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 April 2016


Stupid clocks.
Stupid daylight savings time (UK).
It was hard enough to get Miss5 asleep when it was dark. It's bloody near impossible with the sun bursting through her window, at bedtime.

The clocks had gone back.
And it was my turn to put Miss5 to bed.
Team Parent (yay!) rotate who is putting which child to bed each night. You either get the boys (Boy8 and BabyBoy1) or just Miss5.

(Are those jelly beans?)

BabyBoy1 goes to bed first as he's the littlest.
The other parent then drags sweetly carries Miss5 up to bed to start her bedtime.
Then when BabyBoy1 is half naked in his cot, thrown every single toy out, singing as loudly as he can, and banging the sides of the cot against the wall fast asleep, the first parent gets into a blazing row with Boy8 about how every night we go through this ridiculous charade, WHY! WHY! WHY! You know damn well what time it is, and it's his bedtime.
We maximise two parents attempting to get three children to sleep. It works well.
I think.

You would think the parent doing two bedtimes would always be last down stairs.
HA! You would think that <Tuts>...
Miss5 is the hardest to get to sleep at the moment.
Presently it requires magic, voodoo spells, luck, being very strong with the force and a hammer patience.

Like I said, they had messed with the clocks again, forwards, backwards, whatever.
It's the one where Team Parent (yay!) get one hour less sleep, but struggle to go to bed, and the hell hounds kids just wake up when they normally do anyway. yay.
And come evening time we are suddenly trying to convince the children it's bed time, in broad daylight.
Great plan.

Miss5 is having trouble staying in bed at the moment.
Her normal bedtime is two stories. One she reads, one the parent with the teeny tiny straw in hand reads. And maybe a bit of Where's Wally if it's me. Because I'm always on the hunt for that bugger. Teeth are normally brushed without problem and Miss5 is mostly very sweet to put to bed. We giggle and laugh through the books, talk about the day that has gone...

What did you have for lunch?
Miss5: 'Nothing pie' <Giggles>
Haha... Anything to drink?
Miss5: 'Nothing juice' <Giggles>
Haha... And pudding?
Miss5: 'Nothing crumble' <Giggles>
(Mrs. Amazing had already told me she had pasta, water and custard, so no worries there)
Miss5: 'Dad?'
Yep <Starts tucking her in>
Miss5: 'What did you do at work?'
Nothing Lots of good, hard, money making work, I am a valuable member of the team... just like normal <Does shifty eyes>
Miss5: 'Haha!' <Giggles>

I kiss Miss5 good night and optimistically turn to leave the room.
The sofa and the chocolate cupboard are calling me from downstairs, and I really want to hear and embrace their calls.
But as I get to Miss5's door, she's standing right behind me.

Back to bed <Happy voice> You need your sleep!
Miss5: 'No' <Not happy voice>
<Puts Miss5 back to bed, gets to door, but Miss5 is behind me>
Back to bed <Normal voice> let's not play this game again... for your own safety
Miss5: 'No'
<Puts Miss5 back to bed>
<Rushes to door, and leaves>
<Door opens right behind me, it's Miss5>
ARHGHGGHGH you scared the crap out of me, I thought it was one your teddies come to life and walking about...
<Annoyed voice> Back to bed
Miss5: 'No'
<Puts Miss5 back to bed>

That continued. A lot.
My voice went from 'Happy' all the way down to 'Bloody furious and annoyed' and 'How the smeg am I playing this game again, it sucks!', three whole levels.
I had been home from work a grand total of fifteen minutes, less the story time, before this all kicked off. I haven't even had a cuppa, or second cuppa, or thirdies.
I had only once stolen self-shared chocolate from the kids chocolate stash.
I was not ready for Miss5's brilliant psychological warfare. I knew it too. I knew I was going to lose this one.
Damn it.

(Behind this dam of self control, is the sea of pent up anger and frustration...)

I tried to be calm.
I did. But with each time I put her back into bed, my anger was bloomed rose.
Her door is almost next to her bed. It was taking me longer to put the covers on her, than it was taking her to get out of the bed. If I ran off and escaped, she came and found me, just like work do.
I had to stop letting her walk back to bed, because she was refusing to walk.
So I started ‘helping’ her towards her bed. Nice shoving basically. Not hard, she's still tiny. But clearly.
I could feel the wrongness in what I am doing. It wasn't the right solution.
But it’s hard to stop.

Miss5 breaks the cycle for me. yay.
She starts becoming kicky with the covers. The small amount of control I had over the situation has gone. It's too much for me and my tempter. So before I throw her to the moon…
I leave Miss5 kicking her sheets off her bed and go and make my dinner.
Like a hungry champion does. Yeah.

Mrs. Amazing is going out.
I see her and she utterly sympathises as last night Miss5 treated her to the same. She totally feels my pain and frustration and she is right behind me, and Team Parent (yay!).
But she's also off OUT to shark wrestling club, and I'm on my own.

Miss5 comes and finds me downstairs. yay.
I am cooking my tea. I am using the grill to make yum burgers, with cheese, onions and all the trimmings. I turn the grill off and risk ruining my entire meal to carry a kicking, screaming, little girl up to bed and dump her on her bed.
She is up and behind me before I get to the door.
That is fine and expected. I am calm.
ARGHGGHGHGHGHGHGHGHG <Lots of fist shaking>

(She was too fast for me...)

Mrs. Amazing's advice was just wear her down, just keep putting her back to bed.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…
So that is what I do. Over and over.
It did occur to me that I should count how many times I put that little girl back to bed. It would have been a great thing to put here. Right now. NOW! BAM! NUMBER.
But I lost count.

I lost count because my entire focus was on staying calm.
I accepted the horribleness of the situation and just plodded back and forth, from door to bed, from bed to door, avoiding the kicks. Ignoring the futility of it all, and just reinforcing that Miss5, was indeed, going to bed.

I plod.
I'm bored as sin and showing it. I want to make sure that every time Miss5 sees my face, she sees I am not having fun. I am unhappy doing this. This suuuuuucks.
She cares not. She's five.
However plodding and trudging and being quite switched off about it all, is helping me stay calm at the irritating situation I find myself in: Walking back and forth between the door and the bed. 
I feel like I'm drinking alcohol free wine (??) or eating low fat mayo. It’s utterly pointless.
I'm sure, that had I been watching what was going on, I'd be in tears of laughter.
Well I'm in tears...

Miss5 doesn't like my plodding.
She starts asking me questions, whilst I shuttle her back to bed, again and again.
Dad can I do this? Can I do that?
I don't answer. Which I find really hard not to do. I like answering.
I don't answer because I can't. I am just about holding my frustration inside.
The trudgery and plodding has now become my shield, and to engage with Miss5 now, in any kind of verbal battle will disastrous for both of us.
If I drop my shield now...  
She’ll see the chocolate stain on my top
Well. I can't.

I know that if this was the start of the evening.
I'd talk to her, I'd take this moment and turn it around by making her laugh and giggle and bedtime would be fine. Fun even.
But it's not the start of the evening. It's been forty minutes of pain and horror.
I'm hungry and I know my burger and trimmings are down stairs, half cooked, getting cold under the off grill.
Eventually I manage to leave the room and Miss5 stays put.

But only because she's in tears of frustration.
She's also been screaming at me for ages. My ears hurt.
She demanded I answer her, she demanded I go away, leave, naff off, get mummy, get her cake, everything, nothing…

The last few screams were her demanding to watch the sun set. Over and over.
Miss5: <In the pitch of scream> 'I WANT TO SEE THE SUNSET DADDY'
Miss5: <In the pitch of scream> 'I WANT TO SEE THE SUNSET DADDY'
Miss5: <In the pitch of scream> 'I WANT TO SEE THE SUNSET DADDY'
Stupid clocks.

Ok… Miss Shouty...)

That's a weird thing to have screamed at you.
But the screaming and tears have finally taken their toll on Miss5 and she's stopped getting out of bed. It was probably only five or ten minutes after that she was fast asleep.
She was so tired.
Little pain in the butt love

I limped downstairs.
Not because my leg or foot hurt. I was limping in my heart and head. They were hurting.
I cannot cope with that much emotion and anger thrown at me, for so long. Eventually it got in. Shield or not.
I am so very glad that I didn't get cross.

Sadly though.
My burger was as crap-cooked as I had feared it would be.
I'm not sure how all the crapness got in, it was looking pretty awesome until I went upstairs. 
But in it did get.

Miss5 slept all night.
And no 6am appearances for a change. Silver lining and all that.
When she did come in though she knew what she had to do straight away. She came over and flicked my ear to me and gave me a huge hug and a kiss. And said sorry for being a spawn of satan rat-bag.
Obviously I had already forgiven her. Mid crap-burger that happened. But the hug and kiss reminded me how much I loved her. 
A lot.

Right! You are now, officially, off my bad list <Adjusts list>
Miss5: ‘Yay!’
And back on my good list <Adjusts other list>
Miss5: ‘Yay!’
Right beneath... Pie!!! <Nods to indicate the honour>
Miss5: ‘Yay! Thanks Dad!’ <Fist pumps the air> ‘ABOVE PIE! Yeah!’
Broccoli pie that is…
<Boy8 barges in>
Boy8: 'Hey? Am I on that list?'
<Mrs. Amazing barges in>
Mrs. Amazing: 'Yeah me too? HEY! What's that at the top??? R2...'
<Eats the good and the bad list>
Nweed <Sprays paper at everyone> 
to knlow <Sprays more paper> 

25 April 2016

Bye Bye Purple Man...

Prince died the other day, at 57.
In cricketing terms: not a bad innings but everyone would have liked to see him bat on, at least until after the mid-afternoon sandwiches and pint sinking drinks. Ready for the evenings play.
In real terms: Sad news. A loss.

I'm quite gutted at the passing of Prince.
He was an amazing guitarist, singer, a brilliant songwriter and a very unique individual. 
And now he's gone from the world which is never a good thing. I like those kind of people in the world. I like them to stay. The more the merrier.
People like Prince can really put some colour and sparkle into life. 
People like Prince scream to world, it's fine to be yourself.
Even if yourself is a sex and purple obsessed loon genius.

('Rows 1 & 2... my room later... bring friends')

"Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word life, It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here to tell you, there's something else
The after world..."

If the funeral didn't start like that, I will be sodding sorely disappointed.

It was Purple Rain that I fell in love with.
The album obv. I'm old. I have vinyled.
There's nine tracks of magic on there. Which considering there are only nine tracks on the album, is pretty good going. Not a single dud. 
Compare that to a Bieber album...

<Plays opening bar of first track on Bieber album>
Dud <Skips on>
Dud <Skips on>
Dud <Skips> Dud <Skips> Dud <Skips> Dud <Skips> Dud <Skips>
Ooo... hang on... yeah... this isn't so ba <Beiber starts singing>
Dud <Skips to the end throws CD out of window>
<Hits flying rat seagull, is fine with that>

But Prince meant more to me than just his music (and his music meant a lot).
As a young man (me, not Prince). I wasn't very tall (I was short) and I wasn't very sexually switched on (all the high scores were mine <Does dramatic voice> Allllllllllll...).
I felt my height and appearance were not really going to cut it with the ladies (A.K.A. girls equally terrified of being 13-16 with similar worries and concerns). 
Prince however, pointed out that maybe my understanding of the world, and what is considered attractive. Was utter crap. 
Not in person obv. Through the tele.

To my young eyes he was pure sexual attraction. 
He oozed it. As though it was poured into him every night, and repainted on every morning.
I watched him on Top of the Pops dressed in his velvet suits, surrounded by the tall beautiful talented woman in his band. He stood there singing brilliantly, basically making love to his guitar on stage, singing in falsetto. And everyone loved him for it.
Especially the ladies.
And ladies were very much on my mind at that time.

(He did the Batman music.... OMFB!)

"Six o'clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream"

<Leaps out of bed>
Stop pulling on my eyelids and asking me if I wanna make a snowman!!!
<Miss5 looks guilty>
Of course I bloody do!
Miss5: 'Yay!'
But not at 6am <Gets back into bed>
<Gets eyelids pulled>

Now, looking back.
I wish I had thought more about the ladies in the band it. There was Prince proving to a young-me that it wasn't height and appearance that made the man. A key young-me worry. 
The lesson was there right in front of my eyes. Shame I ignored it.
It takes me ages to learn that lesson, and was largely done by Mrs. Amazing's reluctant acceptance and the need for someone that could wire the stereo love.
Yet there it was, right in front of me, very early on in my life, a brilliant lesson that would have saved me hours of pain and worry.
Why didn't I absorb it?

Because... No idea. Sorry.
I can only guess. It's probably because at that time in the universe, in my world. I was surrounded by uber MEN! BIG MEN! TALL MEN! STRONG MEN! You had to run fast, be fast, hit hard. GRRRRR.
Men that hated purple. Men that are manly men. It was everywhere on the tele, computer games, school, adults.
Everywhere the message was simple. Men are big and strong.
And big men get the girls.

Unless you are Prince (5'2" apparently).
I've read many times, from various sources (twice), that he didn't give a crap that his height was considered low by some. It wasn't a worry for him.
And why would it be? It's only a comparative measurement. Seems dumb when you put it that way.
Also his sense of style should have marked him out as loony to be avoided at all costs. But somehow he made it work.
I can't help but compare him to David Bowie. The decks were stacked greatly against them both and yet they managed to make it work for them, in similar, but wildly different ways. 
And both to an amazing level of achievement and recognition.
To me that is bacon impressive, hell, that's bacon pie impressive.

(‘What’s my name?’
‘ALL: We don’t know, it is impossible to pronounce’
‘Ah yeah’ <Grinds>)

I hope my children have people like that in their lives as they grow up.
Not Bieber. I suppose... that person could be me.
I've left it a little late for the music career thing, and the god-like guitar skills.
But you know, I like a challenge.
The unique dress sense may be a bit trickier. As at present I seem to be sporting clothes from ten years ago - The Essential Dad Range 2016 or 2006 or  1996.
And Mrs. Amazing may be pretty pissed when she meets my band...

This is Jenny, Tracey, Britney and Jane. But everyone simply calls her 'Shagger'... she plays bass
Mrs. Amazing: <Looks about> I hate you all Nice to meet you all...
Mrs. Amazing: 'They need to leave now, of course'
But they're my band!
<Gets a look>
Yeah... OK... I know... Come on girls, dream's over.
Back to welding and dancing in barns for the lot of you

My children are likely to look similar to me.
That's just the way genetics works, I can't be blamed for it.
Sure they might be big and strong and play for the England Woman's rugby team (Miss5 that is). But the odds are against it.
The odds are they will go through the same worries and fears I did. But in there own way. Obv.
So I hope there is someone like Prince out there for them all and they learn the lessons I didn't.
I hope somewhere in the nasty world of mass media they can see, loudly and brightly, someone not physical huge, not the standard model, not looking like everyone else, just doing it their own way.
Basically like Frank, but in purple.

"You don't have to be rich, to be my girl"
How much you got in your purse?
Mrs. Amazing: 'A few quid...'
Oh... That's what I've got...
Mrs. Amazing: 'How about the kids share some chips, a hot chocolate, and...  and... we can share a cuppa'
Good plan <Gives a kiss>
<Steals a lot of chips>

As for Prince.
I know some of his music will be remembered for a long time. Because its awesome. 
And probably his style and personality too. That's what happens when you're that special and talented.
Everyone remembers what you did.

For me Prince's greatest song will always be 'When Doves Cry' (with Purple Rain a close second).
Lyrically, poetically, and awesome-grinding-sextastic-guitar-lead rockingly, I consider that song to be one of the greatest of all time. Really.
The words speak directly in my mind and heart and say it's OK, we've all been there.
Also there's no bass line. Really no, bass line. Next time you're boogieing-on-down to it, have a listen. No bass line there. He did that on purpose (apparently). How the smeg do you make a song that funky and cool, but have no bass line?
Beyond genius.

"Why do we scream at each other"
Because you're annoying we're family
"This is what it sounds like when doves cry"
Damn right it does, and that's neither good nor bad. It's just the way it is
<Does dove shadow puppets attacking each other>
<Then doves get it on and feathers start flying>
<In tribute to Prince obv.> 

I'm gonna leave you with, not what I thought I was going to leave you with.
Which was going to be fifteen minutes of Purple Rain (here) awesomeness and lead guitar perfection.
No. On the day of Prince's death my little brother sent me this saying it was utterly brilliant and amazing. He was dead right ruining a lifetimes run.
Just watch how Prince owns the stage, the crowd, the guitar, the suit, those collars, himself... amazing.

Bye bye purple man and thank you for everything.
X (with tongues)

(If the stupid embedded video isn't working, click here)