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!).

30 September 2016

Skater Girl...

I got to take Miss5 skating a while back. 1703
It was her first ever time. I'm not sure she had even seen roller skates before.

She had been invited to a roller skate party.
They exist. And Mrs. Amazing asked me if wanted to take her along...
YES! OMFB! YES YES YES! OOH OHHH!!! <Puts up both hands>
Yeah, alright... <Smacks lips>
... If it helps you out... I could maybe think of doing it...
For you mind… £10 <Holds out hand>
Mrs. Amazing: <Pays in invisible money> There you go
Damn it! Cool...

I was quite surprised to be honest.
I had assumed Mrs. Amazing would want to take Miss5 skating herself. Seems like a lovely mother daughter activity to me. Something physical they can both enjoy.
It wasn't until later that night, back mostly broken, feet sore, exhausted and still sweating. I realised that maybe I was played like a one-string banjo Mrs. Amazing had thought it through better than I had.
Bonding and communicating in a physical way is very important for Dad's to do with sons and daughters. Maybe even more so for daughters. Maybe not. Probably more.
Either way, it was quids in for me.

It cost more than two quid.
The skate hire was £2.25 (and yes I did ask why it was 25p and not a nice, non annoying change amount, like 20p or 30p. And yes they thought I was mad).
Still. £2.25 is less than a pint. And considering the fun and giggles we had, that made it an absolute winner. The skate party was at the local leisure center (which is where I go to do anything but leisuriate but whatevs.) where me and Miss5 normally go swimming.
In a huge room that's normally for badminton or other sports. So the floor was lovely and flat.

As we queued to go in I wondered if would be allowed to skate as well.
Not that I'm any good mind. I was once on a Street Hockey team years ago, but everyone that turned up for practice got on the team (they were nice). And sometimes I do head out with blades (cool skates) on with the kids.
Wearing my cool, street, totally down with the kids, trick, grinding skates.
And then I fall over a lot.
I may have the equipment and experience, but the skill is still very much lacking.
I can stop. But only in one direction (don't ask).
However, hand me an enormouse (better spelling) hockey stick and I can totter about a street hockey pitch well enough to get by.
And fall over a lot.

(Busy today... I hope they’ve lots of skates in stock…)

I opted not to get myself skates to start with.
For a few reasons.
1. I didn't want to be told I wasn't allowed to skate when I had already put on skates and be laughed at.
2. I didn't want to be allowed to skate and then realise I was the only adult skating, and be laughed at.
3. I didn't want to be allowed to skate and then realise all the other adults in the room were ex-olympic skaters perfectly and brilliantly gliding about the room like swans, and then be laughed at.
4. Putting on skates takes smegging ages and it always takes me ages to get them right. (Yeah I know, a courageous little trooper I. So brave...).

Plus I thought if the opportunity arose I could always run out and get myself a pair of £2.25 (I've no smegging change left! What do you mean you won't take cards for that much?) skates.

As we stood there queueing.
I suddenly worried that Miss5 may have inherited my amazing skills at skating.
Poor love. That's a lot of floor she is going to be seeing.
Of course she may have inherited Mrs. Amazing's skating skills instead. Which could be great news!!! Except...
Except that in Team Parent (yay!), relatively speaking, I am considered the greatest skating person of all time. Ever. In all realities. Relatively speaking that is.
I consider leaving immediately...

We stay.
And eventually troop in. There are only a few adults left in the room. All the other parents are doing a drop and run. I have so much to learn. Which I now realise as I'm not skating would have been a great idea. As now I have a few hours of boredom to slowly die in. No one to talk to. No book. No phone.
I bet Mrs. Amazing would have a book. Damn it!
But as lots of small children start skating I realise me skating was a bad idea...

I am so sorry about your daughter. I lost control and…
<Shows pancake shaped daughter>
DadOfPancake: <Is speechless>
... Is there anyway Maple syrup could this help situation at all?
DadOfPancake: <Turns red>
Thought not... <Runs>

(Ready! ... Lets go narle those grindings home friend...)

We trade in Miss5's skating chip for actual skates.
So much easier to skate with. They are huge. Well they’re the right size for Miss5 obv. But the scaling of the boots mean they look quite comical on Miss5. Kind of like clown-skates.
Still Miss5 is very excited to put them on. It’s really sweet.
She’s one of the smallest in the room but without doubt the most excited.
Hella cute.

I sit her on a bench and put her skates on for her.
The straps are like my skates, so it goes very well. I even help another child with theirs whose parents have scarpered.
With Miss5 still on the floor looking at her huge skates I start think that maybe this won't be so bad after all. I’m sure the time will fly by. I’ll find some way to entertain myself I am sure.
I could count all the face splats laps she does .

However Miss5 cannot stand at all.
The funny thing is that trying to stand on wheels. When you're not that awesome at regular standing, say like a wobbly five year old, is really really hard.
I help Miss5 up.
I have each of her hands in one of mine. And basically I am holding her up.
My back moans a little. But the father in me, the Dad that wants his daughters love and respect.
Well he tells my back to shut the hell up.

Brainzilla: Stop that! That hurts. That's awkward!
No way! Daughter needs me! <Shakes fist>
Brainzilla: Fine! But I will make you pay.
Fine you suck.

As I guide Miss5 out of the safety of the bench area.
Almost totally holding her up. It occurs to me this party lasts three hours. I will be broken by then. Holding Miss5 up is frikkin’ awkward already.
It's really hot in here too. And the water I brought for us both is unlikely to be enough for three hours.
However that's not a huge cause for concern. As I left the bottle in the car. And cannot go get.
As I’m holding Miss5, on wheels, up.
We are going to die.

Luckily the party has drinks!
I’ll have fifteen shots of Jack Daniels please. In this plastic cup <Points>
DrinksGiver: ‘Another? That's your fifth second ’
Yes <Is firm> lots of ice...

Well lucky for the litte ones.
Not the parent helpers. Of which I am one of five. I am sure had I asked... But you know. Don't like to cause any fuss I prefer to dehydrate. I'll be fine.
I can always steal Miss5's water later on when no one’s looking.
All the parent helpers are the doing the same awkward slow walk about. Child hanging from their arms like a puppet.
Constantly falling over.

For the next hour or so.
Me and Miss5 go round the hall. Slowly. With me in pain.
I have sweat on my brow from trying to hold her up. Whilst trying to let her have enough freedom to learn to skate. But at the same time being ready to stop her from falling at any moment.
So soft and tense and hard muscles all at once.
EASY! And exhausting.

Miss5 though is amazing.
Her boots are huge. They are so heavy for her tiny feet. Everyone can see the effort it is taking her just to move them about. But she keeps trying.
There isn’t one moment where she gives up, or says it’s too hard. She just keeps going.
The smile on her face cannot be shifted. She is here to skate.
She’s sweaty from effort. I’m sweaty from effort.
And despite my best daughter guarding skills Miss5 has crashed on her bum a million times already. And not once has she cried or said it hurt. Not once. I couldn't do that. I'd be moaning. She is amazing.
Miss5 pulls on me again to get her back up. And off she skates about an inch.
OMFB is this girl determined.

I then have a brainwave!
And show her how to use the brakes on the front of her skates. So Miss5 can finally manage to stand without me hauling her up by the arms.
Miss5: ‘I did it! I stood!’
<Straightens up> ARRRGGGHHHH <Crack!>

I still have to lift her up a bit.
It's just not a dead weight any more.

(It’s blurry because Miss5 wouldn’t / couldn't stay still…)

The party is stopped for the first water break.
Which is badly needed. I feel hot and sweaty. Miss5 is crimson with heat.
We sit where we are and I head off to get water.
Everyone else skates back to the benches. Leaving Miss5 on her own out in the middle of the huge hall. Opps.
I dash back. And we slowly stagger / skate back to the benches.
I go for water again.

I get back and she’s gone.
Obv. not far. The lure of skating has managed to get her off the bench and left her in a pile a few feet away. Miss5 is a bit like a upturned turtle with her boots on.
Huge smile on her face.

I am really impressed with her.
She’s putting so much effort and energy in and loving it. She's one tough scrawny cookie alright.
Still. There’s an hour to go and I don’t think either of us is going to last that long. Without hurting ourselves (me mainly). I am unsure of what to do. And a bit too tired to think straight.
I want Miss5 to keep going. But fear I cannot.
Then out of the blue... An angel flies in to help us...

(No… not that smegger kind of Angel…)

A lovely nine year old angel called Frank MissA.
A friend of Boy9’s, and coincidentally my BestDrinkingInThePubPlayingBilliards(coz he sucks at it ha ha)Buddy’s daughter. Small world huh?
I am not sure if MissA saw we were struggling. I honestly believe she came over to say hi, and ended up helping us for the rest of the party. Without even being asked.
MissA saved that party for us. She was brilliant. And Miss5’s eyes went wide as plates as MissA, a nine year old and very much a kick-arse role model for Miss5, asked if she could skate with us.
I definately could have hugged her.
Miss5 did hug her.

It was so, SO, SOOOO, much easier with two us.
MissA took one of Miss5’s hands and I had the other. And off we set. My back cheering already.
Miss5 started to get it a bit more because she was better balanced with someone either side.
Not just me lopsided on one side trying not to get run over and moaning about back pain being silently very manly. And with MissA there to copy as well. Miss5 could soon stand and push off on her own.
By the end of the party Miss5 did one whole lap of the hall without falling over once.
Which may not sound much. But before MissA swooped in to help. We had only managed four laps of the hall together.
In an hour and a half.

I made a point to tell me BestDrinkingInThePubPlayingBilliards(coz he sucks at it ha ha)Buddy just how much help his daughter had been.
Thank you MissA. We couldn’t have gone on without you. You are lovely.
I'll buy you booze when you get to college.

As we hobble walk out of the leisure centre.
We had already said our goodbyes and thanks to MissA.
Miss5 is holding my hand, happy, still excited and nattering away as we leave.
I feel very close as Dad and daughter right in that moment. And it made me very happy.
Not bad for £2.25. All the pain my body may moan about for the next month, the dehydration through sweat and exhaustion, can smeg off, to be addressed in bed later.
Hella good times.

As we hit the car park Miss5 turns to me asks?
Miss5: 'Why are you hitting tarmac?'
Miss: ‘Daddy can I get some skates?’
Why are you trying to kill me?
… Yeah. Sure! Do you want to go skating again then?
Miss5: ‘Yeah!’

And then she adds in, just in case it wasn’t clear.

Miss5: ‘With you. Skating with you.’
Sure. I'd love to watch next time. I'll bring my blades and huge hockey stick!


21 September 2016

Another One Bites the Dust...

Or today we mourn the sad passing of Boy9's hamster.
Patch. For twas his name. Our second short-living hamster this year.
<Gives you a look and a sigh...>

On a money-for-value Patch did a lot better than the last hamster. Patch’s predecessor lasted a poultry eighteen days. Patch managed a grand six or seven months. A lot better.
And that’s good from one point of view.
And not so good for Boy9 who had more time to get attached to the little fella.

I had been away for the weekend.
And had returned to find out the washing machine had decided to empty itself on the floor.
Which poor Mrs. Amazing had had had to clean up with all three children bugging her about.
And, once I had given all three kids some Dad playing time, a quiet request from Mrs. Amazing to """"""check"""""" on Patch.
Mrs. Amazing could not remember when he had last moved.

(So... How bad is the tiddly (utility) room?
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Pretty bad…’
Arghhh <Is swept off>

Obv. a check like this needs to be done carefully and as secretly as possible. Any of children could notice and then ask questions. And then it’s being shouted around the house and any potential bad news is delivered badly.
Boy9 was upstairs so I nipped over to Patch's cage and performed the necessary check.
He was curled up asleep and quiet.
Too quiet...

I needed to be sure.
So I shoved the cage a few times. Classily obv.
No response from Patch and he's a light sleeper. BabyBoy2 wakes him pretty much every night with his ‘Nite ‘Atch’.
Last hamster-death there was denial from Boy9 about how dead the hamster actually was (think ‘Monty Python - Dead Parrot Sketch’). It was wishful thinking from Boy9. Sadly.
So I want to be totally sure.
I tried to undo the cage to get in. But it's awkward and I could hear Boy9 moving about upstairs. If he saw me ‘checking’, he'll have questions. He might even want to feed him.
That would be bad.
Short of time and needing a definate answer I give the cage a good hard medical shake.
Nothing from Patch.
Oh dear. Damn you Salazar <Shakes fist at the sky>

It's nearly bedtime.
Boy9 has been getting his jammies on. Which has taken ages, and involved making Miss5 cry (crocodile tears), some lightsaber practice and hanging about about with just a top on. Strange boy.
There is never a good time to tell someone their hamster is an ex-hamster. But I feel in the moment is the best way to go.
I check with Mrs. Amazing and she's cool with it happening now. We could wait until tomorrow, but I cannot see how that would help really.
Best relay news organically as it happens. No one wants to be the last to know.
I walk slowly upstairs to find Boy9 and tell him the bad news.
I expect tears.

I sit on his bed.
And let him natter away at me for a bit. He finally puts his jammy bottoms on and he's no longer half naked. It feels like the right time.
Dude... I just checked on Patch...
He stops bouncing around as he already knows where this is going. He’s learning quick.
His eyes go wide and he holds his breath.
What else would I be saying, sat on his bed, in my best bad-news delivering pose?...
Patch has started tap lessons... I KNOW!!!
Patch has managed to get a gun and is holding Mrs. Amazing to ransom. He wants sawdust, sunflower seeds and two thousand drachma...
You know how the Cat likes to eat small rodents?...
I was wearing DM's and showing Miss5 my ninja leaps, when Patch appeared beneath my feet... and <Does squishing noise>

I tell Boy9 Patch has died.
Probably in his sleep. We don't know why.
I can actually see Boy9 wrestling with his emotions. His smile starts to drop and his arms fall a bit at his side. The bravado and fun in my little boy drain away in about ten seconds.
Then he's got tears in his eyes and doesn't know what to do with himself.
I scoop him into my arms and sit with him on my lap, as he's to heavy to hold up anymore.
We hug it out for a good while and Boy9 has a bit of boo.
Fair enough.

I'm not quite sure what I said.
I said a lot though. I didn't go ‘Circle of Life’ this time, but it was still on that side of things. Things live, things die, that’s the short version of life. That kind of thing.
We all feel sad when they go. It's fine to feel sad.
I think I went with 'he didn’t last long because he burnt so brightly' as I could tell Boy9 didn't understand why he died quite so suddenly.
The burning brightly stuff at least made a bit of sense. As Patch was a very energetic hamster. And loved nothing more than running in his wheel whilst everyone wanted to sleep or watch tele. So much so that a piece of gaffing tape was left next to his wheel to shut it up for noise control.
Poor noisy, fluffy, little dude.

He was quite a weird hamster.
There was the crazy running for hours. Which he did so much he had to moved out of Boy9’s bedroom and downstairs. So Boy9 could fail to sleep.
He liked to stuff his metre long tunnel with sawdust every now and then. Really jam it up. Mainly when the Cat scared the crap out of him. And then he’ld empty the tunnel again later that day. Strange fella.
He escaped once and we found the Cat 'playing' with him. So a lucky hamster too.
He peed in his tunnel a lot. Which was annoying as the tunnel was full of air holes.
He bit me and Boy9 hard enough to draw blood.
And Boy9 (and me) had handled him enough that he would sit on our hands for a bit.
Good times.

Boy9 asks to see the late hamster.
We go look. Had Patch been on his back legs in the air. We would have skipped this. No need to give Boy9 nightmares. But as it was, Patch was curled up looking asleep.
I felt it would help Boy9 process his feelings. And as I already said, last time we did this Boy9 refused to believe the hamster was dead and I had to do more prodding.
Thankfully that wasn't needed this time.

Then we all sat to watch some cartoons.
Tears still in Boy9's eyes. I tell Miss5 the news too. She wants to see too. I'm not quite sure how she is going to take this. It’s not her hamster. But you never know…
We visit the deceased and I ask her how she feels.
She says sad. And then in the next breath she is showing me a new dance move / pose / attack.
I figure she's fine.

We don't tell Boy2.
As he won't really care. And it’s definitely not a good idea before putting a little one down for sleep.
This <Points> Is dead… <Does throat cutting action>

(The rainbow unicorn is called Ubercorn, and he’s a disco
loving DJ that gives you geographic facts. Really. I swear todger...)

Boy9 has a few more tears whilst we all watch Go Jetters as a family (love that cartoon).
Then bedtime is pretty normal.
Miss5: 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!' <Starts kicking the wall>
Go brush your teeth!
Boy9: 'I have' <Shifty eyes>
I've sat here with you watching cartoons, you bloody haven't!
Boy9: 'Fine!' <Goes>
Boy9: <Returns three seconds later> 'Done them!'
You bloody haven't!
BabyBoy2: <From his cot, not sleeping> 'Ooh Eeh Ooh Ah Aah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing etc...'

Much later.
As Team Parents (yay!) peel themselves off the sofa and stagger to bed. I have the very awesome idea of sorting out Patch’s funeral casket before the morning.
I don’t work very well in the morning. And picking a coffin appropriate cardboard box before the second cuppa has kicked in. Was well... traumatic last time.
I carefully pick one. A lightbulb box. Remove all the sellotape to aid with decomposing. Line it with toilet paper. Pop in Patch and some saw dust. Cover Patch with more loo roll.
And then because I don’t trust the Cat an inch. I put the cardboard box high out of reach in a cupboard.
Then I warn Mrs. Amazing what’s in the cupboard and in the box.
However funny it would definitely be. I don’t want Mrs. Amazing looking for light bulbs in the middle of the night and finding this box. Unless I can film it.
Team Parent (yay!) agree on a funeral the next morning and collapse into bed.

(I was quite proud of my efforts...)

Next morning.
I do the lunch boxes, tidy up a bit and then quietly head out with a spade to dig.
Between two plants I figure so it can 'disappear' over time. Don't want a permanant marker of where each hamster is in the garden. Might get a bit morbid.
I can't remember exactly where the last one end up. But I'm sure it's not where I am digging.
So that’s fine.
BabyBoy2 was very excited to see 'Diggin'' is going on. And very much wanted to join in.
He was not allowed.

Job done.
I head upstairs and help dress any child I see.
My hands are sore from digging and Mrs. Amazing gives me a bit sympathy and then asks where the hole is.
Long story short.
I head back down stairs and dig another hole AWAY from the area some plants are soon to be planted. I may have muttered a bit whilst I did.
Hands hurting and all...

Once everyone is ready for school.
The five of us line up outside and put Patch into his final destination. I say a few things about lights burning brightly and how much fun we had with him.
I mention last week when we had Patch out and he seemed to be standing on his legs for Boy9. I try to leave a good happy memory in his mind.
Boy9 declines saying a few words. As his eyes have started leaking again. He's hugged and we all troop in.
Miss5 is fine and soon running off to play.
BabyBoy2 asks ''Atch Gone?' for the tenth time and is then distracted to another topic.
Boy9 sobs a bit more, but seems to bounce back pretty quickly.
Hopefully his emotions mostly processed over Patch.

I realise I've probably just cemented my role as pastor and undertaker in the family now. By being able to do it reasonably well. And by being the one that does it.
I'll add them to my job titles list.
Just below ‘King Drunken fool’, ‘Captain Bins’, ‘Mr. Plumber’ and ‘He of the guffiest Guffs’
I’m quite proud of that one to be honest…

I’ll leave you with Queen’s very excellent song ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ (One of Boy9’s favourites).

Right? Ready Freddy? A-one, a-two and AWESOME-ROCK…


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