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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28 March 2018

Paintin' with BabyBoy3...

I was sat with BabyBoy3.
Just us two. Mrs. Amazing and Miss7 had gone out to a party (Miss7's friend had a party, not the two of them clubbing and tearing up the town, I believe… <Is suspicious>)
Boy10 was slumped in front of YouTube, headphones on, developing his tweenager skills.
Which meant me and BabyBoy3 had some time together.
Which he was delighted with...

Let's do some painting!
BabyBoy3: 'YAYYYYY' <Jumps up and down with excitement>
I'll get the paints, can you get two glasses of water?
BabyBoy3: 'K' <Runs off>
[Comes back with paints]
Here's the paints... Where are you BabyBoy3?
[No sounds]
Little dude-do-do? Where are you?
[More no sounds]
Hmmm... <Checks the loo>
<Finds BabyBoy3 filling up cups from a sink that has a step in front of it>
<Also sees water everywhere>
Ahhh... <Whispers> You want a job done...

(Can I have a nice picture of you?
Smiling and showing how much fun we are having?
BabyBoy3: <Covers eyes and refuses to remove them>
<Grumbles>)

After a tidy we were ready for painting.
I had two goals:

1. To improve his hand eye coordination and to improve his ability to draw.

The reason for this is that BabyBoy3 starts school in September. EKKKK!!!
ARHGHGHGHGHGHGGHG!!!!
<Runs about in circles panicking>
<Weeps>
<Howls>
<Baaaas>
<Pull self together>
<Worries about the baaaaing, blames Melchett>

To be honest. I'm not entirely sure I am ready for my baby to be all going to school and stuff.
<Weeps>
OK I’m not. In anyway or shape or form.
<Mans it out, has only eye leakage going on now>

Unlike the other two.
At this age. BabyBoy3 isn't very good at his letters yet. He's not a drawing fan.
Whereas Boy10 loved drawing and had some letters down. I'm pretty sure he could scrawl something that Team Parent (yay!) could identify as his name by now.
The reason Boy10 had those skill is that he had both of Team Parent (yay!) and all the extended family watching his every move. Helping him along.
It was practice after practice for Boy10.
Miss7 on the other hand has always been drawing and writing for fun. And so learnt it all quickly and early. She loves a good drawing session.
Whereas BabyBoy3 has not had that attention. The curse of the third child (like me).
Or he careth not.
It could be either.

(<Has another plan for improving hand eye coordination!!!>
This my terrors loves is Sonic the Hedgehog...
<Does choir ahhing sound>)

2. I want / need BabyBoy3 to draw something vaguely recognisable for a card. Anything will do.

BabyBoy3's painting is generally very surreal so far. In that rather than anything being recognisable, it's more a wash of colour. One colour. He's very enthusiastic about getting the paint on the paper.
Not so much about how and where it goes on the paper.

Anyhoo, my goals described...

I thought I'd start with painting basics.
I was feeling confident and thought that if I sat with BabyBoy3 painting, I could teach him some basics that would really propel him along.
So I drew with my paint brush a square and asked him to draw one just like mine.
His response I wasn’t expecting.

BabyBoy3 lent over to my paper.
Awkwardly, over me. And vaguely drew around my square.
We exchanged looks. Me wondering what on earth he was doing. Him wonder what on earth I was asking him to do.

Next I drew a triangle.
But this time I drew it on his sheet of paper. And again asked him to draw a triangle, but this time on his sheet of paper.
Again not expected results.
Again BabyBoy3 lent over me and tried to draw on my sheet.
I pointed at his paper again. No, here mate.
He looked confused. Then scribbled out my triangle on his sheet with a wash of one colour.
Gave me a fake 'Is that what you wanted' smile.

Undeterred I showed him that by drawing a square and triangle.
A few times you could easily make a house! EX-SMEGGING-CITING!
He carethed not.

Next I went for the prize.
A letter. His letter. The first letter of his name which he knows, recognises, and now every single word starting with that letter (which I ain't telling) is his name.
No matter what word it is.
Or how inappropriate that word is...

BabyBoy3: 'That's my name'
Shhhh no it isn't... That's another word…
<To all nearby> Just FYI I didn’t name my child what that sign says. OK!
<All run>

I drew a letter.
It was wrong. BabyBoy3 said so. Art isn't really my thing. Especially drawing letters that look the letter they are trying to represent.
BabyBoy3 looked at my letter and said no. That was not his letter. My font was wrong.
Harsh I felt.
I tried again.
BabyBoy3 lent over and scribbled out my letter, with a one colour wash. Red this time.
In a sort of ‘How dare I draw his letter so badly’ way.
I gave up on goal one.

(Hmmm…. It’s good....
But I think it’s more important I get you guitar immediately…
How’s your Manc accent by the way?)

Goal two.
Get him to draw something that is card worthy.
Attempt one and two, were no goes. One colour washes.
Attempt three worked though, but that was only because we stuck dinosaurs all over it. And I stopped him washing it in paint four times. And I limited his access to the black paint once I realised he was going for black bear in a coal shed covering its nose motif.
Goal two complete.

We'll come back to Goal 1 another day.
Or we'll just send in Miss7 with paints. Leave them for the afternoon. Accept the mess. And after cleaning paint of everything imaginable…

Why’s there paint on your bum?
How did it get up your nose? Is that rainbow up there?
Miss7: <Looks proud>
Impressive… If not a little weird...

… reap the rewards of BabyBoy3's new found letter skills.
<Holds out reaping rewards bag>
<Is disappointed>

I'll suggest my brilliant plan to Mrs. Amazing later…

<Suggests>
Mrs. Amazing: '... and you'll do the cleaning up?'
What! I never... Sigh... Yes... I suppose...
Mrs. Amazing: 'Then I'm up for it!'
Cool!
Mrs. Amazing: <Whispers> 'It'll never work'
What?
Mrs. Amazing: 'Do you like my shirt?' <Pulls shirt tight over chest>
<Is distracted>
X

16 March 2018

Their Current Bribery Levels...

There are times when Team Parent (yay!) have no other option but to resort to bribery.
Sad, but true. But it's needed.
We sometimes need a carrot or two to get the terrors children to do stuff.
Bribery is a useful tool (at times).

Bribery is the act of giving money, goods or other forms of recompense to a recipient in exchange for an alteration of their behaviour (to the benefit/interest of the giver) that the recipient would otherwise not alter.

Ergo 25% of parenting.
The rest is clean up after them, loving the little bugs to bits, and all the fun stuff.
I suppose teaching must be in there somewhere... Meh!

(What to have for tea tonight? I know!
<Cooks the pie special*> (*pie, with pie on the side))

Obviously we keep bribery to a minidadmum.
We don't want to send the message that they'll ALWAYS get something if they behave. They'll work that out and use it.
They may act like tiny fools unable to do the simple tasks without constant instruction and supervision. But really they are all evil geniuses playing their wicked mind games with us (for reals).
And worse they'll start extorting us...

Boy10: 'WHAT? One cartoon for good behaviour?'
Yes and you'll be grateful
Boy10: 'I want seven cartoons, a pack of monster munch, two new toys, midnight bedtime and I get to drive home'
... Fine...  <Is lying> ...
When we get home I'll make sure you get everything you deserve... <Grins>
Boy10: 'Keys please!' <Holds out hand>
Sure... <Passes keys>
Boy10: <Starts engine>
[The car does not move]
Boy10: 'Can the pedals move up' <Can't quite reach>
No.
Boy10: '...'
Boy10: 'You drive'
It's probably for the best... laws and such...

Boy10 is a master at negotiation.
It's true. His school have mentioned it before. All the grandparents, nicely, mention it.
And Team Parent (yay!) know it through and through. We have even got to the point now, where once a deal is made, we insist on no further discussion.
He's a bit like someone selling phones. A master at twisting what is being discussed and said, until you suddenly realise you've signed up for a four thousand terabyte a month contract, free calls abroad, a pink case (which I have) and forty billions texts a day. When all you wanted was to leave that crappy provider.
He's coming with us next time we need to buy a car.

Boy10's currently accepted bribes:
Foods: Sandwiches , any sweets at all
Get to watch a grown up film with swears in it and death and stuff.
Favourite cartoon / film put on
Being bundled to the ground, playfully, and given playfull dead arms and general squishing (I've no idea why this works)
Time on computer games or YouTube
Play a board game with Team Parent (yay!)
Actual money. Cold hard cash. (Which we never give him! HA! I just know it would work).
Keeping both his legs
Not being flattened by me

Miss7 is more like me.
Bribe-wise. She listens to the deal. Thinks about it. Weighs it up. Makes her decision and not much is going to sway her mind. Bells and whistles won't work, unless it's bells and whistles she actual wants (which happens more than you would think).
She won't give up on trying to get the perks mind. But essentially she is utterly un-compromising and a swine to bargain with. #SoProud.
Obvs. this behaviour can be really annoying sometimes (from her, not me, in me it's awesome).
For instance...

Miss7 Mummy is very tired, how about instead, I read your story tonight?
Miss7: 'No'
OK... We could read a really fun story together, your choice? I'll do the best voices ever?
Miss7: 'Hmmm... OK'
Oh cool... I'll go tell Mummy not to come up...
Miss7: 'Want Mummy, you can read to me tomorrow night'
Right... But you just said... <Sighs>... Mummy is really tired, and whilst I know she would love to read to you tonight. How about we give her just a little break so she can sit down in peace and quiet for a few minutes. Have her tea. And you let me read you your story tonight?
<Is going for broke now>
Huh? What do you say, would you like to do something for Mummy that would make her happy?
Miss7: '... OK'
I'll go tel...
Miss7: 'Want Mummy!'
But you just sai...
Miss7: 'Want Mummy! You can read to me tomorrow'
<Has a frowny face>

Miss7's currently accepted bribes:
Foods: Choc-choc, pancakes, milkshake from McAwfull the Milkshake shop and watermelon
Favourite cartoon put on
Races: normal speed, but if I am winning I'll suddenly be hit by many slow motion bubbles.
Being carried about by her ankles (?!)
Music played: Anything from her mix of music. Current favourite ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ by Bonnie Tyler.
Air money (sucker).

(One small, low fat, milkshake for the little lady please…
<Passes small milkshake to Miss7>
And I’ll have the Middle-Aged-Man Special please…
no, no extras please, watching my weight)

BabyBoy3 is open to bribery.
Very much so. It does feel a bit unfair sometimes. But we never really ask him to do much. He is only three, the expectation is pretty low. Mainly we want him to be happy and playing.
If he does welch on a deal it's not that bad news. We would just like him to; not punch us, not get up when it's still dark; put food in mouth, not floor; wash hands; change clothes as and when required without having a massive paddy about it, and fighting me every single sock of the way; not tearing off his socks to annoy me.
All the classics...

I've chocolate here! Who wants it for helping doing all the dishwasher?
BabyBoy3: 'Memememememememe!' <Is jumping up and down>
Go on then
BabyBoy3: 'Choc-choc' <Stands ground>
OK... But then you have to empty the dishwasher. You promise?
BabyBoy3: <Nods>
BabyBoy3: <Snatches choc-choc>
BabyBoy3: <Shoves it all in his mouth>
BabyBoy3: <Runs>
<Is a sucker>
<Empties dishwasher>

BabyBoy3's currently accepted bribes:
Foods: Choc-choc, crisps, biscuits, pancakes
Favourite cartoon put on
Races: (but he has to win) and can be either normal or slow motion
Being carried about like a rocket
Music played: The Cars 3 end credit track - ‘Ride’ by ZZ Ward (featuring Gary Clark Jr.).
Being chased, tickled and general played with whilst he is giggling.

And does all this actually work?
Well yes, mostly. Boy10 currently is first dressed every school day, had breaky, done teeth, totes ready. Because he wants on the computer to play Fortnite. Which isn't ideal, but he's ready!!!
BabyBoy3 can always be chased about the house to get him dressed. He knows the rules. Each catch is a piece of clothing.
Miss7 loves to have her music played loud and can encouraged that way (love her).
And I'll do most things for pie, beer, some time to chill, and a hug.
The odd bribe can go a long way.

And what of Team Parent (yay!)?
a) I ain’t saying and b) Team Parent (yay!) are far too grown up, mature, adulty, and at one with the universe to be to be swayed by such trivial things such as bribery.
Ommm.

[Early morning]
Mrs. Amazing: 'No don't get up, just lie in all you want'
Cool... Zzz
[Later]
Mrs. Amazing: 'I'm taking these little ones out'
<Is happy>
Mrs. Amazing: 'Boy10 will be busy on the computer, so you've got the afternoon to yourself'
<Is very happy>
<Is suddenly very suspicious about how this day has gone so far>
Mrs. Amazing: <Is being breezy> '... You could, maybe, you now, put up those black out blinds... if you want whilst we're gone... and it's quiet?'
Ah... Sure
<Cranks the music right up>
Mrs. Amazing: <Shouts> 'I'm still here! I haven't gone yet! There was only a second pause between me saying I was going to go, and you turning the music right up!'
<Turns music down again>
Oh! … right...
Mrs. Amazing: 'Oh good about the blinds, that could make such a difference to their sleeping. Thank you' <Gives me a kiss>
<Blushes>
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