Higher Ground

It’s happening.

The next stage of evolution has begun.

The quadruped is going bipedal.

A few weeks ago, Frankie began pulling herself up to stand at every given opportunity. Her jelly legs wobbling with the grace of those wacky inflatable flailing tube men that flounder above car yards run by guys with gold teeth and the moral compass of a FIFA Committee Member.

As each day goes by, her strength and confidence grow, leaving the wobbles in their wake. It’s like watching Hulk Hogan make one of those shaky returns from the dead, but over a four week period. And now, as long as there is somewhere to place her hands, she can cruise along the couch with the grace of an acrophobic atop the Eiffel Tower.

But now that she’s moved up a level, literally, nothing is sacred.

Remotes, cords, keys, wallets, phones, everything is in immediate peril.

Her modus operandi is to ‘take things out of things’. The floor is regularly littered with $7 worth of those organic bamboo nappy wipes that my wife insists on buying. You can really notice the difference, compared to the generic brands, in how they don’t irritate the sensitive carpet in the lounge room. Rather than constantly clean them up, I’ve given in to telling people that we’ve had the floors decorated in a de-constructed bamboo sheet to encourage positive Feng Shui.

My wallet is also a hot target, with debit and credit cards often violently dragged from their home, kicking and screaming, before being dumped at unmarked locations around the house for me to hurriedly find before I head off for work. Like a real life treasure hunt that decides whether I get to eat lunch or put petrol in the car that day.

Then there’s the bookshelf, which also houses DVD’s, known to Frankie as ‘The Goldmine’. Seeing titles such as Half Baked, Friday and How High strewn across the floor offers a humorous reminder of what we were doing with our lives the last time buying DVDs was actually a thing that people did. The house regularly looks like it’s been ransacked by an autistic group of bandits who place a high value on tissues, pens and Playstation Controllers. There are post-apocalyptic buildings in Fallout 4, that 200 years after a nuclear bomb has hit them, look more organised than our house.

While honing her hunter-gatherer skills, Frankie’s managed to develop a ‘snack sonar’. Mum’s handbag and the undercarriage of the pram are often raided for Cruskits and tiny tubs of cheese and carrot sticks leftover from a trip to the park. Her ability to seek out a dummy is similarly impressive. All of a sudden, I’ll turn around to discover she’s materialised one from thin air with some piece of alien technology she’s keeping hidden from the rest of us.

On a positive note, a lucrative opportunity may have opened up in the salvage industry, as she has an uncanny ability to find coins (and then attempt to eat them). She even managed to find a 500 Rupiah coin, most likely from a trip to Bali that we took about 4 years ago. Where in the hell she dredged that up from, I’ll have no idea. I’m thinking of taking her to the beach to use as a metal detector to find lost valuables. When she’s old enough to wear a snorkel, we’re going hunting for the sunken treasure of Nuestra de las Mercedes.

The baby gates are up, the wall sockets are plugged and the troops are dug in for the long haul. But somehow, I feel like we are inevitably fighting a losing battle. Just like the torn and chewed on page of once important notes I have just spotted on the floor next to me.

BONUS STORY : A couple of months ago, on Grand Final Day, I had my quintessential ‘Dad’ moment. If you’re not familiar with it, the AFL Grand Final is the Australian version of the Super Bowl. A huge ad that I wrote was premièring at half time. A big moment in any advertising creative’s life. I was at a friend’s house, perched on the couch in front of the TV with Frankie on my lap, waiting for it show, and then… all of a sudden…

Frankie projectile spewed all over me.

I raced over to the bathroom to clean up, only to hear everyone yell, “It’s on! It’s on!”

And I missed it.

Because I got spewed on.

You will never live that one down, Frankie.

It’s coming out at your 21st.




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