Sons and Daughters

Someone has stolen my son. 

I don’t know how, or when, but the boy sleeping in my son’s bed right now is not my lad.

He’s been replaced.

I know this because I have had him on my own for the last three days and things have been…odd.

I should explain. I have always got on better with my daughter than my son. Though I love them both very, very much and we do all get on, if someone is going to rub me up the wrong way it will be my son rather than my daughter. My wife tells me my daughter “can do nothing wrong” in my eyes but that is not entirely true. I think that boys have a habit of being very similar and that can result in friction. It certainly does in my household. My wife finds the same thing with my daughter for probably exactly the same reasons.

It is not unknown in our home for my wife to come to me, exasperated, and say “please take your daughter before I kill her.” I will usually reply with equal annoyance “Gladly – as long as you take your blasted son!” The transaction will take place and peace will reign (well, sort of) once more.

But recently I have noticed an upsetting of such law and order. I can’t remember the last time I had a rant at my son over something – not doing homework, leaving his room in a mess, vanishing for hours at a time just when we need him – although I am sure there have been times. I have noticed myself ranting at my daughter, however, Way off the teenage years as yet, she is doing her damnedest to get ready for the role. I still love her and really enjoy it when I get to talk about stuff we both love – drawing, Egyptology, music (sometimes at least) and so on – but I could, currently, cheerfully kill her at times.

The final proof of this upsetting has been whilst my wife and daughter have been in Dhaka pampering themselves with some girly time whilst I got ‘lumbered’ with the boy and had to bring him back with me in the middle of the week.

It actually turned out to be a pleasure.

We’ve had fun, watched stacks of Star Wars: Clone Wars episodes, read Enid Blyton stories together and I even got into a fascinating discussion about arpeggios and block chords and their usefulness in learning how to improvise as my lad showed me his latest composition on the piano. It was rather good actually. Geeky I know but, hey, you had to be there.

The whole Enid Blyton thing is odd too. He never reads. Not ever. Just what has to be done for school. My daughter, by contrast, rarely has her head out of a book. In that respect, at least, she is just like her dad. But on the train back from Dhaka (a good ten hour stint at least) he read an entire book and loved it! This makes me certain that he is either a Bangladeshi robot planted by the government or an alien spy, come to check out the possibility of taking over the world.

Either way, I’m not going to shout too loud. I rather like this replacement.

But then, I have just popped into his room where he is asleep to discover he has put his AC unit on whilst leaving the window I opened earlier wide open. Whilst attempting to cool down the whole of Bangladesh is a worthy ideal, this will merely succeed in bumping up my electricity bill to new astronomic heights. So maybe he hasn’t been replaced after all. Maybe it is just my same lad, growing up horribly fast and learning how not to seriously wind up his grumpy ogre of a dad.

Either way, I think I’ll keep him. After all, there are still loads of Clone Wars episodes I haven’t seen yet.


About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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8 Responses to Sons and Daughters

  1. Tim (Captain Caveman) says:

    I haven’t noticed all of my son being stolen; he just gets replacement body parts. Last September – the last time he wore shorts, he had boy’s legs. Summer arrived last month and his legs have been transplanted from a chimpanzee. I had a genuine “whoah what are those” moment when he bounded downstairs in his shorts sporting hairer legs than mine! It’s all very troubling!
    His mobile phone voice mail was made when he started at senior school (and he hasn’t changed it) – I often phone it just to hear the voice of my little boy who has grown up mightily and now grunts in a very “men are from mars” kind of caveman style.
    (And I say “that’s my boy” with pride and a lump in my throat !!!)


    • aww Tim you big softy! 🙂 I can feel the tears welling in me already my friend from your description.

      Of course, yours is a few years older than mine so I know that when we sit together with jar in hand you’ll be able to look at me with that tearful glint in your eye and say “aye lad, you’ve got this all to come, believe me”. I look forward to it.

      But please…make sure you lad keeps his gorilla knees to himself when I see him! It’s bad enough looking at me own 😛


  2. jacqui says:

    You’ve summed up the parent child relationship pretty well I think. I believe time spent alone with one child at a time is as equally important as spending time with the whole family. We regularly have ‘prince & princess’ days where I will spend some girly time with Laura and rob will have some lad time with Sam. We all really enjoy it and I personally get an awful lot out of it. Hope vicky and your daughter had as much fun as you and your son. X


    • Oh I think they did Jacqui yes! I will know for certain when they return tomorrow but I think they have had plenty of fun. I do try to have regular weekly times with each of my two to allow for that special bonding and it is really important. However, it is the day to day, getting ready for school, getting them in the bath type scenarios where usually the blood boils and voice pitches go up! Surprisingly, it is just not happening like that with my Sam. He’s not perfect at the moment but he is pretty much doing what I ask him and being lovely with it. His mum, of course, would say he’s always like that…


  3. Lisa Carter says:

    I can relate to this, the number of times I have told Neil what “his” daughter has said or done and to take “his” Daughter away before I throttle her and he can’t see what the problem is.

    But is a case of Daddy’s girls and Mammy’s boys but there is the rare time that this takes us by surprise and swaps round and you are able to have a great time together with out it ending in world war three, or in the case of this house world war 3003.

    Enjoy it while you can as before you know it they are all grown up.


    • Yes, spot on Lisa! I would like to believe that maybe it will last like this but, being a teacher, I am well aware of what the teenage years will bring with all their joys and frustrations before finally they both ‘fly the coop’ and go off all grown up. For all my mocking, I do still value each and every day I have with both of them.


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