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!).

29 August 2015

Last night I saved Boy8's life

Last night I saved Boy8's life.
In a totally metaphorical way.

We weren't out SuperHeroing (real word) and had finally got trapped by our evil nemesis Dr. TwatPants, who had devised a diabolical and brilliant trap for us both, whereby we ended up locked in a room with an enormous bomb...

Oooo shiiiiiiit
Don't touch anything BatBoy, we need to be very careful...
'OK' <Presses big red 'NOW DIE' button>
<Bomb counter changes to 5 seconds and starts ticking down>
Oh for Westlife sake
What did I just say?
#4 Seconds#
'I didn't do it!'
Really? Not you?
'You're always blaming me'
#3 seconds#
Fine. The button pressed itself and now we are both going to die
<Gives BatBoy a look>
'Buttons do that sometimes...'
#2 seconds#
<Gives BatBoy another look>
<Sighs and fights off growing anger>
'Vicrum at school says buttons often...'
Oh shush
Grab here <Pulls brilliant winch thingy out of belt, attaches BatBoy to self>
#1 second#
<Runs for the window and dives out>
BOOM <Huge explosion>
<Lands safely with BatBoy, both showered in glass>

That isn't what happened, this time.

I got home from work to calm and peace and serenity. As I walked up to the house I could see them all in the sitting room (where we sit), calmly watching cartoons and eating their brupper cereal.
Ah what a nice sight to come home to after a long hard day. Everyone happy and calm. Ahhhh.

However as I walk through the door Mrs. Amazing shatters that illusion and says that this is a rare moment of calm in a storm of bad tempers and strops, all three of them have been little sods troublesome.

BabyBoy1 is teething (again), a constant stream of slobber is leaving his mouth. Which makes him a bit whiny, clinging and prone to grumps.
Miss4 had her last day of nursery and had to say goodbye to lots of people. Emotionally she is wiped out and exhausted.
And Boy8 should be well rested from his summer holidays, but he isn't. He still insists on getting up early every morning, not matter how late we let him stay up and he's been been at Multi-sports (which is an utterly rubbish name, 'MegaSport Explosion YEAH!' would be way better) and is physically exhausted.

What sports did you do at multi-sports? <Hoping for Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Hockey, Lacrosse etc... the cool sports>
'We did football first, then football outside, then lunch, football inside as it was raining, and then we finished with Dodge ball'
That's cool Multi-sports my hairy butt

(The slobber, poor little dude)

As we get ready for bed, I want to know what everyone has done, and everyone wants to tell me about it at the same time. There's tears from 3 out of 5 of us. There's no need to say who.
Boy8 does not behave well and barely escapes being given the riot act by Mrs. Amazing as she's had enough of him today. We opt for early bedtime all round because we want them to naff off they all need it. Bless.

We rotate the kids for bedtime and it’s Mrs. Amazing’s turn to tackle, take on, commences battle with Miss4 for bedtime.
But as they leave she again points out that Boy8 is very much on, and at the top of, her pissed off with naughty list.

Me and BabyBoy1 have a lovely time getting ready for bed.. He tries to eat the toothbrush we laugh, he tries to eat the books, we laugh. All good fun. He cries a bit when he is put down to sleep, but I'm a third time Dad and I just pat his tummy and wish him a good night, and leave.
He's asleep in 2 mins. (+1 Dad point)
Which leaves me just Boy8 to get to bed.

Boy8 picks something new to watch which is awful, a show about teen dancers and the pressures and scrapes they get into, in their bizarre dance-off world. I think it was meant to be fun and cool.
I hated it on so many levels.

Did you ‘like’ that?
'Naaa, that was rubbish'

OH THANK YOU! I was worried I was going to watch that awful crap for the next few months, and have to pretend the PVR mysteriously keep on failing for that one show.

He pleads for one more cartoon before bed. He's got time. But it must be winding down and going to bed appropriate. He picks one we've seen twenty billion times. Which is fine, he'll chill, I can get my phone out and start playing some very important, life changing, earth critical, stupid games.

I notice he is scratching his foot and tell him to stop. He tends to scratch too hard and leaves marks. I friendlily suggest he stops in a very mature and grown up manner.

<Flicks offending hand>

My subtle message is absorbed and I go back to my phone. But now I've got guilt that actually I should be talking to this little boy sat next to me and not playing on my phone.

He's sat in his Bat jammies (awesome), hair's all messy, looking gangly. He's still so incredibly young and beautiful, yep beautiful (Mother's side).
I want to talk with him and see how his day was, to make the most of the few hours I get to see him a day. My phone can wait, those games can wait.
I put my phone down and turn to him and notice he is still scratching his foot.
You're still scratching

Boy8 looks down and suddenly he tenses up. He looks really worried.
What have you done?

He shows me his foot, blood is escaping from his young and beautiful skin.
Why did you do that?
You bloody plonker rodney!

He shrugs, but I know there's more going on here. A bit of blood is normally pretty hilarious for us. Boy8 seems scared of something.
What else is wrong?

Boy8 moves his foot aside and there in the middle of the new(ish) sofa is a very clear puddle of blood.
Oh no dude... What have you done?

Boy8 knows he is now in lot of trouble, he is going to die. Bye bye tele, bye bye computers, bye bye Lego, bye bye sweets. This is very bad and he knows it.
Mrs. Amazing has always made it very clear that the sofa is to remain nice forever, and woe betide anyone that sullies her the sofa. I eat on the floor instead it’s safer.

I see it that I have three ways to react:

a) Let rip. Go from calm to bloody furious in a skip of a heart beat and make it very VERY CLEAR I AM FURIOUS! Tempting as always.

b) Tell on him. Yep, go get Mrs. Amazing and spill
Look what Boy8 has done <Points>
I can live with that - Booty principle
<Looks blank>
I'll explain when you're ninety older
Mrs. Amazing: 'Why didn't you stop him?'
I was playing on my phone
I was helping a disabled, pregnant, one armed, blind, slammin' hot- woman, carrying another child, across the road
<Realises lie is obvious and runs like the wind>

c) Be calm and quiet (heh heh)

I act like he's just crashed the car through the house, destroyed everything, and then knocked over my Millennium Falcon, denting a tiny part of it, I weep uncontrollably.

I act as though he's been expelled from school for locking all the teachers in a cupboard and making them recite times tables all day.

I act as though he's come home with Bieber's Greatest Hits Album (One track, a cover, duet, his vocal is faded out a lot) and he wasn't planning to use it as bird scarer or a coaster. He was going to play it.

I act as though what he has done is so bad there's no need for yelling or shouting or punishments.
I take him from ‘Local Emotional Court’ all the way up to ‘Supreme Adult Calm Court’ (if you were looking for a metaphor for this).

My parents did it to me when I was young. It's really weird and unsettling, and somehow really effective. As a child in the docks, I expected an emotional shouty response, but I got calm and quiet. Urhghg... It’s horrible.

I explain what he has done and why it was bad. Calmly and quietly.
I flick the tele off mid cartoon. Boy8 doesn't even say a word.
I clean him up and get all the blood off his foot. The wound is tiny, he's fine. All with minimal talking and calmly.
Then I get the 1001 out and get to work. Bloody blood.

(1001 stopping my house from stinking and being mucky for 8 years)

It takes two full cleans with the 1001, which I make Boy8 watch, silently. I didn't rush. But the blood comes out of the sofa nicely and it looks clean.
He's put to bed quickly and when he goes to complain about the short bedtime story, I point out that I haven't told Mrs. Amazing about the blood yet. He decides to go straight to sleep without any fuss. Good choice.

Later Mrs. Amazing comes downstairs.
Miss4 was particularly troublesome and Mrs. Amazing looks knackered and annoyed. I imagine hearing that Boy8 got blood on the sofa may be the final straw and fear for his safety.

I shuffle my bum over the stain area so she won't notice the wet bit.
Eew wet bum!

Mrs. Amazing picks up the 1001 that's still on the table. Damn it, wet bum for nothing.

'What did he do?'
I'll tell you after we eat
'No, tell me now, please, what did he do? What did you have to clean?'
Er... <Leaves room>
<Follows me>
'What did he do? Tell me?’'
<Make lots of noise getting out pots and pans>
'What...' <BANG> '... did...' <CRASH> <CRASH>
<Flicks on loud music>
'... he ...'
Pardon? <BANG> <BANG> <BANG>
<Led Zeppelin starts and I sing along loudly>
'.. do?' <BANG>
'Fine... Tell me after we eat..'
<Passes large wine>

And that's how I saved Boy8's life.

(I did my nails special-like for the photo)

26 August 2015

I Want Some Baddies

Miss4 asked for some baddies for her Lego. She said the same to Mrs. Amazing too.

Why do you want baddies?
All my Lego is lovely <Said as though 'lovely' is a right disappointment>
We are so sorry
I want to play cops and robbers
I don't have any swords or guns
<Looks at ‘lovely’ Lego>
You're right by George!
<Miss4 looks confused>
Who's George?

Miss4 has a very good point. All her Lego is, well, lovely.
It's nice, it's safe, it's trying very hard to be female positive and yet...
It’s seriously missing baddies. She hasn't even got one.

There are bad women in the world. I'm sure there are. Katie Hopkins
They're out there somewhere those evil, mean and nasty women with guns, with swords, with henchmen, sitting in their castles full of cushions and tiny boxes, surrounded by nice smells.

However I can't think of any female baddies right now off the top of my head... well aside from fictional characters: the Trunchbull, the Goblin Queen, Wicked Witch of the West, Rapunzel's Mum
Where are all the female Lego baddies?

We have this set:

It has this 'lovely' lady in it. By day she sells vegetables and ice cream to other Lego people.
But by night she scoots about town looking for fun with her baguette and bananas. No wonder she look so happy.

I'm not going to get into the Lego for girls argument. A quick glance at the box makes it very clear which sex the manufacturer think should play with it.
Best not to market or tailor Lego to girls or boys. It will annoy parents.
Make Lego for everyone, to build stuff with. Easy.

Oh! and don't call a range of Lego 'Friends' unless you want to be covered in puke constantly, by everyone.

(I hate them all)

Boy8's Lego however, is full of baddies.
There’s Turtles Lego which has Shredder, The Foot and that weird alien brain thing. Star Wars Lego which has Sith lords, battle droids and loads of very cool Storm troopers. (Man I wish had had Lego Star Wars). He also has monsters, pirates, evil and good ninjas. All of these come with guns, lightsabers, nunchucks, and boring swords.

Basically he’s got baddies galore, and they are all boys.
Where’s the evil women?

Miss4 was given £10 the other day so Mrs. Amazing took her shopping to get some baddies.
I felt like I should have gone with her as really 'baddies' and 'Lego' seems more my area.

Then it hit me...

OWWWWW! Who threw that?
<Boy8 sniggers and hides>
Who keeps doing that?

… me claiming that 'Baddies' are more my area is just the same as Lego’s 'lovely' sets aimed at girls.
Damn it. This gender equality non-sexist stuff is hard sometimes.

It’s not as though Mrs. Amazing walks around in bubble wrap in my pocket, she rides in a golden carriage I pull with my teeth. She struts her stuff out in the world just like I do, meeting the loonies and baddies as I do. I bet she handles them better than me too, and greets them with kindness and a smile, rather than my approach of hiding and evil looks as they walk away.

So bad me claiming ‘baddies’.
Mrs. Amazing and Miss4 head off to get Lego and come back with this, and it's almost utterly perfect for Miss4.

(Handcuffs, uniformed men, moustaches, make your own jokes)

Brilliant. A baddie and a copper. Perfect for playing cops and robbers. Happy days.
Of course a female police officer would have been good, and a female thief wouldn't hurt.

Surely there must be at least one female evil Lego character? They can’t all be aspirational and excellent role models, that are smart and work hard?

(All sickly good - Even 'Velma Staplebot', 4th along, top row, volunteers at the local Robot Outreach Centre and makes her own jam)

Where’s all the bitches huh Lego?
Where’s the low down, conniving, lying women?
Where’s the layabout losers?
My daughter wants some baddies!

… and it would probably be good if they weren't all men.
Some men are nice.
<Trips kitten>
<Gets scratched>

23 August 2015

The 3.2 Stages of Chase

Stage 1: Sweet lovely pretend chase - Hurts the knees

It's not really chase is it. Hence the pretend bit.
BabyBoy1 races off on all fours as fast as he can. He loves chase. Heaven knows why, he’s never gonna win, in fact his favourite bit is when I catch him and wrestle him to the floor. 

1, 2 ,3, PIN!
<Does victory dance>

It’s a lot of attention though, and he likes that.

The gulf between BabyBoy1’s speed and mine is because I'm a competitive sod of the size of my limbs, yes all of them are enormous. 
All of them <Shakes massive fist>
Even with my old man aching knees (ooooo, ahhhhh) and body, which is way too big for crawling, I still easily beat BabyBoy1 from one side of the room to the other. With time to spare.
BabyBoy1 spins little hands and feet round like a gecko with its tail on fire, making a terrific racket.
It’s brilliant. He’s brilliant.

To announce the commencement of a chase. I bang my ring on the floor (yes, ring).
I bang my wedding ring, which is on my hand, my hand which is on the floor as I am crawling, on the floor, to make a noise (everyone clear?).

BabyBoy1 has quickly learnt what he needs to do when this happens:
a) Work out where Dad is
b) Crawl-it in the opposite direction as fast as he can
c) Get caught and tickled

Great fun. We all have a laugh, my knees end up sore, but it's worth it.

(No, no the other way… away from me)

Stage 2: Delightful giggling chase - Good fun, with a bit of danger and a high injury rate.

Miss4 loves a chase. I don’t think it’s the competitive element for her. I just think she likes being chased. Which does have me wondering if that’s a girl thing, as I spent many a lunch time in playgrounds (as a child, obv.) chasing girls. Who, I think, wanted to be chased. I may check that…

Anyway, maybe that’s why Miss4 likes chase. Or maybe it’s just a game Miss4 knows and enjoys. Meh, who knows.
Chase with Miss4 normally starts spontaneously, like this:

Miss4 come here
<Miss4 giggles and runs off>
We don’t really have time… Oh fine…
<Stretches, gives chase>

Miss4 runs at almost 2 meters away and then just bobs there, whilst I arms wide like an idiot giant human pincher try and grab her.
Giggles pour out of her each time I carefully miss grabbing her. I start laughing, she manages to giggle harder and it goes really nicely and is great fun until:

a) I finally catch her. Mentally noting to tell work I was late due to traffic, not an elusive 4 year old.

b) She smacks into something. Head first, face first, trips over her own feet, doesn't see the enormous table or simply just manages to fall down. Still giggling.

c) I hurt myself chasing because I forget I am a fully grown (I am) man (still am) and, as yet, cannot pass through solid objects, like tables, doors, walls or any of the other children. Or I trip on a toy.

Great fun with lovely giggling. Best kind of chase.

(Damn those bouncy balls...)

Stage 3: Chase to catch the sod - Exhausting and annoying

Chase with Boy8 is no longer a lovely sweet game. Or giggling fun. It’s ... well it's grown up a fair bit. It's now one of two things:

3.1. Pure bloody competition to be the fastest in the house.

It’s an alpha male attack. It is, you ask Boy8 who is the fastest at school. He will be able to tell you everyone’s racing merits and the order they finish in a sprint race. It’s important to him, it’s how the boys measure up (for now).
So when he finally beats me it will be the first nail in my replacement coffin for sure. But it is not this day… it is not this year… oh no...

I like to think I am pretty fit, I exercise. But I can't really run for toffee. (See here for proof)
The funny things is I would run for toffee.
I’d run really fast for toffee. If they made toffee Olympic medals I would so be there. Sod gold, I want toffee or fudge... mmm... Fudge… I want fudge from here 
#mmm #teethhurting #worthit


My point is when we chase/race there is always pride at stake. Mine.
So far, except for a few times when Boy8 cheated, when I clearly wasn't ready and that time my leg hurt lots, Boy8 has not managed to beat me.
But he will, it’s definitely coming… (I may have to retire all physical activity around that time).

3.2. Catch the sod bugger

This version of chase is not so fun (for me). This version occurs when he has been naughty and I need him right in front of me to shout at him to discuss my feelings, and he’s legged it. At full speed.
And it normally involves a table large enough I can't climb over it.

(Quite a crowd turned up to watch)

It starts like this:

Come HERE right now!
'No' <Legs it behind table, out of reach>

And suddenly, without warning, I've made the decision that I need to chase him.
I could have just let him go and show him I am above this situation, me being the grown up all wise and proud. I could just sit down and read, write a haiku, pick my nose, and wait until he is close enough to grab realises his folly.

<Shakes enormous paper>
So Boy8… You've finally come to your senses at last
'Yes father. You were right'
'Cuff me and take me away, I deserve it. I was a cad, a bounder'
<puffs on pipe>
I... I am proud of you Boy8. So very proud.
<Both exchange looks of mutual respect in a very British manner>
See you at tiffin
<Ignores flames from newspaper as pipe ash catches>

Instead though, I chase him around the table.
I decide in the few milliseconds I spend thinking on it, that the best way to teach him not run away from me when he's in trouble, is to chase him.
I am a lemon.

Boy8 knows he is in trouble. It's in his eyes, they are full dilated, full of fire and excitement. He's a bit scared but loving being naughty at the same time. Fair enough.
He also knows that as long as the table is between us, I cannot grab him.

I lunge one way. He goes the other.
I talk to distract him and then lunge. He's 8, he plays 'it' at school regularly, he knows all the tricks.
I pull out a few chairs behind him as I chase, hoping it will slow him down on the next time round.
It utterly backfires, as Boy8 is small and agile.
Me? I'm a big lumbering giant.

The chairs are a huge obstacle to me and any ground I may have made on him, is lost as I shove the chairs out of the way. Banging my shins and knees. Ow ow!

I realise I am panting as well.
Boy8 looks likes he could do this all day.
I doubt I could.

Eventually my anger and fury loop around on themselves and I explode.
The anger cancels itself out as I realise the ridiculousness of the situation I have put myself in.
I sit down and stop playing chase.

Wary of a trick, Boy8 is still hopping about the other side of the table.
I take some deep breaths and calm myself down.

Then the magic happens.
Then the thing I wanted to happen so much, happens all on it's own accord and I can only sit there feeling like a huge bit of a prat.

'Sorry Daddy'
<Ruffles Boy8's hair>

I explain what he did wrong. Why he shouldn't run away and why it made me mad.
I also apologise for chasing him and getting cross, then we hug it out.

Still a little out of breath I notice that there is at least one bead of sweat on his brow. Well at least he had to try a bit.

Let's pretend none of this ever happened... and not tell your mother so I don't have to explain why I thought chasing you around the table was a good idea.
Chocolate milk?
Good idea!
<Boy8 smiles>
For me... Not you!
<Boy8 stops smiling>

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