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!).
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22 December 2016

Elf Pom-Poms...

Yay it’s Christmas.
Seriously. I wuve it. (I also may have been talking to BabyBoy2 too much lately, ‘Wook Daddy! Wook!’, bless ‘im).

This maybe our second year of the kindness elf.
(Not Elf on a shelf). Then again it may not be two years. As Christmas approaches we, Team Parent (yay!), get more knackered than normal. We stay up later laying kicking lyrics wrapping. Over sampling Brie and Jack Daniels the local produce. And basically doing lots more things than normal, whilst trying to organise a billion presents for everyone…

So Miss5 is getting this for Boy9?
<Holds up diamond encrusted football (not true)>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘And Boy9 is getting this for BabyBoy2’
<Holds up a real fire engine (not true)>
Cool. And what’s BabyBoy2 getting Miss5?
Mrs. Amazing: ‘We’ve done that one haven’t we?’
No… I think. Hang on… No it’s this…
<Holds up huge bag of pom-poms (not true)>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Oh yes.. Wait isn’t that red bag stuff?’
Is it? … <Looks at all the wrapping that involve>
No. No that’s her ‘main’ from BabyBoy2.
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Sure?’
Yes <Is firm> Without doubt. One hundred percent… <Is fibbing>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘OK...’ <Is suspicious>
<Holds up cup>
Who is this for, and who is giving it?
Mrs. Amazing: ‘That is for me. From you!’
Huh?
Mrs. Amazing: ‘That’s my tea…’
<Both giggle>

And because of all that.
My memory gets a bit crapper. So please forgive me if I am wrong. I kind of think I am. But Mrs. Amazing, who I would normal ask, has already headed off to Bedfordshire, and is very un-askable right now.
All clear? Good.

(Mrs. Amazing: ‘Right.. I better get going… It takes three hours to get to Bedfordshire’
You sure you can’t just go upstairs? And use our bed?
Mrs. Amazing: <Shakes head>)


Our second year of the kindness Elf (maybe).
And it’s been going mostly well. The kids wake each morning and head down stairs and find our Elf. Mistletoe. Well except BabyBoy2 as he’s still in a cage cot. Which most of the time he cannot escape from. Except when given a bit of help from an elder sibling by tilting the rocking chair in and a death defying stretch we hate them doing. But mostly he’s where we left him in the morning.
And I say it's gone well about the Elf. But we’ve had a few scrapes. As it were…

[Monday, 6:30 am]
Miss5: ‘Morning!’
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Morning’
<Silence, but essentially well wishes are projected out>
Miss5: ‘I WONDER what Mistletoe has done this morning!’ <Skips off>
Mrs. Amazing: <Urgently> ‘... Did you do the Elf last night?’
<Silence, but essentially some supportive and constructive ideas are occurring>
<And a small head shake> no
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Reindeer crap!’ <Dashes off to weave some hasty magic>
<More silence and is glad the problem has sorted itself out>

Yeah... not my finest hour.
Most days. But I was knackered. Mrs. Amazing though was brilliant. She thought of a way out of this.
Damn she’s good.
I got woken up, again, ten minutes later.
This time by Mrs. Amazing (and yes I got up this time).
I took the very sweet and lovely cup of tea I was presented with (ow my hands, can it not go on the side? No? Oh… Ow).
And listened to Mrs. Amazing’s master stroke…

Mrs. Amazing: ‘I have put a chocolate coin next to your side of the bed’
Excellent <Blows pain giving hands>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘It is not for eating’
Oh… <Puts coin back>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘There’s one my side of the bed, one in Miss5’s room, Boy9’s room and BabyBoy2’s room. I am putting Mistletoe here...’
<Puts Elf next to my chocolate coin>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘When the kids come up, pretend you know nothing’
<Looks blank>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘This is what Mistletoe did last night! And she hid in our room!’
<Looks blank>... I won’t let you down

Genius huh!
Kids found Mistletoe eventually. Found chocolate. All very brilliant. Mrs. Amazing you quick thinking genius.
Elf magic still alive. Boom POW!

Of course the person doing the best at keeping the magic alive.
Is Boy9. He’s nine. He’s not silly.
Well he is. He’s very silly actually. He’s nine.
But he has definitely started questioning the world enough to start questioning the Elf and her hiding. Each night.
In fact he outright asked Mrs. Amazing on it. She deflected well. And Boy9’s curiosity seems to be sated. For now. As sometimes when asking a question you realise you don’t actually want to know the answer. And Boy9’s in that middle ground where he really wants to believe in magic and the awesome things that happen without reason. Yet he’s growing up and learning stuff as well.
Which in many ways conflict.

Got me money saved up… <Pats wallet> Gonna go get me a Speeder Bike
Boy9: ‘What? A Lego one?’
Nope! <Fans out monopoly loads of money> A real one! Like in Return of the Jedi!
Boy9: <Sighs> ‘Dad! For the final time they don’t exist, they are not real! It’s from a movie!’
My mate Ed-Who-Sucks-At-Tiddly-Winks-Golf has got one...
Boy9: ‘No he hasn’t’
Well... <Shifty eyes> He said he had had a go one… once… <Trails off>
Boy9: ‘No he didn’t. NOT REAL’ <Shakes head>
…  <Wells up a little>
Yeah! Well!!! I didn’t ask to be your Dad! <Storms off>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Yeah he did… he was quite sweet about it...’

I think if it was just Boy9 on his own.
A lot of the magic would have been revealed. As it were. The pretence would have dropped a bit.
But Boy9 is a lovely big brother. And he gets so involved and caught up in making it magic for Miss5, who in turn then draws BabyBoy2 in too. That it helps him carry on believing. Well that’s what I think is going on anyway.
He may just be doing it for the chocolate.
Either’s fine with me.

BabyBoy2 is just starting to notice the Elf.
He is loving it. Sorry wuving it. So cute.
He doesn’t really understand what the Elf is doing I think. But he’s definitely loving the mad crap he's finding each morning in the house. And there’s often chocolate involved. Which he also wuves.
No idea where he gets that from…
<Thinks about putting down chocolate bar, and saving it for later…>
<Doesn’t>

(If any chocolatiers out there are looking to sponsor a Dad blogger…
Pie makers? Cake sellers? Star Wars toy makers? Landlords?)

Miss5 however loves the Elf.
She’s is the perfect age for this particular brand of madness magic. For Christmas in general. It is going to be brilliant with her this year.
I would truly love to know what is going on her mind about the Elf at the moment.
Can you imagine or remember a time in your life where Christmas Elves were utterly, utterly, real. Because no one. None of your mates. No peers. No one. Has even doubted their existence yet to you? I can’t.
I am not saying I don’t believe. I do. Until I see proof either way, I'm playing it safe. Obv.
But my belief is at least tempered with a healthy bit of ‘but it might be bollocks tosh’. That’s what being an adult is as far as I can tell.
Hedging your bets.

Anyhoo…

Mistletoe (our Elf).
Has some classic moves. Which may only be two years classic. Which isn’t very classic. But as I said at the earlier, I can’t really remember. And they feel classic to me.
There’s the toilet paper over the tree and furniture. Which is awesome fun.
There’s pants in the tree (that’s undergarments for those of you left of the pond, not trousers).
Toilet covered in wrapping paper.
And my personal favourite ‘Hide the bau...
<Memory finally clicks into places>
Yes!!! Lots more than two years we’ve done this.  
‘Hide the baubles’ A classic! Mistletoe hides lots of small baubles around the house and it takes the kids most of the day to find them.
<Has second thoughts about it being more than two years>

Oh holly sticks.
Lets just say there’s been two to five year range where Mistletoe has visited and be done with it and I’ll ask Mrs. Amazing in the morning.
OK? <Isn’t asking>

(Do pom-poms have to enter every single facet of our lives?
Miss5: ‘Yep’ <Does Super-Girl pose>
Mrs. Amazing: <Nods>)


Only thing is.
This year Mistletoe hid pom-poms. Not baubles. Not the normal shiny red baubles.
Nope. This year Mistletoe hid very cute, fluffy, look like baubles, but are really pom-poms on a string.
And because every now and then Team Parent (yay!) kind of forget what Miss5 is like with pom-poms.
This happened...

[Monday, 6:30 am]
Miss5: ‘Morning!’
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Mor...’
Miss5: ‘Mummythere’sapom-pomhangingonyourbed!!!’
Mrs. Amazing: ‘ning’
Miss5: ‘I bet there’s more’ <Races off>
[Ten beautiful sleep filled minutes later]
Miss5: <Is creeping around our room looking for more pom-poms and putting them in the bag she has got from her room (Her pom-pom collecting bag)>

We have a quick word with Miss5.
And point out that when Boy9 wakes (he is actually sleeping in a bit now! Halle-smegging-lujah!). He is going to be a bit chanked off that someone has already been round collecting all the pom-poms up.
Without him…

Miss5: <Looks down at her bag of freshly collected pom-poms>
Miss5: <Grins sweetly> Opps! I’ll put them back <Still grinning sweetly>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Go and check your room for pom-poms and let the rest of the house wake up
<Turns on light and sits up>
<Agrees wholeheartedly with all that has transpired, but does it through the magic of silence and minimal eyes open-age>
<Wishes the light was off>

Team Parent (yay!) slowly awoke and got the day going.
We had just got out of bed and were running to the kettle when Miss5 came back in…

Mrs. Amazing: ‘What’s wrong? Did you find any?’
Miss5: ‘Yes… seven’ <A bit confused and disappointed>
Miss5: ‘Seven?’ <Gives me a ‘You said you put one in each of their rooms look’>
<Gives back a ‘I did, I only put one in each of their rooms’ look>
<Gives me a ‘Are you sure?’>
<Gives back a ‘Yes, yes for sure. One each!’ look>
<All look a bit confused>

It takes Team Parent (yay!) a few moments to work out what has happened here.
The big clue is that it’s Miss5 we’re talking to here.
You ask most people how many pom-poms are in their room. Most people answer none. (Not all people I grant you).
Miss5 didn’t find the one pom-pom Mistletoe put in her room until much later on that day.

The seven she did find however.
Are always there. They are hers. They are part of her room.
No wonder she looked so confused at us.

Merry Christmas!
X

P.S. This is our second year of being visited by that chocolate stealing Elf Mistletoe. Mrs. Amazing confirmed. I need more sleep.


15 December 2016

School Christmas Fair / Fayre / Fare / Cake Shop / Offie...

Team Parents love a Christmas fair.
A few quid on a tombola.
Visit the cake stand.
Watch something interesting happen. Maybe involving our kids.
Visit the cake stand.
Get a burger or a hotdog.
Gamble legally in a school for booze.
And if there's time, visit the cake stand before we leave...

Hello!
StallRunnerCakeGuardian: 'Hello! You again?'
No. This isn't me! This is a hologram... You think this is the real Quaid?
Yep.
CakeGuardian: 'What can I get you?'
Cake. That please <Points>
CakeGuardian: 'One chocolate fairy cake?'
No... Not 'that' one cake <Is indignant>
CakeGuardian: <Looks confused> 'Then what were you pointing at?'
The table. The entire table. I want all the cakes on that table! <Points>
CakeGuardian: 'Oh... Classy '
What?
CakeGuardian: 'Nothing... That'll be... ooo... rr.... one pound ninety please!'
<Hands over wonga>
CakeGuardian: 'And your change...'
No, no. Keep the ten-pence <Walks off with entire table of cakes>
Mank-Moo! <Sprays crumbs everywhere>
CakeGuardian: 'You're welcome... fatty'

(I'll be back for more later...)

Ok to start with.
It's fair. Not fare - that's what you pay an assassin taxi.
And fayre is just wrong. <Tuts> Ask Wiki about it here.
You would think schools would know better? <Tuts again>
(Actually I quite like fayre, makes me think faeries will be there selling wings and dreams knuckle dusters)

Anyhoo...

We have two school fairs to attend.
Boy9's and Miss5's. They don't go to the same schools as we moved from one side of town tother. Simple. Each year, EACH AND EVERY DAMN YEAR, they are on the same day. <Swears into pillow>
But at least at slightly different times of the day. Which means.
Team Parents can, if we're quick, attend Boy9's and then leg it across town to Miss5's.
All of this with BabyBoy2 in tow. Ready to have a no-nappy accident at any second.
And Miss5 still needing to be collected from school by someone else.
Exactly when Boy9's fair starts.
I've said it a million times. We need a teleporter.

Of course by Team Parent (yay!).
I mean Mrs. Amazing. Who has to do all this as I'm at work.
Getting an hour off work to attend a fair isn't too hard to wangle.
But asking for most of the afternoon off to essentially tour all the local school fairs in the area...
Well that's a hard wangle...

Please can I leave early to attend my daughter's school fair?
Boss: 'Fate?'
No, no. Fair <Points at internet>
Boss: 'Oh right... Of course you can!'
Thanks... er... My son has a school fair too. Can I leave early for that too!
Boss: 'Well.. Sure it's Christmas!'
Thanks!
Boss: 'When is it?'
It is directly before my daughters! So I'll be gone most of the afternoon.
[The room grows colder]
Boss: 'Oh <frowny face> that's a bit different...'
... Is it? <Sense of impending doom growing>
Boss: 'You remember when you took a morning off to go do flower arranging with your daughter at her school?
Yes. And it's still just as true and as real as it was then... and is now...  <Shuts up>
Boss: 'Well like then. I'm just going to need a bit more of your soul to be able to approve it'
<Points at bucket lalel 'souls'>
More? Right... <Sighs>

Actually following a Team Parent (yay!) meeting.
We decided that actually Miss5's fair was fun and cute and worth me taking time off for.
Whereas Boy9's is MANIC and low in actual fun. As he's nine and just wants money to run off with and ditch us anyway.
Mrs. Amazing bravely agrees to take that bullet on her own. Brave lady.
But as Miss5's actually wants us there to show us stuff. Not just as cash cows.
We agree to attend Miss5's Christmas Fayre (yuk).
All four million of us.

We meet outside of Miss5's school.
In the queue to get in. Why a queue? Yes. Why make us queue?
As we wait Mrs. Amazing explains what Boy9's fair was like. She described it as a violent mosh-pit, stinking of beer, and full of bearded loonies. Without music.
I am not very sad I missed it. And have my suspicions about the amount of beards that were there.
When we get inside Mrs. Amazing sends me off with the kids for a bit. While she hunts for a wine, coffee, chocolate and magazine stand. Basically a sanity stand.
I have no objections.

Me and the children make slow progress around the school.
I'm used to getting through crowds quickly. But suddenly I've Boy9-meander, Miss5-distracted and Captain no-idea-where-he's-going. Coz he's little.
But we have good fun all the same. I just have to slow down a bit and accept the pace.
And keep a firm eye of each of the cats I am trying to herd.
We win some sweets at hook a duck. No loses at this hook a duck.
We see Miss5's classroom. We avoid some tut being sold.
We get a bit squished in hallways. We wait for to get served.
But all in a Christmasy way. Which is fun.
And we don't buy any more crap from the old-crap-stuff room as that's what I did last year.
Just before Xmas... <Looks guilty and away...>

(Yar! Yar! <Whistles> Comeby! Comeby!
Here puss puss… <Is scratched a lot>
<They steal my hat>)

Then Miss5 spots the face painting room.
Alarm bells ring in my head. WOOP! WOOP! But I can't remember why?
Why shouldn't I say yes to this? Think man! Think!....
Cake. Bacon. CHOCOLATE! Nothing.
I agree just as Mrs. Amazing joins us and in we go. Straight into a queue.
Smeg.

I remember what was wrong with face painting.
There is always a queue. A long. Slow. Boring queue. Which you cannot escape.
One of Miss5's class mates pass with an awesome butterfly on her face.
Miss5's face lights up at it.
We have no chance of escape now.
Damn it, damn it.

I offer to stay and wait with Miss5.
Like the gentleman I am. Mrs. Amazing declines my offer and opts to stay put.
Instead she sends me off into the madness again with Boy9 and BabyBoy2 for cakes.
We're gone for months and eventually come back with sweets and cakes.
To find Miss5 and Mrs. Amazing have moved three millimetres forward
Thank bacon this is a fast face painting queue.

As I look about.
All you can see is parents in pain. Dying slowly behind their eyes. Waiting.
Knowing that in less two hours all makeup, they’ve waited for ages to get put on, will have to be removed for bedtime anyway.
It’s like queuing to be poke in the eye. And they charge for it.
Me, Boy9, BabyBoy2 sit down at the desks and start on our cakes. And we pretty much have a picnic right there in the classroom whilst everyone else in the queue has to watch us.
Sorry. And sorry I didn't share.
And not sorry it was my cake. Bad luck.

Eventually, at the turn on the millennium, it is Miss5's turn.
I've not heard what she wants. But I am guessing butterfly. It's what I'd have.
She's still going to be ten minutes so Boy9, BabyBoy2 and me head off again. Toilets. Cake stand. Both call to us all. BabyBoy2 especially and we race out. We make it. Mostly.
We end up at a stall where the lovely lady running it, is a friends wife.
The stall is ‘Roll a dice and win a teddy!’.
Only there's only two teddies left. They both hella suck. No way I want those coming home with us. Another sucka parent takes the most preferable teddy. Leaving one. The worst.
The last choice teddy left for some poor fool to purchase.

My friend appears next to me. Smiling.
Like a shark. I am then essentially cornered by them both and clearly explained to: That once this teddy (the last chicken in the shop teddy) is gone. They can both go home.
He begs. I glance again at the teddy. It’s crap. No.
He pleads. Hmm.... No.
He points out it is only fifty pence. Hmm... I'd still rather have the money… No.
He invokes the ‘All-Father Cry for Help’, ‘Dude to dude treaty’ and the ‘Don’t be a twonk’ look of anger, and I have little choice...
FINE!

I hand BabyBoy2 fifty pence so he can roll the dice.
AMAZING! (not at all amazing) He wins. We win the last teddy.
My friend and his wife leave quickly shouting thanks and giggling a bit.
BabyBoy2 looks really happy with his new teddy. Which does soften the blow.
He shows me it close up. It does actually say 'Best Dad ever' on it. Which I hadn't noticed.
I have a inexplicable and rapid change of heart and warm to the teddy. No idea why.
Then me and BabyBoy2 have great fun throwing it about for a bit.

Mrs. Amazing appears in a puff of smoke and glitter.
With Miss5. Their long lonely vigil at the altar of face-painting over. Phew.
It is not a butterfly on her face. And I can't quite place it.
So I ask...

What are you?
Miss5: 'Christmas vampire!'
Oh! ... Cool! ...
<To Mrs. Amazing with my eyes 'WTAF?' >
Cool! <Thumbs up to Miss5>

Mrs. Amazing explains later.
Butterfly was on the cards. Butterfly was totally the choice.
But then a slightly older girl before Miss5 had gone for Christmas Vampire. And that was it.
I can see how it happened. But it still doesn't that much sense.
But Miss5 is really happy with her face paints.
And leaping at people.

I show Mrs. Amazing our winnings on the tombola.
Some bottles and chocs! Very little money was spent too. Mrs. Amazing says how much she won at the other fair. Even less was spent and more was won.
I tot everything up in my head. And we're way ahead. Which seems weird to me to be honest.
But whatevs, we do it for the good of the school.
<Shines halo with booze>

(I claim everything for me... because... <Just runs>
<Is tackled to the floor by Mrs. Amazing>)

Knowing what we have to take home and consume later, we all leave pretty happy.
Boy9 has sweets. I've cakes and chocs. BabyBoy2 has a new teddy.
Mrs. Amazing has lots of new medicinal drinks for Mummies.

And Miss5.
Well Miss5 walks home looking like a Christmas Vampire.
She couldn't be happier.

X


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