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 March 2017

Dinosaur Bones! YAY! (NHM)...

It was half term.
And for a change. I was prepared.
I had a half term plan. We were all going to go out.
Together. And we were damn well going to have fun...
[Dramatic end of the world music starts]

I'd even pre-planned it.
Madness. A month before hand I'd put in the day off request at work with accompanying pint of blood, bone of an ancestor and map to the hidden treasure of Bob the muppet.
Mrs. Amazing was on board with the idea too and had a day off as well.
The plan was to head to London. And visit the Natural History Museum (NHM)!
(Which is where the British keep lots of stuff Natural History related) (And it's free to get in!) (And there's dinosaurs. Real bones and stuff!!! <Squeals Battle cries>)

Team Parent (yay!) didn't agree on whether or not to take BabyBoy2.
Both were right thoughts. I wanted the little fella there. As can you imagine the sensory input his little head would get from walking around the NHM!
Yes. A lot.
And I was expecting to learn loads myself. And I'm thirty-cough-cough-my-knees-hurt.
Mrs. Amazing's counter argument was just as good.
BabyBoy2 will be a right pain and wee himself all the time, and we'll have to take a buggy, and wouldn't it be nicer to just have one child each to care for a change.
All good and pretty convincing arguments.

I persisted.
I wanted BabyBoy2 to see dinosaur bones. And the big blue whale at the NHM. But mainly the dinosaur bones.
He was going frickin’ love them! (and me).
Mrs. Amazing proved her class, for the zillionth time, and relented. We would go en masse .
Albeit with a definite implication that I would be carrying everything, more so, and all toilet related issues regarding BabyBoy2 were mine, and mine alone to enjoy.
Fine. I was going to do that anyway but hadn't told anyone.

As money wise we are in the 'Ain't-Got-None' bracket.
We needed food for the whole day. For five. That we could carry. No buying on site.
Another Team Parent (yay!) vote later. And Mrs. Amazing was off to catch up on some real-world-work. And I was emptying the fridge making sarnies.
A whole hour it took. And I don't spread that slow. I'm quick. An frickin’ hour.
Ham only for Boy9, tuna mayo for Miss6, and smaller versions of everything for BabyBoy2, who isn't fussy (except when he's really fussy and won't eat anything, but that's not flavour related).
One premium grade, the best sandwich I can make, for Mrs. Amazing. And a cornish pasty for me. Nice.
Then I added 10am snack stuff. Top-up-sugar-levels treats for random points during the day. Waters all round. Juice boxes. And afternoon fruit for the those that refuse their most favourite sandwiches. Swines.
An hour.
Actually I think I worked pretty quickly.

(May not hold enough food for five, but can easily fit in a jet pack,
flamethrower for the wrist gauntlets, and a whipcord launcher...)
(Should they be needed again)

There was too much for my rucksack.
Mrs. Amazing had to take overflow in another rucksack. She opted mainly for the chocolate snacks.
Which was disappointing wise....

Boy9: 'Dad what are you eating?'
<Has brown stuff on hands and all round mouth>
... Er… Mud... <Swallows lovely, lovely chocolate>
Boy9: 'Really?' <Is not convinced>
You dare doubt my word?
Boy9: 'Go on then... Have some more...' <Big grin>
<Crouches ready to eat more mud>

It occurred to me our three monkeys aren't shrinking. Imagine how many food we'll need in a few years. We'll be leaving with suitcases full of food and I swore I would never find myself in that situation again...
But on the other hand if I accidentally lose them all on route. I could set up a shop.
Might make a few bob...
<Ponders new plan>

We departed with the tide.
I felt hopefully for our quest. With the Dragon's eyes safely stuffed down by britches.
I was also buoyed by having the greatest code-breaker in the land, Boy9, on my crew. His prices were steep but his skills were undeniable. Miss6 was the company's expert in colours and gems. BabyBoy2 a renowned demolition expert. And Mrs. Amazing Captain of the ship (what? <Checks> Captain forever... Oh...).
Fierce and fearless, we'd follow our Captain into the maw of hell should she ask...
(She's has the car keys)

We bundled into the car.
And drove to the station as there's no way I'm carrying three knackered children home at the end of the day. I'll be knackered. They'll be knackered. I want the car for that moment.
It is only as we get out of the car and pay the blood sucking swine parking machines their soul toll. And BabyBoy2 shouts 'TRAIN' for the first time.
That it occurs to me I've never been on a normal train with BabyBoy2.

How did that happen?
How is it two plus years into his awesome and world conquering life and we've never been on a normal busy train together. I've no idea. He loves trains!
Poop-Poop! etc...

[We all bundle on train, bags, rucksacks everywhere, and manage to get seats near enough each other]
[Miss6 swaps away from me to sit with Mrs. Amazing]
<Doesn't cry about it>
[The carriage is quiet]
BabyBoy2: 'TRAIN!' <Points at train on the other platform>
BabyBoy2: <Looks at me> 'TRAIN Daddy!'
<Quietly> Yeah mate <Thumbs and eyebrows up>
BabyBoy2: 'TRAIN!' <Points>
<Quietly> Yeah! Train! Wooo...
[Train leaves]
[Quiet in carriage again]
[Another train flies past]
BabyBoy2: 'TRAIN!TRAIN!TRAIN!TRAIN!' <Is on his feet and hollering to the carriage>
<Quietly> Shhh... BabyBoy2...
... Whateve's... YEAH! TRAIN! WOOO! POOP POOP!


The rest of the journey is like that.
BabyBoy2 slowly wins over everyone on the train. His joys at what we all take for granted. Is infectious. Eventually there are smiles from strangers whenever he sees a train.
Not everyone. But most.

Then we have the joy of London Underground (trains).
Which are exhausting as parents. They smell. They’re hot. And there’s wee in places.
Not going the right way doesn't help either (me). But we quickly turned around.
BabyBoy2 is too little to be on escalators on his own. So he needs to be carried.
Miss6 needs her hand held and a bit of timing and guidance for every on and off.
And an eye needs to be kept on Boy9 in case he wanders off.
It's like a parenting skills assault course.
At one point I find myself carrying the buggy over one shoulder. The heavy food rucksack on the other two (?). And BabyBoy2 wriggling in one of my arms.
Picture that. Go on. Picture it. Can you see my smile? No? No you can't.
Fully loaded I estimate I have a range of five platforms like this until I pull something in my baby carrying arm. And then maybe two or three more, whining and moaning like I am holding up the universe, before I finally have to give up and just leave him and collapse on the floor.

As I fatigue.
I stop unpacking BabyBoy2 from the buggy and just hero him up the stairs in the buggy (yes hero, it may look awkward and weird, but trust me that's what hero looks like).
Plus it's quicker than getting him out, picking him up, folding up the buggy, going up stairs carrying it all, reassembling buggy, convincing BabyBoy2 he wants to go back in the buggy. For every set of steps. Only to find more FRIKKIN’ stairs around the corner.
No. Better to hero him up in the buggy. Awkwardly.
It's easier.
Except weight, effort, safety wise.

We finally arrive at the NHM.
Snack time whilst we queue to get in. That's a quarter of the food gone. Man the rucksack feels nicer now.
<Starts dancing>
And then we are in. There's nothing to pay for.
I resist hugging one of the stewards.

However it's not quite spring in the UK.
Which means we have big heavy coats and it's a hot warmish day.
We pile the coats on the buggy and it collapses under the weight.
OK we don't. But it would have.
Team Parent (yay!) check the costs and splurge out on the cloakroom. I ain't sweating all the way round a museum again. It'll be worth the money.
Even if it is an eyeball per item to hang a coat on a coat hanger. That are there just for that purpose. <Gives you a look>
Buggy park is free though! Bonza!
I go and flipping queue some more.
The rest camp off to the side and eat all my the sweets.

Just before I get to the front of the queue.
Mrs. Amazing gets my attention...

Put your top back on!
Mrs. Amazing: 'OY! Captain Sweat-On'

Mrs. Amazing points down at BabyBoy2.
Fast asleep in the buggy. Worn out from the train ride. And the underground ride. And being carried about. And seeing billions of new things. And from jumping on the seats most of the journey. Excitement has taken its tole on him.

We keep the buggy with us and BabyBoy2.
And it works out better than we could have planned. Whilst BabyBoy2 recovers from being carried. We get to do the mineral and earthquake sections in the NHM that involve a lot of reading and being thoughtful. Perfect for Boy9 and Miss6. They both learn loads. We all have fun. #Result #MadeYouLearnAtTheWeekend #InYourTinyFaces
Then we decide to head to the dinosaurs.
The main show.
Just as BabyBoy2, two hours later, wakes up.
As if on cue.

So we stop for lunch.
BabyBoy2 needs feeding when he wakes. Every time. And the other two are now hungry monsters. Plus Team Parent (yay!) are starving.
Knowing that the eating areas could be miles away, and without doubty down a lot of stairs. We make camp under a huge fishy-bone display thingy. Technically in a hallway.
But we're tidy and keep ourselves out of the way as much as possible. Well most of us do. BabyBoy2 is yanked back into the camp every few minutes.
Now full of food. And despite BabyBoy2 refusing to give back a plastic sandwich tub which he has now claimed as his, for the rest of the day. We head off and go and see the dinosaur bones. And other awesome stuff.
Rucksack now pretty light.
<Dances a bit, but is actually quite knackered already, stops for a breather>

(Note the sandwich box...)

BabyBoy2 loves the dinosaurs.
Obvs. Me too it’s hella awesome. BabyBoy2 is so utterly excited about everything we see. All the sensory brain explosions in BabyBoy2 I was hoping for, happen. The museum is great. There’s high up stuff, low down stuff, mid range too. There is something for us all. It's quite brilliant really.
<Sings national anthem>
<But trails off mid first verse as not entirely sure of the lyrics>

We all have great fun.
No grumps from anyone. It is awesome. And did I mention free?
And. Dinosaur bones rock. Rock hard.
Go visit.

Then it's time to leave.
More walking. Underground again. Train again.
And having the car waiting at the station is much loved and appreciated.
<Hugs car>
<Flips parking meter the bird>

Then finally home.
We must have been gone a year at least. Everyone gets a cartoon and carried to bed. They are all fast asleep in moments after a story. BabyBoy2 holding the dinosaur toy we bought him. Miss6 the same. Boy9 holding his new dinosaur game. All happy and right royally knackered.
Team Parent (yay!) limp in front of the tele and become one with the sofa. Really bond with it.
And then an early night (to sleep).

Excellent day out.
<Is bloody smug>
<Rubs sore hero arms and can barely move the next day>

23 March 2017

Twisted Tights...

It wasn't as the third pair of Miss6's tights flew past my head.
Or the skirt.
Nor was it after I growled at her 'You're going to school even if I have to drag you naked!!!'
It wasn't even after I shut her door and stomped downstairs. Fuming.
It was a few moments later when the sound of Miss6 screaming and kicking, something, in her room came floating through the ceiling.
That was when I realised that we're going to be a little late for school today.

Of course I wouldn't drag Miss6 to school naked.
Let's make clear. That's an empty threat. We're in the UK! It's brass monkeys (cold) out here. Naked is no option.
Plus my goal is just to get her to school. Not publicly humiliate her naked.
That will always be an empty threat. Which is fine.
Even empty threats have their place. They can add colour and interest to what your shouting saying. Gives it rhythm.

'You're going to school even if I have to drag you...'
Just doesn't work as well.
Add back in the 'naked'...

'You're going to school even if I have to drag you' <Does big arms> 'NAKED!!!'
And there's the drama!

(Are you sure it’s show and tell today?
… And it’s definitely planes…?)

But the dragging bit.
Oh I meant that. Not like a prisoner Obv. I'm not trying to hurt her.
Miss6 is still pretty small. I'll just pick her up and tuck her under my arm.
Which is the best way as all the pointy and kicky bits are away from me then...

OtherDad: 'Morning!'
OtherDad: 'Trouble with the daughter this morning' <Glances at wriggling Miss6 under my arm>
Miss6: <In the key of shouting> 'POO POOOOOOO'
Yeah... Not sure what the problem is... Just couldn't get her dressed this mornin’... <Shakes head le ruefully>
OtherDad: 'Enough breakfast?'
OtherDad: 'Sleep enough?'
Well enough... for her...
OtherDad: 'Did you threaten to drag her screaming?'
<Smiles> How did you know?
OtherDad: 'Haha! Well... At least she's doing her part'

Miss6 has to go to school.
Miss6 has no choice. There maybe the illusion of choice sometimes. But there isn't really a choice here. Which does it make it easier to enforce. She is going.
For many reasons:

a) It's the law in the UK (unless she's sick, and grumpy doesn't count as sick, it's annoying, but it does not count as sick)
b) I've got work. They are very not cool with Miss6 sitting with me all day. And they don't pay me if I don't go, which I still totally disagree with. How would we afford my new Nintendo Switch food if I missed work?
c) She can't be left alone. An adult must be with her, again lawy stuff. And Mrs. Amazing has already gone to work.
d) I don't trust her with the chocolate cupboard at all.

The problem was itchy tights.
Which I totally understand and sympathise with (socks for me, tights bit not so much).
I am going through an particularly long winded and challenging season of annoying-twisting-sock struggle myself...

<Is holding it together in meeting>
SomeBossTypeBloke: 'Blahy blahy blah-blah...'
<Right sock has definitely twisted>
SomeBossTypeBloke: '... blahblahy! blahy... large turnover'
<Adjusts sock>
SomeBossTypeBloke: <Sees> '... blahblahy... those are some bright socks!'
<Glances at socks> Suppose! Look they've got a funny face on them! <Points>
<Whole room looks at my socks, and the funny face>
SomeBossTypeBloke: '... blah blahy blahgoogapopoga net profit ...'
<Reflects on impression given to colleagues>
<Is sure they think I'm cool>
<Re-twists sock>

(Prone to being very smeggers twisty)

So really.
I know her pain. It's probably something she's got from me anyway. It's could even be the same pain. Maybe there's some way of seeing it as a positive. But I've no idea how.
<Un-twists barsteward sock>


BabyBoy2 is mostly dressed.
And I'm ready. So having left Miss6 to dress herself. I wisely check to see how Miss6 is getting on. As yesterday she had got distracted by very important Lego building.
That was a rush...

You're not ready! <Is starting to panic>
Miss6: 'But I made this' <Shows mad awesome Lego thingy>
Very nice... We need to leave the house in less than two minutes...
Miss6: <Still in jammies> 'OK...' <Carries on building Lego>
... I'll help you... <Rolls up sleeves>
[Three minutes fifty seconds later]
[Is awarded new dressing, cleaning, and day preparing records for a parent with a Miss6]
Now we need to run you fools...
<Legs it with buggy and Miss6 scooting>

But that was yesterday.
Today I have allowed more time. And I have found Miss6 sat on the floor. Tights half on.
Hair impressively enormous.
Sobbing a little (don't panic she sobs a lot).

Would you like some help? <Best nice Dad voice>
Miss6: <A bit sobby> '...yes'

It all started so well.
I was mega ready to be understanding and sympathetic about her twisted tights issues. I was ready to go through many pairs with her. We had time.
But what I wasn't cool with. Was the anger and the kicking.
Which grew with each attempt at putting on the tights. Her favourite pair obv. were in the laundry. And that was the pair she really, really, wanted. My patience started disappearing like chocolate in the chocolate cupboard. Alarmingly quickly.
It's very hard helping someone do something tricky and awkward. Who, just as we are about to finish, has a right ol’ paddy and takes everything off again. Screaming and kicking. Then declares they are not going to school.
As it is pooey.

Hey now! <Removes tights from head> You want my help? I am here to hel...
Miss6: <Blows raspberry at me> 'POOEY!'
But if you keep kicking me...
Miss6: <Is kicky>
Ow... ow... Stop that!

And that's where this tale started.
Me stomping off. A barrage of tights trailing behind me.
My 'I will drag you' still ringing in the air.

I left because I was losing it.
My calm. I stood outside of her room and quickly took stock of myself. I was furious.
And if I went back in I would continue to be furious and end up fighting Miss6 into her clothes. In tears (not mine). And I hate doing that.
Always feels like a fail....

Brainzilla: 'Because it is!'
Who's side are you on?
Brainzilla: 'The dark side Mine, and caffeine!'
<Whispers> Twonk...

Instead I leave Miss6.
We've got time. And I need to calm down.
BabyBoy2 is down stairs watching Paw Patrol. He moves up to let me sit and then wriggles round to sit on me anyway. My Nick fury seeps away as I sit with someone that finds Paw Patrol so exciting they have to shout at the tele.
It's nice to have someone so happy just to have you there. I calm quickly.
Then head into the kitchen to finish off getting all the bags and gubbins ready for them both.

When I come back.
Miss6 is sat there watching Paw Patrol. DRESSED. Tights on.
She apologises and we hug. I mention that if someone wants and tries to help you, it is not super cool to kick them and shout at them and throw clothes at them.
Miss6 nods. And we are friends again. All is forgiven (me, I do the forgiving).
I detangle the hair beast that has attacked her head since last night.
Whilst pondering on how to approach the final hurdle we have before we leave.

Her shoes.
A very common tight twister and Miss6 irritator. I explain to Miss6 my current twisted sock issues. And what I do to help it. And would she like to try that with me. I get a little nod of yes.
On the first attempt. The first shoe comes off again, angrily, despite my help.
But I give her my stern face.
Miss6 makes a good choice. She asks me to help her again.
I pull her tights super tight around her foot and then put the shoe on like I am defusing a bomb, so it affects none of the fabric.
Miss6 gives me the all clear. The tights are not twisted and I tighten the shoe around the tights.
'To lock it in place'. Which Miss6 totally buys.

(And that should keep them in place!
You wanna wee? … Oh… Now what was that combination...)

We leave a little late.
And have to leg it through town again. Me pushing the buggy as fast as it can cope.
BabyBoy2 cheering and whooping away at the speed. Miss6 scooting for all she's worth alongside me.

And I do all this with a smile on my face for two reasons:
1. It's really fun. Weeee!
2. Because when Miss6 had driven me utterly crazy, and I was about to explode.
I didn't walk back into the room filled with explosives with a flame thrower lit match like normal.
Instead I blew out the match...

Brainzilla: 'What was that?'
Metaphorical explosion...we’re fine...
Brainzilla: 'Nice!'
<Swaggers off>
<Stops to adjust socks>
<Forgets I was swaggering and skips instead>

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