The Casual Father: EU vote is put in baby’s hands

Casual Father

Casual Father - Credit: Archant

In the last few weeks, Elizabeth has begun shaking her head to voice her disapproval in certain situations.

Things like getting out of the bath, being fed fish pie, and not wanting any more milk have all been met with the same head movements.

I suppose when you can’t talk, it’s a pretty good way of getting your point across.

I wonder whether she’s got it from me as it’s the same shake of head that I give the wife on her return from a shopping trip.

She will occasionally do it when prompted, which I have tried to exploit to my advantage. Especially as she doesn’t yet nod her head in a ‘yes’ manner to anything.

For example, the other day when the wife and I were debating whose turn it was to change her, I suggested that we should let Elizabeth decide.

“Elizabeth, do you want daddy to change your nappy?”. The question was, of course, met with an emphatic shake of the head.

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Protesting fiercely about the fairness of the test, the wife has a better idea. “Let’s hold our hands out, and whoever she touches first has to change the nappy,” she says.

Always enjoying a gamble, I take the bait straight away and to my sheer and utter delight, Elizabeth chooses mummy.

Completely taken by the game, I begin to use it at every opportunity and for a variety of different things.

I didn’t even let the wife going away on a hen weekend spoil my fun. I adapted it into a one-player version.

Thereby writing any decision I had to make on two pieces of paper and placing it near Elizabeth and letting her pick.

The only rule I placed on myself was that I had to stick with her decision. Elizabeth’s word was final.

It became addictive. I was using it for anything - what I should have for lunch, should we go into town, what we should watch on television.

I can’t describe how excited I became in watching her crawl towards paper to decide my fate.

It then dawned on me, as a still undecided voter in the EU referendum, that perhaps I should see what Elizabeth makes of it.

After all, with the amount of political spin I have ingested from both sides over the past few months, I felt an eight-month-old baby’s view would be very welcome.

As this decision carries a bit more weight than whether I should have ham or cheese in my sandwich, and for suspense purposes, I opt to set the ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ choices a bit further away from her.

She starts off at a slow pace, but gets increasingly faster as she nears the pages of note paper in a crescendo of tension.

Suddenly there it is - Elizabeth Steward votes with her hands to remain in the European Union.

“You’re not still playing that stupid game are you?” says the wife on her return, “Haven’t you noticed yet that she always chooses the one on the left?”.