It was chaos when Learner Dad came home last night.
I was sizzling steaks and jiggling an upset Li’l Fatty, while Master Six played basketball with a dining room chair (how, I can’t tell you).
It wasn’t the smoke that had set Li’l Fatty off or the noise coming from ‘on court’. He’d been grizzling for the best part of an hour and I warned Learner Dad as he took him from me that it was simply ‘that time of day’.
Now Learner Dad is fast becoming ‘Learn-ed Dad’ because the first thing he did was change his son’s nappy.
“He’s got some dried up poo in here,” he said, with a slightly admonishing tone.
“And I think he’s too hot. I’ll take his pants off.”
A minute later, Li’l Fatty was gurgling happily on Dad’s knee.
“You’ve got the touch Dad,” I said, astonished and slightly annoyed I hadn’t thought of those things myself.
Learner Dad obviously deserved the praise on this one but how many times do you hear a friend or relative has ‘the touch’ when it comes to your child?
There’s always someone out there, often a one-off visitor, who will take the credit for your beautifully behaved bubba, leaving you wondering how you have possibly survived without her there every other day of his life.
You start preparing for the visit hours earlier – you make sure Li’l Fatty has slept, you clean his bum and give him a bath, you whiz him up the street in the pram for some fresh air and then bring him home for a nice long feed.
Then Great Aunt Beryl arrives.
You put Li’l Fatty into her eager outstretched arms and sigh with relief as he opens wide with big gummy smiles before gently falling fast asleep in her arms.
“I must have the touch,” says Great Aunt Beryl proudly.
I snap my head up. Her ‘touch’ put this precious bundle to sleep?
“You sure do,” agreed Learner Dad, as I stare at him open-mouthed. “You’re like a baby whisperer.”
Of course once this is established, it’s time for Great Aunt Beryl to impart all her wisdom on how to get Li’l Fatty toilet trained before he can walk and playing piano before he can talk.
And then, after she’s gone and taken her ‘touch’ with her, Learner Dad can bloody well hope he’s still got his!