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!).
X

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>
Go
<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.
Strong.
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>
#BestMomentEver

(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. 
<Grins>

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>
Now...
<Boy8, Miss4, BabyBoy1 appear fully armed as well>
Release the hounds!
<Cat walks by>

So... 
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....
<Thinks>
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>
No!
<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>
I think YOU ARE STRONG!

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!)

Epilogue:

[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?'
Zzz
'You can't sleep there, I'm going to hoover'
Zzz
<Gets hoovered>



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