Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Garden Excursions

It is heatwave season.  This means a number of things.  Firstly the Daily Express gets even more shrill about weather than it is the rest of the year, seriously just click on the link above and I can pretty much guarantee that one of the first two or three stories will be about the incredible heat, or the possibility that next week we will be struck by an 'icy blast' from somewhere.  Secondly it means I write a blog post complaining about how hot it is.  Regular readers will now that I have a particular view about hot weather, which boils down to, it seems that lots of people seem to enjoy it, I don't and I would rather that it be somewhere else, anywhere else really.  However, this year will be different, this year I am not going to complain but instead I am going to regale you with a quick tale that will both entertain and instruct, well, maybe one of them, and probably the only instruction you will take from this is the obvious, if important, lesson that you should never leave your children under my supervision.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Tomorrow I will have been married for ten years.  Other than an opportunity to use a nice juicy future perfect, this also gives me the chance to remind everyone that I have the best wife anyone could hope for. 

This has not been an easy pregnancy for her.  She has suffered with a number of illnesses during the pregnancy, none dangerous to either her or the baby, but enough to make life much more difficult for her.  She has had to deal with two children, one of whom has enough energy to power most of urban Britain and is not afraid to use it all by attempting to destroy most of the furniture, whilst the other one somehow manages to make her sibling seem like the calm and lethargic one.  She has continued her usual hectic pace of work and activities, which make me tired just thinking about them, so I probably won’t anymore.  She has continued to support me in everything I do, and to encourage me to be the best I can be, which is a real necessity when you are dealing with someone as lazy as I am.

Difficulties, which seem entirely insurmountable to me, melt before her, which can get a little galling when I have stared at a problem for what could have been all day and B will sidle up (considering how big she has got she can still exhibit some pro stealth skills) and suggest a simple, elegant, entirely practical, #whydidn’tIspotthat? sort of a solution that had been staring me in the face (a lot of staring going on there).  That happens more in our house than you might expect and I would like to admit.

She seems to have a reserve of energy which manages to carry her through long days chasing after two Tasmanian Devils.  I can barely manage twenty minutes after work with them, and it would be a lie if I tried to pretend that my job required any physical effort.  I should be at my peak but after an entire day those two can still run me off my feet before tea whereas B has managed with them for 11 solid hours.

Ostensibly this is a blog about how I can’t quite keep up with my children, but none of it would be possible without B being there to clean up after the messes I make.  She has bailed me out on many occasions and I don’t know what I would do without her.  I suppose I just want to take this time to show my immense gratitude for the way that she makes my life such a fun-filled and laughter-packed one.  Here’s to ten more years, one day we’ll laugh about this.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Slip Sliding Away

We’ve been away recently.  A week with around 350 other Christadelphians at a place in Derbyshire.  It is my favourite week of the year and brilliant for the children.  You really know you’ve had a great week when N is bawling her eyes out almost all the way home because she “doesn’t want to go hhhhhome.”  A sure sign of a week filled with fun and friends.

One of the very best features of where we go is that it is relatively enclosed.  We can let N and S have a far greater level of freedom than we would at home because there is so much less that could go wrong.  N is old enough to remember what it was like before and so is not really surprised by this any more.  S, however.  Well, let’s just relive about twenty minutes of his life from last week shall we? 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

A Sense of Imagination

You may remember, and if not the evidence is right here for you, that I recently mentioned needing to find some way of growing an extra limb in order to cope with the whirlwind that is having a third child.  By the way, all the people who have said that having a third is , like, really really hard compared to just having two, I'd like to introduce you to my doctor who has a bill for you for all the anxiety medication I am having to take at the moment.  Sorry about that, back to the point, I mentioned that I would need another arm to keep them all under control.  Well, it turns out that I have the perfect Marvellian (real word?  I'm not sure but I'm going with it) mad scientist to perfect my third arm.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Pogo Like a Boss

B is 24 weeks pregnant this week.  This means a number of things.  Firstly, and probably most importantly, there are only 16 weeks left, which is a Good Thing.  Secondly, it means that B is now coming out of her energetic period, and is now starting to struggle in the evenings.  Thirdly, it means I was a little surprised when she appeared with a pogo stick on Friday evening.  

I’m no pregnancy expert.  I have experienced two and a half of them from the less involved side, but I am not initiated in all their mysteries.  I am however pretty certain that I could scour any number of leaflets, articles and seven volume book series on pregnancy and in none of them would I find anything which would hint to the possibility that pogoing was a good idea.  In fact it is probable that in one of the more comprehensive lists of dos and don’ts, one of the don’ts, I imagine quite low down the list, would be “Don’t pogo.”  

Monday, 20 April 2015

Up All Night

How do you keep from raising your voice all the time?  Do you try?  Can you?  How many questions can I ask in the first thirty words of this post?

N is 4 1\2 going on 15.  She seems to have reached peak annoying for me at the moment.  I find myself trying to find excuses for her to have to go to bed early.  This is not usually that difficult as part of her problem at the moment is that she is exhausted pretty much all the time.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Sleeping Like a Baby

Peace is found in many different things by many different people.  For some, peace is found in the dancing flicker of an open flame, or the consuming violence of a roaring fire.  For some it is the gentle patter of rain on a window, for others it is the impotent fury of lashing high winds as they settle in for the night.  For some it is the rustle of leaves in a forest glade, as birds tweet and trees sway in a dance which has lasted for thousands of years, for others it is found in the face of a tiger as it paces, or a lion as it rests.  However, this is turning into a bit of a John Denver song so perhaps we should move on.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Going Down with a Fight

Beep beep.  No, it's not the noise that Road Runner makes, it is something much worse, for me at least.

"Beep Beep"

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Flynn or Flyer? Your guess is as Good as Mine

My son has a strange predilection.  I have no idea how it has come about, nor what to do about it, therefore the only sensible thing to do is tell everyone about it.  A problem shared is a problem that other people can laugh at you about, as they say.

It started fairly early, about as soon as he could speak really.  His vocabulary, despite evidence on this blog to the contrary, is pretty limited, he can say 'digger' and 'up' (which for a while was a stand in for any sort of directional command.  Watching visitors struggle with how to get him higher as they were squashing him up against the ceiling while he was bellowing 'up' at them was for a while one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures, he has now learnt 'down' as well, so so much for that.)  'Bird' has also been a particular favourite of his.  But one word has stood out above all others as his go-to word in almost any circumstance. It displays a singleness of mind, as well as such strange taste, that I find a little worrying.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Glad to be Back

Hello.  Long time, no see.  What have you been up to?  Me?  Nothing much.  Busy, you know how it is.  Let me tell you a little bit about it.  

You'll remember that B and I have two children.  N, who is 4 and S, who is 18 months. Well, there is another on the way.  Due in August.  Which is both very exciting but also quite scary.  For one thing, once you have three children you've run out of arms, unless you're an octopus of course.  Not being an octopus, and only having the normal number of arms, I am concerned about what is going to happen once we have our third and I am left an arm short.  There have been a number of occasions when I have been grateful for the fact that I can tuck a child under each arm.  Usually when I have decided that enough is enough and some daddyesque authority needs to be meted out.  This is often because I have found myself submerged by children, one of whom is now old enough to know that if she can get her fingers inside my slippers I am guaranteed to shriek like an old woman and thrash wildly until the fingers come out.  The other one, thankfully, isn't old enough to know this yet, but he is old enough to know that if N is doing that then he can cause the most havoc by charging over and landing on my stomach.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Sick and Tired

There is nothing that can make you feel more worthless than having a poorly child.  Your job as a parent is to care for, bring up and love your children.  But when they get ill, that goes out the window.  The love is still there of course, but it is impotent.  It seems as though no intervention is enough.  None of the normal things work, not the tickling, or the funny faces, or even the throwing in the air, normally guaranteed to elicit a giggle, all fall flat in the face of the illness.  In the end, all you are left with is a lifeless little boy struggling to lift his head.

Until last night. (This post was written many months ago, S would be most upset if I was telling everyone he was ill yesterday, he wasn't.)  S had been suffering all day.  Some sort of virus apparently which has left him caring about nothing other than sleeping and a new cup with some of the least watered down juice he had ever tasted.  There had been moments of brightness, but they were often followed by tears and more lethargy.  One of those days when you can only hope to make him comfortable and help him go back to sleep really.

We put him down to sleep at around seven and he went down really well, no moaning at all, he just rolled over and slipped off, dosed up with the miraculous Calpol.  And that was that.  We heard nothing from him, until about 4 hours later.  Around 11 o’clock, just as we were getting ready to go to bed he started up, demanding attention immediately.  Now, we had got into a bit of a bad habit with N of bringing her into our bed whenever she put up a real fuss.  More than about forty five minutes (sorry, small typo there, should read four to five minutes) of crying would get her a free pass into the space between us.  Which would rapidly expand into the space across 75% of the middle of the bed.  It was amazing that even when she fit very comfortably within the confines of her cot put her in our bed and she was able to expand her limbs to fill the available space. 

Having had a number of rough experiences with N’s incredibly jabby elbows and knees, and feet, and head, we were determined not to go down the same route with S.  This determination has been helped by the fact that he is, in general, a much better sleeper than N ever was at his age (clearly making a bid for favourite child from an early age, sensible chap). Even when he is not asleep he is happy to just chill out in his cot, presumably plotting further ways to make himself the favourite, rather than screaming his head off, which was N’s reaction whenever we took her near her bedroom. And we had managed not to give in to him until yesterday.  He was awake, he was poorly, he was crying, we were just about to go to bed, our defences were down and suddenly there he was, lying drowsily between us, in his Grobag, like a little motionless marshmallow (as opposed to all the big motionful marshmallows you see).  It was all going so well, there were no spear like appendages trying to poke holes in my abdomen just a sad sorry little boy who didn’t look like he had any energy at all. 

And then it was like someone flicked a switch (I imagine it was B but I can’t confront her without solid proof, which I haven’t got yet).  He had been ill just seconds before, lying in bed, but suddenly he was up on all fours grinning like a maniac (imagine a tiny, very cute Joker) and rocking back and forwards like he was dancing to a Sabrina Carpenter song.  He was giggling and grinning, which of course meant B started laughing back at him (Exhibit no 1.) which encouraged him even further and from a sick quiet little boy, who I thought was going to give me a nice peaceful night’s sleep he changed into the performing comedian he can be.  It really is impossible not to laugh when he gets like that, and he knows it.  Finally I gave in too and all three of us were chuckling away together. 

Until it stopped, and he slumped down, worn out by his exertions.  I turned away again, silence having been restored, to resume my slumber undisturbed, but, alas, it was not to be, for behind me I heard the unmistakeable sound of my wife sniggering away, followed by a giggle from the same baby that, mere moments before, had been on the verge of sending himself to sleep.  Against my better judgement I rolled over again to find that he boy was doing the same ridiculous dance, which was abruptly followed by him diving across the bed and burying himself into B’s neck, lying there for a minute, still giggling away, and then giving a massive yawn and putting his fingers into his mouth to send himself off to sleep.  Unfortunately B was still laughing, which is an activity which involves more movement than you might imagine (it’s like her shoulders have got their own tiny, inexplicable trampoline), which meant that S couldn’t get comfortable and so was soon off again, jiving away to the secret beat only he could hear. 

At this point I had to step in as there had been far too much frivolity for what was quickly becoming tomorrow.  I casually pointed out that if he was now so cheerful as to be doing his best Coco the clown impression perhaps he could go and entertain his teddies in his cot and leave us to maybe get some sleep.  Nothing too pushy you realise, just sowing the seed you understand.  Well, seed sown, I realised my work there was done and again rolled over.  At this point all went quiet and it became clear that S had heard me and understood.  I was able to get him back into his cot where he cheerfully began regaling his teddies with stories of exactly how big a pushover mummy and daddy were.  I left him to it and went back to bed and didn’t hear him all night until about quarter to five.  Today he has been much worse than he was yesterday, even more lethargic and with no energy at all, but for a few minutes last night he was back to his own cheerful self again and it was wonderful.  Now I just need to find the switch B flicked and keep it on, until then I’ll just go back to being the man who gives the cuddles, and who always has the love.