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!).

24 April 2018

He Lasted Half A Day...

With the Easter break over.
Boy10 and Miss7 were both back to school.
BabyBoy3 was heading back to nursery.
And Mrs. Amazing was back to work.
Everyone reacts to going back  post holidays in different ways...

BabyBoy3: 'Don't want to go! Stay home and play' <Cute stampy feet>
I hear you mate, and I don't blame ya... still nursery you gotta go
BabyBoy3: '’K' <Runs off>
Miss7? You ready yet?
Miss7: 'YES! Lets go! I can't wait! School-school lovely school!'
Mrs. Amazing you ready?
Mrs. Amazing: 'Adult conversations, hot drinks, toilet freedom... '
Mrs. Amazing: <Shudders with happiness> 'Bliss!'
Mrs. Amazing: 'I'm gonna go early! WORK!' <Punches the air>
Boy10? Where are you?
Boy10: 'I'm not going!'
Yes you are!
Boy10: 'No I'm not, I'm sick... My head hurts... That holiday didn't really take... please don't make me go back...' <Begs>
... <Sympathetically leans down close to him> You've got to...
Boy10: <Wipes away tear>
It's not me, it's the government and all the police people, you've got to go...
Boy10: 'I don't care if I go to jail!'
Really? There's no YouTube in prison...
[Super fast dressing from Boy10]
Boy10: 'Ready!'
Right! Let's go get this world! Run you fools!
[All run off into the sunrise]
[Credits roll, theme tune of Plantary [Go!] by My Chemical Romance plays]

(Boy10: ‘Where’d you get the hats from Dad?’
...Dressing up box…
Mrs. Amazing: ‘And the FIVE horses?’
Er… Sorry… Can’t hear you… <Rides off>)

Half a day BabyBoy3 lasted.
Poor little sausage. He had been fine in the morning.
Me and Miss7 and BabyBoy3 had headed out on scooters to nursery and dropped him off very happy.
He was a bit sad to say goodbye to Miss7 this morning. Knowing full well that she was off to school without him. And I was soon to leave for work. Leaving BabyBoy3 on his own at nursery.
Which may not sound too heavy. But after fourteen days in a row of all of us being there to play with BabyBoy3 every morning, it’s gonna be a shock to his little system. Fourteen days is still a fair chunk of his life.
OK fine. Not me being there to play all day. I still had to head off to work. I just guest starred every morning and evening .
But Miss7 and Boy10 (when not glued to the computer) were there with nothing to do but play...

Miss: 'Let's build a trap'
BabyBoy3: 'YES'
Miss7: 'We'll hang this on the door, balance this against the door as well'
BabyBoy3: <Gets teddies to blockage door with too>
Miss7: 'Shut all the doors so it's dark'
[It is now dark next to their trap]
[Flushing sound]
Miss7: 'Quick hide'
<Walks out of the toilet into the darkness, not really awake yet>
What? ARGHGGH! <Falls over, tangled in blankets, gets hit by pegs flying off blankets>
<Collapses in a heap>
Miss7 & BabyBoy3: <High five, then run>

I was home at lunch time.
To see BabyBoy3 as he only does a half day at nursery, and me Mum who looks after him for the afternoon.
I got the classic walking in the door shush. Followed by a point and me realising BabyBoy3 has crashed out on the sofa. We leave the room to chat.
Turns out BabyBoy3 didn't even want to scoot back, poor Mum had to carry the scooter. And guide a reluctant-to-walk BabyBoy3 home.
And then once home there was no demand for biscuits, or jigsaw puzzles, just BabyBoy3 lying down.
To sleep.

I didn't really think much of it to be honest.
Just thought his half day back had been very tiring. He's quite a run-about-and-shout-a-lot kind of boy. He plays hard.
So him grabbing a quick sleep didn't seem that bad.
But I checked his temperature and before I left he stirred enough to be given Calpol.
And again for some reason I didn't really think much of it.

I suppose.
It's because they are so big now. There are not babies, and BabyBoy3 acts grown up when he is with Boy10 and Miss7.
And they are both pretty sturdy now. Well Miss7 isn't she's very reminiscent of thin sticks to be honest. And Boy10 limbs seem to be borrowed from a spider.
But health wise they are strong and healthy. Colds come and go. I suppose I had just gotten used to how quick and well they recover.
Kind of forgot BabyBoy3 is only three.

Work plodged by (yes plodged).
And I headed home. Finding Boy10 on the computer as I come through the door. Miss7 watching cartoons and playing on a handheld computer at the same time.
Mrs. Amazing and BabyBoy3 strangely absent. In that I can neither see them nor hear them.
And it's the hearing them that is the most telling. If he's in the bath there is noise. Playing noise. Something.
But the house is eerily quiet.

Hugs and kisses to the big two.
And I head off to find Mrs. Amazing. Expecting to find BabyBoy3 hiding somewhere or playing in his room.
I find them both in Team Parent (yay!)'s bedroom. The curtains drawn.
Mrs. Amazing is reading a book. Children's cartoons are on the tele. And right in the middle of the bed, wrapped up like a little parcel is BabyBoy3.
Poorly. He'd been sick.

Mrs. Amazing shushes me.
I#d like to point out it's not as though I shout everywhere I go. Stomping about. But fair play BabyBoy3 is only barely asleep.
I sit next to them both and talk quietly to find out what has been going on.
It seems after I left for work. BabyBoy3 went down hill. Got hotter and hotter. Eventually got too hot and puked on the sofa downstairs. Lovely. Poor Mum.
Mrs. Amazing had returned from work and scooped him up in her arms. Dressed him in light weight jammies and here they had been since.
BabyBoy3 woke and turned his head to see me.
As despite my very quiet shushed voice, it's the first man's voice (mine) he has heard all day. True story.
His little face lights up and he smiles at me.

(How can someone so small hog so much of a double bed…)

Oh my heart.
There I was with loads in my head. Some work stuff still kicking about. Plans for the evening. Thoughts of what to have for dinner. I'm heading out to ninja training classes later and need to get ready, thoughts.
But it's like my head has slammed into a brick wall and everything else I was thinking about pops out of my ears.
Like that.
As I look at my little boy, all tiny and vulnerable and stuff. Still and quiet, which doesn't happen often. Laid in bed trying to watch cartoons but falling asleep a bit instead.
My heart reaches out to him and I just stop. I stop me moving. Stop all my thoughts and just lie down next to him.
I don't even go and make a cuppa.

A few minutes later.
Mrs. Amazing realises her relief is here and heads down to chivy the others into bed.
I don't move. I just lay next to BabyBoy3 and stroke his little head a bit.
Not as much as Mrs. Amazing would, I'm not that squishy. Instead I lay closer to him so we are touching a little bit. BabyBoy3 notices and wriggles himself closer to me.
I am really uncomfortable. My back is screaming at me. But hellfire! It's worth it. I am staying put.
BabyBoy3 moves his hand so it is in mine.
I become gushy water and splash everywhere like a bath being emptied from a building top. Emotionally I wasn't expecting this. I had been at work not long ago, where they're not so keen on people lying down and showing affection. The weirdos.
This is a shock to my system.

But for BabyBoy3.
His Dad has stopped and is now laid out on the bed with him. Keeping him company whilst he feels rubbish.
I am feeling a bit guilty because I am not doing the stuff I normally do.
But right now I really want to be with him so he knows everything is alright. And I am there.
BabyBoy3 rolls over and smiles at me.
Then he wriggles himself even closer to me. So that his forehead is touching mine. Personal space be damned.
And he finally falls asleep.

It's been a long time.
Since I've had one these amazing moments with my children. Where my heart feels like it might burst out of my chest. In a good way, loads of love, kinda way. We are always so busy doing stuff, having fun, rushing about. It's rare to just stop like this.
But for those twenty minutes before I've gotta go out. I stop my world for him, stop everything, and I just lay next to BabyBoy3 and give him all my attention whilst he sleeps.
And he lets me.

I notice his hands.
They’re hella tiny. They're still really very tiny still. His presence in my life is so big, so loud and all consuming. It forgot how little he is. He's only three.
There's things in the freezer older than he is.
Compared to me, BabyBoy3 is as fragile as a Miss7 LEGO creation. It's amazing he doesn't get sick more often, or break bits of himself every moment of the day. But he doesn't.
Somehow he seems to bounce off stuff he walks into. He picks himself up after every fall. Wipes off snot and tears in seconds and carries on.
Every illness burns through his little veins like fire, until it's gone, and he's back on his feet. Running about the place.
BabyBoy3 is incredible (they all are).

Team Parent (yay!)'s have a broken night.
First by a BabyBoy3 shouting for Mrs. Amazing that he wants water. Which I give him.
And second by BabyBoy3 shouting for me. As he's confused and has drunk all the water far too quickly and has been sick again. Mrs. Amazing take BabyBoy3 off to warm him and calm him. And I set up a small mattress next to our bed for him sleep on and he sleeps in with us.
And we all get through the night together.

(‘’Underbird 2 also doubles as something to nibble on...)

At 5am Mrs. Amazing wakes me.
For hand over. And I take a very happy, wide awake, and feeling better (yay!) BabyBoy3 downstairs to watch some cartoons. ''Underbirds Are Go’ his current favourite, which I like too. Until it's not stupid O'clock in the morning.
Illness gone. BabyBoy3 fixed. All breath again.
I stay at home with BabyBoy3 for the morning, whilst Mrs. Amazing works. Then we swap and it's a very tired me (really? Third person on your own blog?) that finally sits down at my desk for work.

WorkMate: 'Cup of tea?'
Four please...
WorkMate: 'Four what?'
Four cups of tea please...
WorkMate: <Questioning look>
I am going to shotgun the first two, enjoy the third, and then moan a bit that the forth one has gone cold...
WorkMate: 'Long night?'
WorkMate: <Hangs a do not disturb sign on my head>
WorkMate: <Changes computer desktop to a picture of Justin Bieber to annoy me>

I know that when I am old and greyer.
When my life is coming to end, as it must despite all my plans. There will be many amazing memories to look back on.
Very near the top will be that memory of BabyBoy3 wriggling closer to me, to rest his forehead on mine, before he fell asleep.
That was pretty sweet.
<Itches eyes as they appear to be malfunctioning>
<Farts to enhance the mood>
<Has regrets>

13 April 2018

A New Tradition (For Me)...

I’ve started a new tradition in my house.
(It's happened thrice which totes counts as a tradition, it’s basically an institution now).
It’s to do with half terms, winter breaks and Chocathons Easter hols.
And it’s to do with me missing out on half term fun.
As a reluctant Dad at work...

Miss7: 'Hi Daddy! Nice day at work?'
Yes thanks... What did you ALL get up to this fine mid-half-term day? Day FOUR into your TWO weeks off? <Does weird smile>
Miss7: 'Loads of awesome stuff!'
Wooo... <Is feeling very mature about it all>  
So happy for you all <Also doesn’t care>
Miss7: 'But we thought it wasn't fair that you had to work all the time, whilst we're having so much fun!'
<Is shocked and more than a little touched>
<Tears well>
Miss7: 'Yep. We thought you might like to join in the game we were playing earlier?'
I would love to <Wipes away tear> I would really love to!
Miss7: 'It's round here' <Leads me outside the house>
Er... What game were you playing?
Miss7: 'Water bombs! NOW!' <Runs for cover>
<Does Platoon pose>

(<Tuts at the state of the garden after the winter>)

So the great new tradition I’ve worked out?
Well it’s pretty simple. Every half term. I take a day off work.
Yep. TADA!

<Dusts off hands… Work is done>
<Turns off PC>
<Turns off lights>
<Leaves house>
<Burns down house>
<Is watching flames>
[Mrs. Amazing arrives]
<Does wistful face> It was over… It had to be done…
<Boy10 holds Mrs. Amazing back>

What? You want details? Oooo… Of course!
<Stops sending message telepathically>

So why?
Well it’s simple. I finally got fed up with half terms being something that happens to everyone else in the house. Except me...

Mrs. Amazing: ‘Check these out’
<Mrs. Amazing, Boy10, Miss7 and BabyBoy3 show me their new t-shirts>
Nice… ‘Best 2018 Easter half term ever’... Cool…
<Heart is breaking>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Don’t look so sad, we got you one!’ <Passes t-shirt>
<Holds up t-shirt> ‘I worked through the Best 2018 Easter half term ever’
<Drops t-shirt> I’ll be in the chocolate cupboard… <Climbs in>
[Sobbing and munching sounds can be heard]

The drudgery (yes drudgery) of going to work Monday to Friday on and on.
Was getting to me. It sucked.
And it was not helped by everyone else having a week!!! OR TWO!!! Off every few months (don't get me started on Summer hols).
Playing. Going on adventures.
Awesome stuff.

I love playing!
I frickin’ love mad adventures. That’s my special skill. Being in, and the main fault of creating mad adventures. The madder the better! Normally with me in charge (??).
Planning? PAH! That's for people that want to know what is going to happen! Where's the adventure in that.
I also love spending time with my children. All of them. Really. Yeah even Boy10 in full on grump.
And I don’t actually need to be out doing expensive amazing things with them either.
Just time together is cool. An a day spent playing hide and seek, paper plane fights, and a good scoot round the block, and I’m happy.
And chocolate.

However amazing things can be found.
And cheaply! Hoooray! This tradition is not a money-money-splashy-splashy thingy.
As I've no money...

<Empty pockets>
[Maglite, pocket knife, lighter, 8GB memory stick, keys, gum, 14p, and a LEGO Wicket arm fall to floor]
See! <Picks up 14p before Boy10 sees it>

So who needed to sort this out?
Make this new tradition, traditionanised (real wordy), traditioninated? Any guesses?
No? It’s one of Team Parent (yay!)...? It isn’t Mrs. Amazing? No? Seriously?
Mrs. Amazing was/is already busy sorting out her own stuff every half term. Mainly looking after three mad short people (children). Whilst maintaining her sanity. No easy task (due to the children that is...).
Mrs. Amazing did/does not have time to cheer up someone moaning about spending his day in adult-land, with peace and quiet, warm tea and cakes, at work.
Mrs. Amazing already has three children to care for. <Counts them> Yes three.
If I wanted how half terms go down to change.
It was up to me.

<Does super Dad pose>
<Holds tummy as long as possible>
<Has methane escape>

(<Builds power levels>…)

So that's what I did/do.
It was/is exhausting. It takes planning. And arranging stuff AHEAD of time with Mrs. Amazing (I cannot stress enough how important the ahead of time bit is).
All stuff I hate! And suck at. Planning. URGH! Structure! URGH! Low fat mayo! URGH! <Voms a little>
But I do it because of them, and for me. And because I want in on the half term fun.
And why the hell not?

My criteria for our AMAZING DAY OUT TOGETHER is simple:

1. We all have to go.
ALL of us. No one is allowed to stay at home sat in front of YouTube instead (Boy10) or just stay at home alone enjoying everyone else not being there (me and Mrs. Amazing). No one is allowed to stay at home colouring in all day (Miss7).
And definitely no one can stay at home watching Fireman all day (BabyBoy3).
There’s laws and stuff.

2. Cost wise it needs to be very much on the lowness side.
There's frikkin' five of us. FIVE! That’s a gitish family ticket, and one more. Because apparently family's are limited to four. Since-the-smeg when?
I did look into going to a really cool dinosaur thing in London recently. It looked hella amazing. We all would have loved it so much. Me most.
It probably would have scared BabyBoy3 a bit, but he would have still loved it once he stopped crying.
It was £30 each. That’s £150 straight off. Even £30 for BabyBoy3 who is prone to sleeping randomly, or not wanting to do something really fun for no reason other than his socks feel weird. And it was only an hour long!
I know strip clubs that charge less than that!
(Obvs. I don't they all charge a lot more I do not indulge in that kind of thing).

3. Ideally it should be all day.
My holiday days from work are like gold dust, covered in chocolate, sat on a big Star Wars pile, playing brilliant music, cake (go on picture it). And I don't have enough. Never will.
If I am taking a day off from work to be with my kids and Mrs. Amazing.
I wanna max it right out. End to end stuff.
If I'm not crawling into bed at 9pm utterly exhausted, bruises on my knees, head spinning with wonder and excitement, phone full of pictures.
Then what the jammy dodger was I doing?

4. It’s gotta be vaguely educational, or cultural.
Ideally both. I don’t know why. I just think it's important I push these sort things too. As Dad.
Plus I like stuff like that too.
That doesn’t mean we’re going to art galleries I careth not about. Nope.
That would be dumb. I can’t get anyone excited unless I care myself.
It just means that dragging the entire family miles to see an exhibition of 'Raiders of the Lost Arc' stuff is very much on the cards. Cultural and educational and historical.
And awesome.

And then there's the actual work.
The stuff that I need to do to make sure the day happens. The stuff that if I don't do, then someone else has to do. Ergo Mrs. Amazing.
And we've discussed that, if I want it, then it's on me.

So here’s the work I do.
If it helps you, good. If not, sorry. If I'm doing it dumb, then tell me better...

A long time before the day:
With Mrs. Amazing we pick a day we are all free in the half term and I book it off.
Maybe months before. Cancelling leave last minute is really easy.
Taking leave last minute not so much.

<Is begging> Please?
Boss: 'Hmmm...' <Rolls two billion-sided dice>
Boss: 'You need ten...'
Boss: 'Or less.'

Nearer the time:
Pick where to go.
It’s really weird this country. There’s loads of amazing free stuff out there. But it's the stuff that costs money that's shoved in your faces. I suppose advertising.
But still... there’s the National History Museum (Dinosaur bones), National Science Museum (Cool science stuff) and Imperial War Museum (War stuff) - All free.
We’ve been to all three. All bloody brilliant. Will go again.

A few days before:
Work out all the incredibly boring travel logistics.
URGH. This bit sucks. But yay for Google as basically I tap in where I live and where I wanna go and it tells me how to get there. MAGIC!
Then I swear and curse at the irritating train ticket booking websites. Before handing over loads of cash for discounts cards (Friends and Family). Then regretting choosing to pick up the tickets from the station, trying to be all modern and paper free, and it’s free. But then stressing about it until I have the tickets in my hands.

Day before:
I print out a map of where we are going. With street names. Very important.
Yep me and Mrs. Amazing both have phones. With GPS, and maps.
But picture it. Three train insane children running about. It’s raining. There are bears.
We're utterly lost in London and there’s no phone signal. Or our GPS's aren't working, or have gone mad like Mrs. Amazing’s did last time.
Or just for some peace stupidly we let Boy10, Miss7 and BabyBoy3 drain our phone batts on the train on the way up.
We need a paper map.

(Don’t worry! I’ve a map! <Pulls out map>
Mrs. Amazing: ‘Oh brilliant, you are so....’ <Gives me a look>
Now... we need to find a big skull shaped rock…
Mrs. Amazing: <Heads of to ask help from a fellow adult>)

Night before:
I make and pack enough sandwiches, snacks, treats, fruit, drinks, waters, elevenies pick-me-ups, sugar boost emergency treats for little ones, sugar boost emergency treats for big ones... etc. Enough food to feed the entire population of Luton, or us five for a day.
It normally takes me two hours to do it. Which if I removed the singing time, gurning, air guitar solos and pretending I’m J.K., could possibly be an hour.
But where would be the fun?

In bed (far too late at night):
Talk through my the plan with Mrs. Amazing.
Actually work as a team and let Mrs. Amazing have input. Which is generally a good idea because she is better than me at remembering medicines, clothing changes, child safety, how the real world actually works, and that I can only carry BabyBoy3 half the distance I think I can. Or, and this was a winner, how best to utilise a visit to Imperial War Museum with Boy10’s school work.
Together we rock.

Then finally we are ready.
Ready to have exhausting fun. In the half term. All day.
Me included.

Mate: ‘Yo! Blood! How’s it going?’
[Both do very intricate, but totally over the top handshake ritual]
[..still going…]
[... and done]
Yeah good man. You?
Mate: <Nods cooly>
Did ya read me latest blog?
Mate: ‘Yeah! Utterly, utterly, brilliant. Bravo. <Claps> I’m so doing that’
Mate: ‘So where did you all go this half term? As per your new tradition!’
Bums... I forgot!
Mate: ‘It’s lucky you’re pretty then’
Cheers… <Doesn't feel very pretty>

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