Tuesday, 23 January 2007
I'm a father once again!
This time it happened without warning. Indeed, the first I knew of it was when Zarina brusquely marched into my workroom and dumped it on me. I was utterly flabbergasted, as you might imagine, but she dismissed my protestations, telling me not to be so selfish; she was off to see the Boyle Family and needed me to take a turn at feeding it, cleaning it and making sure it was happy.
On previous occasions I've had a full nine months to consider the awesome responsibility I'm taking on, more than ten months in one case. And each time I've been unable to come to terms with the reality before the fateful day has arrived. I'm just not grown up enough really, or responsible, and I'm too self-centred. But this time I just have to pitch in and get on with it.
I'm quite experienced now that I have three children, so the demands of fatherhood hold little mystery for me. Nevertheless, taking care of it proves very distracting while I'm trying to save the world, and not a little stressful. It eats, it sleeps, it plays, it shits; man, does it shit! It gets upset for no logical reason, it gets sick without warning, and it tries to fool you into feeding it nothing but hamburgers and ice cream and cake. (This particular ploy doesn't work on me, I must mention. I feed it on a diet of sushi and apples, a healthy option that doesn't seem to do much for its mood.)
As a general rule, my offspring tend to have combinations of Welsh, English, Finnish, and Pakistani names, those being the countries from which their genetic material is drawn. But this one has only a Japanese name; it's called Tamagotchi. I don't know if the craze is more widespread, but it's certainly the must-have toy amongst the classmates of my six year-old son.
He treats it much as he would the puppy he is pressuring me to buy. That's to say, having succumbed to peer group pressure and pressured his mother into acquiring it for him, he has shown no further interest in its welfare.
I do as I'm told (I know what's good for me) and dutifully see to its every whim while she is out chatting about art. I resist the temptation to take it for a swim in the sink… "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't think about whether it might be waterproof." Despite my careful attentions though, it doesn't like me and it seems to be pining.
Fortunately, Zarina isn't out for more than a few hours and she's a natural with it. Within five minute of her return, it is no longer hungry and its levels of happiness are restored to normal.
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