Get to know Sonny and Rudy’s dad – Hamish Blake
OK, he doesn’t need an introduction, and thank the Lord for that because how do you capture a guy like Hamish Blake within one snappy article title? You don’t. So we decided to zero in on what’s taking up most of his energy at the moment: being a dad to two young kids.
Thanks for your time, Hamish, and congratulations on the birth of Rudy. Early days, but how are things as a dad of two?
Things are going great. I’m quickly realising the game changes when there are suddenly two basketballs on the court! (I’d like to clarify here that this is an analogy and there has been no bouncing or dunking of the kids.)
What does being a dad mean to you?
I think at the core of it, being a dad is about giving. Time. Love. Care. Laughter. Advice (we’ll see how that goes in future years!). And it should be a thrill to give it. It is for me, anyway. This does not mean it’s not exhausting. Not at all. My God, it’s exhausting! But so worth it.
The biggest surprise you’ve found about being a dad?
I am surprised to hear so much of my dad come out of my voice, but I’m also surprised that I don’t 100 per cent cringe at it all the time. In fact, every time it happens, I usually have a little bit of a lightning bolt of understanding about what dad may have been on about all those years. Then in 30 years, Sonny will go through the same thing. The dance continues…
And the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge I think is the common one: getting your head around the fact that you used to live in this total oasis of selfish free time, with buckets of glorious delicious free time overflowing everywhere, bathing and splashing all day in free time…. now you live in a desert of free time and gratefully lap up a dirty puddle of free time if you’re lucky enough to spot one!
The other biggest challenge is just that standard constant fear that because I said my son could have a gingerbread he’s now going to be spoiled and not understand the value of hard work. You know, standard dad-worries!
I am surprised to hear so much of my dad come out of my voice, but I’m also surprised that I don’t 100 per cent cringe at it all the time.
One of the best bits of becoming a dad is getting to re-live your childhood, which toy or game are you most looking forward to rediscovering?
I’ve just hit the Lego stage with my boy (as in little Lego, not Duplo, thanks very much) and I am showing insane restraint not buying every awesome set of Lego I see. But I can see us getting sucked into about 10,000 hours of Lego pretty easily for the next decade.
What’s on the ‘yes’ list for kids’ shows in the Blake household, and what’s on the ‘Not on your Nelly‘ list?
To follow on from the last point, the line at the moment is somewhere between The Lego Movie (yes, funny) and The Lego Batman Movie (not yet, he gets enough kids trying to tell him what guns are at daycare).
There’s a DVD stuck in the player; you know it’s one of Sonny’s and that you’ll have to watch it over and over and over (the internet’s down and normal TV doesn’t work). What do you hope is in there and what do you hope to God isn’t?
Man anything Pixar is a yes. Or Shaun the Sheep because since it’s got no dialogue, Daddy is able to have a sneaky nap with one hand looped into Sonny’s jumper so if he moves off the couch I’ll wake up. Peppa Pig won’t be missed by me when it leaves the rotation. It’s pigs doing regular things. Regular things are amazing to kids. But I’ve been doing regular things for a while now, so the magic is a bit lost on me.
Best TV Dad – Peter Griffen, Homer Simpson, Mike Brady or Cliff Huxtable (actually, scratch that last one)?
Is it OK for parents to nap during baby’s nap time?
It’s almost mandatory in our house.
What’s the worst thing you put your parents through when you were growing up?
Insisting on having hormones. I was a daily dickhead. They must have really loved me.
Cast your mind forward a decade or so: Sonny wants to start a metal band in your garage. Yes or no?
My teenage boy wants to hang out at home, do something with his mates that requires skill and dedication, and isn’t them sneaking off to look at naked women on virtual reality? Resounding yes.
…our generation of dads are going to have a whole new world their kids grow up in that’s going to be super-tricky to understand and guide them through, so we certainly have our work cut out for us.
What’s your all-time favourite dad-joke?
I do love, “what did the zero say to the 8?”… (It’s “nice belt” if you’re the only person left who hasn’t heard that one on Christmas Day.)
We love the H&A skit ‘Parent Fantasy Hotline’ [link below]; any more parenting skits in the pipeline?
I’m sure they’ll be more. That wasn’t a skit, it was a slice of actual real life.
Broadly, how would you say the modern dad is faring?
On one hand, I’d say great, there is a lot more talk in society about being a good dad and the importance of providing that relationship to your kids (and partner) which I think is a terrific thing. On the other hand, our generation of dads are going to have a whole new world their kids grow up in that’s going to be super-tricky to understand and guide them through, so we certainly have our work cut out for us.
Finally, our ‘Heart Talks’ question: what are the five things you think your kids should know by the time they turn 18?
Know what a healthy relationship looks like, and how to be part of one (both intimate and with mates).
Know that they don’t know, that no one does, and that’s OK.
Know the exciting potential of the unknown is to be embraced, not feared.
Know, or have the hunger for discovering, who they are, what they love, and what their voice is.
Know how and when to make, save, spend, invest, not lose, splurge, give away and ignore money.
(Let’s hope by the time our kids are 18 this isn’t, “how to trap animals, how to purify water, how to fortify your bunker etc”!)