking lots of questions about the programme - what happens, who's in it, that kind of thing. "We.. watch... Me... &... You!" she replied slower and more loudly, as if speaking to a foreigner she perceived as slightly dim. This went on for awhile.

Eventually I discovered an animated version of Roald Dahl's The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) that had fallen behind the sofa and Marie jumped up and down. "You and me!" she cried. Everything became slightly clearer and I was less than happy. You see, the cover art has a picture of the BFG holding a little girl in the palm of his hand. Obviously Marie associated herself with the girl, so there weren't many options as to how she pictured me. I am apparently an old, balding giant with poor dress-sense, a bulbous nose, ears the size of radar dishes, bushy eyebrows, nasal hair and dodgy teeth.

I paused for a moment and decided that there must be more to it than that. After all, my teeth are fine. I decided it must be something the giant does in the film that made her think of me. This, however, didn't help matters much. The giant kidnaps the girl, feeds her horrible food, inadvertently covers her in slime and nearly gets her eaten.

He also farts a lot.

Then he sings about it.

You're wondering what our kids will remember. Well, I'm hoping she forgets that.

Of course, I could have it all wrong. The film does pick up later on. The BFG takes the girl to see the queen, they have some fun and the bad giants get put in the zoo. There are some scary moments but it all works out in the end.

Maybe Marie just sees me as a big friendly giant who scoops her up and carries her off to have an adventure. That would be nice. When I'm old and my teeth have gone dodgy, she might even look at them and have a vague recollection of bushy eyebrows, flapping ears and strong arms carrying her along. Maybe then she'll smile and maybe, just maybe, I'll get that blanket after all.

I don't think there's any avoiding the coalshed, though. (Sorry).

Yours in a woman's world,


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