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!).

23 November 2017

A Tale of Two... er… Events (I Feel Amazing)...

It's amazing how the world works sometimes.
How two seemingly unconnected events can come together and help each other.
Magic really.
<Does mystical hands>

Seemingly Unconnected Event #1

A week ago.
I was at a party. A late night for a bestie. He was DJing.
So I went. It started at 11pm. Which is not a time I have been out partying at for a couple of decades. As I am thirty-ARHGGHGHHNO!NO!NO!!!WHY!WHY!
Something in me decided I had to go. Stuff the consequences. So as I left that night, just as Mrs. Amazing was heading to bed, she made clear her feelings on me heading out quite so late...

Mrs. Amazing: 'You're crazy'
Crazy cool?
Mrs. Amazing: 'Hmmm...'
Crazy rock?
Mrs. Amazing: 'Err...'
Crazy like a middle aged man trying to regain his lost youth, which will probably end badly, and I'll be knackered forever from this?
Mrs. Amazing: 'Yeah more that. Crazy!'

After the DJing.
There was a band. Then another DJ. And another. 3am it finished. <Gives you a look>
And all the babyshams I had drunk were really starting to take a toll on me especially as I had been chasing them with double Jack Daniels and coke.
There was an after party. Which I attended as it was so late I had no way of getting home. And my, poorly planned, place to kip was at the party.
5am. The party was still in full swing and I'd love to say I was still rocking away. But I wasn't.
It was hella tired and wanting to sleep. But couldn't.
You see 5:30am is often when BabyBoy3 comes in for a cuddle at home. My body clock is timed for waking up at that time. And then rolling over and pretending to be dead so I can sleep for a bit more.
My body clock was not ready to be up and partying at 5am.

(Double JD please!
Barsteward: ‘Here ya go!’
No-no! I meant bottles… <Gives look>)

Plenty of cups of tea kept me going.
Blessed be the tea givers. Even if I was becoming more horizontal with every passing minute. Music was playing. And whilst it was nice and fun music. It wasn't my normal type, and most of it washed past. However one song came on that reached out and grabbed my attention from my 95% sleeping state.

I imagine the song would have just passed me by. Except for one thing. The guy that had put the track on. Loved the track. And knew every word. And he's hilarious. His brilliant mime and actions to it were so good that it had us all in stitches. So much so, we rewound (skipped back) and he did it again.

I finally gave into sleep.
Tea finished. But not before I managed to Google a lyric from the song. So I could find the song the next day.

I woke three hours later.
The party was still going on. But I needed to get home. Somehow I managed to get myself home by 11am. And then slotted seamlessly back into family life. OK it wasn't the day to ask me to rewire the oven or help anyone with homework. But I was cooking. Cleaning. Laundering (real word). Playing with the kids. Upright. A valuable member of Team Parent (yay!). Not a lazy git stretched out on the sofa moaning about a hangover. No.
So much back into the swing of it I was, that I took Boy10 and Miss6 out roller skating that evening. With me skating too. I wobbled a bit more than normal.
Bedtime was done. Mrs. Amazing headed out into the cosmos to battle intergalactic demons. I bathed. And at 9pm I collapsed into bed.
And slept for 12 hours straight.

Seemingly Unconnected Event #2

It was my turn for Boy10's bedtime.
It did not go well. I had had had a long day and was feeling pretty closed off. Low on empathy. So I laid out the law to Boy10.
- You are going to read for 15mins. Outloud.
- Before we play any cards.
- And you need to do your teeth again, as I took longer to wee, then you did to brush.

I did manage.
To get Boy10 to re-do his teeth. Although I did have to stand with him timing the fun. But it was done. But once we got to reading outloud. It all broke down.
And I became the enemy.

Which suuuuuucks!
Boy10 ran away from me and went to find Mrs. Amazing. Who was busy catching up on some work. Boy10 begged Mrs. Amazing to come do his story as he didn't like me.
Looking back I can see what was going on now. But at the time I was hurt and just switched to fine! Whatever! I'm tired! You don't want me to read, then fine! mode.
Mrs. Amazing said no. As she had a) work to do and b) she supported me. Which she did by telling Boy10 that I was doing his bedtime etc. I didn't go down well. He was very distressed about it all.
Poor lad.

(That better be ‘V’ for victory my lad… Else you’ll be in serious trouble!
<Knocks debris off shoulder>)

At the time.
I kept thinking what the smeg! Why is he doing this to me? It's totes unfair. I've done nothing wrong! And I hadn't. But my thinking was just about me thinking. Not thinking for others.
The crap awesome kind of thinking.

Mrs. Amazing worked it out next morning.
Simply by asking. And then re-asking. And asking some more. Which is not something I ever do. I ask. Get answer. We're done.
But Mrs. Amazing kept asking until Boy10 explained why he didn't want to go to school this morning. He really, REALLY, didn't want to go.
Once Mrs. Amazing got the truth out of Boy10. Everything clicked into place. The awful bedtime last night. His turning on me. Yep.
We now had an answer and reason.

Team Parent (yay!).
Amid the chaos of a school morning. Had a quick meeting about Boy10.
The result was to keep Boy10 at home for a day. Yep. Parental approved missing school.

Mrs. Amazing was conflicted about this.
As essentially she is a good girl <Blushes>. Except with regard to Wine, Shoes, waiting to open Presents.
I, on the other hand, not so much. I tend to follow and agree to the rules, as long as they tend and agree with me. <Grins>
So for me the choice was easy. Boy10 is not well enough for school. He doesn't go.
Stress is probably the best and safest description of what was wrong. And I've had days off for stress. Children can get stress. I was very happy with that as a reason.
Mrs. Amazing hadn't thought of it that way. And was a lot happier after I mentioned it.
YES. I was the sensible, thoughtful, bigger picture, one...

Boy10: 'Quick! EVERYONE! Come out side!!! The planets and all the stars are aligning!!!'
Mrs. Amazing: 'Wow! This is clearly a once in a lifetime event'
Yeah... <Is a little hurt>

We took Boy10 out of school for the day. Mrs. Amazing went to see the Head teacher (I was required at work). The head of year was there too. They did their jobs well. Team Parent (yay!) were happy with the conclusion. Reassured. And at no point did they tell us off for taking Boy10 out of school. Which was hella important.
And Team Parent (yay!) were happy as we were supporting Boy10 in the best way we know how.

The Bit Where the Two Events Mix Together (and this, hopefully, finally, makes sense)

Next day.
Boy10 had to go back to school. Both of Team Parent (yay!) had words with him. Nice ones. Encouraging ones.
My little speech was pretty good. Not great. Mrs. Amazing nailed hers.
Boy10 was ready.

It was my turn to drop Boy10 at school.
He played up a bit getting into the car. Fights over wearing a coat. In the UK. In November. Put it on!!!
But I didn't fight at all knowing he was on edge. Just gave calm reminders of expected behaviour and lots and lots of patience.
Eventually. Late. Me and Boy10 drove off.

And I didn't know what to say.
Which doesn't often happen. And because it doesn't often happen with me. It makes it worse. The silence in the car (there was music playing Obvs.) building and growing like a black hole that was sucking the joy and happiness of the world.
I felt this incredible need to reach out to Boy10 and tell it was going to be OK. That everything was fine. That we love him. That we are here for him and will always be. To connect in some way.
I can sense Boy10 wants that too. He even looks like he is dreading school today.
I panic. And playfully punch his arm. Wrong choice.

I get a look.
Damn it my words have utterly left me. We've ten minutes of this hell to endure unless I can think of something. I try and think of some good music to put on. Then I can sing something to him. But every song I want to put on, isn't right. The lyrics aren't right. Radiohead is right out. Floyd's ‘Another Brick in the wall’ is a no. Bob Marley's ‘Three Little Birds' is close. But not quite right...
Think man! THINK!!!

(OK… But I’m not really sure how that’s going to help…
<Starts playing saxophone>)

<Is busy thinking>
<Drives through park, over ponds, up a tree, over the Cricket square, mounts curb, sends pedestrians flying> I GOT IT! <Car hops back onto road>
<Passes Boy10 his phone>
Put a song called 'I Feel Amazing' on...
<Waits while Boy10 signs the hand over forms>

The two seemingly unconnected events smash together and the music I was watching someone else mime, brilliantly, at 5am, at a party. Splats into my head. Ew.

Here's the chorus:

I feel amazing,
Smile on me face from me wake up in the morning,
No time fi badmind no time fi problem,
Somebody tell babylon better unoo warn dem

It’s by Richie Campbell and it’s called ‘I Feel Amazing’.
I had already read and learnt the lyrics (it's what I do). I’m well aware the lyrics are safe for Boy10. I also know the chorus is catchy as hell. And I know it will stick in Boy10's head if I play it to him enough as we drive!
And what lyrics they are! Like a mantra. An uplifting, feel happy about the universe, set of words.

The cherries all over the top of the cake. The best bit. Is that I don't just have to put music on and sit there waiting for him to listen.
I can copy the mime I had seen as well!

Boy10 reacts first with a 'You are so embarrassing' look.
Which was expected. I expected that. However the joy of the mime I had seen had not been the actions themselves. But the utter joy and happiness that had been put into the actions. And that kind of projection of joy can take a while to infect.
So I mime on, joyousness increased (whilst driving sensibly and carefully).
Both arms up dancing away.

Eventually it gets to Boy10.
Me dancing, huge coat on, miming away, in the confined space of the car. Whilst driving. Trying my best to match Richie Campbell's accent. I iz so damn white.
A beautiful smile breaks across Boy10's face. Thank bacon. I haven't failed him.
I manage to connect. I'm a goodish Dad. Thank bacon. <Wipes tear away>
I did it!

Boy10 leaves the car singing the lyrics.
I may not have managed a great speech that would lift him. My words may have utterly failed me. But I've given Boy10 some words to run around his head today. Some good words. And hell, that's enough. I'm quite proud of myself for that.
Thank you Richie Campbell for the awesome song.

And thank you hilarious mate from the party for that.
There's not much I value above my children's happiness. Cake. Star Wars toys. ChocChoc. Bacon flavoured Star Wars cake toys. I don't think you will ever know how important those hilarious moments turned out to be to me.
And Boy10.

Unless you read this... which you might... I may even show you... so then you'll know... er... thanks… Which I’ve already said....
<Just leaves quietly>

(Over to Richie... (ignore the 20 sec intro)...
... (and the vid, not really sure what that's about really...)
... (I would have just had a lot of people jumping about looking happy)...
...(but each to their own)...
... (great song anyways)...)

16 November 2017

Rage Against the Dad (Machine)...

Boy10 had slept over at a mates house the night before.
Which probably means he had no sleep.
Me and Mrs. Amazing we're busy getting ready for a party at our place.
Miss6 and BabyBoy3 were happy enough playing together.
In their mad little way...

What is this?
Miss6: 'Our babies house'
But that's right where I am sweeping! Tidying for the party!!!
<BabyBoy3 stomps about in sweepings>
Right! No new toys out! We've getting ready for a party!!!
BabyBoy3: 'Awwwwwww'
Miss6: <Sticks out tongue>
Put everything away... No toys out...
<Both head off and make mess around the corner>

(Seemed rather apt for them both... (source))

Team Parent (yay!) spend the morning cleaning.
And getting things ready for party. Boy10 was asked to tidy his room.
As it looked like an actual Nerf war and explosion had taken place. Bullets everywhere. And to de-hide all the hidden clothes.
Miss6 and BabyBoy3 were left to play and chill out.

By lunch time.
Team Parent (yay!)'s patience with Boy10 was wafer thin.
There had been rudeness. Strops. And meanness to Miss6 and BabyBoy3. Which isn't acceptable. Big brothers should be kind.
I'm a third child. I can still feel the injustices elder siblings can dish out.
<Weeps and dramatically sweeps away>

Towards the end of lunch.
Of a not very fun. Will you please eat up the party starts soon lunch. That had taken nearly an hour.
As they were all being utter fussy pains. Mrs. Amazing excused herself from the table and went to have a little moment away from the kids. For everyone's safety.
It was combination of Boy10 being rude and obnoxious to us all. And Miss6 being the world's slowest and most annoying eater. And BabyBoy3 had joined in, as little children do, when the big ones are doing stuff.
Team Parent (yay!) still had lots to do before the party and 'The Annoying Three' were refusing to eat a plain jacket potato.
With utter class and control Mrs. Amazing excused herself to me, and headed upstairs for fifteen minutes chill out.
Leaving me to fight the demons.

Back! BACK! You hellcats!
BabyBoy3: 'Meow!'
... er... kind of… er… not really...

I told them all off.
A ‘look what you have done to your poor Mother’ speech. For shame and all that. Boy10 was unrepentant however. <Eye twitches>
Boy10 lasted another five minutes at the table. Honestly I did my best. But I was up against someone really keen to be told off. I took the answering back. The rudeness. The obnoxiousness. Actual obnoxiousness. For what felt like hours. But was five minutes.
Then I snapped.

(Show of hands… Who wants what from me today?
There’s no point putting up both hands Mrs. Amazing…
It still only counts as one…)

Up I reared from my seat like a stallion.
Snatched the the knife and fork from his hands that he was STILL drumming on the table. Despite being told not to. A billion times. And send him to his room.
Off he stropped. Me helping him go. Him sending a few rude words my way. An insult or two.

I walk back into the kitchen fuming.
The other two ate like the wind after that. BabyBoy3 ate the last of his food very quickly and looks very sorry. Then very sweetly did his best request to get down ever.
Miss6 whined once more. Until she realised how close I was to losing it with her.
Then she shushed and ate her jacket potato. Slowly.
But she ate it.

With lunch done.
I go and find Mrs. Amazing and explain that Boy10 just got worse. She is not surprised and absolves me from any blame. Which I needed. Thanks.
I offer a cuppa and she says she will down in a moment. Refreshed and ready to rejoin the battle. Which Mrs. Amazing was.
Which was lucky. As ten minutes later it's my turn. As I am about throw Boy10 throw several windows, my chank totally offed. When Mrs. Amazing suggests I take a break and she take over. Which I did. And she did. Dids allround.
A quick break had clearly made a huge difference for Mrs. Amazing. Maybe it would for me.
I use my time wisely and play stupid games on my phone meditate.

Then we had the party.
More rudeness from Boy10 during it. Boy10 called me a 'Grumpy Old Man' in front of his mates. Which is very rude and hurtful, who’s scruffy looking?. Mrs. Amazing made him retract his comment and apologise. I was holding a can of spray squirty cream at the time (don’t ask) and Boy10 was very lucky to walk away with nostrils empty.
However. All in all. It was a fun and lovely, but hard, and exhausting, party.
Team Parent (yay!) were knackered.

Then there was the rage.
And it wasn't anyone's fault. It was just bad luck. <Sighs> <Shakes fist at universe>
Guests gone. A good dent in the clear-up operation had been made. But it was 6pm and bed time. And everyone was going to bed early.
Especially Boy10.

Considering your behaviour...
... and how tired you are...
... I calculate that you need to go to bed... three days ago...
Mrs. Amazing: 'DEAL!' <Runs to bed>
No! Not you... <Trails off>
<Coughs on the dust Mrs. Amazing kicked up in her haste>

Miss6 and BabyBoy3 were sat.
In jammies waiting for a cartoon before bed. But Boy10 was still watching a movie. Which Miss6 and BabyBoy3 had no interest in. However there was only five minutes left. So considering the mood Boy10 was in. He was allowed to watch the end. Whilst the other two waited.
I get milk for BabyBoy3 and do some more eating clearing up .

When the normally amazing magic box.
The magic one that sucks the tele programs from the aerial and shows us their wonder and flickering images of joy. Records them and stuff. That fella.
Well that lovely magic box started the rage rolling.

At 6pm exactly.
A cartoon for Miss6 and BabyBoy3 started recording. The one they wanted to watch ironically. The magic box was already recording the film Boy10 was watching. But on a +1 hour channel. As we had missed the start of it. Thought he'ld like that.
The magic box did what it was told. However it can only record two things if you are actually watching one of them. The magic box automatically changed channel to Miss6 and BabyBoy3's cartoon. Stopping Boy10 from watching the final minutes of his film.
I ran in as I heard him getting very cross about it mouth full of cake.

Boy10: 'Who did that? WHO DID THAT?'

It takes me a few moments to realise what happened.
It takes a while as Boy10 is in my face sure that I have stopped him watching his film.
Miss6 and BabyBoy3 are ignoring Boy10 as their cartoon is on. They're happy.
Luckily there is a message on screen that explains what the magic box has done. So I can at least explain and point to Boy10 why he cannot change channel.
He isn't listening though. He's just getting madder and madder.
I think I explained to him, calmly mind, and with differing words, ten times in a row what had happened. But he wasn't listening.
He was just getting madder.

Finally he got it.
And instantly wants Miss6 and BabyBoy3's cartoon recording stopped immediately.
I'm in two minds as I want them to watch their cartoon. So they can go to bed.
Boy10 would only be missing a few minutes of a film he has already seen. And it's recording anyway!
But Boy10's is adamantium and his voice just gets louder and crosser.
Eventually Mrs. Amazing hears and suggests he come upstairs and watch it on the small, but very much working, tele upstairs.
I leap on this as a perfect solution and tell Boy10. Over and over. Go watch your program upstairs. It's on. Go. Go. I am still talking calmly (I KNOW! Amazing huh!).
Boy10 however is not listening.

(Tada! I got a new badge at work!
Boy10: ‘Cool! What did you get it for?’
Pardon?... <Points at badge>)

Boy10 seems to have blown a fuse.
And in rage he starts unplugging everything connected to the tele. I am not really sure what to do. I know reaching out for him would be a huge mistake. He wants a fight. Any physical contact will go badly right now.
So I sit on the sofa with Miss6 and BabyBoy3 smiling and being happy with them. So they don't freak out or sense the stress in the room. And they don't.

Boy10 finally leaves.
Everything unplugged. Tele nearly knocked over. He had to abandon his plan to remove the scart cable. As it's an old tele and pretty heavy. I'd help obv. if he asked... But he's not really going to ask for my help right now.
Before he goes he stops to throw a big cushion at my head. Not fun-ly (real word) either.
Right at my head. With malice. I manage to ninja it aside and it wallops into the glass light shade.
Which wobbles…. OOOOOO! … and does NOT break!

I smile to Miss6 and BabyBoy3 to show them nothing is wrong.
But inside I am a twisted wreck of anger and stress. Outside. Happy Daddy.
I start reconnecting the cables. Boy10 appears again. And hits me with a pillow. As hard as he can.
It's a pillow so I am fine. But he is not playing. Despite his poor choice of weapons.
A few more hits. And I realise I am more in danger of being knocked into the tele by a pillow and falling over. Then actually being hurt by something so soft.
So I move into more space and put my arms by my side. My decision is just to let him hit me with the pillow as much as he likes.
Let him burn his anger out.

No idea if that's a good tactic or not.
Someone did that to me once when I was young. I felt really helpless and embarrassed afterwards. So I am not sure it was the best choice.
But it's what I choose in that moment.

Boy10 goes at me for a bit.
But quickly realises pillows are not doing what he wants. Which is to hurt me.
So he moves in to start shoving me. Softly. He's only ten.
But that changes the tone of what is going on for me. This is now aggressive behaviour that I can't tolerate. It needs to end instantly.
I buffet his hands away and start towards him. Calmly mind.
Telling Boy10 to go his room. He is done here.
Go. Go.

A get another pillow thrown at me down the stairs.
But finally he is gone. I move back to Miss6 and BabyBoy3.
Put on a lovely, the world is all fine, la-la-la-laaaa, Sarah and Duck on tele.
They appear unfazed by everything.

(Sarah: ‘Ooo that weekend was rather heavy Duck’
Sarah: ‘I’m still seeing talking rainbows...’
Duck: ‘QUACK’

Upstairs Mrs. Amazing has taken over with Boy10. And he is releasing all his frustrations.
By shouting. Very loudly at the Mrs. Amazing. His room. His toys. The universe basically.
I imagine there was fist shaking too.
<Shakes fist>

Eventually there is quiet.
A deep bath is run for Boy10. CD player put next to bath for Boy10 to listen to, and focus on. Boy10 in bath. Mrs. Amazing calls down for Miss6 and BabyBoy3. I respond we are on our way.
Bedtime is a go.

Me and Miss6 have a lovely giggling story time.
Afterwards I pass Boy10 on the stairs. He gives me the dirtiest of looks. Like I was Piers Morgan. Utter contempt and hatred.
I smile back nicely. But he is clearly furious with me.
I head down stairs and continue tidying up. Feeling very exhausted and emotionally drained from keeping my cool with Boy10.
But the kitchen is a mess and there's lots of chocolates to eat.

After his bath.
Boy10 comes down to watch something. Eyes pretty red.
I sit next to him and say something nice and a bit funny (I believe).
Lighthearted anyway.

Boy10: <Looks furious> 'Shut up!'

Yes rude. Yes not acceptable. But this is not the right time.
I try once more to talk to him. He makes it very clear everything is my fault and he is furious with me. Fine. I leave.
Back to cleaning for me and hoovering up leftover snacks.

I go find Mrs. Amazing.
And ask her to please have a word with Boy10. Team Parent (yay!) quickly discuss stuff.
Military camp?
Mrs. Amazing: 'Yes. Siberia'
We agree there is nothing to be gained in telling Boy10 off tonight.
But Mrs. Amazing asks there's anything I need from Boy10. An apology?
I am pretty sick of him right now. So I say so. Mrs. Amazing understands.
I add that I don't think it's good Boy10 goes to bed thinking everything is my fault.
Mrs. Amazing agrees and says she'll have a word.

I can hear BabyBoy3 still awake.
So go to put him back to bed. He tells me that if I don't give him his shield to go with his sword. He won't be my friend. I tell him it doesn't matter he will always be my BabyBoy3 and I love him. Now give me the sword, why have you got a sword? It’s bedtime!
BabyBoy3 stabs me in the tummy with his LEGO sword and after some encouragement goes back to bed. Without sword.
I leave. Feeling pretty unloved and stabbed. <Bottom lip out>
And head back to the kitchen mess.

Some music is needed.
And it soon weaves it magical magicy magic ness works. I lose myself in music. And I shift my 'Nobody loves me' mood. Mrs. Amazing finds me and asks if I can get Boy10 a USB cable for his walkman MP3 player. I find one and head upstairs.
Not knowing what Mrs. Amazing has said to Boy10. I didn't ask.
Mrs. Amazing may have set up this whole situation so we could make peace.
Or Boy10 could have her asked to set this up so we could make peace.

... this was all a test and I can finally take my place as an Avenger! or there's an exhausted little boy (Boy10) upstairs just wanting to listen something before he goes to bed. Chill himself out. Wonder where he might have got that habit from?...
<Puts on louder music>

There's no point discussing what has happened with him.
Mrs. Amazing has more than likely covered it all. So I just help him setup his music.
Boy10 is being nice. But is clearly very close to the edge still. His anger gone though. Burnt out. Hormones stopped messing with his head.
Boy10 is no longer glaring at me as though I'd eaten all his sweets again and deleted all his saved Minecraft worlds. (Which I would never do, some things are sacrosanct).
I sort his MP3 player out.

I wish Boy10 goodnight.
And pull him into my arms without really thinking about it. In hindsight this could have gone bad. Really bad. Boy10 could have felt trapped and got cross again.
But as I embrace him in a standing hug. He doesn't resist.
We hug each other hard with a lot of feeling.
A good squeeze if you will.

Now I am probably could be wrong.
But to me that hug felt like sorry - I love you Dad.
In one hug all is forgiven.
<Hands back all the LEGO man heads I had removed as revenge>
For both of us.

I'm in bed by 9:30pm that night.
Having bathed for at least an hour. I even took a beer up with me.
My body worn out and tight everywhere from contained stress and frustration. I don't sleep great for the same reason.
I find it really hard keeping all those emotions in and keeping my cool. And my body pays a price for it. Must get better at letting stress and frustration go.
<Makes note>
<Loses note>

(This is the metaphorical armies of hormones Team Parent (yay!)
will face in the <Shudders> teenage years… thrice...
<Orders forty giant eagles>)

Especially as Boy10 is only ten.
We've not even hit the teenage years yet. And Miss6 isn't that far behind…
And then there's BabyBoy3…
Theoretically and technically they could all be in their teens at the same time - Boy19, Miss16 and BabyBoy13!!!
<Gives you a very wide eyed look>
<Signs up to as many pubs meditation classes as possible>

Want new Tales send to your inbox? (You do).