For those of you who don't know me in Real Life (tm), we're pregnant! Or, to put it in a less nauseating way, my Smaller Half is pregnant.
I'm not just making the obligatory morning sickness joke, by the way. I actually feel physically ill when I hear people use the phrase "We're pregnant". I want to grab them and shake them and scream at them. Because are we really pregnant? I know I'm certainly not. My Smaller Half is pregnant. I'm going to be a father. But that's about as cooperative as it gets. Pregnancy is not a collective state of being like getting married is. Sure, I was briefly involved in the process for two minutes or so, but my physiology has returned to normal since then whereas hers - sheesh!
Mentally, emotionally, socially, sure - we're pregnant. But saying that "we" are pregnant makes about as much sense to me as saying that "we" are going to have "our" prostate reamed out at some stage down the track.
I'm excited, of course. A friend asked my Smaller Half yesterday what I was doing to prepare for fatherhood. My Smaller Half said that she didn't think I was doing anything in particular. But that's not really true. I think this is something I've been preparing for all my life.
For example, I have developed an unearthly ability to synthesize awful puns combined with the fearlessness required to unleash them in the most inappropriate circumstances. Plus I am pretty good at the old "pull my finger" gag. Especially the gag part.
I have also learned reams of tiresome trivia about old wars, grammar, etymology and science. And I can draw almost anything (except horses, which always end up looking like dogs). As a handyman I am appropriately unskilled yet enthusiastic, being happy to tie things up with tape or wire and then forget about them. I told my Smaller Half the other day that I was thinking of buying a jigsaw (no, not the puzzle, the tool) because that way I could cut things out and assemble the pieces into useful things should the need arise. She was really impressed. I own a paintbrush and I once painted a chair red.
I am great at making up bedtime stories and hardly any of them are terrifying enough to induce nightmares. I can catch spiders inside a glass. I can use a lawnmower. I can cook food well enough to be able to extract grudging compliments with a few simple ploys.
I can clean flat surfaces like benchtops, floors, and windows. I am the designated Person In Charge Of Cleaning Up Cat Poop And Vomit, even from carpet. I can sing. I can dance. I can hide behind chairs and pop out saying "RAAAARHHH!" so it's scary enough to make you laugh but not so scary that you wet your pants (except for that one time).
My hairline is receding and I have the odd grey hair in my eyebrows, which lends me a certain air of maturity to offset the sprightliness of my childish and petulant behaviour. Like all good fathers, I am patient. And like most fathers, when I snap, I carry on like an idiot and make a fool of myself. Exhibition A: this whole blog.
So yeah - I've been preparing. I'll be a champ. It's got me thinking about nominating myself for Australian Father Of The Year. Just look at the chumps who've won it in the past. John Howard. Mark Taylor. Steve Waugh. Ken Done. Dr Karl. Malcolm Fraser. John Kerr. Robert Menzies. None of them could have done a decent "pull my finger" if their life depended on it. Well, maybe Malcolm Fraser could.