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!).

28 October 2015

Car Attack...

I have a cold. Well had.

I have the sniffles, it's not the same. And no it's not man-flu either. It's just a cold.
Which will pass with rest and warmth and whiskey
But whilst it hangs about, it will make me more grumpy, more snotty and extra tired.

But the worst part of it all, the absolute bum in the ointment, is that I am poorly just in time for the weekend. Why can't I be ill during work time? Monday is ill day. Monday...
<Shakes fist at sky>
<Bird poo falls on head>

Friday evening I got back from work feeling ropey. Threw a child or two into bed, ate something spicy and good (lovely noodle soup, thanks Mrs. Amazing), and did as many house jobs as I could before I headed to bed with snot pouring out of me. My head decidedly banging and my brain in power save mode.

'Do you want a cuppa'?
'Was that a yes?'
'Hmmm this isn't working...'
'How about, you hit yourself in the face for yes, chest for no...'
<Indicates yes>
'That looked painful, are you OK?'

I was even refusing some cups of tea. The madness.

(I'll just have a half cup then…)

Mrs. Amazing let me sleep all night. Children may have come and gone through out the night, I do not know. I was left to sleep.
However I bet they did come in during the night as both Boy8 and Miss4 are knackered.
And like all children exhausted children they are refusing to sleep through the night, go to bed early, or lay in even a little bit. The swines Bless 'em.
Children can be right idiots constantly sometimes.

Go to sleep, you're very tired
'I AM NOT <Yawns> Tiree... <Yawns> tir...'
<More yawns>
<Has to lean against wall as so tired>
<Picks up sleeping child and places them into bed>

BabyBoy1 however cares not about anyone being tired or ill. 
BabyBoy1 operates purely on a need basis. I need food, feed me. I need sleep, Zzz. It's morning, someone play with me. etc... It's all me, me, with him. Wise lad.

Annoyingly though at 6:00 am on Saturday morning, BabyBoy1 woke up.
Normally he just sings to himself in his room and is very happy until we drag ourselves out of bed. But not so this morning. This morning BabyBoy1 awoke cross and unhappy and wanted to share his message with the world at top volume.

'AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH' (* 'I would like someone to share my woes with')
'He's gonna wake up the ratbags others'
<One eye lid flickers, once, in recognition>
'I'll get him shall I?'
Please do
Bring back tea

The crying stops and I am about to resume my cold infested sleep. When Mrs. Amazing bundles a very cute, but wide awake, BabyBoy1 into our bed. Brilliant! Both Mum and Dad in the big bed! Yayyyyyy!

BabyBoy1 bundles on top of Mrs. Amazing and tries to lay on her face. It's hard not to laugh. We try not to laugh too much. But BabyBoy1 is so happy to be awake, and alive, and full of life.
It's hard not to smile.

Team Parents (yay!) are not so full of life.
One half of Team Parents has so much snot and gunk in his nose and throat he cannot talk and his eyes seem to be lined with lead. Gestures at this time of the morning are my own means of communication. But even I manage a smile at the happy little boy bouncing about on the bed.
Mrs. Amazing is very tired too, and tries to go back to sleep, but is finding BabyBoy1's hugs, face licks, and bundles hard to ignore. Plus she keeps giggling.

I am just drifting off again when it's my turn to be bundled by BabyBoy1.
He lies on my face, a move I am sure the cat taught him. I pick him up and he giggles.
How can anyone be this cute? at 6 am? Almost everyone else is bloody annoying. He's magic!

Meanwhile the snot and gunk in my throat is really making breathing hard and my body does what it needs to. I cough and splutter and clear the channels. I feels loads better. But it has woken me, utterly, up. Damn.

(Toned down and nice-d up...)

I could try to go back to sleep. But it seems pointless and Miss4 and Boy8 are due in in (!) thirty minutes. They are nothing if not punctual in their early waking of us.

So like a man diving on a grenade (literally), a captain going down on his ship, a chocolate cow knocking at my front door, I grab the happy and wide awake BabyBoy1 and head downstairs. Leaving the delighted Mrs. Amazing in bed asleep.

I do this because I love her, because I want to show her how much she means to me, because I want to show her much her well being and mental state is important to me. Yeah I know. Sweet.
And because it's Mrs. Amazing's day for a lie in anyway.

Me and BabyBoy1 have to pass Miss4's and Boy8's room on the way. We need to be utterly silent.It takes nothing to wake them.
Ninja mode engaged. 
I have become one with the corridor and it's squeaks and creaks. No one would, could, or will hear me move. I navigate the corridor of noise and surprise without a single noise. Ah yeah!

But, as I said before BabyBoy1 doesn't give a crap about anyone else sleeping and starts singing to himself. Loudly
He utterly ruins my ninja groove and shushing him doesn't work either. He just tries to eat my finger.
Still we manage to make it downstairs without either of the children grumps waking up.

After a long, heated, discussion me and BabyBoy1 choose the box of cars to play with. I wanted to play trains. I make myself a cuppa to aid the morning pain and go to plonk myself down on the floor, ready to play. When BabyBoy1 gestures at the microwave...

'UhUhUhUhUh' (* Where's my milk? You forgot my milk? WTBiscuit?)
<Frowns at me>
'Uhhhh Uhhhhh' (* You have your tea, where the smeg is my milk?)

I explain that no milk shall pass his lips until 6:30 am. Normal wake up time. I am not about to adjust his tummy clock to go off thirty minutes early. That would be madness.
BabyBoy1 handles it well. He appears OK with the milk refusal and comes over to play cars.

He leans over the big car box and starts sifting through the cars. I am quite amazed about how picky and choosy he is being. Normally just grabs the first one and starts to play. It's as though he is looking for one particular car. The right size and shape, to match his requirements. Not that one, not that... he is head first in the box searching as fast as he can. Then finally finds what he wants.

A big, red, metal car and he looks right at me.
I don't understand what is going and am utterly intrigued...

Dude! Why's that car so special?
Is it the fastest?
Is it the strongest?
Is it the reddest?
BabyBoy1 why that car?

(Car on the right: small and plastic doesn't hurt… Car on the left metal, painful and cooler)

Happy he has my full attention. BabyBoy1 throws the car right at me and it hits me in the face. 
I am still half asleep, with cold, and wasn't expecting a car attack from one so young.

Owwww! What was that for? 
I'm telling Mrs. Amazing

But before I can work out what made BabyBoy1 feel he needed to pick a car, and then luzz it at me. I am distracted by Miss4 entering the kitchen.

She managed to stay in bed a whole five minutes extra thanks to BabyBoy1's non-ninja skills. Boy8 is right behind her. Oh bravo my tiny ninja of noise.
Ah well.

We all play and have lots of fun with the cars and I manage to shove breakfast into all three of them before Mrs. Amazing awakes from her slumber.

It isn't until later, when I have a moment to think about it, that I realise why BabyBoy1 threw that car at me. It's quite obvious really, if I put myself in his tiny shoes. 
I am not at my smiliest first thing in the morning, and if someone (a brave, but foolhardy soul) told me I had to wait for my cup of tea… ooooo can you imagine the mess? Salt water everywhere.

No wonder I got car-ed, I made BabyBoy1 wait for his milk.
I'm lucky I walked away...

25 October 2015

Stupid Cat

I feel bad for the stupid cat. 
Poor not-as-loved-as-he-used-to-be stupid cat.

When we first got him, we had no children, and I had all the time in the world to play with him. I even made him a cardboard castle for him (and me) to play in. We were that close.

(He tended to hog the castle though...)

When Boy8 arrived the cat was sidelined a fair bit whilst Team Parents (yay!) got to grips with no sleep and someone crying all night. But there were times when I had a moment and he got a play and a good stroking.

However by Miss4 most of my 'free' time had gone and the cat rarely got love. Normally only with his breakfast. And that would only be a quick pat on the head.

By BabyBoy1? I find sometimes he is utterly forgotten (the cat, not BabyBoy1, he's awesome).

'Did you feed the cat?'
What cat?
'This one, this annoying one'
Sorry... Don't recognise him
'He knows the password'
Does he? Oh right, must be ours...
And no I didn't

He has also become incredibly annoying.
Oh all right he hasn't. It's not as though he's changed and become the most nagging needy cat in the world. He has. But on the other hand licking someone's bare leg at 6:30 am doesn't make you any friends either. It gives me the heebie-jeebies. Constantly trying to trip me whilst I am trying to shout at hug Boy8 doesn't endear me to him either.

Really it's us. We changed. Big style.
We now have three other tiny people screaming and shouting for our attention. So when the cat tries to join in, he gets the short end of our patience. Humans first I am afraid. Sorry non-human cat.

The bloody idiot has hurt both front paws falling out of a tree, a shed, at cat-fight club, or something equally avoidable. So he's limping about in the most heart wrenching sickening manner at the moment, he's really milking it.

(Proof the cat is an idiot… Look at all that sofa space... I mean look…!!!)

He is also housebound. But this has highlighted a few things to us:

1. The gate stopping BabyBoy1 from entering the dangerous tiddly (utility) room is useless.

How do I now know this? Well as the cat is not meant to be jumping about, we decided to leave the gate open so he didn't have to jump it. And then we would just guard BabyBoy1 a lot more.

Yesterday I watched BabyBoy1 walk up to the gate and then shut it, and then fall over (as he does). Once he was back up, he re-opened the gate, went into the tiddly room, nicely shutting the gate behind him. Then caused havoc.

You won't believe what I've just seen BabyBoy1 do?
<Explains about now useless gate>
'Oh right... One thing though...'
'Where is BabyBoy1 now?'
<Both dive for the tiddly room>
<I struggle to open the gate the child proof gate>
Why can't I open it???
<Sounds of tiny boy pressing every button on every machine he can>

2. The cat gets really grumpy when he's stuck inside all day

He bit me, Mrs. Amazing, Boy8 and even tried to bite Miss4.
He doesn't normally bite the others. Just me, because of our special castle bond, I'm always the one to throw him out each evening.
But to the cats eternal credit, he is still maintaining his brilliant and much appreciated tolerance of BabyBoy1 smacking him in the face, pulling his tail, scaring the life out of him, and generally grabbing handfuls of hair off his body.

So officially, and for the entire world to know: Thank you cat for be able to sense that tiny humans have no idea what they are doing and for not attacking them. Thank you, for not.

3. That wasn't a small bit of chocolate on the floor I tried to hoover up and got all over the hoover

MUST clean more when the cat's housebound!!! Ewww!!!
Ewwww. Just ewww...

So the cat need to go to the vets. 
The logistics of taking the cat to the vets are pretty simple, but are fraught with terrible danger and consequences and disaster! And I'm not over selling it too much.

I have a fifteen minute window in which to drop the cat at the vets and then be back with the car. So Mrs. Amazing can take Boy8 to school and I take can Miss4 to school, and then get to work.
If I am late back EVERYONE will be late. Which as I am sure you can see, would be apocalyptically bad.

So with Sir. Limpalot in his cage carrier I arrive at the vets.
He needs an X-ray on his paws and sedation and X-ray are necessary. The vet give me strict instructions that he was not allowed to eat anything after 8pm the night before. She may have thought he was a gremlin.

I had hoped dropping the cat would be a drive by situation, and I'd be able to luzz the cat through the car window at them. I was wrong. Instead it took ages. And I was on the clock.

The lovely vet lady took the strange decision of reading all the forms out loud to me. Maybe she doesn't know I can read. Should I say?

I can read you know
Well done <Pats me on head>
Have a sticker

All of the talking and stuff was taking too long. I had to get back with the car sharpish. I seriously considered stopping her...

Look I'm in a huge rush
Just take the cat and do what you need to do
You have my trust
Just fix him, please, I've children to get to school.

But you know, I didn't want to come across as the most un-caring pet owner in the world.
The Vet had one more question.

'And he's been starved since last night?'

When I got down stairs this morning I found on the kitchen floor a pastry crust, still in it's arc, where it had fallen. Utterly stripped bare of the lovely quiche Mrs. Amazing had made for my tea. And a happy and slightly plump cat. The very secure tea towel I had left guarding the quiche had let me down. The swine.

<The Vet is still waiting>
'Because if he hasn't he might explode in a ball of flames when we sedate him'
<Awkward situation growing>

If I own up now, this whole journey to the vets and tension filled race against time maybe for naught. I don't want to come back to the vets again, it’s a pain. What to do? What to do?

'And if he has eaten anything, then he will most definitely die and the resulting explosion will probably take half the town with him'
What? But the pub is next door!
<Past awkward now, into maybe 'I'm very special'>

Then the cat meows.
He doesn't often. Only when he's in pain, starving (apparently) or unhappy.
The cat has actually been with me and Mrs. Amazing longer than any of the children.

I look into his cage and see him for what he is, not another job I have to do, but a tiny little cat that really doesn't know what the smeg is going on.
He’s a bit little BabyBoy1 when he’s upset.

(‘Go on, I dare you, say no to me...’)

And relating the BabyBoy1 to the car does it for me. 
I realise I'm being a heartless smegger, and that I was so focused on getting the kids to school and me to work, and the other billion things on my mind. That I'd forgotten that this big old orange fluff ball, sat in his ridiculously small cage carrier, is also part of the family.

I own up to the vet.

He ate a whole quiche during the night.

Yes oh. I explain, she laughs, we talk more. Time keeps on ticking by.
But I have stopped worrying. I have to give the cat his slice of my time, because, because… Well I just have to. I've accepted that I am never going to get back in time, and everyone will be late because I ‘chatted’ too much.
But at least I am not a git.


Did I make it back in time to get everyone where they needed to go?
Yes I did <Pats self on back>

Did I drive too fast to achieve that?
Not telling <Whistles>

Did I learn a lesson about making sure I give everyone, EVERYONE, in the family enough time and care, and not to jam too many things in and rush through life?
Maybe… maybe...
<Learns nothing>

21 October 2015

Man Hugs

I loves a good hug I does. 
Hugs are important. They are!

I hug my friends when I see them, my family, and hotties. Man hugs though are different, and normally require a few beers before hand.
I am an Englishman. A handshake is more normal between two blokes than a hug in my world.

Which is a shame.
As a hug says I love and trust you. I am happy to open my arms, making myself utterly defenceless, and then press my body against yours. Even if it's just for the briefest of moments. A hug shows a connection. A hug means something.

As a Dad of three, I have a lot of people at home that need hugging regularly and that has started affecting my hug boundaries.
I find I am hugging people more (I know them don’t worry).

(I have read this non-stop for the last 8 years, it may 
have had an effect on me… I do eat more bananas…)

BabyBoy1 loves a hug.
He doesn't like a long hug as he's a little boy full of energy and wants to climb and run and jump and doesn't tend to stop moving for most of the day.
But every now and then, when he's tired out, or ill, or just fallen off the bed face first again. He wants a big old hug.
Despite not being able to talk and having the IQ of a baby (because he is), even BabyBoy1 completely understands the benefits of a hug.
He's a wise, troublesome, slightly bonkers, little boy.

Miss4 loves a hug.
But mainly with Mummy. Me not so much.
Apparently I am either too spiky (stubble, can't help that, see She Can’t Sleep (Nor Can I)...) or I am too smelly (boy smells, can't help that either, without seriously changing my life-style choices).
Despite Miss4's reluctance, sometimes, to hug me I insist. I know how important hugs are. Which does makes me sound a bit desperate which I am and a bit of a weirdo, which I am not.
I could just ignore each hug rejection from Miss4 and then stop trying. But that would be terrible.
I'm her Dad. I have a special place and role in her life. I am, and will always be, the only man in her life that has no ulterior motives for her affections or time. As long as I don't abuse that trust, which I won't. I get to be a very unique person in her life.

Still, it feels like Miss4 and Mrs. Amazing are joined with Velcro sometimes. And she calls them ‘huggle wuggles’ which is way too icky for me and makes me want to puke on her head. But Mrs. Amazing doesn't mind it.

Boy8 likes a good strong bear gripping, breath removing, hug.
Which is more my field of expertise.
He also likes being flattened, or laid on top of, or held upside down, or being thrown through the air.

Wanna try the Fastball Special?
‘YEAH!!!… wait... the what?’
<Picks up Boy8 and throws him>
<Boy8 splats against the wall comic book stylie>
First time! As planned
That didn't go as planned


Still as boyish as Boy8 is, he still likes to snuggle up and hug it out.
Plus squeezing him to bit hugs are the best answer I've found so far for stopping grumps and anger. If I remembered to hug him more, I would.

Mrs. Amazing is a hug fan too. I won't go into it, but we have three kids. She likes a good [insert own joke verb here] hug.
(What verb did you go for? Really? <Slaps you> She is a lady you know! <Storms off>)

Anyhoo... we were talking about hugs.

I saw a good friend at school drop today. Another Dad of three.
I've known him for a lot of years and pretty much speak my mind at him. 

Mate! You look like utter, utter, crap
'Thanks you bastard'
Utter, utter, utter…
‘Yes I got it’

And he did.
He looked utterly exhausted. He looked like he had been up all night battling tiny terrors. Which is probably what he had been doing.

Still as he stood there looking tired and confused, a scooter in each hand, arms out, watching his youngest go into class. I felt really sorry for him.
I've been there, I imagine I will go there soon at some point, you cannot get away from there,  there is always there, until they leave home. (yep that passes my clarity tests... just... womble).

My friend is having one of those horrible days when the kids have almost beaten you, you are way too tired to adult today, and it's only 9am.
There's still work to attend.

We lost each other after that moment and I didn't catch up with him until we were at the school gates.

You alright?
<Does sad / happy nodding, that means no, but looks like yes>
<Notices the very puffy and red eyes>
Still drunk?
Hmmm... I understand

And I did. I understood, I fully empathised. I can do that, Mrs. Amazing taught me.
I knew his pain and the day he was about to face. A long slow drudgery day, with only more children in the evening and bed (for sleep) to look forward to.

We stood having this awesome conversation at the school gates, mums everywhere, some Dads. Headteacher just a few metres away. In plain view of all the classrooms and all the teachers.
My friend was heading off left, I was going right. So we had limited time, and I am not quite sure what came over me...
... I gave him a big hug there and then.

I managed to say nothing, which is good. Same rules as toilets.
Because for me, in those weird silent moments, I seem to put myself in, I do tend to say dumb things...

Mmmm... you're so warm
What that in your pocket?
It's better than I ever dreamt it would be
I don't have any pants on
<Inhales> You smell nice
You hug just like your wife does…
You ever seen Brokeback Mountain? ...Man it was boring 

See, best not to talk when hugging men. Looking back it still feels a little weird despite my silence.

But you know what?
It made him smile. And probably lifted his spirits a lot. He did look surprised I grant ya.
But I felt good for having hugged a fellow Dad in times of grief.
Even Dads need support sometimes. Even if we don't like to ask for it, or have it offered, or will accept it, ever.

And what is wrong with two men hugging anyway? HUH?
It's nothing. The answer is nothing, nothing at all (I promise you, nothing is wrong with it).

(Apparently these men play some kind of sport together…)
(It’s quite popular I hear but don’t understand or believe…)

Still, I do have to stop doing weird stuff at the school gates (see Welcome to the jungle (playground)), and I don't doubt a few eyebrows were raised in our direction.
Good. Raise away!
I'll hug you too.


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