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!).

19 January 2017

Goodbye Christmas (Until Next Time You Sexy Holiday You)...

Christmas is finally done and gone. <Weeps>
The tree is down and the sitting room suddenly seems huge again.
The fairy lights have mostly gone from the house (Team Parent (yay!) are keeping theirs).
And I, personally, have dealt with all that nasty chocolate that was hanging about the place...

Mrs. Amazing: 'Where's all the chocolate gone?' <Checks cupboard>
Mrs. Amazing: <Checks the more biscuity-chocolate cupboard>
Mrs. Amazing: 'Have you hidden it?'
Mrs. Amazing: <Checks secret chocolate stash cupboard that I always forget about>
Mrs. Amazing: 'Seriously there was loads? What's happened to it all?'
Mrs. Amazing: <Finds me sprawled out on the floor, chocolate all around my face, wrappers everywhere>
Mrs. Amazing: 'You haven't? ... All of it?' <But already knows the answer>
You're welcome...
Mrs. Amazing: <Tuts>
I feel sick...
Mrs. Amazing: 'I am not surprised... on all accounts'
(Don’t be so damn rude and show respect to your father
<Is bounced on>)

The decorations are down.
And sat in boxes waiting to be carried up stairs and into the loft. Which I am putting off as it's really cold up there.
And as jobs go, it sucks. We have a narrow loft hatch which means pushing boxes up with my face whilst holding on for dear life, one handed.
I do things that are more fun.
But a bit of me is concerned that Team Parent (yay!) may incur the dreaded decorations-still-up bad luck that is the scourge of those that celebrate Xmas the world over.
<Shudders> <Stubs toe>
But also I'm pretty sure we will be fine as 'technically' they are down. No-one ever said the decs need to be packed up and away in the loft.
In a lump at the bottom of the stairs I am sure is fine.
Except for when BabyBoy2 walks by.
As he tends to picks something up. And then demands to read it...

BabyBoy2: 'WOOK!' <Grabs Father Christmas book>
BabyBoy2: 'Ho-Ho!' <Points at Father Christmas>
<Pisses self laughing and hopes BabyBoy2 doesn't pick up a Katie Price in the library anytime soon...>
<Chuckles> Yeah mate! Ho-Ho!...
BabyBoy2: 'Me read it?' <Head tilt, irresistible cute-a-rama>
... Sure! But it's almost packed away! I'd love to...

For Xmas I took two weeks off work.
Bliss. That's what I do / have done every year [now]. It's how I choose to spend my precious work holiday.
At home for Christmas surrounded by loonatics loved ones.
Playing. Getting jumped on. Being a horse. Dancing the days away. Shooting Boy9 over and over with Nerf bullets. Ah ha ha ha.
I would happily light-contact ninja dance-fight anyone to a bit of a bruise death if they tried to stop me doing so.

I think of that time as catching up.
Catching up with Boy9, Miss5 and BabyBoy2. And Mrs. Amazing. Obv. All my -toys- stuff.
And the house I work so much to afford, but mostly only seem to visit to sleep in.
In those two weeks I get so many jobs done that have been buggin' me all year. I try and visit all my friends.
It's either my reward to myself for a hard worked year, or bribery to convince me to start another.
And time for myself.
Time for stock checking.
Smelling the roses...

<Sniffs> These stink? How old are these?
Mrs. Amazing: 'They're as old as when you last brought me flowers!'
Oh... Doesn't matter... <Leaves>

... Time for chilling out...

Oy Boy9! Shut the door! Were you born in a barn? <Shakes fist>
Please shut the door behind you! <Un-clenches fist but still shakes> <Is waving>
Boy9: <Nods but clearly doesn't mean it> <Waves back>
<Shuts door> <Mutters>
Miss5: <Opens door and runs outside to -be upset by Boy9- dance> <Doesn't shut door>
Oy Miss5! Shut the door behind you please!
Miss5: <Ignores me>
<Shuts door> <Mutters more>
BabyBoy2: 'Daddy pwease?' <Is trying, but failing to open the door>
<Opens door for BabyBoy2> <Closes it behind him>
<Watches BabyBoy2 runs off and then runs back, opens the door, and then jar it open>
Oh no! Jam everywhere!
<Gives up and goes back to bed under one million duvets to warm up>

(Cow: ‘And keep this door open… Were you born in a house?’)

I match the kid's holiday.
When they break up for Xmas. So do I.
And it was lovely. It felt ages (almost a year) since I had last been able to just sit and play day after day. We had so much fun.
And it was a delight to be there for BabyBoy2. Who frikkin' loved suddenly having his Daddy there all day to play.
Naive Fresh faced and eager to do so.

And of course BabyBoy2 this Christmas was brilliant.
Still experiencing Christmas for the first few times. Gorgeous.
As Boy9 and Miss5 sent their (probably a bit late, but flume post seems quick) letters off to Father Christmas. BabyBoy2 watched.
Wondered what the hell was going on...

BabyBoy2: <Thinks> Why is Boy9 and Miss5 putting their drawings (letters) in the fire? Why is Daddy taking photos of it? I am so doing that later with whatever paper I find! Wooohooo!

Boy9 and Miss5's requests had been guided.
So expectations were managed and very achievable. One big / key thing each.
Team Parent (yay!) had put effort into this and our reward was watching the letters burn, knowing Father Christmas wouldn't disappoint (or have to spend a fortune). BabyBoy2 obviously asked for nothing, as he's two and a blob.
What more could he need than his loving family?

BabyBoy2: 'Fireman outfit, that cake' <Points> 'And I really think I should be allowed to drive now'
What? <Wasn't listening>
BabyBoy2: 'Me cake?'
Sure <Shares cake>

On Christmas Eve BabyBoy2 watched more madness.
He watched us put down some booze for Father Christmas (that old soak). A mince pie. And a carrot for the reindeer.
I say carrot but they had all gone into a stew the night before. We had celery. We had special Christmas celery which I confirmed reindeer love, and is just as special and magical as a carrot.
And of course we only put down the one carrot (read celery). Which is weird.
There are at least twelve reindeer. Maybe thirteen. Depends on how modern you are.
Yet we leave one carrot. One between twelve/thirteen reindeer. Which are not small creatures.
Do they fight it out for the carrot. Is one of them, Dancer I presume, who's let him/her self go and found comfort in food, and is now huge and bashes the others out of the way with his/her antlers and gut. Grabbing every carrot and wolfing it down. Whilst Father Christmas is necking the brandy / white wine / beer.
Surely we should put out twelve carrots?
I digress...
BabyBoy2 watched us all set this up. Listened to the carrot / celery debate.
And then we all explained to him what was going to happen.
First Mrs. Amazing with my backup. Then Boy9 who could tell BabyBoy2 was looking confused.
Then Miss5. Because talking.
Then Team Parent (yay!) again to clear up the message that gotten confused.
I am not entirely sure he understood...

Tonight... Father Christmas and his reindeer are going to land on our house <Is using 'magic stuff is going on' voice>
BabyBoy2: '...'
They're going come down the chimney and trespass
BabyBoy2: '...' <Looks suspicious>
Leave presents for us all. Have a drink, a nibble and then bugger off go
BabyBoy2: '...'
BabyBoy2: 'That's utterly nuts'
That's Christmas. Shhh.. Just go with it. You'll get presents
BabyBoy2: 'Deal'



Mrs. Amazing: 'Let's have some cheese and crackers!'
Mrs. Amazing: <Checks fridge> 'Where's all the Stilton gone?'
<Looks at own stomach>
Mrs. Amazing: '... And the Brie? We can't be out of Cheddar as well... ?'
<Rubs sore tummy> <Hides cracker plate under sofa>
Mrs. Amazing: 'Where HAS all the cheese gone?'
I feel really sick... <Groans> <Rubs tummy>
Mrs. Amazing: 'I am not smegging surprised! You fat bagger!'
It wasn't the cheese! It was the salad I had to wash down all the cheese
<Winces at tummy pain>
Mrs. Amazing: 'What salad?'
<Points at plate of eaten bacon>
Mrs. Amazing: 'BACON does not count as a salad'
It DOES at Christmas thank you very much. Christmas. Salad. <Points at Bacon plate>
Mrs. Amazing: 'Fine!' <Rolls eyes> 'I'll just have a bacon sarnie instead then!'
<Starts waddling off as quick as possible...>
Mrs. Amazing: 'Now then. Where's the bacon...?’

(Mrs. Amazing: ‘Now, I know it’s Christmas and all… But I feel you may have gone a bit overboard on the cheese...’
You don't want to eat it with me?
Mrs. Amazing: ‘I didn’t say that! ... Get the crackers’
Mrs. Amazing: ‘I doubt it... I’ll be too full...’)


12 January 2017

My Time and How Best To Get It...

I like to be a good dad to all my loonies children.
And to me being a good Dad means giving them my time.
Sober enough. Not phone in hand. Not trying to watch the rugby. Not falling to sleep.
Looking them in the eyes and engaging in what they are saying and doing.
That's the main thing they need from me. I think.
My time and attention...

Boy9: 'Dude. You got any money?'
Yep thanks!
Boy9: 'Can I have some?'
<Narrows eyes> What for?
Boy9: 'Stuff' <Does shifty eyes>
Then no...
Boy9: <Thinks> '... A Star Wars toy...'
<Opens wallet> Get two! Run my boy... Run...
Boy9: <Is eating chocolate>
Where's my your Star Wars toy?
Boy9: <Is laughed at for being a sucker>
<Steals the chocolate>

I also want to be a good husband.
And cat owner. More good husband I'd like to point out. Some A lot more.
So that’s five demands on my time. Which if you then add in work makes six. And I suppose I need time with me too. So that's seven.
My time is basically like a crap chocolate spread sandwich.
Spread thinly.

(And that’ll do for round one of spreading… Only seven more to go…)

And it seems everyone has their own tactics to lure me in...

Boy9's tactics are simple.
Divide up my time in nice small segments. And then hog it all for himself.
He tends to suggest two-person games. Like Chess. That, from his point of view, don't actually totally exclude everyone else. As long as they are happy watching. They are not.
Or he's very sneaky and suggests things I can't refuse...

Boy9: 'Let's fill balloons with paint and shoot them in the kitchen!'
YES! DUDE! PLAN! <Double high fives>
<Checks with Miss5>
Miss5: <Shakes head>
<Turns back to Boy9> Bad Boy9! Bad! Leading me astray like that...
Boy9: 'Then can we race the sleeping bags down the stairs?'
<Runs> <Calls over shoulder...> Shotgun the fast blue one!...
[One minute later]
<Is hurt>

BabyBoy2's tactics are beautifully direct.
And those of a third child. Clear and a little forceful.
BabyBoy2 walks up to me. Grabs my hand in his tiny warm hand.
And then starts to drag me wherever he wants me.
He has already learnt to ignore any words I might saying. And to just keeping on pulling.
It's hella cute...

BabyBoy2: 'Comeon Daddy' <Grabs hand>
Mate. Not now. I'm busy...
BabyBoy2: 'Comeon Daddy' <Pulls hander>
I'm busy!
BabyBoy2: 'Comeon Daddy, comeon, comeon Daddy' <Tugs hand>
SHEESH! Just one wee in peace...

The Cat.
Well he's a git. And very successful at getting my attention.
a) He sits on what I am looking at…
Get OFF my model of Sauron's tower... Oh look now! <Is furious>
You've knocked all the glitter off it!

b) He carefully trips me...
<Is doing JK-esque dancing> <Feeling cool>
Cat: <Thinks ‘To get my way, I shall trip him’>
<Is tripped by ninja master Cat><Says hi to floor>
<Cool levels dip rapidly>

c) Outright attacks me...
OW!!! You bit me! I am SO not opening the door for you now!
<Is bitten again>
Alright! Alright! <Gets up and opens the door>
Cat: <Thinks ‘Actually… I’ve changed my mind> <Goes to sleep in my spot>
<Swears a lot>

d) Or failing all of that he sits on my lap and purrs a lot.
Which is nice despicably manipulative.

And finally there's Miss5's and Mrs. Amazing’s tactics.
They both use the same tactics. (Mrs. Amazing Obv. has some extra special moves too. But you ain’t hearing about those here).
They both use a combination of word-trickery and mind controlling magic…

Wait-a-second... <Looks> There's no pie here? <Lifts random objects>
Miss5: 'Can you play Shopkins with me?' <Big eyes>
<Is trapped and cannot say no, as that's saying I can't physically play Shopkins which I'll never admit to, and am reluctant to say yes to>
... er... Yes. Of course I can... <Accepts it> <Sits>
What's this? <Hold up blob of plastic that looks like an ice-cream with a face>
Miss5: 'It's a Ice Cream Kate!'
Miss5: 'You can't eat it'
<Spits it out>

(Hi Kate! Come on it… Sit down… <Gets a spoon>)


Back to the family and my time.
To aid anyone wanting to gain my attention for a bit. I do have a few (four) suggestions, pointers, tips if you will. That may help maximise your time with me. Feel free to hand them out to your mates. Pass 'em about...

1. Put a cuppa in my hand (of tea)
Mrs. Amazing knows this one already. If I've already got tea in my hand. I am going stay put for longer. It's simple.
Otherwise you've only got a few minutes until I get up and head towards the kettle.
And then who knows what is going to distract me on the way to the kettle via the chocolate cupboard. And back via the tele...
Tangled Die Hard is on!!!

2. Music
I have discovered that doing things at work. Where life is pretty brain focused and challenging...

WorkMate: 'Your turn'
OK... So I've got to make the elastic band ricochet of my desk
WorkMate: <Nods>
... through the plant...
WorkMate: <Nods patiently>
... bounce off your head...
WorkMate: <Nods>
... and then fall into the bin
WorkMate: 'I don't know why you’re asking me... It's your game'
And all of that is assuming I've nothing better to do than to lower myself to this frivolous waste of time?
WorkMate: 'Have you?'
<Gives a look> ... Quiet please! Man making history here...

... is in stark contrast with home.
It's a lot less goal-orientation, task driven, brain tax-i-thing-ing with the children. (All the children, they are equal in this).
I've found that sitting doing two piece jigsaws, playing Shopkins or listening to detailed explanations of Pokemon evolutions, for hours on end.
Can sometimes, sometimes that is, it can get a teensy bit boring...

Miss5: 'He's dozed off again!'
Boy9: 'I'll get my Nerf guns...'
Miss5: 'I'll get my hair bobbles...'
BabyBoy2: <Leaps at me>

For example.
At present BabyBoy2 loves doing jigsaws. He's will spend ages doing them. Hella cute.
And having me watching really heightens his enjoyment.
So whenever BabyBoy2 asks. I go sit, ready to play whatever games he wants and it's a marvellous bonding moment for us both.
He loves it. I love it. He's awesome and I love being with him.

In those moments. It's almost as though my brain is crying. At me.
My eyes water. I yawn a lot. Basically all the signs say I should sleep. It's like my body is argueing with me. But my brain is saying this is important and wonderful. Play the games! Enjoy them. Smile. Look happy!
But my body is snuggling down for a nap.

Music to rescue.
By having some rocking music in the forebackground to sing, dance and speak in verse listen to. My lazy body is tricked. And feels stimulated enough.
And reluctantly keeps all systems running like normal. The awakey ones.
It's basically the same principle I apply at work.
But with harder jigsaws.

3. Be offering me food (Yes we are still in the list)
Chocolate. Fudge. Most sweets. Cake is normally a winner. Bacon. I'll hang about for food almost always. It's genetic. Just before any meal time I am most prone, and can easily be trapped got by offering food.

("I have suspicions about the situation we currently find ourselves in…")

And the final tip.
Which is easily the most effective. And sure fire to get my attention and time.
Yet for most people it is the hardest to achieve.

4. Be, but not of, Mrs. Amazing.


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