At bath time tonight Tracey was scrubbing red paint off Miss5′s hands.
“We had to paint what animal would be hard to look after at a zoo,” said Miss5 told us, “so I drew a frog.”
When I was at school we used to paint things like the sun, grass and the sky. We weren’t very good. By high school I could just about managed a tree. But animals? Recognisable as animals? Not a hope.
No wait! I remember I could do birds – the upside down ‘w’ variety (I still think they’re kind of clever). I remember there were always lots of birds in my paintings.
If I was given this task when I was in the equivalent of prep, I’d drawn a bird for sure. Or grass.
But Miss5 drew a hard to look after frog.
Nanny doesn’t like frogs either. In fact she’s petrified of them. It’s very funny, especially if I find one while she’s within reach. I wondered if Miss5 was developing a similar phobia.
Not that I haven’t been on the receiving end of some nefarious amphibious action. A mean little beastie cornered me on the loo one day at work and kept coming at me and coming at me. It affected me, for sure, but I certainly wouldn’t have drawn a frog – I’d have drawn a fish.
I have a problem with zoos in general – they make me hungry. Ditto farms. Big ditto for aquariums. Aquariums are fish zoos.
“Look at the fillets on THAT!” tends to be my catch cry at these establishments.
All I’m saying is if I worked at Underwater World there’d be nothing in the tanks but moss and salt water within two years. Once I worked out how to get the fish and crays into the kitchen pot without touching them, that is. I don’t like touching critters, and especially fish. They wiggle. Frankly, it freaks me out.
A dead fish is a good fish. If it’s lying under a blanket of butter sauce next to a salad, so much the better.
I have the same problem with cows, chickens and, I’m almost ashamed to say, even whales. I don’t know what whale tastes like, but I figure if the whole of Japan is prepared to upset the whole rest of the world so they can upsize their sushi, it must be freaking fantastic.
Now I’m not saying I’d kill the whale, or even pay for a plate, but if someone just happened to put a plate in front of me, you know, I wouldn’t like to think the big fat fish died for nothing.
But I’m blubbering.
I’ve been a dad now for 20 years and you know what? I’ve never had one of my kids paint a frog before. Horses, yes. Dogs, cats, yes. Elephants, giraffes, birds shaped like upside down w’s, yes. But not frogs.
“Why did you choose a frog?” I asked Miss5. “Why would you think a frog would be hard to look after?”
“Because they would be too jumpy,” she told me, wriggling her hands. I guess I was wrong about the Nanny connection. It must be a daddy connection: like me, she doesn’t like the feeling of them wiggling in her hands.
But then another question occurred to me.
“Frogs are green. Why the red paint?”
“For the blood,” she said, grinning up at me. “A dead frog is a good frog.”
Bruce started his blog because friends and family kept wanting to know how he managed to feed and clothe such a large family while still having fun and being able to afford holidays and beer. He had no idea, but thought if he started writing things down some sort of pattern might emerge. When not at work Bruce enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies. He’s recently taken up the cycling challenge with a view to surviving long enough to see all his kids out the door so he can finally sleep in.