I understand there are times when it’s appropriate to speak gibberish when talking to babies and other times when you should try to engage in structured chat. My problem is choosing the conversational style befitting of its surroundings.
For instance when I’m sitting at home with Lucy it would probably be a good time to try and teach her a few words of staple kids’ vocabulary like ‘apple’, ‘ball’ and ‘caterpillar’. Instead I take great pleasure in making her laugh by dancing around like a eejit and making a compendium of zoo noises.
Then when we’re out in a supermarket, for example Tesco, I’ll stop at a certain aisle, for example home baking, and I’ll ask Lucy a question, for example, “I know free range eggs are meant to provide the customer with a product that is more socially acceptable, but they certainly don’t present the best value for money. I definitely think this is a case of conscience marketing. What do you think, Lucy? Will we just disregard the chickens’ living conditions and blow the money we’ve saved on chocolate buttons?”
Okay, so that’s not word for word what I said in the home baking aisle of Tesco last week, but the central thrust is there. Oddly enough, by quizzing Lucy on the ethics of egg production and marketing, I attracted a few stares from other customers.
Once they realised the conversation I was carrying out was with a nine-month-old baby, who was more interested in chewing on a shrink-wrapped block of cheese, any credibility I’d gained with my wordiness was well and truly obliterated. I’ve no doubt they went home to tell their own sub-year-old children what a complete tube they’d seen in Tesco.
Upon reflection I realise it would’ve been much more socially acceptable for me to have entertained Lucy in the same way I do behind closed doors. While at first people may have observed me and whispered to their shopping buddies, “Would you look at that eejit acting like a zoo?!”, upon recognising my behaviour was intended to bring laughter to a small child, they’d have changed their tune and remarked, “Isn’t he a wonderful dad?”
I was out for a walk with Lucy last week and we ended up in Victoria Square.
I know what you’re thinking - is this entire column going to be about things that happened to Yer Man while he was out with his daughter? The answer is yes, which would be a fine point for anyone, who doesn’t like stories about the mundane, yet somehow remarkable adventures of a father and his cheese and chocolate-button loving daughter, to turn the page.
The truth is I was off work last week and spent the majority of the time walking to different locations with Lucy and waiting for something to happen which could provide an amusing anecdote for, first my wife, then possibly the Lurgan public.
What happened in Victoria Square fit that billing. I was waiting for the lift to take us up to the floor with the restaurants and cinema when this large group of Italians arrived. There must have been about 16 of them, all young mums and dads with their incredibly fashionable children. They were speaking in foreign accents, they all had bronzed skin and the men kept saying ‘Hey, hey, hey’ when the kids misbehaved by toying with the buttons to summon the lift. I’m not being racist by assuming they were Italians considering three of them had coats on that said ‘Italia’ on the back.
When the lift arrived I went to get in but got barged out of the way by the herd of Italians. They couldn’t all fit in the one lift so they barged me out of the way again when the lift arrived a second time.
The waiting area was a lot less crowded the next time the lift arrived. Lucy and I comfortably made it into the lift, but who should we encounter inside only one of the Italian couples with a little baby in a pram. The mother looked at me and I thought I was going to get an apology. Instead she asked me in broken English which floor McDonald’s was on.
I considering giving her the correct directions, then I wised up and unleashed some instant karma by telling her she needed to go down two floors, which for those of you not familiar with the layout of Victoria Square, will take you to the underground car park.
Fact of the week
This week’s fact of the week is: Up until 1972 you had to be over 18 to buy wine gums.
Come back next week for another lesser known and indisputable fact.
The answer to last week’s teaser was: use the water from the bottle to make the table tennis ball float to the top of the pipe.
Here’s this week’s teaser: what do you cut and put on a table but never eat?