In the midnight hour

How do ill children expect their parents to sleep? Oh, sorry, my mistake. They couldn’t care less if we do!

Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing but sympathy and pity for the little darlings when they’re under the weather. I’m sat here listening to the harsh cough and laboured breathing of my daughter as I type and I would give anything to make her feel better. I’d even take all the germs and make them my own, and I really hate being ill. I despise being ill. I’ve had more than my fair share of illness and it’s a trigger for my depression, so when I say I’d be ill in their place I mean in seriously.

However, my unending love for my children can be tested by their behavior when ill.

I’m sat on the sofa typing because I’m sleeping on the sofa tonight. Why? Because the kids are ill, that’s why! If I was to sleep in bed then my daughter’s fevered sleep ranting would disturb my son who’s also ill (and the lightest sleeper in the world) and my wife. So on nights like this we divide and conquer. Or at least divide…

Last night the boy kept my wife awake by coughing himself conscious at various points, whilst the girl attempted the same, with the added bonus of demanding a drink to ease her suffering at 3am and 5am. They then wanted to be up and watching Charlie and Lola at 6.15. I’m fairly certain the adults aren’t winning here…

The worst part of this is that the kids expect our sympathy and for us to meet their every need and whim whilst they’re sick. I can guarantee that when this bug finally catches up with us grown ups, we won’t be waited on hand and foot, and sure as hell no ones gonna cut us any slack!

Anyway, there’s a lull in the throaty snoring from my daughter’s room. I must try and sleep while I can so I can be awake enough to operate the Sky remote in a few short hours and kick off the morning’s CBeebies marathon in style. Sleep well dear reader.

Daddy’s in charge

Today I’m in sole charge of the kids. Nothing unusual there, but my wife worries about being away from the children for so long.

It’s not a reflection on my child rearing abilities, she doesn’t think that I’m going to lose them or that I’ll burn the house down. She knows I’m a good dad and that I can be trusted to cope with the kids on my own for the day. She just worries that one of the kids will get lost or that the house will burn down while she’s not here! There’s a big difference between the two.

Kids wander off. It’s a fact of life. I did it when I was young! It didn’t mean that my mum was a bad parent or that she neglected me, I just wandered off and got lost.

Sometimes fires just happen. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault, they can be the result of faulty wiring, power surges, too many plugs in an extension cord.

My wife fears that these things will happen if she’s not here. Not because of me, but because she’s not here. It’s part of her depression. It’s something she struggles with even though she knows that her presence doesn’t guarantee our children’s safety any more than mine does. We could have a crack team of professional babysitters and a fire crew on standby and she’d still only be at ease if she was here.

I think that some dads would find this upsetting, but I understand it’s not borne from a lack of trust, but a need to be in control. Not in charge, but in control. She needs to be on hand because she’d feel awful if something did happen. She’d blame herself just because she wasn’t there.

So, am I wrapping the kids up in cotton wool and monitoring them more closely than ever? Am I moving every potentially dangerous object out of reach and padding all the table corners?

Fuck no!

This morning the kids have been wearing my hats which are huge on them and droop over their eyes. They’ve been chucking the sofa cushions on the floor and jumping off the sofa onto them. They’ve been ducking under the table and chasing each other around the chairs. The floor is covered in plastic play food, one of the slipperiest substances known to man!

This is normal. This is what would happen if my wife was at home, and it’s what my children expect. I wouldn’t change anything, and if they bump their heads or fall over I’ll deal with it. We may have tears, we may have tantrums, but we’ll have fun and my kids won’t grow up in fear of hurting themselves. They’ll take risks, they’ll enjoy themselves, and they won’t need mummy to kiss them better every time they scrape a knee.

My wife will never stop worrying about leaving them, but then again, neither will I.

The greatest toy on earth!

Our children are constantly bombarded with images of shiny new bits of plastic in colourful wrappings. Adverts on tv, in comics, online, in the laminated book of dreams known as the Argos catalog. Even kids’ tv shows seem to be nothing more than vehicles to sell us associated toys. A walk around Tesco can be dangerous and expensive if you happen to wander too close to the screaming neons of the toy aisle.

Our kids are being programmed to desire these cheaply made, expensively priced plastic playthings, and once they want them, they won’t be persuaded otherwise.

My sitting room and my daughter’s room are covered in boxes containing toys. The kids have a crate of cars, three crates of teddies and other soft toys, a large box of Sylvainian families, an equally large box of octonauts, shelves of craft toys, a kitchen and several kilos of play food, Lego by the bucketful, and a massive collection of wooden railway tracks. That’s not everything…

Despite this considerable selection of playtime goodies, there are other items which rank among the favourite toys. In the bath are a jug and an empty bubblebath bottle. In my daughter’s room is a box full of toilet roll middles, egg cartons, cheesy football tubs and miniature cereal boxes. The lounge is home to wrapping paper tubes, empty water bottles and cast offs from my wife’s wool supplies.

These “toys” have to be stored alongside the shop bought variety, and are treated with as much care as the most expensive items that belong to the kids. The reason why? These items don’t have a single purpose.

The multi level garage from the early learning centre is a multi level garage from the early learning centre. The long cardboard tube has already been a telescope, a sword, a broom, a microphone, a megaphone, and a medical instrument this morning.

The child size plastic kitchen is always a child size plastic kitchen. The empty lemonade bottle is now a spaceship, a car, a baby bopper (big sisters are lovely, aren’t they?), wheels for a car, a robot…

So what exactly is the greatest toy on earth? A child’s imagination.

If you tell a child what a toy is, that is what the toy will always be. But if you let a child decide, the possibilities are endless.

Stop the noise

I’m having a low day today. I don’t really want to talk to anyone or do anything. Conversation is a struggle. The kids are annoying and loud. They want me to interact with them, to draw cats, to be Peso the Octonaut, to get up and play. They want me to act like a human being today, but it’s too noisy for me to function like one.

The kids are noisy, the tv is noisy, outside is noisy! Why is everything so bloody noisy today?!? Can’t we all just be quiet for a while?

But that doesn’t stop the noise in my head. My brain is still talking to me, neurons firing electrical impulses around creating thoughts, telling me things I should be doing, making lists, replaying conversations I had a week ago, forcing song lyrics through my skull, pondering the future, exploring my past. My head hurts.

All I want is some quiet. Just for a while. All I need is for the noise to stop. Maybe then I could feel human.

Nice and easy

I love visiting my family, everything’s so nice and easy when we’re here. We get looked after really well; had a full turkey roast yesterday with all the trimmings, there’s plenty of quality booze, a full sky subscription with sports and movies! Awesome.

Also, my family are chilled out. There’s never an awkward silence, never a stream of continuous noise because someone feels they have to speak, no one gets offended, and we all sit around and have a laugh. My sister’s home from uni and my brother is on easter holiday from school so I get to spend some rare time with them, catching up, checking if they’re taller than me yet, and enjoying their company. My mum doesn’t work (apart from wrangling my brother) so I’ll be able to spend some quality time with her, and she gets to play with her grandchildren, something she’s not been able to do since Christmas due to commitments that have kept her from visiting. My stepdad has to work this week, but he made sure he played with the kids yesterday and he sees them in the morning before he heads off.

Tomorrow I’ll get to see one of my oldest and dearest friends who I went to school with and who is fairy godmother to my son. She’s lovely and gets very excited to see the kids, and they both adore her.

The rest of the week is currently a blank page and this pleases me. No stress. No commitments. No need to paste on a smile because it’s already there.

Now if only I could convince the boy to stop trying to destroy the sitting room…

Cunt of the week #5

I walked my daughter to preschool this morning and it was great. We chatted and looked at the newly blooming flowers and the changes in the trees. We took turns pushing my son in his pushchair and sometimes pushed with one hand each so we could hold hands and warm them up. Lovely. One of the fantastic parts of being a parent.

But then we had to start avoiding the copious amounts of dog turds littered about the path we take. The path runs around a park with housing on three sides and a large play area and a civic building which houses the preschool at the other end. In order to traverse this path we had to avoid no less than 20 separate piles of canine shite. We also passed 3 bright red bins for the disposal of said shit.

Now my daughter is a very aware child. It comes from having a daddy who might try and pinch her chips. She notices when there’s a mound of faeces in her way and she’s careful to avoid it. She also lets me know so I don’t plough through it with the buggy. But I find myself asking why she should need to be so aware of the fact that some careless dog owner is too fucking selfish to pick up after their dog? Why aren’t these idiots using the provided bins? They must realise their dog is crapping its pedigree chum all over the pavement, dogs don’t just let it fall out their arse while they stroll along!

I’ve also noticed a bizarre trend of some dog owners bagging up their pooch poo and hanging the bags on tree branches like they’re decorating the scummiest Christmas tree in the world. Why?!? Why not carry it to the fucking dog shit bin that’s 10 metres away?!? I’m utterly perplexed by this behavior! If I, as a parent of a child who uses nappies, started leaving bagged crap filled deposits outside Pets At Home, there would be uproar and probably a police investigation! So what makes it so acceptable for these cunts to leave shit smeared across the path outside my daughter’s preschool?

These selfish shit flingers infuriate me. They risk the health of all the children who use that park, the preschool and the football pitch all because they can’t be arsed to carry a small bag to pick up the product of their dogs’ back passages. They can’t be bothered to walk a few steps out of their way to put the diseased leavings of their hounds in a place provided for them. Utter utter cunts.

Please pick up your dog’s shit, keep Britain tidy, and don’t make me come round your house and shovel it through your letter box.

Love, hate and CBeebies

CBeebies is a godsend. Truly it is. I don’t know how parents coped before its invention!

When I was a child I had to find other ways of amusing myself in the mornings, and as we all know the imagination of a child is a dangerous thing. The lack of CBeebies led to me sledging down the stairs on a mattress, jumping off the shed roof, scaling the back wall of the house, seeing how many sweeteners I could put in a pint of milk, picking all the woodchip off the wallpaper, and many other crimes of youth. The only reason my mum doesn’t have grey hair is due to her hairdresser.

CBeebies saves me from having to live through such incidents. I can stick the tv on in the morning and be fairly sure that the kids won’t be requiring surgery by lunchtime. They can watch it, sing along, show me show me their groovy moves, and most importantly, leave daddy to sit in peace on the sofa. Bliss.

However, I’ve spent far too long watching it and I now have a huge list of complaints about the programs I’m forced to watch. Where to begin…

The cloudbabies. Child labour in unsafe working conditions. They’re babies who fly horses around the sky and touch the sun. Where are the H&S procedures? No riding gear, no hard hats, no nomex fireproof suits, no bloody parents taking care of them!

Bob the builder. He’s gotta be cutting corners on his builds. Everything’s built in a day! Windmill: day. Solar power plant: day. Nuclear launch facility: day. How does he manage it? Not with the help of his possessed machinery that’s for sure! They couldn’t build a Lego house without setting it on fire! And what happened between Bob and Wendy? They used to be so close, now they barely talk. What went wrong? Did she walk in on him with lofty? Was she getting some from spud? I need to know!

The rhyme rocket. What an awful bunch of wankers. I’d rather listen to Bon Jovi than share a spaceship with them and I loathe Bon Jovi with a vengeance. Their entire mission seems to be to collect rhymes to power their ship, which they will then use up to return home and then have to set off again and repeat. What’s the fucking point?!? The only reasonable answer that occurs is that they’re so annoying their home planet has sent them to complete a mission that will never end in order that they never need be seen again!

Mister maker. Dude, how much coke are you on? Your eyes are bloodshot and your hyperactivity levels are off the chart! Oh and your makes look like shit. Neil Buchanan you ain’t.

Justin Fletcher. A man with a finger in every pie. Is there an hour when he doesn’t appear on CBeebies? He’s everywhere! Something special is a very worthy program, don’t get me wrong, but do we need so many versions of it? Really? And gigglebiz has to be the most unfunny show ever made! And yes, I include Miranda in that. Oh, and if you offer to show me your tiny tumble again I’ll chop it off. You’ve been warned.

Mike the knight. Trainee knight? You’re a fucking squire you posh twat, there’s no such thing as a trainee knight. He’s a jumped up, self important little git who’s only in that position because of who his parents are. This is why nepotism is a bad thing people!

I could go on, but I fear you all stopped reading in the second paragraph. It’s ok, I’m used to talking to myself, I have kids who watch CBeebies! Oh CBeebies, how I love you and the rage inducing peace you bring me…