Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).

6 July 2015

Huffing and Puffing

Dad's are good at getting cross aren't they? Mine was, seems I am too.
It's built in I think. The average Dad’s natural reaction to things that are annoying and small is to go into shouty, cross, huffing and puffing Dad mode.

Then because, us Dad’s, are normally the most scary in the house, and prone to it, we end up being shoved into the disciplinarian pigeon hole.
And it’s a sodding tiny box with very little wiggle-room in it.

But it is fine, because it seems to suit the average Dad’s natural parenting skills and no one else seems to be doing it.
But if you start believing the hype, that huffing and puffing is a good idea, before you know it, you’ll be 84 wondering why you spent most of your life shouting at the kids, and why don't they call?...

On at least 3 occasions (yes 3 entire occasions) that I can think of, I've been called in, headhunted if you will, subbed in, to get all huffy and puffy at someone else's kids for them.

‘Could you shout at Brandeenian for me?’
Yeah sure! No problem! I never really wanted to form any kind relationship, other than one of fear and anger, with your child anyway, because you named her Brandeenian!

That can't be right can it? Surely Dad’s get to be the fun ones, not the shouty ones.
Why can't it be more like this:

'Can you eat all my kids sweets?'
<burps> Way ahead of you.

'Can you thrash this boy at Wii Tennis because I'm fed up losing?'
I'm your man! How defeated do you want? English football drubbing or more a classic batting collapse?

'Can you show us how you so brilliantly, with no rests, manage your temper and emotions throughout your work day?'

Of course the tricky thing is, getting huffy and puffy as a Dad works!
It's easy too, and it's pretty effective most of the time. Which isn't too surprising, because if we use me and Boy8 as an example, here are our (love English!) physical stats:

I'm 5'lots" (really) and he's ~110cm.
Which means I need to start measuring myself in cm too. And I'm twice his height, which is a huge advantage. Plus shin guards would help me.

Body Weight:
Er... Well lets not share too much... Lets just say he still cannot move or lift me at all, whereas I could still pick him up and run up the Rocky steps with him in my arms (and then die).

I'm like Mr. Tickle, and his reach is lame. He has tiny T-Rex arms.

Shouting Volume:
I'm loud. Hella loud. I wouldn't like to shout-off with a lion, tiger or bear (oh my), but say a big, viscous, rabbit or Womble, hells yeah! Rarrrr!
Boy8's shouting is pretty good. But it's more annoying than offensive. It's likely to get him bopped faster, rather than repel intruders.

So really, it's no wonder me getting all huffy and puffy works. It's like a bear standing up and growling at a lemur, not even close to a fair fight. If a bear started shouting at me and telling me to do stuff, I'd probably do it. I must look like an bear when I'm cross.


GOD! What about Miss4 though? She's tiny in comparison, I get huffy and puffy with her too.
I SUCK!  What a bully I am. Damn it. How did that happen?
Shit, shit, shit. I don't want to be a bully! They suck!

(Would you shout at Miss4? No)

Luckily Mrs. Amazing is on hand to dispense wiseness, sageness, and mintyness.
And more luckily for me, I don't actually want to be a huffy puffy Dad. They suck. No one hugs or kisses them, they just get saluted and secretly sworn at.

Here's what happened:

Boy8! Come to the table, breakfast time.
'OK' <Continues playing with Lego>
I wait...
And wait...
<Staring at him, with building anger>
Boy8. Breakfast now!
'<Says nothing>' <Continues playing with Lego>
I wait more...
<Starts chopping nothing>

My anger rises and I am just about to go all huffy and puffy on his disobedient butt, when Mrs. Amazing points out that huffing and puffing doesn't really work.
In fact, weirdly, that's exactly what he wants.

Is it?
'He wants your attention and knows this is one way to get it'
Can I punch him instead?
Can I take his Lego and shove it up his nose?
eBay him?
So what do we do? What do I do? What's the play here?
Being patient is all new to me...
'We wait'
Ha ha. Nearly had me there.
You thinking frying pan?..
'We wait and ignore him'
Then, frying pan?

(The boy... Not me...)

But we do wait (Without frying pan).
We wait and I have to fight the urge not to walk over to him and pull him by the ears to the table have further words. It's bloody hard to do. I can almost feel me growing up as I do it!
<sticks out tongue and cycles off with bum sticking out>

He even kept on playing Lego, which nearly tipped me over the edge. As watching him doing precisely what he wanted to do, and not what I wanted him to do was, let’s say, a bit teeny weeny bit annoying.
What a git. How interesting the mind of a 8 year old boy is.

Eventually, magic happens, and Boy8 fixes himself! Mrs. Amazing is a genius.
Boy8 stops playing Lego on his own and comes over to the table to join us for breakfast.
He was even nicely behaved (for a while...).

I make a mental note to avoid getting huffy and puffy with him when I want him to do stuff, play the mind games instead, out think him (this is soooo gonna backfire).
<Learns nothing>

6 ways to deal with Boy8 when he won't do what he is told when I can bloody remember to do them, and am not too knackered, or stressed, or drunk:

1. Wait and ignore. As above! This is the approved grown up approach. If you can, choose this one, every time. Don't get confused between this method and just SHOUTING as loud as you can, it's easy done...

2. Run at him as fast as I can. It scares the crap out of him, obviously I slow up before I get to him sometimes. The sudden change in emotion can knock him back into good Boy8.

3. Pick him up and hold him upside down until he laughs. This works.. because... er... It just works, nuff said.

4. Leave the room. Sodding off and doing other stuff often works. He wants my attention? Then he better come find me...
<Hides in the pub>
Yes, I will have another!

5. Sing as though you are in a musical.
Willlll youuuuu-ooouuu GET toooo-oooo the <falesseto> tabbbblllllllllllllle!!!
It is impossible not to do what the music says (Note: does not work on wives).
It's even harder for Boy8 to get pissy with someone singing like this.

6. Whisper. The secret weapon. When all else fails, whisper. Nothing is more menacing than a Dad whispering rather than shouting.
Heh heh.

Good luck Boy8.