One of the best bits of being a Dad is being a bit random (or more accurately, silly) with Toddler and Baby as often as I can.
Kids love it when you take a step back from being a serious adult in order to pretend that they can push you over with the mildest shove, that you’re deeply upset because there’s no chocolate left in the fridge (this doesn’t take much acting by the way) or that you can’t help tripping over in the street.
But there are times you can go too far. Like when you start calling them strange, made-up names, and find you can’t stop.
My daughters’ names were chosen, when they arrived in the world, with care, deliberation and, if I’m being honest, a few minor disagreements. Three hectic years on, their names have been said so often that at times, it’s like they’ve lost all meaning, like they’re random sounds.
So I’ve responded to this name apathy by replacing their standard names with a number of other made-up names.
I say ‘names,’ but in truth they’re more suited to characters from In the Night Garden. Like: Flindy Dondy and Tinky Tonky, and even, er, Prindo. And more variations. Shondy Dondy, Sminky Tonky, Flonky Tonky or Tando. I guess it’s my way of mixing it up.
So I’ll say things like ‘Who’s my Flindy Dondy?’ when I’m waking them up in the morning. Or ‘Don’t be a silly Tando,’ while chasing Toddler around the living room, giggling. All of which is fine at home, when it’s just us, but a tad embarrassing when you find yourself in other environments.
That said, I’ve found a number of ways of humiliating myself in supermarkets. I still cringe at the reaction of other shoppers at the cheese counter when I growled as I did my scary ‘Tiger Claw’ move to entertain the girls.
And there was the time in frozen goods when I pushed their trolley away then caught it again in order to make them laugh, but as I pushed, simultaneously backheeled an old man’s trolley with a curious mix of camp and violence, sending a metallic clanging sound echoing around the store.
But nothing, nothing was as blush-inducing as the time a checkout assistant smiled at Toddler and Baby and told me how cute they were.
I didn’t quite catch what she said first time round, so she repeated herself. I focused so hard on lipreading her that I didn’t focus enough on my response:
“They’re lovely Dindy Dondys aren’t they?” I replied.
“Sorry?” she spluttered. Bagging our food, giving her my Nectar card and paying for our goods seemed to take an age after that.
I’m hoping I grow out of this problem by the time they go to school, or the other parents might start to think I’m a bit of a Dindy Dondy myself.
Click here to read previous Deaf Dad columns.
By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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