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 May 2016

One hundred posts! (pulls party popper... nothing... darn cheap party popper) (BANG!) (Owww)...

This is my one hundredth post.
A century! <Gentlemanly claps all round>
<Politely raises keyboard into the air to acknowledge the crowd>
<Wishes had been born with just a million times more sporting skill>
<Finds chocolate under keyboard, is happy>

So what the smeg do I write about to mark this occasion?
Chocolate beer pie?
How about a sort of rambling, retrospective of the last year, that has no clear goal and is likely to be a bit overly sentimental, with the odd saucy gypsy thrown in and at least two car chases?

Well one hundred posts ago he wasn’t even one.
He was just BabyBoy. He could point at things and say Uh.
And was probably crawling about like a good’un and falling over when ever he tried to stand.
Hilarious Good times.

Now however.
BabyBoy1 is walking about. Climbing about and he's got quite a few words on him…

‘MINE’ - (Like the seagulls in Finding Nemo) This comes up a lot.
‘Noooooo’ - Is becoming more frequent.
‘Daddy WORRRRK?’ - Is his way of making sure I know I am working today, again. (Thanks dude).
‘Yas’ - Not quite sure where the South African twang has come from.
(Lethal Weapon II -’ I was just checking to see if I was standing on plastic’).
‘DarahDuck?’ (Sarah and Duck) - Still the houses favorite cartoon.
‘Noc-Naughts?’ (Octonauts) - Rapidly becoming the houses favorite cartoon.
‘CAKE!’ - Well he is a Team Parents (yay!) child. He was always going to love cake.
‘CAKE! MINE!’ <Shoves a huge bit of cake in his gob>
‘MAKE!’ <Cake goes everywhere>

And he still runs to me when I get home.
I love that. He’s still the person most happy to see me when I get home from work. He still drops everything and anything he is doing to make a bee-line towards me.
What a dude.
No matter what, consistently and without question, he loves me for just being me. And that’s smegging pretty darn cool...

Kids come and listen to this amazing song!!!
<Gang all arrive, excited>
This is Lindsey Stirling's song Transcendance, the orchestra version... It's amazing!!!
[They listen]
Boy8: 'That's not rock?' <Is shocked> 'Where are  the guitars? The singing?’
Her violin is her voice! … And she has a voice... sometimes...
Boy8: 'I just don't understand you sometimes' <Boy8 leaves disgusted>
<Turns to Miss5>
She’s taking us on a journey, it's an adventure in music, it's battling pirates on the edge of a pirate ship, it's leaping into worlds in a drop of water, it's flying through the sky and waving at the birds, it's a rush and tumble through the clouds, being able to taste the air in your heart!
<Is doing overly dramatic big arms and hands>
Miss5: <Listens and considers> ‘BORING!' <Sticks out tongue and skips off>
Philistines <Shakes fist> … What about you BabyBoy1?
BabyBoy1: 'Daddy!' <Runs to hug my leg, but hits face on my knee>
<Get a huge cuddle>

(You sure that’s your hat… and not mine?
Fair enough then...)

She was Miss4 one hundred posts ago. How did that fly by?
She went round telling everyone she was forty-five, four-to-five, get it?
Of course we didn't stop her it was hilarious.
She doesn't do it now, guess she knows she’s five now.
<Weeps> That’s not as funny.

Miss5 has just got more and more interesting.
To me she's fascinating. I’ve never met anyone like her. Her entire worldview and values, and thoughts are not the same as mine. It’s surprisingly brilliant.
Watching her grow is like being allowed into a whole new amazing world of capes,  pom-poms, rainbows, hair styles (?), fierce, fierce, emotions, clawing, kicking and screaming that can shatter glass and ear drums. And talking.
And the second best hugs.
And utter madness.
And a lot more complex clothes...

Miss5: 'Dad can you help me with my dress'
Yeah sure <Looks and turns it round in hands, in wonder and confusion>
Actually... No. No I cannot. This is Level 4 clothing...
I'm not trained to operate these. I'm only a Level 2 clothing operative. Jean and t-shirts…
This is way beyond me <Hold up a bit of clothing> I mean, what this bit do?
Miss5: 'That's a plete'
A what? What is its primary function?
Miss5: '...'
What does it do?
Miss5: '...' <Shrugs>
OK.... Look <Glances around> ... I probably shouldn't do this <More glancing>
But let’s just give it a try together, shall we... It can't be that hard to put on a dress…
Miss5: 'Yeah! I believe in you Dad!'
[Much later]
That's still not right is it?
Miss5: <Muffled> 'No'
Can you move your arms?
Miss5: <Muffled> 'I can move this one!'
Hmmm... So we're making progress at least...

(Mrs. Christmas wiggling her bottom at me on the way to swimming… 
Life can be very surreal at times with Miss5...)

Crikey. He’s nearly 9. <Weeps>
One hundreds post ago we were in a very different place me and Boy8. I was struggling.
I was getting too cross and being grumpy. And he was getting the brunt of it.
Sorry Boy8.
I’m pretty sure I’ve stopped most of that, and have made up for it in some small way.
<Glances at Mrs. Amazing>
<Gets a small nod>
<Celebrates by raiding the chocolate cupboard>

Me gaining more control of myself is good news. Obv…
Especially as his emotions have become, let’s say shouty and loud and cross and slammy more dramatic.

The door to his bedroom is coming off it’s hinges. Really.
I’ve had to repair the stair gate thrice this year.
I had to fill in holes in the wall.
And he can be the most annoying, stubborn, obnoxious, rude little so-and-so...

But he’s also utterly amazing.
And I'm really proud of him. School’s improved so much. He’s been really brave.
There’s a girl that likes him.
He’s washing cars to make money to buy crap stuff.
He made a nice cake!
I'm teaching him to play chess, properly. Not battle chess which is what we have been playing, where you just smash all the, plastic, pieces off the board. (Love that game). Proper chess.
He’s doing things without me. I can’t keep up with everything he’s doing. No matter how hard I try. He needs me less and less. I’m so proud.
He’s away tonight at a friends house.
He goes away for three nights soon.
He’s just starting on the very first rungs of growing up. He’s doing stuff on his own…

But he called me at work today.
Because he needed me. And hearing that little voice reminded me of little he still is. He’s just acting very big at the moment. Practising.
But really he’s still quite wee.

(Arghhh! Octonaut!!! <Stomp, stomp, stomp> GOT IT!)

And you know the amazing thing?
The earth shattering thing? I knew what he wanted to know on the phone.
<Does dance>

Boy8: ‘Hi Daddy? Do you know where my football boots are?’
Yes! <Stands in shock>
I tidied all the shoes and bags, a few weeks back... and I put them in your kit bag with your shin pads!
Boy8: ‘Mum’s just checking...’
Boy8: ‘She says they are… Bye!’

That my friends, is modern Dadding for you right there. 
Knew where the shoes were... <Is smug> Because that’s where I had previously tidied them too.
<Raids chocolate cupboard again in celebration>
Hey? Which swine has eaten all the choc… Oh yeah…
<Calls out> I'm going to the shops...


And for those of you still hanging about, waiting for your saucy gypsy and two car chases? Well…

Gypsy: ‘I've just been shopping!’
Gypsy: ‘Look at the size of my enormous melons!’ <Holds up melons>
Cool <Is feeling a bit awkward> Isn't that your lift home leaving?
Gypsy: ‘Oh yes’ <Chases after car>
Oh wait.. Noo… My mistake... It’s not…
Gypsy: <Stops>
Gypsy: <Chases after car for the second time> <Melons pop out>


24 May 2016

Man Time vs. Missing Them...

I'm away this weekend.
(Mum! this is from awhile back, we still need you to babysit this weekend :)
Three whole days without the kids and Mrs. Amazing.
It's hard to keep the tears of joy in at times.

And no.
This tale isn't going to be about that weekend. You're not that lucky.
It’s just twelve old friends. Blokes. Half Dads, half not. 
Heading north to share a big house together for three days.

And yes it It may sound like the start of a horror movie.
But really the risk factor is pretty low. We're in the UK so axe murderers are pretty rare.
We're more likely to fall in a ditch on the way home in the dark and scuff up our jeans a bit.
Or a vicious toe stubbing could happen. Or a can of weak piss lager might explode everywhere. We may get lost on the way back from a pub. A lot.
And there is always a chance we never actually find the house in the first place, each night, and each morning, at all.

(Don’t be fooled… Hedges act all innocent, but when you’re singing at the top of lungs not paying attention they grab you, and drag you in… and offer you cake...)

Probably though, the worst that will happen, is that one of us will get scared by a cat late at night...

Lad1: 'Ekkkkkkkkkkk!'
<Others come running>
Lad2: <Shines torch> 'That's a cat!'
Lad3: 'Haahaaa! Love the warrior scream by the way!'
<All crack up with laughter>
<Bear growling sound>
All-Lads: 'Ekkkkkkkkkkk!' <All run>
<Cat with Bear-ringtone on his mobile chuckles by>

The bit that excites me most?
Nope. Not the sleeping, not the free flowing chuffing-muffing swearing, not even the drinking...

More water?
Mate: ‘Yes’ <Rolls eyes> ’ Ta’ <Drinks>
Mate: ‘You know.. I still don't think we've got this home-bar quite right?’
What? Why not? We've got a tap, we've a bar.
IT'S perfect!
Mate: ‘Suppose..’
Let’s do shots!!!
Mate: ‘Of water?’ <In the key ‘I don’t want to’>
Of course water. What the smeg else… Ohhhhhhhh… idea!!!
Mate: ‘Yes mate! I know what you mean. Boo…’
YES! Beena!
<Mate leaves>

... I'm looking forward to seeing everyone obv. They rock.
But there's two things I am really looking forward to. Things that I'll love from the moment the car door slams as we head out, will love every moment whilst I'm there, and then will love all the way back home again and keep little pictures of under my pillow.

1. There's no plans
Bliss. (Which stands for Bloody Lovely Is Self-management Sucka. It does. It's true. It's not true)
Work always has plans for me. My family (and I) plan a lot to make the most of our time together. We have plans within plans. Plan in those. Long range plans. Little plans. Plans everywhere.
For all the freedom we have... life can feel very constraining sometimes (and yes I know I've nothing really to complain about).
We, the MEN! UGH! UGH! <Coughs>, have managed to cobble together but one plan for the entire weekend. A vague curry plan for the first night, so we all at least eat once.
But other than that... no plans. Nope. None. Nothing. Nada.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh <Shoulders drop> Bliss.

(The best plans ever...)

2. No one is going to need me
I am not an alpha male. Really. In the Greek alphabetic scale of things, I am about Theta, maybe even Feta, possibly Cheddar.
It's fine. We can't all be alphas, because if we're all alpha, then no one's alpha.
<Does villian eyes>
In a house of twelve men, how often do you think the Theta is called upon?
Alpha: 'Quick! QUICK! We need someone that can write Tales about family life, at a reasonable rate, with mixed emotional investment, sometimes funny, but can also be thoughtful?'
<Runs into the room ready for his moment>
<All crack up laughing, except me>
MeanAlpha: 'Why the low-fat-mayonnaise would we need that?'
<Takes a beer and leaves>

Oh I suppose there could be a random, board game related, need for me.
Instruction manuals do tend to be passed my way.
Or mid-mime-singing-dance-game (they exist), the need for a well practiced Frozen routine by someone who has successfully removed enough pride self-concerns that they would do it for everyone right there and then without thinking it through.
Then yes maybe. I would be needed.

It'll be lovely to be a free agent for a bit. And not be needed.

How? I hear you ask.
How did I, in the name of Thanos's other glove, wangle a weekend away?
No idea. Time off for good behaviour. I think this has come from a need. A need for male friends, some Dads, to meet up and see each other.
Sure, I see some people with the family regularly and that's lovely in it's own screamy way.
But it's not sat around the fire, seeing who can spit the furthest (we don't really do that)...

Lad1: <Spits>
Lad2: 'Dude! That's disgusting, we put a deposit down on this place!'
Lad3: <Spits>
Lad2: 'What did I JUST SAY???'
Lad4,5,6,7,8,9,10: <Spits>
Lad2: 'Fine! Whatevs' <Spits.... but dribbles a bit>
Lad3: 'Dude... that is gross!'
Lad4,5,6,7,8,9,10: <Nod> 'Gross' <Tuts>

Two separate groups of my male friends have come to the same conclusion.
Both groups have realised that now we are all married. There's not going to be any more weddings or stag dos. Which is bad. Because we all love PARTYING! WOOOO! seeing each other.
It's bad because, the men, us lot, always managed to make time to attend them. They sort of made us see each other, and have great fun.
Both events come with ample warning time, a clear plan, and all your mates are going anyway. Yay!
But now they've gone, it's been left to the men to organise events ourselves.
<Is concerned>

It may surprise you, but I think Dads need friends too.
If only for someone to dead arm talk with. It think it's pretty common that Dad's my age with a young family stop going out, stop meeting up with friends. Because they are busy. Busy working or spending time with their families. Busy.
I constantly feel like I don't have enough time with my children and Mrs. Amazing. Instead I spend most of my day making money betting on Dung Beetle races.
On a day by day basis, I cannot, cannot, prioritise my friends over my family. My family has to come first.
So unless it's planned ahead... time with male mates doesn't happen.

So... how did I wangle this trip away? Wangle-wangle! Oy! Oy! Wangle-wangle! Oy! Oy!
It wasn't my idea. But it's a bloody good one.
Nine months ago a date was thrown into a calendar. Splat.
A few months later one of us, a lovely, very excellent, rum drinking fellow took responsibility, and picked a place, created a cost and sent round the heavies for the money.
A few of us managed to email back saying 'Yeah mate' and ‘Geezar’. It was all guns blazing from the men.
That's it. That’s how it was wangled. By slow, and with plenty of warning, planning.
(I was going to order some t-shirts that read '12 guys! One House! Fun times!', but thought better of it).

Obv. I am going to miss my family terribly whilst I am away.
Woooohoooo. I'll be having fun and loving it, don't get me wrong.
Wooohooo! <Does dance>
But I'll miss hugging all those little people at home.

No one hugs like BabyBoy1.
He totally sinks into my shoulder and then rubs my back with his teeny little hands. Boy8 used to do it too. They’re copying what I do, that's how I comfort them to sleep.
It's adorable.

I'll miss Miss5's... Miss5-ness.
There isn't a single word that describes her, I'll just miss the entire tiny mad package.
No one else cares as much about rainbows as her. No one. She owns them all.
I doubt rainbows will come up as a topic whilst I am away, but if it does, I will be King rainbow, thanks to her training.


I'll miss Boy8 too.
Not as much as the others. And not because I love him any less. It's not that. Really.
It's because he's a bit bigger and more busy, and I spend the least time with him at the moment. Not by choice. He's busy. I'm busy. It is what it is at the moment. Busy.
I doubt he'll miss me as much as the others anyway.
Maybe it's a boy thing. Maybe it’s not.

And Mrs. Amazing… Well miss doesn't quite cover it.
Think lost phone, but ten lost phones and one of them makes you tea in the morning.
Ooooo yeah. That much.

I think, and hope, I’ll be missed.
I'd be quite gutted if I wasn't missed to be honest, if they got through three days without really noticing I was gone. Then I'd know I was working too hard and wasn't engaging in my family enough.
And… That would suck (badly) for me.
That would be one of the worst things that could happen to me as a Dad.
Not being missed.

Still I'm sure they will miss me.
<Crosses everything> <Falls over>
But just in case, they need reminding. I have a plan.
I'm taking all the tele remotes and phone chargers with me.
They’ll be begging me to come back...

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