He is sitting at my feet now, enjoying the forced convalescence courtesy of surgery. But it was a different cat entirely that just over a week ago prodded us into action. A cat that gingerly made his way through my front door, meowing sorrowfully, as he held a paw aloft.
I had recently pulled ticks out of him. Thinking that it was another one of these small, but deadly, pests that come alive in the Australian bush at this time of year, I checked the little fella over. No blood-sucking, paralysis-inducing ticks were found anywhere. That’s a mystery? One that disturbed me with increasing intensity over the following few days.
At this point my four year olds maternal instincts kicked in. She wanted to comfort the cat who was in obvious pain. He would hobble away as quickly as he could to find a spot to hide. Four-year-old girl cuddles are more like WWE wrestler bear hugs. Not good if you are a cat with a sore leg.
Two days without improvement was enough. I can’t stand to see animals in pain, and a teary four year old daughter can be even more unbearable. My wife and I resolved to have a vet look at him. It was the cat’s lucky day. Well sort of!
Happily, the veterinary nurse had a diagnosis in minutes. That could be good news or bad news. My legs almost buckled, and I sweated bullets whilst the veterinary nurse told us the good news, bad news and just plain ugly news.
I had visions of having to sell everything we own to pay the vet bill for a cat with a steel implant. Or worse, having to explain to an already emotional four year old girl why her beloved furry friend needed a ‘long’ sleep’. That.was not on!! Back to nightmares about slavery to bankers after the vets were finished with me.
My worst fears were unwarranted. The cat would need surgery to lance and drain an abscess that was most likely from fighting with another cat. In what might serve as a worrying portent of my own future, my wife asked what neutering would cost. So the cat got a lot more than he bargained for.
I really felt for the little fella as he has dealt with recovery. The panicky, mournful meows have started to become less frequent. He can now walk properly. Four-year-old-girl cuddles have become more bearable for him, and the whole experience has reinforced how important pets are in young kids’ lives.
“Don’t come in, you embarrass me!”
The first time you hear this from your teenager it is not uncommon to feel totally wrecked inside. Your little prince or princess is nearly physically grown,but has alot more maturing psychologically and socially.
Teens are so consumed with themselves and how their image is represented; more so these days than 15 or 20 years ago. Magazines, television, movies, music and music videos are screaming at kids to be or look a certain way. It honestly seems cruel that this torrent of conforming – or should I say mis-conforming information – hits teens literally at the same time as they are individuating and establishing their own identity.
As a bloke trying your best to be a good Dad to your son or daughter it can be a really tough road. How much rope do I let my child have? If I am to restrictive will they revolt and stop listening? If I give them too much of the reigns am I guilty of being permissive?
Check out this website which can point you in the right direction. Balance is important. We love our kids and want to be active parents – in their lives rather than just on the sidelines as an observer. Yet we must give them their own space to allow them to grow and learn.
She used to greet you when you came home from work with a hug and would excitedly tell you about her day. Now she scowls at you and calls you weird because you asked how her day has been; what school was like today, what happened in her social life and what made her laugh.
She used to tell you she loved you – and you clearly saw she meant it – but now you can do nothing right for her; she either bursts into tears for no apparent reason, or, tells you she “hates you.”
Welcome to being a still proud Dad to a teenage girl.
She still delights you. Yet now she also frustrates you. You feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster; every four seconds she has a completely different personality.
Dr Ruth A Peters suggests that clever, “gutsy” parenting is the key to getting through with your sanity intact. More importantly, your daughter needs you to stay strong for her, and journey with her as she faces social struggles, feelings of rejection, and self-perception problems.
And as a Dad to a teenage daughter you are likely to hear the dreaded “I’m fat!” Carol Tuttle, author of The Child Whisper, shows parents how they can hang in their, instilling confidence in their daughters as they grow into women.
And, in an everyday blokes world, you as your daughter’s Dad, can make a real difference. Just being their for her is all she’ll ever need when everything is boiled down.
So stay the course, no matter how rough it gets. You already know she’s worth it!