Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The war on Possomism

Dear Daughter,

We have just had a long weekend. My battle with the possums continues. So far they have been winning the battles but they will not win the war. Over the past couple of years they have been desimating our oak tree and waking me up with their noises just outside the bedroom window. Im sick of it and have been fixing it so they cannot get to the tree any more. I have put a chicken wire fence right across the roof, I have chopped back the holly tree so they cant jump across to that. I have been trying to prevent them coming along the power line and also have put plastic around the tree trunks. Each evening at dusk I head outside and see where they are getting in to the tree. Last night I thought I had finally blocked all their access points but then I heard a rustling in a smaller tree next door and somehow they managed to grab the end of a branch on the gum tree and drag themselves up it. I couldn’t believe how clever these buggers are. So this afternoon I am removing that limb. Lets see how they fare then!

Mum said that you should be able to grab hold of things now so we tried that out. You still cannot quite grab things and hold them yet but I did put a grabbing toy in your hand. You held on to it for a little while. Its still kinda weird that you are progressing according to how all the books predict.

It is incredible to see you use your voice more each day. Finding new sounds and using certain sounds to express yourself. We know your hungry cry now. Im almost certain that you have a singing voice you use when we are singing to you. You have your very happy high pitched yelp and your converstional monkey like ooh ooh which is my favourite. When we make you smile you make this funny kind of high pitched sound that starts croaky. We are recording what we can so you will be able to hear it for yourself I hope.

This was also the big move for you. You are now in your cot. This was an exciting development. I cant believe the pace of all this. Today you are 3 months old. It has been an amazing time. Sometimes a sleepy blur and other times a thrill of discoveries for both yourself and us. The cot move happened over the weekend during the day only. But Mum decided that we should just keep you in there so you could get used to it. The first day you kept waking up; I imagine it was a little strange to open your eyes and see new things around you instead of the white cotton walls of your bassinet. Its like when you first went into that, you had all this room to grow and already you are a bit too big for it so now we are back to you being a tiny thing in a big bed. And now we will see you fill up this space as well. Do you know I was walking at 7 months, I really hope you don’t follow my lead.

Most people are saying we are the spitting image of each other. I must admit I think so too. Looking at the baby photos of me it is amazing. I am sure that you will look more like your Mum when you get older. Did I mention that someone said they think that most babies look like their father so the fathers will not reject them. This has some truth to it. Looking way back in the tribal days where there was no such thing as monogamy. Evolution had to find a way to ensure that the child would be protected. By looking like the father they would know whos it is and that male would want to protect the baby. Its interesting, I wonder if this has been studied? Well I googled this and found a NY Times article that does seem to offer this as a possibility. Another study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior in 2003, seems to support this as well.

Goodness are you drinking a lot more now. Yesterday you just kept drinking. I mean hundreds of mils kept disappearing down your throat. We will need to be on the big bottles soon.

You have also started to fall asleep wherever you are. On the play gym and the rocking chair of yours. I watch you start to slow your movements and your arms begin to hang to your sides. Then your eyes get heavy and whammo, sleeping baby.

On Sunday I bought you a Mother Goose CD and a Play School CD. They are really terrific. Oh and I went over to your Grandparents house with your Grandpa actually there for the first time in a few years. Your Mum is a wise soul. She said she is filled with so much love for you that she just cannot be bothered holding on to any bad feelings any more. So a few weeks back she went over so your Grandad to see you for the first time. And he fell in love with you the second he saw you. Couldn’t stop saying how beautiful you are. As for me, well I have sort of reacted the opposite and got angrier at people. But I have taken your Mums advice in this matter and so I went over as well. He didn’t say hello to me and so I just sat on the ground talking to you. I guess it was good for him to see how doting I am on you as he really doesn’t know me at all. Then when we were leaving he was in the backyard and I was holding you. So I went back there and said say goodbye to grandpa. Your Mum thinks this would have been a big thing for him and he did follow us to the car to say goodbye. So this is a big lesson that you can never be truly certain of anything or anyone. Sometimes you have to listen to others and do what might first appear against the grain if it means good will come of it.

As this diary continues I will try and remember key songs that I believe are quintessential tracks to hear. So the first song I wish to add is -:

'What becomes of the broken hearted' which was originally a hit by Jimmy Ruffin who I know nothing about. It is one of those key songs in the Motown era. The house band who recorded so many of these great songs - The Funk Brothers play on this track. In the wonderful film Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, Joan Osborne does an incredible version of this song. It was quite shocking because she blew the others out of the water, this little croaky voiced white girl showed the most 'soul'. It also comes in at an emotional moment in The Wonder Years show. Its that bitter sweet line "But happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion" which effected me the most.

'Love Is Stronger Than Death' by The The.
The whole Dusk album came at the right time for me, it struck a chord. Songs that dealt with desperation and sadness but also filled with a sense that good things will come if you just allow it. It was me made into an album. At that time I was desperate to understand what love meant. I was battling my self doubt and just trying to learn from my experiences. The message in this song was extremely simple but totally effective. I love his line "Me and my friend were walking, In the cold light of mourning" (no not a spelling mistake). It starts off as this dark and desolate scene only to turn it on its ear and tell us that tears may blind your eyes but the soul is not deceived. It then bursts into this unabashedly joyous chorus in which springtime has arrived and the tears have dried. That everything that dies will rise because love is stronger than death. In the second verse he talks about hungering for what we cant have and not saying the things we want to say because we are too afraid of rejection. But in the end the spirit will speak and be a guide for us to be more than we are if we only listen. It also links with my belief in the Kundalini. The last lines are Shall rise Shall rise. As far as the album info, Johnny Marr of The Smiths played guitar on it. I remember an interview with the Producer and him saying that is the only album he ever produced that he kept listening to just because he loved it so much. I love the sound of this album in that it had space and yet still have a real atmosphere to it. This song proves that you don’t have to be complicated to make a song sound great. His album Infected was also voted album of the decade somewhere.

'Silent All These Years' by Tori Amos - I get emotional just thinking about this song. Im not one to always get lyrics, they either grab me and I take something from them or I tend to think of them as just sound. Even this song I couldn’t tell you what it means exactly, its just a few lines and the music itself that get me. Her lyrics are never obvious and are like abstract paintings that mean very different things for each person. This is an album for women, THE album for women or girls becoming women. Specific words jump out at me as separate ideas rather than a jigsaw puzzle. Like a Ginsberg poem in that those words together just work. "I got the anti-christ in the kitchen yelling at me again". "Your eyes focus on my funny lip shape, "So you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts". Actually there isnt a line that isnt beautiful in its own right. The section that makes me tear up is I guess the bridge in which it cresecends in sound and emotion. The lines are repeated in delay and then come back together again at the peak and then suddenly the song is quiet again. Wow, just inspired songwriting at its best. When I read it back now, I am reminded of another song on the album called Me And A Gun which is a very literal account of her being raped. I now realise that this song is also perhaps about that. When I think of it that way the line "boy you best pray that I bleed real soon" takes on a different meaning. I always took this line in the sarcastic sense. So I guess this is different to the other songs I have mentioned because it makes me think about women who have suffered more than anything related to my own life.

Love Dad