“Grand” Parenting

I receive lot of comments as a stay-athome dad. Things like, “Wow. You are such a good parent. Especially with
twins. You’re doing an amazing job”. To which I always reply, “Are you crazy? You obviously have the wrong Anthony. I’m sorry, I have to go back to the corner and rock in a ball some more”.

Because to be honest, parenting is hard. Certainly more difficult than anything I’ve ever done before and I’ve travelled the world and held six-figure jobs. Most of the past four years has been a whirlwind of chaos spent unsure of what to do and ultimately just doing what I can and hoping for the best.

I don’t think I’ve done a bad job so far. My girls appear reasonably well-adjusted, intelligent, capable of reason and logic, creative and happy.

But if I’m perfectly honest I can’t claim all the credit. I have a great support network that a lot of people don’t have. Central to that network are my own parents.

They have been amazing, always ready to pitch in and help by putting my girls first in a selfless way that almost makes me feel guilty. I say almost because during sleepovers at Grandma’s I’m too busy catching up on work and sleep to feel anything other than relief.

I’m incredibly appreciative of a couple who have already spent most of their lives putting other people first. As well as having some of us kids naturally, Mum and Dad also fostered which leaves me often introducing myself as the eldest of 42.

They have constantly sacrificed and done everything they could to support all of us and even now when we’re all grown adults, they’re still pitching in to help us and our children. It’s made me realise that you never truly stop
being a parent. It’s easy for us to get caught up in ‘parents’ being people who raise kids aged between 0-18, but I want to give a shout-out to those actively involved with their ‘adult kids’ (or, in my mum’s case, sons who pretend to be adult).

Thank you to all those who have their own lives back yet are still there for us, now that we’re parents ourselves. I’ve learnt so much from my amazing parents and they’ve made me the person I am today.

So thank you Mum and Dad. If I am indeed a good parent, it’s because of the example you – my incredible parents – set. Well, when I’m not curled up in the corner rocking in a ball anyway …

The Laws Of Parenting

As a beloved old TV show was fond of repeating, “you cannot change the laws of physics”. And just as science recognises there are simply some absolute truths of the world, we all know there are strict laws that govern children and parents.

And you don’t need a PhD in Parenting to know how true these laws are:


The Dawdling Principle

No matter how early you plan to leave for an event, the time allowed will be taken up by children dawdling. At this stage I could be ready to leave a full 24 hours before dance classes (which are held literally 400 metres from my house) and the girls would find a way to ensure we burst in just as they’re closing the doors. Yet again.


Eyes-stomach ratio

The laws of physics do not always seem to apply to children. For example their stomach is quite small physically but apparently capable of eating every chocolate or packet of chips in existence. We joke about dessert stomachs. Kids, like cows, have multiple stomachs and they’re ALL dessert stomachs.


The Principle of Uncertainty

In science, the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty tells us you can know the position of a particle OR its velocity but not both. In parenting, the Sherratt Principle of Uncertainty states you can either hear exactly what your kids are doing OR paranoia creeps up on you because you CAN’T hear what your kids are doing.


‘Toddler’s ear’

A little-known condition where toddlers’ hearing is distorted. ‘Toddler’s ear’ manifests by changing the meaning of our speech. For example I say “No” and they hear “ask me again in ten seconds”. See also ‘Husband’s Ear’ where the patient suffers temporary sporadic deafness dependent on situations.


IMP (Infant Magnetic Pulse)

Children under the age of 5 regularly emit a magnetic pulse of attraction. Curiously it’s only triggered when they have new and/or expensive clothes on, and instead of metal they attract dirt, mud, food and all other things messy. The effect can be reduced, if not totally eliminated, by dressing them in cheap or hand-me-down clothes.


Situationally Horrific Infantile Tantrums (note the acronym)

It’s an absolute truth that no matter how well behaved your children have been, the moment you step into public the likelihood of them throwing a loud tantrum increases exponentially. Studies conducted on the subject conclusively showed that “it was impossible to get any work done with all these damn kids crying and screaming in the scientific facility”.


The Lyon Poo Principle

Bowel movements are intrinsically linked to travel plans. It’s true: your kids won’t need to poo until you’re just about to leave or have just left. Similarly, they will often wait until you’ve struggled to get that complicated one-piece snowsuit/ballet outfit on before declaring they need to go. 25% of our time in Copenhagen was dressing, undressing and re-dressing the girls before snowplay.


The communication correlation

Child volume inevitably increases whenever you’re on a phone call. As does the likelihood of tantrums, fights and all-out riots. Interestingly, the more important the phone call, the greater the likelihood of intense cacophony.







From the mouths of babes

I don’t really worry about what other people think and when I became a parent I simply expected this to continue. How naïve was I?

Like most parents I’ve had the pubic meltdown tantrum in a very crowded environment. It’s not fun and you can’t help but feel self-conscious.

With the girls starting pre-prep recently, I genuinely wanted to make a good impression on the mums (who all turned out to be lovely by the way) so when we were sitting around playing games before they went in I praised Gypsy as she built a very elaborate wall with window.

The other parents heard me and looked over and I found my chest puffing out a bit as they nodded appreciatively. Then she put a little person in the window looking out. I was still impressed until she fetched a doll and car and put them next to the window and ‘ordered’ six nuggets. The same parents burst out laughing.

I was surprised to discover I was embarrassed. Sure we don’t do drive-thrus that often but instead of laughing myself I found myself defensively protesting to the other parents. Very unlike me.

But now I am back in control of my self-consciousness I want to reassure other parents that embarrassment is just part of the gig. And it could always be worse. And to prove it some of my friends’ stories should make you feel better:

Kathy: <son> told me an elaborate story in Reception about how he had hit, sworn at and kicked the teacher at school. I was mortified. Made him write a letter of apology. He took it to the teacher the next day. She said “But none of this happened?!”. He was bored, wanted drama, so he made it all up. I ended up in tears (I never cry!) in from of all the other shocked school Mums.

Paul: in the waiting room of a large medical practice with Henry when he was three. Two muslim women,in full burqa walked in and the little guy, with the true innocence of a, shouts out “Look Dad, ghosts!” The women didn’t hear him but there was a lot of laughter and looks from those sitting around us.

Shannon: Liam had an awful spurt (while potty training) of peeing at restaurants in potted plants when we weren’t looking!! He was so quick and hard to catch!

Gerard: At a cafe with my sister & I, my daughter was running around the table and hit the corner of the chair in the groin area. She then told Daddy (as we always kiss the hurties) to (very loudly) KISS MY VAGINA DADDY!!! KISS IT!!!!

Samantha: The lady at the front of Coles last week looked rather manly and as we walk past her Jack points and asks extremely loudly, “Mum is that a man?” I tried to shh him and hurry past which only made him shout louder “But mum what is it?”

Kat was walking through Coles when her 3yo started chanting, “I’m a big black girl, I’m a big black girl” “Imagine my horror when we were then stuck in front of a family who appeared to be of Islander appearance at the checkout.”

Personally I think she was just channeling Oprah. But the final word goes to Kathy (again) who made me feel better about my embarrassment in front of other parents with this beauty.

Kathy: I was dropping Child C off at class and Child D decided to roll around on the floor (in front of quite an audience including the teacher and lots of Mums) saying “Look I am drunk. Just like Mummy.”