For the last three weeks, Frankie has been over in Canada with her Mum seeing the other side of her family.
It’s incredible how much has changed in that time.
Of course, she’s bigger, but also far more alert and more vocal. She’s also started to roll, which is of course due to her growing considerably stronger.
Which brings me to the crux of this post.
From the moment they’re born, babies always seem to have a grip well beyond their means of strength, that only continues as they grow and develop.
Before I’d had much of a chance to absorb this vastly different baby before me, one of the first things that Frankie did when we were reunited at the airport was grab my beard.
Now, this in itself is nothing new, as babies like grabbing anything that comes in contact with their hand, and in the past this has constituted merely a gentle grasping. Nothing but a playful clasp of some chin whiskers.
However, in the three weeks that have passed, she has somehow developed a grip that would put Tarzan to shame.
It’s like catching your beard in the spokes of Lance Armstrong’s bicycle during the Tour De France, moments after he’d stuck his left buttock full of testosterone extracted from a wooly mammoth, and the right with a quart of Gary Busey blood.
I felt like I’d been attacked by a confused tribesman who’d slept through the lectures from his elders and catastrophically misunderstood the target during his first attempt at a scalping.
And there’s no letting go. She hangs on for grim death as if she’s Meatloaf and my beard resembles any last remaining shred of a dignified career.
I have to be eternally on guard now every time that I’m holding her. To the point where I’ve had to start developing the head weaving skills of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in order to avoid these outstretched fingers of doom, that can’t seem to focus anywhere other than my chin. Like the audience at a 3D IMAX cinema screening a John Travolta marathon.
My glorious Viking mane has been reduced to nothing other than a plaything for her amusement.
I can only see this getting worse from here, as she grows bigger and stronger, and my beard grows longer, the two are on an unavoidable collision course that can only end in tears.