Who’d like to see Pa on the computer?

I wanted to make my mark you understand. I wanted to do something my children would remember and enjoy. I  wanted a sticker for being a ‘Good Daddy’. I have, I fear, inadvertently led my children by the hand down the path to Cyberphbobia.
As it was the first time we had ever Skype’d before, there was a lull in the proceedings while we  (I) figured which buttons to click, how to switch on the webcam, and where to look. During these moments we (them) sat huddled in front of the laptop eagerly waiting. Or so we (Wifey and I) thought.  At the very least the adults were sitting waiting for Pa.  The children it would seem, despite our conversations, explanations, diagrams and hand signals, did not have a clue what we were doing. Not the foggiest. (They were probably waiting to watch Mr Tumble or some such).

Their lack of understanding became plainly evident when Pa’s face finally graced us with it’s digital presence and in the briefest of moments, Pa managed to do, with a cheery ‘Hello’ from over 80 miles away, what Wifey and I have failed to do for over two and a half years. He completely silenced the room. He rendered the children dumbstruck. (Yahoo) That is until he spoke again and my son started to whimper. Whimper and kick. And struggle. Desperate to escape. Desperate to flee the scene. We held him back and pinned him down, continuing our conversation with Pa, until the ‘special moment’ began to more resemble child cruelty, and then we released him. And with that he fled into the garden to terrorise the cat. Twitching and looking over his shoulder.During this ‘special moment’, we were so wrapped up with foiling the boy’s escape attempts, we failed to notice that our daughter had acquired a ‘look’. A look I have never seen before. A look of befuddlement and discombobulation. Imagine if you can the face of a person who simultaneously hears the voice of God and has an iced-finger stuck up their bottom. Imagine it, and you will  be imagining the look on my nine month old daughter’s face when her Grandfather’s head came beaming into our lounge in glorious HD

(I recognise the term ‘iced-finger’ has many applications  – choose your poison).

Worryingly, baby girl still has the ‘look’. We are hoping that sleep, or Calpol, or a change in the wind, will set it back the way it was.  Otherwise she’ll need a paper bag.

My son on the other hand has developed an unhealthy obsession with laptop avoidance, so much so, that the laptop has now replaced the Dyson as the Devil-in-disguise. Whenever it makes an appearance, he circles it like a wild animal taking in every possible vantage to assess the level of threat. Thus far there has been no attack, but to be honest, I am nervous.  I use Mr. laptop sparingly now, ideally when the boy is in bed, for I am afeared of being accidentally battered to death with a Bob the Builder hammer.. My son it would seem has been transformed into a torch carrying villager of the ‘I don’t understand it, so I’ll kill it‘ ilk. If you come around our house with technology – watch your back.So for now Sykping is shelved. In retrospect, the children’s inability to grasp the concept of the landline should have been a clue.  Watching them stand in silence, holding the receiver at arms length and looking bewildered while being asked repeatedly, in a slightly higher than normal pitched voice, to ‘Say hello to Granny’, should have tipped us off.So we are going old-school.  Face-to-face contact from now on for us.  Back to the days of seeing is believing.  Anything to avoid this……..

If you look closely – you can actually see my wife holding my son’s arm tightly as he tries to exit stage right, and my daughter’s brain about to exit through her nappy.  My wife did a sterling job holding everything together while I supportively took this photograph and laughed my ass off.

©2012 Man in his pyjamas. All rights reserved. www.maninhispyjamas.com


  1. Pa is very popular in our house and will remain so I am sure, irrespective of technology. He is the only one prepared to loyally mow the lawn for hours on end with a two foot high toy mower, breaking his back in the process, to amuse the boy.
    As for the kids, they will bounce back. With therapy. And time.

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