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!).

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>
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.

[Early morning]
Mrs. Amazing: 'No don't get up, just lie in all you want'
Cool... Zzz
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>

2 March 2018

Done With Nappies...

I've been scared to write this post.
I didn't want to jinx it.
But now I think it is time.
Four months ago, the last of the nappies left our house.
BabyBoy3 switched to toilets...

[Weird handle noises]
What the smeg is that noise? <Sits up in bed>
What is the time <Bashes Stormtrooper clock on the head> ... It's...
I can't read it... my eyes aren't working yet...
Mrs. Amazing: <Leans over me> 'It says five am'
<Groans> Ow... Who's going to check...
<Mrs. Amazing has magically rolled over and is snoring away in a very deep sleep, surprisingly suddenly>
... I'll go check shall I…
Mrs. Amazing: <Snoring sounds>
<Finds BabyBoy3 trying to flush the loo>
BabyBoy3: 'Hallo Daddy!'
Dude! Well done. Did you wash your hands?
BabyBoy3: <Runs>
<Just goes back to bed>

(He’s getting better with the toilet paper!
Mrs. Amazing: ‘In what way?’
… er… er... he’s not is he…
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Nope’)

It’s a bit weird to be honest.
Over the last ten and a half years. Team Parent (yay!) have been buying and attaching nappies to at least one of our children. Sometimes many times a day. Over and over. Day out, day in. For ten damn years.
We both got pretty darn good at it. It became like making a cup of tea. Something you can do on autopilot. In the dark. In a car. Singing.
Even whilst on the phone to Mum (not sorry Mum).

Each Team Parent (yay!) member had their own nappy approach.
Both had our own ways of keeping the child still. Mrs. Amazing spoke of exciting and engaging things, keeping the child's attention on her through the magic of audible words.
I tried that.
Didn’t work so well. Singing worked for me better (for reals) or failing that I went very cerebral and pulled a torch out of my pocket, and shined it up my nose. It's well cool try it.

I still remember my first nappy.
It was a magical moment when the honour and responsibility of being a father really hit home.
There I was. Young. Had hair. Thought I knew what tired was.
Boy0 very tiny in front of me. Black tar like poo all over his butt.
Me asking if poo like black tar was normal (it is).

To help me clean the young lad.
I had some truly awesome cleaning materials to help me in my task:
  1. A tiny tub of warm water.
  2. Extra soft cotton wool.
As you cannot use anything rougher than a fairy's butt on a newborn's skin.
Mrs. Amazing lay next to us. Awake but shattered, having given birth the night before.
I had had no training on nappies ever. Let alone newborns. I am one of four boys. We didn’t play dolls. We played bundles.
I literally had no frame of reference of what to do.
I knew the end result though. Clean Boy0 bum. Nappy vaguely attached.
I at least had a goal to aim for.

(That tiny… Now which one was this again?
Smelly? Screamy? Or Nutter?)

And just in case that wasn’t hard enough.
In case I hadn’t put myself on the spot enough.
My Mum, her Mum, and Mrs. Amazing were all watching me work.
Brain surgeons, bomb disposal-ers (??) have no idea what pressure is.


Ten years is 3650 days.
I think a fair average would be two nappies a day. Obviously newborn babies can get through ten+ a day, whereas BabyBoy3 in his last dregs of nappies, was once a morning. So two a day seems fair.
Making 7300 nappies Team Parent (yay!) have attached to bottoms.
That's a lot of clean bottoms.

And then suddenly it stopped.
BabyBoy3 stopped needing nappies. And I feel like I've a great skill, nappy changing, that has suddenly become utterly redundant in my life. No one down the pub cares about my nappy skills. No one. Gutted.
Surely there must something similar I could use these skills for. There's a lot muscle memory there that is going to go to waste.
Maybe wrapping potatoes in newspaper... But no. That's crap.
It just seems a shame.

By the end BabyBoy3 was giving us clear signs.
His morning nappy would be empty, aside from a bit of wee.
He wasn’t having any accidents.
He would sometimes remove his happy on his own, wee in the potty, and then bring us the nappy.
Subtle, well hidden, signs that only well experienced parents could pick up on.

It hasn't all been plain sailing.
It fact there have been times when the poo hit the fan. As it were.
I learnt my lesson early about diving in for a change too early. And then having to spend the next thirty minutes holding someone's legs in the air... Whilst they finished.
And whilst Mrs. Amazing died of laughing.
The joy of changing a nappy. Cleaning up, putting everything in the bin. And then watching as the child suddenly dons their poo face.
That swimming incident: ‘Me Swimmin’?
And the legendary horror of a child taking their own, very full up, nappy off, in a cot.
Luckily for me I didn't go in first. My little brother (their Uncle) was over and as a treat for him, I suggested he would get a kick out of waking up our little one after their lunch time nap...

It was be really sweet. Trust me, he'll be happy to see you!!!
Uncle: 'OK'
[Goes into room]
Uncle: 'MY EYES!!!! ARGHH!!! THE SMELL!!!’
Uncle: 'I'm melting, mellltinngggg...'

He may have overreacted a bit.
But then I went in myself and it was pretty horrible. It’s hard to know what happened in there. Or why. Or how it had got so bad. It took ages to clean up.
Poor, poor brother. Ahhhaaaahaaahaaaahaaaaaa!

But the nappies are done.
Gone. The last of them were bagged up and given to nursery. Mrs. Amazing did it. She was very nonchalant about it.

(Some people say it with flowers, we say it with poo holders…)

Glad to see the back of them I suppose.

For me if feels like my babies are all growed up (growed is how it's said in my house).
And using the toilet and stuff. It’s cool. The end of era. A real mark in the sand saying your days with babies are past you old man.
<One eye starts leaking>
I’m fine about it really. All zen and stuff. Just going with the flow.
Circle of life and all that stuff.
<Other eye starts up, faster than the other>
It’s not as though it was some the greatest moment of my life or anything.
... Excuse me... <Runs>
<Returns red faced, red eyes, running nose>
Frankly. I think babies are amazing.
I’ll miss having my own.

However, worry ye not!
Off we head onto new adventures! Toilet related adventures. Boooooo!
I’ve had to unblock the toilet at least five times this year already. yay.
Due to BabyBoy3 and his generous toilet paper approach to butt wiping.
And then there’s these golden moments, which I wouldn’t miss for the world…

BabyBoy3: ‘Daddy?’
<Wakes> yeah mate… what’s up? <Bangs clock, ARGH-O’Clock>
BabyBoy3: <Clambers on to me for a hug>
Hey? … Er… Where are your pyjama bottoms?
BabyBoy3: ‘I had a poo!’
Oh bacon I hope you wiped well…
BabyBoy3: ‘No paper…’

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