War Games….

What games, fun and activities are acceptable between a father and son? In particular, a father and son where the father is the primary carer? Football and all forms of ‘kickabout’ are essential, and therefore non-negotiable. Building camps and banning girls from them is also a rite of passage. It is, however, after these that we are now beginning to enter the grey area zone. The grey area zone is where you need to tread very carefully indeed, for it is a minefield. We are talking about painting. Art stuff, drawing, being creative. Drawing or painting stuff like cars, war or football is indeed perfectly acceptable, but be very careful, because during the process of creating these images, you could easily, albeit accidently, start to create flowers or trees. Should this happen, simply knock the utensils over, start to roll around the floor, grappling with your child and growling like a wolf. Quickly encourage a game of war (no girls aloud of course) and start to show him some boxing moves. This should indeed get the painting time back on track.

There maybe the odd occasion where you give in and allow a session using play dough.  The shapes formed using play dough must be cars, planes or guns. Same as when painting. Any spherical shapes formed, must be referred to as football’s or, as hand grenades that can be thrown very hard at the wall, and then followed by a practical demonstration. Preferably on a white wall. All this focus on man stuff does require a large amount of vigilance and persistence. It’s not for the feint hearted, nor should it be. The reason is, of course, Mother. That woman in his life who holds the power to undo all that hard work and effort in one fell swoop of “do you want come and help mummy dry her hair?” or “do you like mummy’s dress? Do you think it’s pretty?” Pretty, by the way, is a word that should never, ever be used around your boy. Whilst you should encourage your boy to have an understanding of the concept of pretty, this should be achieved by replacing the word pretty, with the word fit where possible.

A lot of what I have stated here will come with practice, so just keep going through the exercises above, and you too can look forward to one day taking the phone call from a sobbing girl dumped by your son for her best mate. Brings a lump to my throat just thinking about it…….

Quick son, run for your life! she's holding some dried flowers!!

Quick son, run for your life! she’s holding some dried flowers!!

You say it best….

I do hope, with much sincerity, that no other professional male state’s upon hearing that I’m a full time Dad, how lucky I am, and how they wish that they could do it. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but if you do you lying, patronising louts, I will happily risk a custodial sentence and attempt to smash your face in. This may seem a bit harsh, and quite possibly a tad thuggish, but if someone were to constantly poke a bruise that you may have, it would eventually provoke a violent reaction from even the most pacifistic of people. I must quickly point out that I certainly do not see my current role as a ‘bruise’ but, sometimes it is a psychological sore point, one that I am almost at terms with. In fact, it has opened my eyes to many potential new opportunities in life that I would have never considered before, and no, I’m not starting a ‘cup cake’ business.

Many a fine, happy, educational and productive child rearing day passes.  Then along comes ‘smarmy pay lip service to being modern man!’ to lay siege on my ‘maternal’ instincts. These men usually hold an executive position at work. They are definitely career men who have children. These children are usually at full time nursery, or have some other arrangement, that basically means that they are not at home between the hours of 07.00-19.30, Mon – Friday. This means, in their eyes, that they ‘miss out’ on so much, or so they would have you believe. Poppycock! Total Crap! Do not believe a word of their lies. At best, those that genuinely believe what they say, it’s ‘rose tinted glasses’. In all probability, it’s a case of ‘make the poor chap feel less inferior’ syndrome. This all stinks of a self induced inferiority complex I know, and it most definitely is. However, men like this do not help. Proper men laugh and goad me, call me Mary Poppins, Mrs Doubtfire and ask me what’s on Loose Women tomorrow. They tell me I shouldn’t be drinking if I’m breast feeding and ask me what time is dinner. Or they simply state “rather you than me!” exactly as it should be.

Here's to Gina Ford!...

Here’s to Gina Ford!…

The terrible two’s a cometh!….

And it is fast approaching! Baby Friday will be two years old soon, and I believe strongly that he knows this and is therefore behaving as such. In the past couple of weeks I have never used, ok shouted, the word NO so often. There seems to be a point blank refusal to obey, not even once or twice as a little gesture of goodwill. The demands being issued by him at incredibly regular intervals, are almost tyrannical, and the reaction created by refusing his demands, like preventing him from putting fingers into a plug socket for example, is probably in the same league as a Category A storm. The persistence with which he goes about his daily rampage is admirable in some respects, and I hope that he can apply it later in life to things that will be of benefit to him, like higher education and climbing the career ladder, and, more importantly, when I am not required to supervise. As hinted earlier, electrical items, quite literally any, as long as they are live and able to blow him to smithereens, seem to be his favourite misdemeanour. The constant flicking of switches, attempted removal of plug socket protectors and the almost total dissection of the DVD player are the only pastimes that seem to engage baby Friday. Kicking a ball around in the garden and trips to the park offer some alternative, and far less anxious activity, but these are of course weather dependent, and we are now fast approaching winter. So how do I keep him away from the temptation to be electrocuted whilst indoors. To be fair, he does love his books, and there are some brief respites from his technical tinkering when a book is being read to him. Perhaps I should invest in some electrical manuals. Get him to learn how to rewire a house as part of his bedtime story session. This maybe the way forward to a more peaceful life, or it could be the birth of the next super villain.

and here's a diagram of my latest cathode grid....

and here’s a diagram of my latest cathode grid….

Relaxtion techniques…….

Listening in on conversations is a favourite pastime of most people I would guess. It is most definitely for me, and one I overheard the other day between two Mum’s of young toddlers, contained a phrase that I hear a lot from the ‘yummy mummy’ sect “I just want to feel like me again!” A lot of mothers feel the need to go and do something to ‘feel like me again’. The most common pastime seems to be a spa day. Closely followed by a ‘makeover’ Or, perhaps, a chick flick/rom com type film with friends and chocolates. This got me thinking, apart from how my conversations and interests have changed from Sales targets and budget forecasts, to, has he pooed today?  Was it hard? It got me thinking, what the hell do I do to make ME feel like me again? Whilst I secretly like the thought of a spa day, I do not believe that it would make me feel like me again. It would be a potential form of relaxation, and definitely a hidden pleasure, but it is unlikely to make me, feel like me. So what would I do to make me feel like me? Go to the pub, drink beer, and watch football is a good start. Preferably, go to the pub, drink beer and actually attend the match. Stay in and watch Sci-fi, action and psycho movies, with beer and pizza. Slightly concerning about the common underlying beer theme, but you get the gist. Now imagine overhearing two Dads, young of course, discussing the daily stresses and strains of parenting, and the need to go to the pub, drink beer and watch the game in order to feel like themselves again. Doesn’t quite have the same ring about it does it? This is unfair to us poor, emasculated fellows, as we would probably be dismissed as uncouth louts for airing our thoughts on relaxation and escape, whilst the female versions would be actively encouraged, and sometimes gift wrapped in the form of a present. Can you get vouchers for day passes at the Red Lion?

Hurry up! I’ve got a pedicure booked at three!!

Old Father Time…..

How do some people do it? How do they organise themselves, and focus when they do get time to do something? Like when baby Friday goes to sleep for instance. Late morning is the usual time for his nap. As this time approaches, I wait, poised like a soldier in an ambush, as soon as the first yawn happens it’s “oh dear! someone’s tired!” He is then thrust into his grow bag and into his cot, blackout blinds firmly in place, faster than you can say, well, sleep. After only a short bout of screaming to stay up and run riot for a bit longer, peace descends, then it is my time. It is at this point that I have a problem. Having mastered the art of “getting baby to sleep, creating time for me to do stuff!” it all seems to fall apart. Laptop is open, tonnes of stuff to do, but I get pulled away by Facebook, sucked into the vortex of BBC Sport, tricked into scanning twitter for a “heads up” on something……anything? As I’m writing this relatively short blog post, I have navigated away to check emails and refresh my news feed at least 5/6 times. In short, I find it impossible to focus when I’m online. As soon as you log in, you are overwhelmed by raging torrents of information jostling for pole position in your brain. If, like me, you are an information junkie, and stay at home parent with only an hour or so to spare, then these are very challenging times indeed. Does anybody have any ideas as to how to combat this issue? I know that alcohol is a short, quick fix, but this is only permitted when mother Sunday is around as the ‘appropriate adult’­­­ and then you have to get to your end goal at lightening speed before ‘heavy eyelid’ kicks in. Perhaps this is an adult ADHD issue and I need to take a course of Ritalin, either that, or I start taking calligraphy lessons. ­­

“what did I get done today?……good question!”

Daily Routines…

It has come to my attention recently that perhaps going through routines as a way of helping things happen doesn’t work. Please allow me to explain. When I go to watch an Arsenal match, I have to go to the same pub before hand, use the same membership card to access the stadium and sit in the same area. If I miss any one of these elements for any reason, and Arsenal do not win that particular match, then that is down to my failure to carry out the ritual correctly. This is of course total poppycock, and any Arsenal defeat or draw is down to the player’s abilities and tactical decisions on the day. This is otherwise known as OCD, or so I have been led to believe. This alleged OCD has also manifested itself in my day to day dealings with baby Friday and in particular, certain intricate toys that consist of many pieces that could easily get lost. The main culprit is an egg box that contains plastic eggs, x6, with shells that remove. Then there is also a Lego set, and a 40 year old baby walker with different coloured wooden cubes that I feel should all be organised in colour order all the time, as well as being kept safe for another 40 years. I believe that if I keep showing baby Friday how to put these things away properly and regularly, like as soon as he starts to play with them, he will become an organised, level headed and well structured person. Ice cream and any other food stuffs smeared across his mouth and face in general, is an absolute no no and tends to be removed as soon as it appears by my readily available face cloth. This can’t be OCD, this is just common sense. If you leave the foodstuff too long, it will dry onto the skin and become a nightmare to get off, potentially causing the child unnecessary trauma as well as the extra inconvenience to you. So you call it OCD, I call it having exceptional forward planning and organisational skills, now, how many times did I shut that door?

"That's really good honey, but I'd rather you didn't take your toys out of their boxes!"

Summer loving…..

I am really excited that the nice warm sunny weather is here at last. Why? Beers in the beer garden at lunchtime? Gentle strolls through the park? Ice cream’s and picnics? No! I am excited because now I can hang the washing out!? My tumble drier can be switched off and the planet can breathe again. We may even get our spare room back as a spare room, rather than a make shift laundry room student style. Washing has become an integral part of my daily routine, it has always been part of my routine of some sorts, but this usually involved washing whatever piece of clothing was needed, the night before it was required, and praying it would be dry enough to iron on the morning of the day it was to be worn. Now, as the main washer gatherer for the house, it is a completely different story. Well a completely different story in theory anyway. Washing now has to be planned with military precision, factoring in different elements like drying time, amounts in weight, how many times worn that week. The grouping together of items that can be straight away switched to tumble dry when the main cycle has finished, is altogether very time consuming and, indeed, obsessive. When the sun is here you need not worry about this, when the sun isn’t here, items that cannot be tumble dried, quite simply, do not get washed. Like most of baby Fridays Mum’s (she actually has a name, it is Mother Sunday) work clothes. Needless to say this can, and does cause issues on occasions during the winter, but then I feel she should understand my predicament more and buy more dry clean only clothes. With all the best intentions to plan and control washing in the world, it still only seems to get done when the basket is overflowing with a Vesuvian type lava flow of clothes streaming over the edges, coupled with wardrobes being completely empty of anything that you want to wear. But, with all this aside, firm control of the washing is essential to the peaceful harmony of this household. So with this in mind, I am contemplating building a bar next to the clothes line and sky sports on a screen next to the washing machine, it’s all about motivation.

Save's me ironing it I suppose!?!...

Domestic Bliss….

After much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that I am a domestic god! My reason for this is quite simple, if I do not tell myself this, no one else will. Having stopped full time employment in April 2011, I have simply transferred my keen organisational abilities into my day to day domestic operations. At least that is what I would like you to believe. To wash, clean, cook and nurture child at the same time is an amazing test of human capabilities that far exceeds anything that the corporate world can chuck at you. Especially if things go wrong, for example, you cannot put a teething child that has had Calpol and Dentinox, and is still screaming at you, on performance management. To instigate disciplinary proceedings for ripping out the pages of books instead of reading them, would probably be ignored, and the chances of getting them summarily dismissed for gross misconduct are negligible at best. No, this is indeed like having to deal with the ultimate empowered militant. There can be no performance reviews that start with the line “how do you feel things are going?” continue with “talk me through your day?” and end with the overly sympathetic “so that’s why I’m marking you down as having clear development needs!”

None of this is possible. You need to have the man management skills that only the top business schools would be paid fortunes for. You need to be able to tease, ease and tempt your child into your way of thinking, and you need to do this without the luxury of handing over the issue to the HR department. Currently I am reviewing baby Friday’s progress towards my target of walking before his first birthday, as this has now passed and he isn’t running around like a gazelle, he has clearly failed in this objective. The review is focused around whether or not baby Friday was supplied with the correct tools in order to complete the task? The review is ongoing and the results will be published at a later date, this is partly due to the fact that I am in the process of carrying out a restructure of the catering department.

"I'll come in on Saturday and get this finished!".....

Anti-Biotical warfare…..

Is it really necessary for a course of anti-biotics to last as long as it does? Or for as long as those sadistic GP’s prescribe? For the medical reasons for this click here, for the emotional and practical reasons against, read on. Baby Friday has not long finished his third round of amoxicillin in his first year after yet another head/flu/virusy/nose like a tap/can’t say exactly what it is type scenario, albeit a scary one this time as his temperature had reached 40c! When the GP stated “it’s anti-biotic time” my heart sank. Not out of sympathy for my poor, sick child having to have medicine again. But because of the fact that I am now going to have to spend the next 9-10 days, three times a day, trying different ways of getting the bloody stuff down him, with the last 4-5 of those days carrying out the various charades when the child is so obviously better.

I am convinced that the doctors prescribe courses lasting this long as a form of deterrent. “Who are you? You dare to wake me from my slumber!” they think as you walk into their examining room “you will think again after this!” they chuckle as they hand you the prescription which entitles you to a week of yellow stained bibs and baby grows. You then have to go through with the pretence of making out you take the stuff as well “daddy have some! Yum, yum, yum!” you say holding the spoon to your mouth as they stare back at you wondering what the hell you are doing.

There are always the Syringes you can get for this, without needles of course, but this runs the risk of after having held them firmly on your lap and watched the liquid disappear into their mouths and feeling incredibly pleased and relieved that they have taken the correct amount, it comes flying back out like a geo-thermal geyser found in Iceland or somewhere, and as for the stuff tasting like banana, I strongly suggest that the manufacturer’s quality control department has a restructure. The only way to combat this issue is quite simply not to allow baby Friday out. Deny him all contact with other human beings and their bugs until he is at least 18 years old. I wonder if they still accept children at Benedictine monasteries?

"yes, yes they'll absolutely love it!.....taste's just like coke!!"


Mum’s the word….

I am absolutely fuming! Baby Friday has uttered what will be deemed to be his first word! I should be over the moon with enjoyment but I’m not. For that word is Mum!?! Or mamamum to be precise. It’s not really in any context yet but how dare he? Here I am slaving away over a hot nappy on a daily basis, washing, cleaning, de-snotifying and displaying the highest levels of teething tolerance known to humanity, and the little s**t’s first word is Mum! My snide response is, oh well, absence makes the heart grow fonder!! but that would be a bit unfair to hardworking Mummy. It isn’t her fault that after hours and days of me trying pound the words Dad and Daddy into his head, he obviously had an adverse reaction to the pressure heaped upon him to perform and blurted anything out to try and appease! A moment of madness one might say. Others, however, might use this as proof that people (babies) will say anything when being tortured. Perhaps his cuddly toys will be charged with being complicit?

All this does not bode well for when we start trying to get him to translate the complete works of Plato from Latin, into French, then into mandarin, before his second birthday. Perhaps a stint in boarding nursery would do him good!? Regimented discipline! Teach him how to deal with the different stresses life throws at him. Teach him to be independent. It could also possibly teach him a few and far more important words other than mum! Like Dad, obviously, and give (me), mine (everything), hello (aren’t I cute?) and please (you will give it to me!) Failing that, we could always try a stint in the armed forces. That’s shocking I hear you say! It’s Character building is my response! I know they are trying to outlaw and stop the practice of using children as soldiers in some developing, war torn countries, and I totally agree, it’s the training I think would do him good. Thinking about it and all joking aside, it is actually a blessing that Mum is his first and as yet only word. Who will he call out for in the middle of the night?

Now repeat after me boy............DAD!!