“In the event of a nuclear incident…”

As it’s been awhile since I’ve last written here, I initially thought I would begin with an update on life – current challenges am facing as a father, lessons my kids have taught me thus far, lessons am still learning on how to be a better partner. You know, dad concerns.

But then I got a text message from my son’s school that began with the phrase above. I’m not kidding. Like, every parent who has a kid at the same primary school looked at their phone today while eating lunch or sipping a coffee, to read the words in the event of a nuclear incident. I wonder how many surprised oh shit!’s or frustrated bloody hell!’s were silently muttered. Mine was a oh, for fucks sake.

Surprised, I am not.

Look, prior to 2020, global pandemic was a phrase I last heard uttered in a movie from childhood. In the event of a nuclear incident? Probably from a video game, but the fact that am reading it in an actual real-life context is downright preposterous.


In early 2020, right before things started to hit the fan here in Norway, I remember hearing one of the local news-broadcasts saying to not panic purchase; that things would be fine and the yet unknown situation would be dealt with calmly and rationally. Yet the messaging back in Canada was basically the opposite – prep for the worst, the oncoming apocalypse, and family telling me it would be wise to stock up on basics. Nah, I thought. Norwegians are pretty calm, government-trusting folks, they’ll heed the state advice. Regardless, I remember taking a stroll into the grocery store to find shelves empty – canned goods, flour, toilet paper (does anyone else think this is odd?), and other amenities missing. Suddenly, I found myself feeling this unsettling sensation deep in my belly. Next thing I know, I’m grabbing a shopping cart and filling it with boxed lentils, chickpeas, beans… I mean shit, I fell for it.

Fast forward to the SMS received above. Family friends had mentioned iodine was sold out everywhere in the following days but to not worry, the municipality had enough iodine stocked up for everyone between the ages of 0 & 18. Uh huh. So I dropped by the local Apotek and told the pharmacist I had two questions to which I already suspected the answer but wanted to ask anyway: one, did they have any iodine and two, should I be worried?

Luckily, he’s straight with me. No to the first question and no to the second, he said. According to him, even if there was a nuclear “incident” to take place in Eastern Europe, it would take time for those radioactive particulates to make their way to our wee peninsula and iodine would only be effective taken a few hours beforehand anyway. Cool, I thought. Nothing to worry about.

The irony? That night after putting the kids to bed and thinking what am I going to do to protect this tiny fam? If things really do head south? Anyway, I ended up ordering iodine online. Haha. I might very well be a moron for doing so, but damn, this socio-collective fear mongering is effective. Despite awareness, I fall for it. My light of awareness comes to be easily maneuvered according to what am listening to and yes, it is occasionally necessary but to be caught in it isn’t healthy. Not when my attention, energy, and focus is required on more pressing challenges.

Which are the little people around me. Learning to understand the little person inside of me and the shadows that are cast in everyday life.

The work continues.

“It Takes a Village.”

Well no shit.

I started writing this aaaaages ago but life got in the way and lacking a village myself, things are easily pushed to the wayside.

What I mean to say, is: raising a fam takes time. And energy. And if it’s only the two of you with no set of extra hands / family to help out, it’s a little more challenging. Agreed?

My wife shared an article with me that resonated, titled “In the Absence of the Village, Mother’s Struggle Most” (here’s a link to the article). If you’re a lazy bum and don’t wish to read, basically the author makes the point that we’ve (am speaking mostly about those in what is referred to as “the West”) have grown away from the natural context of living in a group, and she outlines the repercussions of such living. What are those repercussions? It ain’t pretty, but essentially:

  • we become even more stressed out
  • hang on to what we think is “right” or “wrong” when it comes to parenting
  • we become more prone to depression, anxiety, loneliness
  • we turn to social media (and/or other vices) to “fill our cups”
  • it can damage our marriage / partnership / relationship due to the additional stress

… all due to the lack of a strong network or “village” as this author says.

And reading this, I thought yeah, it makes sense. After all, how is it realistic to expect us (am speaking about me and my wife specifically now) to both work full time to make ends meet, maintain a household and all associated tasks, and devote and spend quality time with our three young children, all while having healthy relationships with each other, with ourselves, and a healthy social life? This is further compounded by those who are migrants to countries where they have no family to lean on as a (valuable) resource.

When I meet other moms and dads who are as I am (specifically, those who are not Norwegian, but have families from elsewhere), where close knit and intimate bonds are hard to come by, sometimes (not all times) but sometimes, it doesn’t take long for us to leak out some of our frustrations of not having that tribe or village around us.

But what’s most interesting for me, is the dads perspective. The author says “mothers struggle most”. It’s probably true but it doesn’t mean father’s don’t. Even though a quick search online shows it’s hard to find fathers who echo similar sentiments. Now am either: a) not looking in the correct places, b) am the only guy who’s having a challenging time keeping all those cups full, or c) there are other dads who feel the same way, yet for some reason, aren’t saying so.

Why not? Topic for another time, I guess. But I feel by lacking a village (specifically one that includes other dads), I am missing out on my full potential as a husband, father, and as an individual. Of course, diversity in the village is what would be its greatest strength probably, but for me, other fathers (young and old) would be whom I’d want to connect with first. To be vulnerable with one another and to pool our resources energetically would go a long way in maintaining healthy relationships with everyone in our immediate family circle.

Anyway, these are the thoughts of the day.

“Jesus Christ? What’s a Jesus Christ, daddy?”

Before I explain the title, here is the current state:


Looks serene, doesn’t it? About 40 minutes ago, it wasn’t.

Forty minutes ago began a tantrum from my eldest, Rohan Govinda. He’s 3 and a half.

The moment I stepped into the yard at his kindergarten, he asked me if we were going to the swimming hall.

“Oh, he’s been on about that swimming hall all day,” said one of his teachers. I don’t seem to recollect any discussion about a swimming hall before kindergarten today, so I turn to him and tell him that “Yeah, we’ll go when you’re Nene (his maternal grandma) is here.”

“Neeei, jeg vil gå swimming nå…” he tells me with an urgent voice. I begin to see how this will play out. “Yeah I know buddy, so we’ll go this weekend when your Nene is here.”

His eyes begin to well up with tears. Apparently that was the wrong answer.

He screams, “Neeeeeeiiiiii, jeg vil gå svømme nååååå!!” His volume is at 94% now. I hold his hand while carrying his brother in my other arm (Ray Chaitanya is his name and he’s 19 months), and turn towards the exit of the kindergarten. I try a different approach.

“Hey, why don’t we go home and ask mama if we can go swimming tomor….” is what I manage to get out before being met with a (100% volume) “NEI!!!!!” A verbal hadoken to the face.


Now an ordinary velocity would have it take about 20 seconds to get from the yard to the car. But I’ve got 2 kids in tow. And one of them is dialing into the “I’m going to take a hairy tantrum shit” any second. A quick scan around shows 3 other parents attending to their kids. Rohan is now screaming over and over he wants to go to the swimming hall. He’s revving his engine.

As am trying to pick up the pace, I manage a feeble smile to the other parents as I walk by. You know, the smile that tries to say, “I’ve got this under control and hi, how are you?” but other parents know the familiar situation and shoot back the “hi we’re fine but you’re fucked, good luck” smile.

Two steps forward, refusal to move, a squat ‘n scream, a gentle prod from me, another step, then refusal to move, etc. The 20 second walk becomes an eternity. But we make it to the car. 

I don’t remember how, but we make it home. He refuses to get out of the car, screaming once again he does not wish to leave the vehicle. I somehow manage to convince him that we’ll go for a walk and take his scooter; that we can go to a playground after, as well. Somehow he agrees and we’re off, but it isn’t too long before he begins to point his way on the car road, saying he wants to go that way while I’m pointing in the opposite direction, towards the playground.

The back and forth begins again.

Squat, scream, refusal to move. “Buddy, didn’t you tell me you wanted to go to the playground?” I try to remind him. “Neeeeeei, vil ikke gå til lekke plass!!!” is his response. Poor Ray now runs to my knees after hearing the scream. I grab him and just start walking towards the playground. “Ok Govi, we’re going.. you can come if you want.” I’m pretty sure this isn’t really pedagogical and many child psychologists would probably scold me but shit – my daddy patience meter is depleted.

But it works. Rohan begins coming in the same direction, quietly pushing his scooter along. 

We get to the playground and him and Ray immediately begin playing around, giggling.

“Daddy?” Rohan asks. “Yeah Govi?”

“Kan vi gå hjemme nå?” Can we go home now, is what he asks.

Unbelievable. Did I just hear him correctly?

“Jesus Christ…..”. It just comes out part of a heavy sigh I let go of. I often wonder how this great spiritual figure from 2000+ years ago would feel that many a frustrated parent would say his name in times of parental distress?

“Jesus Christ? What’s a Jesus Christ daddy?” he asks me innocently.

And in that moment, I can’t help but smile, walk over to him and pick him up. He gives a great big hug and am happy to return it. 

We hold each other like that for sometime, before he begins to squirm out of my arms because some dirt needs his immediate attention now. I lower him to the sandbox.

So is there a lesson to this? Probably.