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!).

27 January 2016

Missing My Baby...

A while back Mrs. Amazing took BabyBoy1 and headed off into the wild, where the wine bars are to see her mates.
Leaving me, Boy8 and Miss4 alone.

[Front door shuts and we all run round to wave goodbye]
[Miss4 waves the hardest]
[Boy8 is making plans and waving]
[I'm waving trying to think of a plan]

Boy8: How long has Mum gone for Dad?
Two enormous, enduring, long lasting, never ending days
<Miss4 switches waving arm>
Boy8: Does that mean you are in charge?
YES! I am normally!
Cha! <Is slightly outraged>
<Boy8 says nothing>
OK... Joint in-charge, me and Mrs. Awesome rule together with an iron fist
<Boy8 nods, slightly sarcastically>
<Miss4 switches waving arm again>
Boy8: Are we going to be OK?
Yeah... We'll be fine...
<Boy8 does not look convinced>
<We all huddle together for safety>
...What was that noise?

It's was funny not having BabyBoy1 around.
It was strange. He’s always there at home. Obviously I get a few moments every now and then without anyone of them in the house, which is sheer bliss. But I don’t tend to miss BabyBoy1 then. It's nice to be alone. 
But this time I wasn't alone, I still had Boy8 and Miss4 all up in my grill existing and... and stuff... I found I missed the noisy, happy little one, that gives the best hugs. (He does full body hugs. He is tiny.)
My littlest boy that walks into tables, dances like a loon, shouts at nothing and is damn happy most of the day...
I missed my littlest dude.

There a few things in the house that stood out for me. A few things that are just for BabyBoy1 and as such reminded me totally of him...

1. Stair Gates.
We have three in our house. One to stop BabyBoy1 going upstairs on his own and then falling down the stairs. Another one to stop BabyBoy1 going downstairs on his own and falling down the stairs. And one more to stop him getting into the tiddly (utility) room and pressing buttons on all the machines.
Of course BabyBoy1 is perfectly safe going up and down stairs. He does it carrying stuff now. 
That doesn't mean watching him go up and down the stairs isn't horrible and a building heart attack waiting to explode in my face and cover me with goo. Because well… it is.
But he can do it.
We often forget to shut the stair gates. I often walk into them. The one in the tiddly room is so often open, I wondering why its even there. Coz it’s funny making the Cat jump it.

The weird thing is.
For the two days BabyBoy1 is gone, me, Boy8 and Miss4. All of us walk around the house shutting the gates behind us. And then opening as we need to go by, and then closing them behind us. Keeping the tiny boy that isn't even there, safe.
That’s pretty mental sweet I feel.

(I have installed these around the house... It hasn't worked and now they all swear...)

2. Stools
No not that type. I mean the height extending types. 
BabyBoy1 has stools so he can reach sinks. So he can brush his teeth with us all. Little face just reaching. It’s cute.
The stools though are hella annoying. They are non-slip which means they don’t slip. Nor can you shove them, push, shove the door open if one is behind it. Nothing.
So whilst BabyBoy1 is gone the stools are quickly, by me, and many times due to the non-slip evil, kicked out of the way.
On the first evening I noticed that both Boy8 and Miss4 insist on using the stools as they brush their teeth. Thus perpetuating the non-slip evil.

What are you doing?
Boy8: ‘I'm brushing my teeth’
I can see that…
Why are you stood on the stool that I carefully kicked into the corner?
‘So I can do this’ <Boy looks me straight in the eyes>
<He’s on tip toes on the stool to do so, but it’s very unnerving anyway>
<Miss4 walks by carrying another stool to her room>
Where are you taking that one?
Light-switch <Doesn't stop to explain>

It seems that without BabyBoy1 in the house, both Boy8 and Miss4 claim and start using his stools for everything they can.
Once he was back they stopped.
They’re weird sometimes.

3. Nappy paraphernalia
This is everywhere in the house. BabyBoy1 is our third child. Team Parents (yay!) are tired and we don’t like to have to hunt and find nappies or wet wipes, every time Captain Poo struts his stuff. So we have secreted nappy paraphernalia everywhere.
Of course once BabyBoy1 isn't in the house. We just have a house with wet wipes and nappies everywhere.
It’s a bit weird to be honest.

4. BabyBoy1 toys
I don’t think is going to be much of shock to anyone to be honest.
But BabyBoy1 has lots of cool toys, HE’S GOT A BATMOBILE, and rather than respectfully leave those toys alone, and undisturbed for two days, whilst he was gone.
We did the opposite.
Well kind of. Not the exact opposite as that is always dumb. But we did play with them a lot bit. And maybe not always in the manner expected by the manufacturer.
Everything was fair game it seemed. I wasn't exactly encouraging them to play with BabyBoy1’s toys, they did that fine on their own. It was just that my normal reason to stop them, had gone.
It’s hard to convince Miss4 that she may upset BabyBoy1 by driving in his Bat Car. when he’s not there to see it. It’s much more fun to push her around in the Batmobile and enjoy the giggling.
It was fine, we broke nothing that was noticed.

(Still amazing... Oooo... Batty...)

I think we all missed BabyBoy1 a lot.
(And Mrs. Amazing loads obviously, in case you are wondering, we all missed her tonnes)
I think Boy8 and Miss4 missed him a lot more than they thought they would. They do play with him a lot. So I suppose that makes sense. I just don’t think they realised.
It’s funny how someone so little, that sleeps twelve hours a day, can’t talk, makes little sense, shouts a lot, throws food everywhere, poos a lot and is constantly causing trouble, can affect your life so much and be so damn miss-able.
He is though.

[Two days later]
Boy8: ‘What’s this?’
Let’s call it me protecting myself against anyone telling Mrs. Amazing what we really got up to, for two days…. OK?
Just sign here
Boy8: ‘Why should I?’
So it can happen again...
<Boy8 rapidly signs>
You too <Passes pen to Miss4>
<Draws a picture of a flower with pen>
That’ll do…
Now, we need to practice, what have we been up to?
Boy8: ‘We read a lot, watched films, played cars, eaten lots of vegetables and we ate at the table together every time, not in front of the TV!’
Good… Miss4?
Miss4: ‘We have bathed each night, brushed our teeth, combed our hair, and got up at a normal time!'
Miss4: ‘... But we didn't…’
We did <Gives Miss4 a look>
Miss4: <Nods>‘Oh! Yeah' <Smirks> 'It's a secret!’

[Mrs. Amazing arrives home]
<Miss4 tells her all>

24 January 2016

I Think You Are Strong...

I read a few blogs that talk about how to empower daughters. (A Mighty Girl is my fav). 
I read them because I don't ever want Miss4 to feel de-powered or weak.
And Miss4’s my daughter. So I read them

(Like this site on FB and get a daily Mighty Girl story to read...
Better than the normal male centric media bile... )

I hope Miss4 is going to feel strong in her life.
I want her to feel as strong as I do in this world. Which is definitely possible, but something tells me it’s not going to be easy, and it will take a lot of effort and new thinking from me, and of course Team Parents (yay!).

Obviously Mrs. Amazing needs to do her part.
And of course as strong empowered role models go, I can think of no better. I know she will.
But how her main male role model, me, interacts with Miss4 is going to set up her expectations and her empowerment levels on the bloke front. Basically everything I do she will be watching and taking notes. Shiiiiit
How I treat her, Mrs. Amazing, Boy8, BabyBoy1 and weirdly myself. All is being watched and recorded. Sure I know that’s the same for Boy8 and BabyBoy1.
But I feel for Miss4 it’s even more important.

Miss4: ‘Dad? Do all men like Frozen as much as you do?’
Er… <Straightens out purple cape so it flies right>
Yeah sure… Probably… Can we just start?
‘Coz my friend said her Dad doesn't even know the words to Let It Go’?
Well that just dumb
Maybe he was pretending
Right, less talk… You ready?
‘Yep!’ <Takes centre stage, arms aloft>
<Both sing and run> ‘A storm blows…’

I hope Miss turns out strong.
And empowered and not scared of men in her life. Real life Metaphorically speaking I would much rather be sat there, tea in hand, cheering Miss4 on as she throws a rubbish man out of her life herself. Than I do it for her. I’ll would happily do it of course, and enjoy it.
But it would be better if she could do it herself. I'm a bit lazy.

Miss4: ‘What the hell is this?’
Becoming Ex-BoyF: ‘Look. I'm sorry… I wasn't thinking’
‘Damn right you weren't’
‘Did you think I wouldn't find out?’
<Stirs tea, grinning>
‘A bloody Bieber track on your phone?’
<Beats Now Ex-BoyF over the head with phone>
<And pushes him out of the house>
'Don't come back!'
<Wipes proud tear from eye>

OK fine.
I might worrying about stuff that will not happen for a very long time, I hope. But I like to be prepared, and if Miss4 is going to be able to handle her own trash, I need to start her down that path now.
I think.

And this morning I think I did something to help her down that road.
Path. Road. Whatever, I’ll chop and change as we go on, it’ll maybe be a path sometimes, a road, a journey. Just go with it. It’ll be cool, don’t worry
Be cool.

So I think I helped her take her first step towards her destiny (be cool).
I attacked her with two wooden swords, and then let her beat the crap out of me
I think what I did might have made a huge difference to Miss4.
I showed her how to get up to chocolate cupboard, using a broom
I showed her to annoy Boy8 in five seconds
Something I am proud of myself for doing.
Something I want to share with you, because I think I did good.
I told Miss4 I thought she was strong.

Which doesn't sound like much I know.
I know, because I told Mrs. Amazing and she cared as much as when I managed eat all the chocolate, cakes, and pies in house within a day. (I was helping with her diet).
She cared not.

But think it through with me.
I'm Miss4’s Dad. I have proof, she loves Dangermouse. Miss4’s big strong Dad (me).
Yes really me. Big strong. She’s tiny.
Even I can be pretty impressive to a four year old girl.
I lift the heavy stuff in the house. I go out in stupid no matter the weather. I build, I smash, I shout the loudest, dance the hardest, eat the heartiest, and get drunk the drunkerest.
There is strength in this Dad carefully hidden under padding.
So to Miss4, I believe, I am her strength role model.
Mind blowing I know. <Bang> <Ow> <Cries>

And frankly that’s what I think Dad’s are meant to be.
AND… kind, sweet, soft, cuddly, funny, emotional, loads of other stuff that you can’t brag to your mates about, loads, and paradoxically not strong at the same time (WTF!). I think the new modern Dad skills need to be applied like a second coat to the original Dad design.
Dad v2 if you like.

Anyway, back to guiding Miss4 on her travels across the seas of life (be cool).
I’ll explain myself better with a very real and not made up at all, example…
(Made up).

Han Frickin' Solo Sir. Ford: So... You had something to show me?
Mr.SoloWouldItBeOkIfMaybeOneDay,IfYouDon'tMindTooMuch,IfItWouldBePossible,ForYouToMaybe… <breathes> ... ToLookOverMyStory,IfYouGetTheChance,PleaseSir <Bows>
<Bows again>
Sir Ford: Sure kid
<Stumbles slightly as nearly faints>
Sir Ford: <Reads first chapter> That's great kid! but don't get cocky
<Flashes dreamboat smile>
<Actually faints and falls embarrassingly onto Sir. Ford>
<Is then pounced on by body guards>

(You 'd like to meet Mrs. Amazing? No... Just no...)

See, nothing beats a good example.
I bet that's all clear now. Job done.
<Dusts off hands>

What? You've no idea what I meant? What has my man crush on Harrison Ford got to do with empowering Miss4? I am only human.
My point was this.
If someone you look up-to, such as Sir. Ford, for a particular trait (Awesomeness), says you are good at something. Well those are kind of comments that can change you. They can resonate within you with far greater power than if they came from say… someone… from any of OneDirection talking about lyrical quality. You know, someone in which you have absolutely no respect for. At all. 

1D Munchkin: ‘I think your song is great, you're voice is nice, I love the lyrics, very clever’
Get. Out. Of. My. House.
<Draws and cocks Nerf guns>
<Boy8, Miss4, BabyBoy1 appear fully armed as well>
Release the hounds!
<Cat walks by>

Me and Miss4 were running late for school and trying to get out of the door.
Not that rare an occurrence to be honest. I was talking as always.
I was nicely explaining why she needed to wear a cardigan, a fleece and a big water proof coat over the top.

Don't be a twonk it's bloody cold outside
You have no padding on you
You have to wear a vest, t-shirt, cardy, fleece, hat, gloves, and a coat and that’s for starters...
'I can hardly move!' <Waddles crossly about in star pose>
Hmmm... Good point....
We can probably squeeze another scarf on then...

The thing is when Miss4 was two, and again <Sighs>, at three, she spent time in hospital with crackles (snot fluid) on her lungs.
Basically she had a cough which went bad. She didn't cough strong enough to clear the gunk out of her little lungs, so it built up. The doctors and nurses (Miss4's saint like saviours and angels, #NHSLove) called them crackles. It is something she will grow out of, has grown out of, thank steak pie. But she needed to be on oxygen in the hospital for a few days. It sucked big time. She is now fine.
And to make sure it never EVER happens again, I wrap her up extremely warm before she leaves the house. ALWAYS!
<Shakes fist>

Which is why Miss4 has to wear so much winter clothes.
It also why the conversation between us, as we were trying to get out of the door, was about how she needed to wear so many tops and stuff, and about how she had got crackles on her lungs. I wasn't really thinking about what I was saying, or where I was going with the conversation. Which is always very dangerous.
Let rhyme! Start with brother clucking runt...
I just wanted her to dress warm.

It wasn't going well.
Miss4 was a bit cross. So my entire goal in talking was to calm the grumpy Miss4 down, and one good way to do that, is just to talk stuff at her...

... and you ended up in hospital...
<Nods, instead of putting on shoes>
... because your little lungs were not strong enough ...
<Nods, instead of putting on coat>
... you got crackles, because your cough was so weak...
<Nods, instead of putting on scarf>
'yeah I'm weak coz I'm so little'
<Stops self>
<Stops and brings attention fully onto Miss4, her words echoing in my head>
<FINALLY Realises the huge mistake he is making>
<Grabs Miss4 by both shoulders to looks her right in the eye>
NO darling!
You used to be little, but you're big now...
<Has no clear plan> <Is winging it> <Has adopted superman prose for emphasis>
... You've gotten tough...
<Silently curses dodgy grammar>
Err... <Winging it wings falling apart> … Er…
But you're bigger now, you're a tough cookie…
<Brainzilla saves the day and throws up the perfect thing to say>

And that was it.
I didn't plan that, I doubt I could do that again either. That was mainly dumb luck.
But telling Miss4 that she was strong, that I thought she was strong, I think had a big effect on her. Well... I say big, in fact it was tiny, it would have been easy to miss it to be honest.
But I saw it.

Her eyes flashed.
Yep. Her eyes. Flashed.
Have you ever watched someone's eyes when they see something amazing, or exciting, or brilliant? When something grabs their insides and pulls them tight. Like when you jump off something high. Like when your first love kisses you. Like when Han Solo passes the light sabre to Ray and says 'You're going to need this'. <Melts>
Like when you lift the biscuit tray up, and underneath there's another full tray.
When stuff like that happens, my eyes, Miss4's eyes and everyone else's eyes, rapidly dilate and expand as though you are pulling that moment into your head through your eyes.
Miss4 did that when I told her she was strong.
BOOM 'king POW!

And that’s how, I feel, I helped guide Miss4 on her quest (and... needing to be cool done) to being strong and empowered..
And more importantly, I meant it.

(How creeped out would be seeing this in your home... That hair!)


[Mrs. Amazing finds me laying on the sofa at 9:30am]

'Aren't you going to work today'?
I don't have to, my work for today is done <Waves hand dismissively>
'What? Why?'
Did you not hear the Miss4 strong story? <Rhetoric smugness>
'Yeah... I'm just not sure work will agree?'
I think we both know <Pauses> that they will <Smiles and nods>
<Lays down to sleep as work done for the today>
'You know I've got friends coming over?'
'You can't sleep there, I'm going to hoover'
<Gets hoovered>

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