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Going grey
Going grey
Scott Dunlop
At some point you’ll hear people make comments about their kids (or maybe even yours!) that they cost you your health/looks/sanity in some way or another. I’ve heard people state that each child costs a mom a tooth, implying that pregnancy is such a violent assault on a mother’s fragile body that the very calcium in her body evaporates in terror. Similarly, dads are said to lose their hair or go grey from the rigours of parenting. I may not have the same appearance as I did pre-parenting, but I couldn’t care less- and I don’t blame my kids!
My being bald has helped them. They whizzed through the preschool task of drawing dad as a stick figure. No complicated hair to scribble on top of the round bit.

The other benefit of baldness is not going grey. I had THAT tummy bug this past week; the one which has been doing the rounds and has even seen some schools closing classes down. For a day I barely had the strength to groan softly into my pillow, so I didn’t waste energy shaving. The next day I felt better, but also didn’t shave. By the time I saw my kids in the evening, they were staring in awe at my grey-stubbled chin. Having not grown a beard for years, I had no idea I’d gone grey. My children were acting as though my barely-there whiskers qualified me to dress up as Santa.

If I was ever forced into a corner and told that I had to sacrifice bits of my body (hopefully non-essential bits like my belly button or nipples) in order to keep my kids from disaster, of course I’d do it. Parenting is a great leveller when it comes to things like pride. It’s hard to be dignified when trying to bag a poo nappy with one hand in the changing room at the mall while re-popping the clips back on a baby vest with the other hand.

I don’t blame my kids if they get sent into that seething cess-pool of infection called school and bring home a tummy bug. There’s a chance I may have avoided it if I was living in a lead-lined cabin deep in the woods, but it’s not their fault if I catch some illness. When people do that “you gave me your bug” thing it mystifies me. And it annoys me when people say “your kid gave my kid the plague”.

There’s something about the vulnerability of a poorly child. If I watch one of mine sleeping fitfully with that sweaty glow sick children have, I just want to stroke those red cheeks and tousle their hair. The last thing I am thinking is that I’m exposing myself to germs.

So bring on the greyness!

If there is one bug I hope we all get exposed to, it’s the love bug. I hope that this Valentine’s Day you have an opportunity to express your love to your kids. Even if you’ve managed to wangle a babysitter and you’re planning a date with your partner your kids will still enjoy a big kiss and a hug. Practically every small child in the history of the world, when asked who they are going to marry when they grow up, will respond by saying “Mom” or “Dad”. That’s love.

What’s the weirdest thing anyone has ever said to you about parenting? Tell us at and you could win a R250 voucher.

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