Was a lad (easy). Now a dad to Daisy & Seth (less easy).


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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot.

First and foremost, it’s been a little while since my last blog. A combination of being insanely busy at work, a manic winter period and moving house has kept this on the backburner for a month or so. It’s no excuse; I’ve given myself a little slap on the wrist and normal service is now resumed.

If I’m being totally honest, I had planned for this blog to be about something entirely different to what I’m about to write, but this week has been overtaken by Seth being unwell with a really high temperature.

It’s amazing; you can start your day or week with intentions to do certain things, but if your little one is under the weather everything else gets kyboshed.

Here he is pre-temperature, and then just 24 hours later:

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You know he’s unwell if he won’t even let you do his quiff!

Now, as exciting as a blog about the intricacies of his symptoms would be for you(!), that’s not what this is. I’ll just quickly say the following.

In the grand scheme of things, thankfully he is fine. He’s had a temperature for a week now, hasn’t slept during the nights, stopped eating, hardly drank anything and has refused to take medicine. It’s been a bit of a nightmare but I’m hoping in the last 24 hours or so he’s turned a corner.

There are, however, certain things that happened this week which I thought I’d share with you because they made me chuckle in the midst of the sleepless nights and obvious concern about his health.

  1. Ill Kids Turn Parents Into Liars

Seth has been up at all hours of the night, every night, for a week. Every time he wakes, one of us has to go and sort him out. It’s been like going back to new-born stage except worse, because when they are new-born at least you expect to be up in the night!

In the beginning when we heard him, we’d both instantly bolt upright, have a chat about who was going to leave the warmth of the duvet and head into the cold wilderness of the hallway and on to Seth’s room. Unless Seth was shouting for one of us in particular, we shared the load 50/50. But by the end of the week (after about 15 trips back and forth for both of us), when we heard Seth wake up, there’d be a difference. The friendly chat between us had been replaced with…

Silence.

I didn’t speak. She didn’t speak.

There are two explanations for this.

EITHER we had become so used to hearing Seth wake up that we were simply sleeping through the noise…

OR neither of us could be arsed getting up so we both pretended that we were fast asleep in the hope that the other would sort him out.

Essentially, we were partaking in an elaborate game of Sleeping Lions!

  1. Sleep Is The Best – Anywhere!

He might not have been able to sleep in the night but he sure made up for it in the days. I just thought I’d share this snap with you because it really sums it up.

photo 4

Every day Seth was falling asleep in a different place. One day he even fell off the couch and still remained asleep on the floor (bottom right picture)! If only the same had applied between the hours of 7pm and 7am…

  1. My Doctor’s Surgery Is Very Sneaky

On Day 3 of Seth being ill we made a doctor’s appointment. We were pretty sure that he was ‘ok’ but wanted to check he didn’t have anything like an ear infection for which he would need antibiotics. Our appointment was booked for 12.20. My experience of the doctor’s surgery is that they are NEVER on time. Seriously. Never ever in the whole history of going there. Their consistency in tardiness is something to behold. Sometimes I think it must be some kind of sick in-joke that they have.

We arrived ten minutes early at 12.10 only to be informed by the receptionist that the doctor seeing Seth had been sent out on an emergency, so we sat down and awaited his return. It felt like we’d been there for ages when we were eventually summoned in but as I glanced up to the clock in the surgery I noticed it was only 12.25 so I wasn’t too angry, as in the end they were only 5 minutes late.

As I left the surgery after our appointment, I noticed the time on the clock was 12.35 and felt bad for previously berating the surgery (albeit only in my head) for always being late.

It was only when I got in the car and turned the engine on that I made a startling discovery; the time wasn’t 12.35 at all… it was 12.55. This can mean only one thing…

MY DOCTOR’S SURGERY INTENTIONALLY PUT THEIR WALL CLOCK BACK SO YOU DON’T THINK THEY ARE AS LATE AS THEY ARE. (Sorry for the capital letters but I’m outraged!!!)

  1. Too Much Calpol Sends You Loopy

Amidst the generally miserable, tired, snotty existence for Seth this week were moments when he perked up a bit. Normally after a dose of Calpol.

And I do wonder if too much of the pink stuff can make a kid go a bit loopy.

Because he seemed to be feeling better I suggested a game of hide and seek. Seth usually hides behind a door or under a couch. It’s always in the kind of places where I would have to search a bit to find him. On this occasion, Calpol-filled Seth genuinely thought he had found the most incredible hiding spot here:

photo 1

And his hiding places were to become more and more bizarre, eventually resulting in him running upstairs into the bedroom and shouting ‘READY’ when he had planted himself here:

photo 2

5. Mums Know What To Do

Getting medicine down Seth was an absolute breeze. For the first day!

After that, Seth straight up rejected taking another spoonful of anything that might actually make him better. I tried to rationalise with him:

“Seth, you know taking this medicine is going to make you feel better…”

He gave me an expression of ‘WHATEVS!’.

I was clueless, totally lost for ideas of what to do. Thankfully, my wife is smarter than me. A combination of bribery with chocolate, pretending the medicine would give him superhero powers and decorating each bottle of medicine with his favourite cartoon characters was ingenious. She even snuck a spoonful of Nurofen into his yoghurt and dissolved child paracetamol into apple juice.

Even with all those innovations, we were still struggling and when we returned to the doctor he suggested, amongst other things, a suppository to be administered when he was asleep as a way of keeping his temperature down.

You want me to put some sort of medicine up his bottom when he is asleep?!

ARE. YOU. ACTUALLY. JOKING?!

6. Please Don’t Judge Me…

Looking after your kid when they are not well is clearly rubbish. Simple as that. They don’t enjoy it. You don’t enjoy it. In fact, it’s a pretty miserable existence for all involved. You are tied to their side and any plans you may have made for that week go by the wayside.

But if the routine of looking after ill kid / work / looking after ill kid / sleepless nights / looking after ill kid / work (repeat for many consecutive days) wasn’t bad enough, it’s made even worse by one thing in particular:

I’ve already paid for bloody childcare this week so I’m £160 out of pocket AND I’m the one looking after misery guts!

I’m heartless. I know.

7. Silliness Is The Only Cure

Sometimes you just have to accept that nothing you can do can make a situation better. But with Seth, there’s always one thing that does the trick!

My wife rang me when I was at work because Seth wouldn’t stop crying. At this point he’d been ill for five days and he was totally fed up. Her instructions were ‘do something, anything, to make him happier’. I was slap bang in the middle of doing a radio show so fairly limited in what I could do so decided to send him a funny face.

He loved it!

Although I now have an array of very odd photos on my camera roll…

photo 5

#lad2dad lesson leave mum to the serious stuff, dad to the silly stuff

(Your comments, as always, very welcome below)

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The Wanderer Returns (Every Flippin’ Night)

It all started with a *THUD*.

This was probably two months ago when we moved Seth from a cot into a bed. I’m not sure what the opposite of taking to something ‘like a duck to water’ is, but whatever the phrase… that’s Seth and his new bed.

In fact, he just can’t seem to get his head around the basic idea of falling asleep there and actually staying in the thing until morning. Surely that’s a fairly simple enough concept to grasp?!

At first, the problem was understandable; Seth had been so used to rolling around in his sleep that it was inevitable he’d keep rolling out of his bed.

We’d hear the nightly *THUD* and would go and check on him, to be faced with a sight like this!

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The bed was low (so no damage done to the little fella) and he was totally disinterested by the whole thing, simply sleeping  through the debacle as we hoisted him back into his bed and tucked him in once more.

After a while, Seth got the hang of staying in his bed, but replaced his nightly ‘roll out’ with a much worse nocturnal habit…

WANDERING ˈwɒnd(ə)rɪŋ/ adjective the act of leaving one’s bed, travelling down the hallway and waking up ones parents at unthinkably selfish, hugely inconsiderate, horrifically-early hours of the morning.

(That’s the parental definition, not the Oxford English Dictionary!)

Everything you will read from here on in will leave you thinking ‘well Rich, you’ve kinda made a rod for your own back…’

I KNOW. Truly, I do.

The first night this happened we were fast asleep in bed. All of a sudden, from outside our room I heard someone breathing which was fairly disconcerting. Turns out it was our little bundle of joy(!), timidly peeking through the small gap in the door. Naturally we picked him up, plonked him back into bed and went back to sleep until the morning.

The next night… the same thing happened. It’s 2.15am and The Wanderer has returned. This time, he is less willing to go back into his bed.

My wife and I looked at each other; without exchanging a word we both knew exactly what the other was thinking.

‘First night is a one-off. Handle the second night badly and you’re screwed.’

I went to pick Seth up and he started crying. Daisy was asleep in the next room, if she woke up it would spell disaster. My wife took over instantly.

(I always know things are serious if my wife deems it necessary to cut me out of the parenting responsibilities!)

After ten minutes of remonstrating with him, Seth finally dropped off to sleep in his bed.

The next few days and weeks followed a pattern that – in hindsight – was obviously going to happen. Ten minutes turned to twenty minutes. Twenty minutes turned into thirty minutes. Thirty minutes turned into my wife lying in the bed with him until he dozed off.

And so the escalation continued.

After a while, Seth knew that if he came into our room at night and walked up to my side of the bed (which is nearest to the door) then he wouldn’t receive a warm welcome. Instead, he started tip-toeing past my side and walking to the far side of the room to go straight to my wife. The kid’s not stupid; he knows he’ll get far more sympathy from mummy than daddy.

One night, my wife was in such a deep sleep that he woke her up by manually lifting up one of her eyelids as she slept. Imagine having one eyelid gradually lifted up by a toddler whilst the other remained shut. My poor wife.

And things have got worse. Recently, because quite frankly we can’t be arsed getting out of bed anymore, he’s been coming into ours.

I’d say he’s in there at least every other night at the moment as you can see from the picture (taken at 3.35am).

photo 3(2)

And he always seems to make his way over to MY side of the bed. I spend my nights squished up, hanging off the side of the mattress, clinging onto any remnants of duvet that might still be within grabbing distance, shivering my way through the deepest, darkest hours of the night until dawn. If I try to take him back to his room, he cries.

And, as always, we don’t want Daisy to wake up.

If you look at the picture, it’s his recklessly swung, outstretched arm that pushes me further into the abyss.

I’ve got to hand it to Seth; the kid is a GENIUS! He’s managed to negotiate his way into our bed whenever he wants. Not only that, it’s not just him. There’s an array of paraphernalia that accompanies him. Teddies, blankets, dummies… you name it. My wife and I are now separated from each other in our own marital bed by aisle 14 of Toys R Us!

I went for a coffee with my mum the other day and mentioned the situation. She responded with “I’m not sure it was a good idea to let him stay in your bed that first time”.

Thanks mum. Super-helpful.

And when I do manage to get into the bed and try to nod off, I have about an inch of air between the two of us.

photo 1(3)

If the close proximity between us doesn’t make it difficult enough to drop off, then the constant sniffling, snuffling, spluttering and shuffling guarantees that I’m in for a shocking night’s sleep.

However, there’s a sort of catch to this situation. As angry as I get and as claustrophobic as I feel, every so often he rolls towards me and that loose arm of his (that bugs me so much) falls onto my chest and instinctively he snuggles up to his old man.

It’s the best. I instantly forgive him. And every time he hops into our bed, I secretly hope we’ll have that special moment together.

I know eventually he’ll grow out of this phase, as he has with every other phase he’s been through, and although it will mean a swift return to unbroken spread-yourself-like-a-starfish-in-the-bed sleeping… I’ll miss those cuddles.

What a soppy sod I’ve become…


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Let’s Hear It For The Boys

At the start of this weekend, something truly remarkable happened.

It’s not the first time it has occurred, but this kind of thing is infrequent, at best. Like when there is a solar eclipse; just because you see it once doesn’t mean you should expect to see the same thing the following day.

The event in question took place on Friday morning at the playgroup I take Seth to every week. The age of the kids is mixed, so there are babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers there. One of Seth’s little pals goes and they seem to have good fun.

We arrived a few minutes after 10 (when the group starts) and I looked around the room to see the familiar faces, both kids and adults, who regularly come.

Seth Starbucks

As I scanned the room, something didn’t quite seem right. Something was different; there was a radical new look to the landscape I could see before me.

I didn’t actually know how to react to the strange sight before me. I always knew there was a chance that this might happen but it didn’t make it any less shocking.

In front of my very eyes – which I’d vigorously rubbed to check I wasn’t imagining it – stood… another DAD.

Yes.

A real life dad.

This made no sense to me. In the nearly five years of being a parent, and the countless number of playgroups I have taken Daisy & Seth to, so rarely have I ever seen another dad. It’s always been mums, without fail.

Now, the issue of being the only dad in a playgroup full of mums proves problematic in its own right as I blogged about in MFZ: The Man Free Zone.

You are the odd one out. The black sheep in the playgroup field. Not only do you feel a bit awkward, you also know that the mums feel they have to slightly modify their conversations so you don’t feel too awkward.

Quite frankly, the majority of mums – if they had their own way, and not through any malice – would find it easier if you were female.

But this was a totally different experience.

Once the shock had dissipated from my facial expression, I gathered my composure and glanced over towards the other dad.

I smiled.

(It was like the awkward glance Hugh Grant would give for the first time to his unsuspecting love-interest in a below-par chick flick.)

He smiled back.

My instinctive reaction was to rush over and blurt out how excited I was that I might get to have a conversation with another human being which didn’t involve talking about kids. I thought better of it, and decided to play it cool. No one wants to be the one to come on too strong.

So instead, I made myself a cup of tea whilst firing over the odd glance to check he was still interested in some sort of liaison. And it seemed like he was.

It suddenly occurred to me that I was indulging in a spot of flirting; something I hadn’t really done since I met my wife, 13 years ago. Although, in a way, this seemed more important. If my flirting with her hadn’t worked back in 2002, I could have always moved onto another woman.

If I lost this guy, there might not be another fella on the horizon for months…

Eventually, after what felt like hours of mild flirtation (it was probably around 3 minutes), our paths crossed in the middle of the room.

“Hi, I’m Rich”.

“Hi, I’m Lee”.

Strong start.

Of course the blaring irony here is that when you go to a playgroup as the only dad in a world of mums, the one thing that connects you together is parenthood. So naturally, the conversation centres on that subject.

Here we were though, two dads, kindred spirits, united against all the odds, and what did we talk about…?

KIDS!

The conversation wasn’t (as I’d imagined it would be) drastically different from all the other chats I’ve had over the last few years with hundreds of mums. There was the odd mention of football, daddy day care and the housing market(!) but that was about it.

One thing I did find out is that this was a one-off for him. His wife was working so he was in charge of the kids for the day.

There was to be no second date.

This casual affair had ended as quickly as it had begun.

So next week it will be back to being ‘one of the girls’ and smiling and nodding at the tales of motherhood.

But for one day… if only one day…

I had Lee.


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Things Are About To Change…

It’s been all over your Facebook feed this week, I guess?

Fresh-faced kids, dressed in their brand new over-sized uniform, standing on the steps of the house. Expertly placed in position by the front door, giving their best pose ahead of day one at big school.

Today, it was our turn.

Daisy bounded out of bed around an hour earlier than normal. I guess she knew that the big day had arrived.

“Please can you tie my hair up, I don’t want to get nits” she exclaimed.

If getting nits is her biggest fear about starting school then I think we are going to be ok!

Today represents everything I fear about being a dad. It’s the day that my girl gets just that little bit more grown up. I know it’s nothing unusual or unique but every landmark makes you sit up and notice that your little one isn’t the tiny baby you cradled in your arms anymore.

However, something about today felt a bit more serious. A smidge more grown up.

Perhaps it was the school uniform?

One minute she had leapt out of bed in her PJs, grasping onto the teddy that she still sleeps with looking all disheveled and small. Ten minutes later, she was wearing her brand new school togs and suddenly looked like a teenager.

Perhaps it was the attitude?

“Daisy, you look so grown up”, I said. “You know, just because you’re going to school doesn’t mean that you’re not my baby. You’ll always be my baby girl”.

To which she replied “not when I’m a great-grandma, because then you’ll be dead I think”.

Rightio.

I think the main reason it feels so strange is because Daisy going to school will fundamentally change the time I have with her. Beforehand, I’d drop her at nursery every morning for 9am, then pick her up at 1pm. I’d normally have an hour with her before going to work and I’d be back just after 7pm to tuck her into bed and read her a story.

Now, I’m taking her to school by 8.30am and won’t see her again until bedtime.

It really feels like I am having to let go of her for the first time. Daddy day care, my life for the last 4 and a bit years, is gone.

(I’m actually feeling a bit weepy even writing this – something that never happened to me before I had kids!

Deep breath.

OK; I’ve pulled myself together…)

We had, of course, allowed extra time for the obligatory photo.

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Daisy posed, proud as punch, we hopped in the car and off to school we went.

My main worries had been as follows:

  1. Will she freak out?
  2. Will she make friends?
  3. Will she be happy?
  4. Will she eat any of her school lunch?
  5. Will she cry when I drop her off?
  6. Will I ever stop being such an overbearing, paranoid, worried dad?!

Initial signs after the drop off are that questions 1-5 seem to be just fine. Less so number 6… but I’m working on that!

Daisy rolled up to school without a care in the world. Some of her friends from nursery were there and they all seemed delighted to be reunited and given the opportunity to compare patent shoes.

I’ve never seen so many parents at a school. The amount of photos being taken probably rivalled the amount you’d expect during a Taylor Swift concert. It was relentless.

But most of the kids seemed perfectly fine. Maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal after all?

One thing I had wondered for a while was the final thing that I was going to say to Daisy before leaving her to get on with it. I wanted it to be impactful and be something she would remember.

Having given it a lot of thought I went with the following:

“Be yourself Daisy; because there’s no one else like you”.

I meant to leave it there and let her soak in my words… but I couldn’t help myself and then blurted out:

“AND LISTEN TO YOUR TEACHER”.

After all, this is the first rung on the ladder to her gaining a place at Oxford University! 😉

It was only upon getting home and starting to write this blog, reflecting on the morning’s events, that I realised the following…

Today wasn’t actually that big of a deal for Daisy.

It was only a big deal for one person.

Me.

(As always, please feel free to leave your comments and experiences below.)


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Hey Kids! A School Holiday Apology

An open letter to my kids…

Hey Kids! You must be sick of me?
Four weeks down but two to go,
Another day stuck with your dad,
That’s twenty-eight in a row.

Not that I’m counting, it’s been great
Being with you is a blast,
Though if we’re honest, you and me,
How much longer can this last?

I’m used to spending time with you,
A few hours, here and there.
But summer, wow, it’s been intense,
So now I’d like to share….

A few things, if that’s cool with you?
I want to be upfront,
I’ll try to just be honest,
And be reasonable, not blunt.

I’m done! That’s right, I’ve hit a wall,
Four weeks has felt an age,
I love you, yes, of course I do,
But we’re in a tricky stage.

I’ve now run out of things to do,
My idea well has run dry,
When you ask me what tomorrow will bring,
I inhale a fairly large sigh.

Seriously, have you ever thought,
How much energy it takes,
To fill up just ONE day for you?
It’s tough, for goodness sakes.

We’ve done the park, we’ve fed the ducks,
You’ve swung on every swing.
There isn’t a slide within 10 miles,
On which you haven’t done your thing.

We’ve baked, we’ve bowled, we’ve scooted, we’ve strolled,
We’ve painted on paper and clay,
We’ve read some books, pretended to be cooks,
We’ve been to many a soft play.

And when you wake up every day,
Saying “daddy, what can we do?”
I’d guess that nine times out of ten,
I genuinely haven’t a clue.

I’ve even made a game of things,
Like getting petrol for the car,
Or pretending that it’s really fun,
To get some shopping from the Spar.

I pray each day the sun will shine,
I shudder if the forecast is rain,
Cos trust me, I don’t feel so great,
Putting you in front of the TV again.

But – obviously – the big moments,
That I’ll keep with me always,
Are watching how you’ve grown up,
And how you brightened up my days.

The fact that you put up with me,
The smiles you always beam,
The laughing, playing eye-spy,
And devouring of ice-cream.

The way you’ve shot up, so so much,
You are different day-to-day,
The way that you’ve grown closer,
And how together, you now play.

So I hope that you’ve enjoyed it too,
There’s still two weeks to go,
I’ll do my best to keep it fun,
Just wanted you to know.

And if at times, it’s boring,
Or I come across quite stressed.
I promise you with all my heart,
That I’m just trying my best.

Dad. 🙂

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To Wee Or Not To Wee

It was probably the last thing that Seth’s nursery teacher said to me as I picked him up for the final time before the summer holidays that really made it hit home:

“And will he be out of those nappies when he comes back in September…?”

Ah, yes. The nappies.

It was said in jest, of course, but made us realise that procrastinating the potty training would have to come to an end.

So, last week I took Seth to the supermarket, told him to pick some big boy pants (Thomas The Tank Engine & Spiderman, obviously), grab some chocolate and a sleeve of well-done stickers, because in a few days’ time he’d be taking his nappy off.

Potty Treats

Potty Treats

Actually, he never got the chance to eat the M&M’s because that night, when the little fella was tucked up in his bed, I may or may not have eaten the whole packet by myself. As such, the M&M’s bought to reward my two year old for piddling in the right place may or may not have been replaced the following day with a packet of giant Milky Buttons.

I’m not proud of what I did.

Although I am proud that I managed not to eat the replacement chocolate as well!

Friday was earmarked as potty D-Day (or as I prefer to call it Wee-Day). Regardless of how it went, the nappy was coming off and we’d just have to muddle our way through the next few days hoping for a miracle.

The first afternoon I went straight to work, shirking all responsibility for the task, leaving my wife in charge of Mr Tinkle.

And do you know what? Seth was a little star. An accident here and a small puddle there but nothing too major. I was receiving half-hourly updates from my wife on WhatssApp to keep me in the loop of his regular potty action.

‘We’ve had a successful wee!’ it would read.

‘No poo yet babes’ said another.

And ‘Woohoo. There’s been a movement in the right place!’

I can’t help but feel that if anyone ever saw our messages without knowing the context then they would think we had some sort of incredibly weird fetish.

Around 5.30pm I saw my phone flash up with ‘Nay has sent you an image’. I opened it up to find out the latest and was left aghast. Never in my wildest nightmares could I have imagined what I was about to witness.

My wife had decided to inform me of Seth’s first No. 2 on the potty by way of PICTURE MESSAGE!

WHAT ON EARTH WAS SHE THINKING?

COULDN’T SHE JUST WRITE A MESSAGE?!

OR AT LEAST GIVE ME SOME FOREWARNING?!

Now obviously I would never want you to view something as hideous as that, so I’ve slightly amended the picture for the purposes of taste and decency.

Potty Proof

Potty Proof

You cannot even begin to imagine what was lurking beneath that emoji!

Day One complete and the boy done good. Four tinkles and one poo on the potty. Hurrah!

I’d promised my wife that I would take a more active role in proceedings on Saturday so I got the kids up, gave them breakfast and asked Seth every 30 seconds if he needed a wee. He was on good form, heading to the potty when he wanted to and telling me when he needed to go.

We even felt confident enough to take him out on Saturday for a bit, with the necessary equipment in tow.

Potty Prepared

Potty Prepared

Then, as Saturday afternoon drew in, my wife requested a break from the potty training. Her argument was reasonable:

I had to deal with it by myself on Friday afternoon so you can sort it out for a couple of hours today.

Couldn’t really argue with that. My wife & Daisy went out and I was left in the playroom with a half-dressed, smiling urine machine.

For two hours we had the same conversation over and over again.

Me: “Sethy, do you need a wee wee?”

Seth: “No, daddy”.

Me: “Well when you do, remember to tell me and we can use the potty”.

Seth: “OK, daddy.”

Swiftly followed by:

Seth: “Look daddy, it keeps getting bigger”.

And then:

Me: “GET OFF YOUR WILLY!”

It was relentless. An hour of this same conversation over and over again. It felt like a week. And my wife wouldn’t be back for another hour still. Not only that, but Seth kept trying to give me a cuddle (something I never turn down) but with beige trousers on and his poor record whilst I was in charge, he was kept firmly at the opposite end of the couch!

Before she’d gone out, my wife had left a present for him if he was doing well. And although he wasn’t ‘performing’ brilliantly on the potty, he’d been really cute and well behaved so I decided to give it to him.

He was over the moon.

Obsessed with the gift, he insisted on having it with him the whole time. In fact, he was so keen on this particular present that he wouldn’t use the potty without it.

It was all a bit odd…

Just Potty

Just Potty

I never anticipated that I’d be potty training a half human, half turtle. How on earth was I meant to take this whole malarkey seriously?!

My wife was right though when she said we should just give him whatever he wants.

If that meant Seth would be a Donatello-mask-wearing-sticker-collecting-chocolate-eating-iPad-watching-ninja-turtle tinkler, then so be it.

It’s been a loooong weekend but, overall, a successful one.

My wife returns to work tomorrow morning and I have both kids… ALONE.

Wish me luck!

#lad2dad lesson For this parental task; ANYTHING goes.


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Sink Or Swim?

“You have one task”, boomed my wife as we boarded the plane to Lanzarote.

I was only half paying attention at the time as I was still recovering from the mammoth task of lugging enough luggage to comfortably cover a family emigration. We were going for a mere ten days but my wife had packed for every eventuality. Including, it would seem, the option that we might never return.

I’m surprised the woman at check-in didn’t wave us off with an “All the best in your new life…”

Bags checked in, security checks done, breakfast eaten, toilet stops sorted and the walk to the plane was upon us…

“What task is that, dear?”

“Please make sure Daisy can swim by the time we come home. All of our friends’ dads have managed to do that. I don’t want her to be the only one coming back with armbands after a holiday abroad”.

Jeez.

No pressure then.

It would seem that this holiday would decide if Daisy was ever going to make the GB Olympics team AND – more worryingly – my standing amongst our social group as a competent outdoors-type dad was now at stake.

I was tempted to point out that if this was my only task then she was very welcome to deal with the luggage carousel when we arrived, but thought better of it.

Isn’t time away with the family amazing? It’s the first time we’d done it as a four and both ourselves and the kids loved it.

And even though most days revolved around these sentences, in this order;

  1. If you don’t stop that then you’re not having an ice cream today.
  2. I’ve told you already, stop it, or you’re not having an ice cream later.
  3. How many times do I have to tell you to stop it or you won’t be having an ice cream later.
  4. That’s it. Don’t say you weren’t warned. There’s no ice cream for you later.
  5. What flavour ice cream do you want?

 

…the kids were great.

But four days in and I still hadn’t achieved my goal of teaching Daisy to swim. My wife pointed this out to me on day one. And day two. And day three!

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Having been so reluctant to take her armbands off for the first few days, I managed to make her give it a go. I’d been such an idiot. I had failed to do what all the top swimming coaches in the world do when they are training a top-level elite athlete.

I promised her a new Barbie doll if she did it.

(I’m almost 100% certain this is the same tactic that was used to spur Rebecca Adlington to Olympic glory.)

Daisy took her armbands off, jumped into my arms and swam like she’s never swum before:

I was so proud. Everyone around the pool could see. I was (in my mind, at least) the main man.

The Don Corleone of the hotel swimming pool.

I lifted Daisy out of the pool and we strolled back towards the apartment, looking around for acknowledgements from the crowd. I felt like giving passers-by a high-five to mark my momentous poolside work. I’m pretty sure that they were all impressed by the magnificent aquatic feat that they had just witnessed.

BUT… then, it happened.

As we triumphantly strolled past the bottom end of the pool, I suddenly felt my foot wobble.

The wobble turned into a stumble.

The stumble turned into a slip.

The slip turned into skid.

The skid turned into fall.

Not a subtle fall either; a big, in-your-face, couldn’t-be-more-obvious, call-You’ve-Been-Framed-immediately kind of fall.

My achievements of just minutes earlier were wiped out as I hit the deck in slow motion, letting out a groan as I landed on my arse.

Everyone saw.

To make things worse, Daisy was in actual hysterics, pointing and laughing at the dad who’d just taught her how to swim.

Instead of leaving the pool as a hero, I left as ‘that cocky twat who fell over’.

Sink or swim? For me, the former.

But for Daisy, at least, the latter!

#lad2dadlesson You are the only person who actually cares about your kids’ achievements!