He used to drive me absolutely bonkers. Really. Just bloody crazy. The big fat purple blob called Barney the Effing Dinosaur. But there he was again. Singing the Barney theme song…

Barney is a dinosaur from our imagination
When he’s tall he’s what we call
A dinosaur sensation
Barney teaches lots of things 
Like how to play pretend
A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s
And how to be a friend
Barney comes to play with us
Whenever we may need him
Barney can be your friend too
If you just make believe him

Yeah… I would just like to “make believe” chopping his bloody head off. That’s what he “taught” me.

Remember his other “hits”? I Love You? Or maybe You Are Special? Okay Barney my mate… I don’t love you, but you are way “special”. Or maybe Barney Barney Go Away instead of Rain Rain Go Away? Do Your Ears Hang Low? No Barney, it’s just my mood dropping… The Bear Went Over The Mountain? Excellent! Why don’t you follow him? Are You Sleeping? No, I’m just praying that you would go away! The Itsy Bitsy Spider came down and sucked the life out of Barney. If You’re Happy And You Know It… Then just shut the hell up and keep it to yourself! The Wheels On The Bus is about to hit you and I am the driver. If I Lived Under The Sea I won’t have to see you or hear you!

You get the message… Barney used to drive me crazy. No sh*t Sherlock.

But we had to suffer through it. Day in and day out. Why? Because…

Because our oldest one had a her first crush ever on the purple blob called Barney the Dinosaur…

“Dad! Can you put Barney on for me please? Big pleeeeaaazzzeeee!”, was what we woke up to almost every single day. 6 am – just before the rooster woke up. Barney when she woke up and Barney when she fell asleep. And about another 60 hours odd of Barney videos packed in between waking up and falling asleep. Yes I know there is only 24 hours in a day, but you try and watch Barney again and again. And some more. And then again. One more time. How about a last time? It feels like a lifetime.

Of course there was all the Barney books to go with it as well. And coloring-in books. And tapes to listen to in the car. The the soft toys. Of Barney and all his friends. Baby Bop with her weird way of talking and even weirder blanky dependency. BJ the over-achieving sport star and older brother of Baby Bop (Is that a Red Sox cap he is wearing?) And let’s not forget Riff. The odd looking late-comer with punk hair and spots like chicken pox. Yeah. Real inspiring stuff.

The worst was the talking Barney. WTF? No. What the hell were we thinking? A talking purple blob? “Look dad! I just push his hand and he sings and dances with me. And if I hug him really tightly he talks!” Wow… I eventually did some “surgery” on him and removed his batteries. “Sorry girl. The batteries must have gone flat. I don’t think this is the type where you can change the batteries.” I had to do it. I could handle it during the day when I was at work. The nervous twitches subsided the further I moved away from blobbie Barney. But it became too much when you are deep asleep and she turns in her sleep and effing Barney starts talking or singing. He is bad at 2 pm. Try 2 am.

Of course it didn’t help even if you removed Barney when she is asleep. Prying it from her hands. Hoping she won’t wake up. You remove it slowly, making sure neither the little one or Barney wakes up. You slowly put him down amongst the other toys. You go back to bed and gently fall asleep again. And then you wake up in a cold sweat with “You are my best friend!” The bloody dog decided to go lie on the toys and accidentally sat on Barney. And not even our fat big-boned dog could keep that sound down. So I wake up in a cold sweat. The dog barks at the crazy toy and is about to go into attack mode. The cats go wild because of the racket. And the little one wakes up crying because Barney isn’t in bed. Good old days I tell you…

And did I mention that Barney is also a bit of a goody-two-shoes? Bloody charity clunk if you ask me. Subversive. People used to come visit us and our daughter would hand out toys left, right and centre. People didn’t even have to ask. She’ll just give them toys and insist they take it home. That they should have it. For keeps. Why? Like you really didn’t know the answer. Well, according to our daughter, “because Barney says sharing is a special way of caring dad!” I blame Barney for half of the poverty that we have suffered in our lives. I never saw him handing out Barney toys. Oh no, those you had to buy. Jeeze.

Oh, we went to the concerts and the plays. She had the outfit. The posters on the wall. You name it. Barney was bigger than Purple Rain was in the 80’s. Well, purple mullet blobbie Barney sold more stuff to our little household than Prince The Artist Previously Known As Prince Symbol “that guy” sold albums worldwide in the 80’s.

And then she met him…

That broke the ice a bit. Barney looked like Barney. He was pretty friendly. Signed her a nice picture of himself – the one he just gave her. Smiled for a photo with her (Okay, he always smiled. Like it was stuck on. Or as if it was a mask.) He gave her a big hug. A big old Barney hug. He danced a bit. Did the stuff she loved. But there was one tiny little problem. This Barney had a South African accent. Haha! Revenge! No more crushes. Or rather… Barney, feel me fists crush you! Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaa! (Dr Evil laughter in the background.)

After that came Horatio Hornblower. A television series about a swashbuckling Englishman roaming the seas. The guy she had the crush on is the same guy who played the stretchie guy in Fantastic Four. She never missed a program. Oh, he was a bit of a wimp really. An English toff. But he was better than her third crush…

Steven “Budda” Seagal… Yes, it was that bad. We left the television on by accident and didn’t realize that Under Siege was on. She walked past as Steven… I mean, Casey Ryback, was about to hit another guy into oblivion by just moving his thumb at lightning speed. Bam! The guy goes down and Steven takes another 30 guys down by flicking his hair back. You know how it goes. And my daughter was staring at the telly. And all she could say was, “Dad. Did you just see that? This guy is tough! Hey dad? Can you do that dad?” Thanks Steven. I think I still have problem with my left leg muscles in winter. I looked more like Spongebob Squarepants doing karate than Steven Seagal. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I know the dog never truly recovered. It was an accident. I swear.

I was really hoping her first crush would be Nelson Mandela. No luck. She loved him to bits. But he really isn’t much of a pin-up. She read his books, but no crush. Heck. I would have been happy with Bruce Springsteen. Hell, I played his music often enough. But no, she went with Purple Blob, Toff and the Fat Guy.

So that’s the stories of my oldest daughter and her first crushes. Now it is some smooth boy from High School Musical or something. Not sure. They change faster than I change my underwear nowadays.

Guess what? I think my youngest has got her first crush as well. Guess who?

“Dad! Look! It’s President Obama!” Yeah! I think she might just have a crush on him!

Or maybe it is me pushing my luck here. Maybe it is Mandela all over again. Maybe she really likes him. But more like a photo and a story. Nothing more. Maybe she’s got a crush on the dinosaur. Oh God please no. Not McCain…

It’s fun to watch the girls grow up. To see their crushes. Better than seeing actual boys visiting…

But tell me, who was your first crush? You want to know who was mine? You’ll never guess. I was just a little bloke. A laaitie as we would say in South Africa. You really want to know? Haha! You’ll be surprised! Go here and see for yourself. She was in all the movies late on a Sunday night back in South Africa. Once we got television in 1978.

I am just happy that she didn’t last long. Stevie Nicks and then Cindy Lauper were much better picks…