There are moments as a parent when I often think to myself, “If I wasn’t doing this, what would I do?” Obviously this has many conditions placed on it and it is more about being able to do anything, rather than not taking into account tertiary qualifications, could I actual make a living from it, or having any of the core essential skills. But besides this, I often flit back to the idea of being a spy.
I’ve seen the Bourne movies. I’ve watched Bond. And recently I’ve read enough of my son’s Zac Power books to last me a lifetime. And it got me thinking. How much of what I do in my daily life has tones of espionage throughout it.
I’ve developed and perfected my skills for dodging booby traps in darkened rooms without the assistance of fancy gadgetry. My six year old often leaves out his matchbox cars across his timber bedroom floor. One step on those during the night without the aid of a night light and you can kiss goodbye to an intact coccyx. So I’ve adapted, and can hop, skip and jump around the little wheels of mayhem. And Lego. Don’t even get me started on those little bastards. The plastic blocks of pain. I learnt the hard and extremely painful way of what happens when you stand on one those when they are hidden under a blanket fort. A blackened bruise the size of a fifty cent piece on the arch of my foot and enough cursing to shame a sailor. My one year old has apparently decided I need to requalify this skill and have further training, as he has taken to quietly placing Duplo blocks behind me when I’m making coffee.
That’s the physical component checked off. On to mental strength and intelligence gathering.
I can tell if I’m being lied to about all manner of things and can read people. Teeth brushing? One glance at my eldest child and I know, despite him being in the bathroom for 15 minutes, he has not brushed his teeth. Without opening his lunch bag, I know his lunchbox will still have random grapes lurking in one of the containers.
I’ve survived the form of torture often referred to as sleep deprivation, and can complete complicated tasks after extended periods of it. Assemble a Transformer? No worries. Put together flat pack furniture? There will be swearing involved and quite possibly the throwing of a screwdriver, but I can get it done.
I channel my inner ninja (we all have one) when checking on sleeping kids so I avoid the squeaky floorboards. I can glance at my kids and sense that what is currently a fun game of playing something or other, is about to go all bad. Awareness of one’s surroundings, AKA, knowing when the shit is about to hit the fan before the fan is even turned on.
I can create back stories as elaborate as required, and give reasons that make even the strangest behaviours plausible. “Why are you hiding a light sabre behind your back Mummy?” when I got sprung trying to sneak a Christmas present into the house without my six year old seeing it. I managed to spin some story about Daddy needing one to help with his training for work. Apparently the military now uses light sabres in their training.
Yet despite having the checklist of these skills completed, there is one major factor preventing me in actually becoming a successful spy. When I play spies with my six year old, I’m always caught and thrown in jail. Maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath for that call from ASIO just yet…
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