Thursday, 17 May 2012

Diary of A Brooding Emperor Penguin

The Emperor Penguin breeds in the Antarctic winter and after the female lays her solitary egg she transfers it to the male to incubate it while she goes off to feed. Thus follows the diary of one such Penguin father.

March 12
Man, it's getting dark and cold. Don't feel like doing much. Bunch of the guys are talking about going out tonight and try and meet some females. Charley says it's only about 50 km away. Yeah, right, more like 120. Is it just me or does that seem like a long way to go for some action?

March 20
I have to hand it to Charley. He knows the best breeding grounds. I was hoping to see Marion this year but it's cold and dark and what can I say - a penguin has to dance. Met a nice-looking penguin named Rachel. Danced all night.

Mar 27
Man I'm hungry. Haven't had anything to eat since we walked here  2 weeks ago.

Apr 1
Extremely hungry. Cold. This wind is killer. Means Rachel likes to snuggle close though. Yeah.

Apr 10
Guess who's going to be a daddy? Course I'm excited and everything but all I can think about at the moment is fish.

Apr 18
Starving. Not sure how Rachel seems to be packing it on. I mean, it looks good on her... Just saying.

Apr 29
Wow. What a moment - seeing that egg come out. I've never seen Rachel look so beautiful. Then first thing she handed me the little darling and said she was just going for a bite to eat. I was so dazed I forgot that the sea is 120 km away. Wish I asked her to grab me something.

May 1
I didn't even know I HAD a brood pouch. No one ever told me. Charley had to show me where it was. Then told all the other guys about it. Jerk.

May 15
2 weeks? Seriously? Where is she? I can't even walk with this damn egg on my feet. I'm telling you scrambled eggs are sounding pretty good right about now.

May 22
Fish. Fish. Fishie. Fish. Fish.

June 1
Technically I'm not alone. All us guys are here huddling in the same fix. No one says a thing. Guys.

June 15
I taken to talking to the egg. I have to confess in my darkest hours (and this is Antarctic winter - all the hours are dark) I believe I can hear it talking back to me. It must be related to this fasting. I like the name Marion for a girl. Wonder what Rachel would think of the name Thelonius for a boy?

June 27
It's not me cracking up - it's the egg. I thought I heard it talking to me and realized that it's hatching. This is so exciting. I can't believe Rachel is going to miss this. I'll have to remember every moment and describe it to her. I can't believe this is almost over. I'll kind of miss it.

June 28
OK, the up side is that Rachel might still catch the hatching.

June 29
Come ON! Let's get cracking!

June 30
Will deny it if asked but the chick looks kinda funny looking. Also can't tell if it's a boy or girl so playing it safe and calling it Kelly.

July 6
Well, look who decided to show up. All fat and sleek. Rachel. She gave me a look when I tell her the kid is named Kelly. Look, if she had a better idea I would have loved to hear it. And, yes, of course I look terrible. I've lost 20 kg and barely slept for the worry and stress.  And she immediately starts grooming the kid - like I was neglecting it.  Charley says she is just compensating for her maternal guilt. Whatever. Daddy's going out for fish. Don't wait up.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Male Models

I am often asked: “What’s it like being a cutting edge father/stay at home dad/primary caregiver to three kids?” I tell dads who are confronting solo parenting, lead parenting or just “wife has gone to Vegas for the weekend”: Do it your own way. The glory of being a male caregiver is that, since there are not many role models, it’s open for us to make up what makes a good pop.
Look at Captain Von Trap in “The Sound of Music”. Remember how Maria, the problem nun, reacts with horror at how widowed Capt. Von Trap pipes in his children for inspection? Arrayed in sailor outfits and marching in time to his piping, they assemble in a disciplined row. We are expected to mirror Maria’s shock while also being amused at this rigid operation. However, as a father who has to get kids out the door for school five days a week, I admire the good Captain.

Cap had his stuff sorted. Cool, stern but fair. His kids were well-behaved, groomed, fed and actually responded to questions when addressed by an adult. And once they did as required I bet he left them alone to live their lives as he went about his – scoring hot rich Countesses and free-thinking nuns. Many parents are too involved in their kids’ inner lives - that’s why I respect cool Captain von Trap. Also, he can whip out a guitar and sing a love song at the drop of a hat.