Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Wee Man, The Gardener

The weather today has been blooming brilliant. After weeks and months of moaning about winter, life seems a little brighter today. And the wee man and I have been taking full advantage of the sun by doing...load after load of washing. Oh. Not quite what you would expect but by half nine this morning I had washed and dried two loads. Ace. If there is a better domestic goddess out there I want to here from you. As I spent a great deal of time hanging things up to dry the wee man pottered around causing general chaos including working out how to put the outside tap, that the hose is attached to, on. This led to water going everywhere and a pretty wet wee man.

He then, despite being wet, cleverly watered my bamboo which needed a good drink. The hose and watering thing kept him occupied for a good hour and he even had a good cry when I told him it was time to do something else. But with every good thing he does he tempers it with hiding behind bins and sticking his down down dirty drains. I'm trying to give him a certain amount of freedom in his own garden especially when I'm hanging washing but even here there, I have found, are plenty of things for him to mess around with. He's even worked out how to open the back gate but luckily doesn't have the strength to open the gate.

I'm glad we've taken advantage of the sun and been outside all day as it means I can have a beer tonight without feeling guilty.


Monday, 29 April 2013

The Zone

We are home from distant lands. A mostly successful weekend was had except, as ever we arrive back more tired than as we left but that's what happens when we travel with kids. The Chancellor though has a habit of getting in to what I call 'The Zone' as soon as she arrives home. 'The Zone' is where her eyes glaze over and she starts cleaning before she has even taken off her coat off. Everything needs disinfecting and there's no talking to her because if you do you either get no response or she angrily "GRRRRRRRs" at you. Tonight I had to tell her to "Put. Down. The. Sponge." as there were more pressing matters before cleaning. I'm sure we cleaned before we left anyway.

It is nice to be back in a house with silent floorboards and no creaky stairs but the wee man seems somewhat lost without a little dog running around. But there is NO way we are getting one quite yet, I have enough training to do with the wee man without bringing a puppy into the mix.

I also have to apologise on here to our friend Organised Mummy and her husband for swearing into front of their child while we were away.Their son is an impressionable two and a bit year old who is talking. Sometimes I forget that children might repeat what I say so after I used the phrase 'Sh*t loads', right in front of him, I had visions of him filling up his truck saying he had sh*t load of things in his truck. I hope he doesn't do this and if he does we may not be invited round again. The Chancellor had words with me afterwords to the tune of "Jamie you are dreadful." She often has to have words with me or persuade me from causing a ruckus about things. Sometimes if we are out I'll just feel an elbow in my side and hear a "Jamieeeee" through gritted teeth, I'm sort of like an unfunny Larry David. Never mind.

Tomorrow normality resumes with a trip to an art gallery for toddler time and a 10% discount of cafe food and I tell you the food is GOOD. I only go for the food really and generally put up with the toddler time element of the proceedings constantly checking the time to see if it's time to eat. Maybe their all day breakfasts are why I've put on three stone in nine months.


Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Perilous Stairs

Absurdity. It's a hard thing to describe it but I will give it a go. The very nice room we are in, as we're away, is in the attic. The wee man is downstairs in a smaller room. For the first two nights he slept just like normal 7pm-7am, this made us happy. Last night though something spooked him and he woke he shaking with huge tears running down his face. Three hours later he eventually went back to sleep. In that three hours we nearly got him down many times but a flight of stairs got in the way.

The stairs up to our room creak and when I say creak they make the most horrific noise that could wake the neighbours. The stairs are also right next to the wee man's door. So after trying to settle the wee man time and time again The Chancellor and I took it in turns to see who could get up the stairs in the most inventive way without making any noise. Neither of us won. We tried stepping on the edges of the stairs, the corners, the middle. We tried crawling, walking fast and walking slow. Nothing worked and each time we made it to the top of the stairs off the wee man would start with a howl and the crying and down again we went. I nearly made it at one point crawling for nigh on five minutes and moving at a snails pace. The Chancellor, upstairs, was heard giggling as she watched me trying to be as quiet as I could on all fours but alas the wee man awoke. Rubbish stairs.

Why didn't we just sleep downstairs I can you say? Because there wasn't a bed available, is that a good enough answer for you? Tonight is our last night away and the last time we have to traverse the stairs and I will be happy to return to a flat with no stairs and no creaky floors.

The trip has been a success and the wee man has done well in new surroundings. But going away with children never really feels like a holiday and we are going to get away just the two of us in the summer with no child. We're counting down the days already. And who knows we may even relax.


Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Difficulties Of Language

"No, that's a cat."
"No, that's pigeon."
"No, that's a guinea pig."
"Yes, that's a dog but statistics would suggest you were bound to get it right at some point so no points for you. Well done for trying though."

One day we may get there. I will be proud when he can tell me what breed the dog is that he can see, until then keep working on your animals son. The wee man's godparent's daughter had a similar problem. Only she had habit of calling every man she came into contact with "daddy". This, I would imagine, thinking as a toddler would be a fairly easy mistake to make. Similar to the wee man thinking that everything that moved faster than him was a dog. Though the idea of losing your child then her calling every other man "Daddy" terrifies me as who would believe you if you went to claim for your child?

Imagine how the conversation would go if it were me.

"Thank God you found my son Mr Shop Security."

"Hold on a minute sir, this child says that that man over there is his father? Are you a child botherer? Should we be calling the police?"

"No really this is my child, here pass him to me I know how to make him laugh and he has a birthmark on his backside."

"Woah there. I don't think you should touch the child sir or expose him, in fact I'm going to ask you to step back now sir."

Then this would descend into anarchy and the end of the world. With me screaming "HE HAS MY EYES! CAN'T YOU SEE! HE HAS MY EYES!" All too much to deal with. Thinking about it i'm actually happy with doggy this doggy that. The alternative is not quite as safe.


Friday, 26 April 2013

Long Weekend Of Family Illness

Our long weekend of family fun took a turn for the worse last night. With my head firmly in the toilet vomiting everything in my stomach through the night I was kept up and I kept The Chancellor up too, which she wasn't too happy about. The wee man on the other hand slept through the night with no problems. Sod's law. Today I have been asleep for about five hours and never have The Chancellor's cold hands been so wonderfully accepted as she tried to bring my temperature down. I have only, at three in the afternoon, been able to keep a bit of food down which is a real shame, as I like food.

The wee man, while I've been asleep has been playing nicely and not so nicely with his grandmother's dog. In the past we have had to segregate the pair as the dog is too jumpy and the wee man has been too small. Now the wee man is a little older we are more comfortable with having them play together but the wee man is not as big as he thinks he is. After throwing a toy for the little Jack Russel things were looking good, everyone was happy.

Then the dog launched himself at the wee man knocking him back into he hearth of the open fire. The wee man as you can imagine wasn't too happy at this and had a good cry causing the dog to bark and the cycle continued just with the pair getting louder and louder. One step forward two steps back.

It isn't all the dog's fault though as the wee man gets overly excited when he sees him, screeching whenever he sees the little dog pass leading to the dog getting a bit too excited. Leaving the pair together unsupervised would be a recipe for disaster but give it a couple yeas then they will be thick as thieves. Until then a referee will be needed.

Right I need to go and take drugs and wait for The Chancellor to return with her freakishly cold hands.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Long Weekend Of Family Fun

I have finally made it. I am in remote lands. But I have unlimited internet, thanks to my brother-in-law, so life is good. After the obligatory falling out with The Chancellor and the rushed packing we made our way south in a car so full it was like one of the wee man's nappies after a long and hot day.

The wee man to give him his dues slept most of the way down and I was supplied with a steady line of Jelly Babies so I couldn't grumble about driving in the rain. The real test will be in June when we go on holiday down to Devon. If you live abroad and you read this blog, Newcastle and Devon are a long way apart. A LONG way. We were due to fly but I refuse to pay upwards of £400 to fly within the confines of my own country. So we are going to road trip it and the wonderful AA route finder has told me it will take eight and a half hours. Yay. I can already feel the family holiday fun excitement setting in.

We do intend to break up the trip with overnight stops otherwise we would have to drive through the night and we would need a lot of Jelly Babies to keep me going. Still the holiday will involve a good deal of driving and will probably make me want to sleep for the entire time we are there.

Aside from driving this trip this weekend will involve seeing some great time with friends and family. As we are in a very different place with the wee man we hope that he will acclimatise easily and sleep for us. It's a shame that I can't explain to him that he's ruining my holiday if he wakes me up through the night but The Chancellor is on duty this weekend anyway so she can tell him.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Why Picking Up Poo Is NO Good

At the top of today's agenda is my Baby Centre offering for the week. After some snooty comments on my colleague Elise Button's blog I decided it was time to stand up for us dads. http://www.baby.co.uk/mum_stories/how-the-traumatic-birth-of-my-son-affected-me/ here is my rebuttal. Whether or not the tedious people will comment is another thing though I hope they do just so I can argue with them and destroy them in a dazzling display of rhetoric. We shall see.

On to today and the wee man can quite often go from hero to zero very quickly. After a nice stroll through Jesmond Dene (a big park in Newcastle) and a visit to see barnyard animals the wee man thought it would be acceptable behaviour to pick up a lump of poo. Lovely. My reaction was at first one of disbelief but I quickly pulled him away, shouted and he cried for a while. There will be no sympathy from me when fecal matter is touched. Luckily it happened near the cafe and I was able to clean him up despite his protests that playing with poo was fun. Some days you just have to sigh.

Also today I went to buy the wee man his third pair of shoes and at this rate he isn't going to be a wee man for long. Having outgrown his past two efforts I'm seeing how shoe firms are doing so well. Anyway I'm sure these new ones will last thirty seconds and I'll be forking out more money again sooner rather than later. This I am aware is my life from now on, especially if we have another child.

Tomorrow we are on holiday so One Man will be coming from distant lands (mother-in-law's house) where wi-fi will hopefully be supplied to me. Otherwise I'm off to a internet cafe, if those things still exist.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Longest Day Of Year Part 1.

Things here at HQ have eased somewhat. The wee man's viral infection looks to be on its way out which is a relief for all of us. We have even managed to venture out with real people and their real children, enjoying conversation and coffee which is something that has been in short supply during the last few days.

The wee man seems much happier about life, getting back to sleeping properly which seems to have made a massive difference and it has also meant I have been able to catch up on writing blogs and sections of my novel, everyone's a winner. Tomorrow on Baby Centre you will read all about the wee man's traumatic entry to the world. "Sounds great" I can hear you say.

But onto more immediate matters. Filling our day is imperative today as it's a very long day for us. The Chancellor is down in London having set off at some silly hour this morning and won't return home until some silly hour tonight. I have managed this well today, so far, meeting friends as well as doing lots of rubbish little jobs that needed to be done and which take up more time you would imagine. Having to do everything in the wee man's day including bath time and bed time not just tires you out but drains you of any remaining energy you have to do things that you want to do for yourself once your child is asleep.

The next two hours are the hardest just before before bed time and more than likely Cbeebies will take centre stage for at least half that time. This is the first of a few times The Chancellor will be away for very long days and I will need to fill these days with more than just odd jobs otherwise she will come home to discover me rocking in the corner and the wee man running around naked occasionally stopping to stare at the TV. Though I'm sure this has happened before.

I'll fill you in tomorrow to let you know if I've managed to survive or not though I bought chocolate brownies today so the safe money is that I will survive.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Viral Difficulties

Viral infections are rubbish. After I wrote yesterday the wee man got progressively worse leading to him crying uncontrollably for an hour as we calmed him down for bed. Usually he just goes down, no questions asked. But last night both The Chancellor and I took in shifts to stop the wee man from completely destroying his vocal chords.

He has what's called Hand, foot and mouth which sounds considerably worse than it is, though if you tried to tell us that last night I would have punched you. The spotty rash has broken out more on his hands and he's just generally miserable. Unfortunately there is no cure and it usually goes away by itself after a week or so. Let's hope that it's close to ending. I have just spent half an hour calming him down after another disastrous nap which ended in him crying and crying and crying and crying...

Finally after a bread stick or two and Mister Tumble he finally has calmed his pants, leaving me dishevelled, very weary and desperate for The Chancellor to return home. There is something quite hideous about having a sick child who you can't really help, unless you count bread sticks and TV as help.

Being a viral infection and also being highly contagious we are quarantined from other children. This means avoiding groups we go to as well as play areas etc etc. But as we only have 3 days to fill before The Chancellor is off for a few days this isn't so bad. I'm sure with a mixture of crap food and crap TV we can power through.

Let's hope the wee man is in the mood for sleep tonight otherwise we're all doomed for another night of screaming.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sickness And Chocolate Digestives

It’s been a while since the wee man has been ill. Occasionally he has had the odd cold but he hasn't suffered with a crappy illness for a while, until now. For the past couple of days he has been suffering with a rash and a cough and he looks like how I feel after a night of drinking. After waking up from a disastrously short nap he cried non-stop for a good twenty minutes until we gave him a chocolate digestive this subdued him for a short time until he finished it then he cried again. After a walk and a spot fresh air he quietened down but he still looks rough.

This picture was actually taken a while ago but sums up today quite nicely.
The Chancellor though was in her element caring for her son, giving him plenty of motherly hugs. Not that I don’t give him fatherly hugs but I think her hugs are a bit nicer, plus hers come with chocolate digestives.

On a brighter note I managed to escape for a couple of hours this morning. I went to be a stereotypical writer and sat in a cafe writing my novel and drinking far too much coffee. So much so that I came home with the jitters and felling sick. I sensed the wee man was waiting for my return to cry as much as he did just to punish me for having ‘man time’.

Luckily for all of us the mighty Calpol seems to have had some effect, as it always does, but his rash does look very sore and if it is there in the morning a trip to our GP may be order. For all of us we hope that sleep comes back as we have had some interrupted nights and I'm back on duty tonight. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Catchment Area Conundrum

When we bought the place we are in at the moment, we didn't really have anything to do with children. Little ankle biters seemed years away and only for people who were sickeningly happy at losing sleep, their freedom and happiness. So where we bought was near bars, cafes, restaurants and it is a stone's throw from the city centre. Now as we look to move on to our next house, sooner rather than later, our search parameters have changed so much it's like we have turned into people who are sickeningly happy about losing sleep, freedom and happiness.

The Chancellor has learnt catchment areas for schools and we have read nearly all Ofsted reports for every school in the areas we want. Ofsted reports by the way are very very boring but apparently are important for the future development of the wee man, even though he is very bright and will be a high flier no matter which school he attends.

This time as we look for houses we are no longer looking for places near bars or gastro-pubs but places that come with tedious things like garages and utility rooms. Both spaces where I can hide my invisible tool box. How the mighty have fallen. But as we intend to move out to nearer the beach to a nice street or some cul-de-sac we are also moving quickly into the middle-class, middle-aged suburban life that had scared me for so many years. Will I be expected to mow the lawn every Saturday? Talk 'tool talk' with my neighbours? Will I have to go and buy a people carrier? I will try and fight off this image as long as possible or at the very least not engage my neighbours in 'tool talk'.

Maybe everyone succumbs to suburban life eventually and the grim reaper of the cul-de-sac has come calling for me. Maybe is started when I began shopping at M&S, maybe when I started wearing wool jumpers everyday. I can't be sure but there's a knock at the door and there's a hand leading me to suburbia.


Friday, 19 April 2013

The Wee Man, The (Ride On) Car Jacker

The group we go to on a Friday has always been...interesting and...different. I decided against my better nature to sign up for a ten week block mainly because the wee man has a great time but also because I'm friends with lots of yummy mummies. The Chancellor and I often run into these mums in the park and it must look slightly weird for my better half to see me chatting away to lots of women she doesn't know. But don't worry my wife I am only eye candy...

Anyway aside from my ego it was Bob The Builder day today at this group. We were told by the group leader that we should be trying to get the children to pretend to hammer nails on a block of wood. This didn't go down too well with one mummy who turned to me a little frantically and said that she was trying to discourage her daughter from this sort of behaviour as her once nice white walls now had a load of blue marks where the daughter had hammered a pen to the wall over and over again. I thought of asking her why she just hadn't painted the walls blue and be done with it. But I sensed it was a sore point and left it be.

The wee man on the other hand took his wooden stick and tried to hammer other children's feet and had to be pulled back and distracted with a plastic saw. He also continually stole the same toy from the same boy who in the end got so annoyed that he ran off crying to his mum. The wee man didn't care and rubbed it in the boy's face by riding round the whole area on the toddler jacked sit on car.

I have found that most parents are quite good actually when the wee man tries to commandeer another child's toy. The parents usually say that there child is just the same and needs to be taken down a peg or two. The wee man will fight you for a toy that he wants but I'm just waiting for the day he gets taken down a peg or two. The joys of parenting.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Wee Man, The Knight

If two things scream "BOYS TOYS!" it's a sword and a helmet. If I wasn't so grown up and mature I would perhaps still be running around brandishing a sword. Who doesn't like to play Knights of the Round Table?

The wee man wasn't so sure on wearing his helmet however and now ducks any time I try to put it on his head. The sword though is as much a success with him as it is with me. The sword just so happens to look like the one used in the live action He-Man movie Master of the Universe. Alas though the sword doesn't hold the secrets of the universe and I am not all powerful (not yet anyway).

Noticing that I could pretend to be the most powerful man in the universe my day just kept getting better. Have I been running around pretending to be He-Man today? Yes. Yes I have and I'm proud to tell you this. What else am I meant to do with my son?

After prising the sword from his hand the wee man wasn't too fussed with my best attempts to sound like the man himself and took himself off to play with his wooden blocks and shapes. One day he will understand the joy of regressing to one's youth and he will revel in it like me today.

I'm not sure The Chancellor would play He-Man with him, she would be keeping the point of the sword away from his eyes. It's a dad's prerogative to play such games with their son and there's no shame in it.



Wednesday, 17 April 2013

I Have Returned...

Firstly sorry for yesterday and thank you to those kind people who sent me nice messages. You will be remembered when the revolution comes. There is extra for you today as I have published a Baby Centre blog which is about continually reading banal stories about celebrities and their children. I find stories like this rather tedious and you find out more if you to go http://www.baby.co.uk/mum_stories/celebrities-and-their-children-why-should-we-care/.

But back now to my own brand of banality. Being ill sometimes as its advantages. Today I was booked in to have a filling on one of my back teeth. If you read my blog post http://onemanandaweebairn.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/marathon-man-first-trip-to-dentist.html who will know I don't like dentists. But despite feeling as bad as yesterday I went, mainly because I wouldn't be charged the earth for missing an appointment but also to prove to The Chancellor that I was a real man. I managed an x-ray without coughing but as soon as dentist Mike began cleaning my mouth I had a coughing fit mostly over the nice dentist. He gave me a stay of execution saying it may be best for me to come back at a later date, a month later. I told him 'sorry' but what I really meant was 'yesssssssssssssssssss'.

As I walked back packing a load of cold and flu remedies that never do anything for man flu, I stopped off to buy myself a vanilla doughnut as a treat. This I hope is exactly what Mike would have wanted me to do. I look upon it as my 'victory doughnut'.

I am now back home and much like last night all I want to do, at ten past five is to go to bed. We spent the morning with my parents by the beach and this wiped not just me out but The Chancellor and the wee man too. The Chancellor has, given her dues, been very sympathetic but what she and all the other women in the world don't understand about man flu is...


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Closed For Business

One Man and a Wee Bairn Is Shut For Today

I Have Man Flu and Feel Rubbish

I'm Sorry I Can't Bring You My Usual Load Of Banality

But I Don't Really Care As All I Want To Do Is Hide Under A Duvet

But I Can't As Every time I Lie Down The Wee Man Slaps Me In The Face

See You Tomorrow

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Wee Man, The Lothario

Last week I told you that at a disco the wee man pinned a girl to the wall. This wasn't really a proud moment for us as parents. Luckily the girl in question was much bigger than him and took no crap from the wee man and quickly batted him away. Today though the wee man's approach to girls was much nicer. We go, on a Monday, to a small group with my friend Sensory Mummy and her daughter.

After fighting it out for a good ten minutes for a Charlie Bear toy, the pair took to sulking in different parts of the room. The wee man was the first to crack coming up to his friend and giving her a nice hug. This hug though didn't melt the heart of his little friend and it took her a while before she forgave the wee man for stealing her Charlie Bear toy. However this was a positive step forward for us as a pair because for a while I was scared he was becoming a junior sex pest and I would get the blame. So gentle hugging is a good step forward.

If I were to leave him, say at nursery, I think I would spend half my time worrying if he was being rough to other children. I rough-house with him and the incident with Funny Mummy's son at the swimming pool speaks for itself. He is starting to notice other children and seems to think it's funny to push them or like at the disco pin them against the wall.Sooner rather than later he will push a child and they will be much bigger and they will return the push but just harder. But I suppose if you've ever started a fight with someone bigger than you (I have in a former life) that you never really learn no matter how old you are. If you go into Newcastle on a Friday and Saturday night you will see grown men and women doing what the wee man is doing. So maybe he's just starting now for future nights out in Newcastle.

After his graduating to hugging I hope that I won't be known as 'that guy' who has that really weird son, who everyone should avoid. So to all your parents I say "WE ARE NOT TOXIC! YOU CAN PLAY HAPPILY AND SAFELY WITH US! WE ARE NOT WEIRD!"


Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Wee Man, The Trendsetter

Children where I live tend to dress well. You see a lot of North Face, Berghaus and all those other brands that people, who never actually go hiking or climbing, wear. Also in my area you see a lot of 4x4s all of which have never seen a drop of mud on them and which are totally unnecessary for the narrow streets. This annoys me as you can probably tell.

But today the wee man, dressed in a very fetching gillet, looked remarkably like all the other rich kids who run around the area, just with poor parents. We were very close to calling the wee man Montgomery, no joke, I love to name and I had managed to convince The Chancellor that it was a great name too. Monty would have fitted well in this area where the children are called things like Hector and Tarquin.

Luckily we changed our mind and settled on calling him the wee man, just in case we have to go and live in a less well off area where he would fear for his life with a name like Monty. Can you imagine me shouting "Monty" in a fairly posh voice down the aisles of any supermarket? I would be lynched or I would just look like a real twat idiot.

The gillet was a real hit today and what was even better was that he suddenly looked like Marty Mcfly from Back To The Future. Obviously he is also better looking than Michael J. Fox. Maybe the wee man could play him in a remake perhaps. But yesterday he was footballing prodigy, would acting bring more money in for me than football???


Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Wee Man, The Strong Man

The wee man is a strange one. In a large park with so many things going on all he wants to do is push around one his little friends in their tricycle. Once he realised he could do this there was no pulling him away and if you did then a minor tantrum would occur. His little friend wasn't quite sure what to make of being pushed around, by the wee man, giving a half scared half confused look.

Every now and again his little friend would point to where he wanted to be pushed. The wee man not taking any notice and being his own man pushed him in the opposite direction much to the chagrin of his little friend. The contrasting faces in the picture says it all.

Does all this pushing mean the wee man has a future as a trolley pusher in a supermarket? Let's hope not and maybe he will get bored of pushing people about.

We were all lucky that the sun shone for our day in the park with various things to amuse the children. Though two of them were happy to be pushed around and the others flitted between scaring the birds (the wee man) and toddling. As we left, the park was filling up steadily and it seems we visited just at the right time. If there's one thing I've learnt from my time parenting is get in early and get before the masses descend upon you. This philosophy seemed to work today and with the wee man exhausted from his exertions I am ready now for the bacon sandwich I didn't get this morning.


Friday, 12 April 2013

Mr Weekend Family Fun

A week on from last week's swimming pool accident, the wee man hasn't really learnt his lesson. Back again we went to the community pool today but this time he was even more determined than last week to get out of the pool and run off, to the point where the big crocodile tears came streaming down.

This time though I had learnt my lesson and insisted on holding his hand if he wanted to get out and roam around. Life would be a lot easier if there had been two of us there but alas there was not.

Tomorrow we are due at a park open day where there will be lots going on, or so I have been told. Depending on how much of a lie in I get and how much of a cooked breakfast I manage to eat will determine what sort of mood I'm in for it. But just to spite certain people (who will remain nameless) who called me a miserable so and so today I will go tomorrow and be the happiest one there. You will not see a bigger smile there than on my face. I might be quite cynical but miserable, me? Lies, lies and damn lies. Only occasionally have I given the impression of grumpiness and that's generally because I'm chasing a toddler around all day, all week. SUPER CYNICAL MAN will transform before your very eyes tomorrow into MR WEEKEND FAMILY FUN MAN. On my utility belt will now be jokes, a cheery disposition and a smile at every turn. I will be the personification of 'weekend family fun'.

I'll show you, I'll show all of you that I have a fun side though beware you'll only see it if I have had a bacon sandwich and some coffee otherwise I'll just a miserable so and so.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Wee Man, The World Superstar

Through the gloom of a Thursday morning I made a new friend today. At the playground at the park two dads' eyes crossed and it was love at first sight. Having been one I know a nervous dad a mile off and my new friend looked a bit uncomfortable on his arrival. We both gravitated towards the swings keeping an eye on each other to see if friendship was on the cards. In the past I have been a bit full on with dads who do childcare so this time I decided to take it slow. As both children were in the small swings we stood next to each in silence only acknowledging each other with a nod and an 'alright?' It didn't take long for conversation to flow and by the end we were nearly holding hands. My new BFF.

After some man love the wee man and I went to play football and in actual fact he is pretty damn good. His close control and dribbling ability are impressive for a boy of 17 months. I had a failed football career because of a serious injury (lies) and a lack of talent so I now intend to live through him. And if he does make it he will earn me millions and keep me accustomed to the life I know and I can say (smugly) when he scores the winning goal in the World Cup final "That's my son".

He did though get distracted by dogs running near him and found them far more interesting than me doing keepie uppies. He then got distracted by various holes that were in the ground, I'm not entirely sure why and how they got there but the millions I had in mind were quickly disappearing. With a sigh he collapsed on the floor meaning we need to work on his stamina and possibly his concentration skills. Still a proud dad day.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Boys Being Boys

First of all today many thanks go to Multi-Mum for joining us here on One Man. Her blog certainly did get a good response and if she manages to find time in the future we would love to have her write here again.

On to current affairs and today there is a Baby Centre blog for you to look at. This week's offering is about toddler reins and the position I argue isn't now necessarily what I believe. Never-the-less here it is http://www.baby.co.uk/mum_stories/my-difficulties-with-toddler-reins-are-leads-just-for-dogs/. I'm sure you will have your own opinion on the subject.

Moving to today and in a bid to save or at least help Multi-Mum's sanity, the wee man and I visited her and two of her children this morning. The little two who are now six months old were in a jovial mood, smiling, telling humorous limericks and reciting anecdotes from the previous week. I had expected the wee man to be overly curious of the wee children but he didn't even register they were there being far more interested in the older two's pink princess ride on cars. This was fine but the pink pram was maybe a bit much.

After a morning of playing with girl's toys we went to do decidedly more manly things.With Funny Daddy and his son we went to the park to look at barnyard animals. Yes this is a manly thing (apparently). Only his son took a shine to a pink princess bike that a small girl had. There must be something about pink for these two. The bike was impressive despite it being for princesses only and if Funny Daddy's son had been any bigger he would have gotten on and ridden off. Probably with the wee man in hot pursuit.

Despite still being young the pair recognise each other and I'm sure in years to come they will become thick as thieves, that's if the wee man's little friend forgives him for trying to push him into a swimming pool multiple times. Whether or not in the future they will still like pink is another thing altogether and whether or not Funny Daddy and myself have allowed them to like it is more important question.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

When Life Takes Those Funny Turns. Multi-Mum Speaks!

Multi-Mum and Multi-Dad are a bit of an inspiration to myself and The Chancellor. Having four children between the ages of six months and two years can't in any way be easy. But how did Multi-Mum and Multi-Dad get to this point? She joins us today with an excellent guest blog!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Julie and I am ‘multi’ Mum to four beautiful girls. Non identical twin cherubs who have just turned two and identical wee twin cherubs who have just turned 6 months.
Welcome to my world of chaos, routines, laughter, tears, tantrums, stress and a whole lot of love!

Life was not always this way.

In early 2010 I was trying to come to terms with the fact I may never have children of my own following years of infertility and numerous failed IVF attempts.

Anyone who has suffered from fertility problems will know trying to conceive completely takes over your life. Every waking moment is consumed with tracking cycles, peeing on sticks and planning ‘relations’ in the bedroom to the ninth degree! And God forbid a husband who tries excuses like ‘too tired’, ‘not in the mood’ or ‘too full after dinner’. And don’t even think about having a beer, drunk sperm swim the wrong way! I could go on.

Every month is the same. Pregnant women everywhere, stroking their bumps smugly and who love nothing better than telling you they had fallen pregnant quite by accident on their first attempt! Then during fertility treatment with hormones raging from all the crazy drugs you are taking, well meaning people would recite stories of a friend of a friend of a cousin twice removed who had failed IVF then went on to get pregnant with twins naturally once they had stopped thinking about it and relaxed. I smiled through gritted teeth whilst I thought about smacking them hard in the face!

But later that same year our luck finally changed and our fourth IVF attempt resulted in a positive pregnancy test for the first time. After a few weeks of knicker watch and worrying it would all go horribly wrong we were told it was twins! I remember feeling like I had won the lottery. All our years of heartbreak had finally paid off and we were one of the lucky couples who got their happy ending with the birth of our gorgeous twin girls and our family was complete.

Or so we thought. It seems that sometimes there is some truth in those urban legends you hear. After a rare night out to see Spirit Medium extraordinaire, Derek Acorah and a couple of bottles of cheap plonk later it seems the spirits definitely moved in our household that evening and the course of lives was about to change forever.

One month before our twins first birthday I found out I was pregnant and a few weeks later we found out it was twins, again! My husband’s reaction to this news is a whole other story in itself! And so on the eve of my big twins birthday we watched our wee twins on a scan wiggle and kick and somersault on the screen and a whole new chapter of our lives was about to begin.

Having done it once how hard could it be to do it all again 18 months later…

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Neon Lights Of Insanity

As a stay-at-home-parent you regularly need to build battlements in your mind to keep out stupid thoughts. When the most important thing you do in a day is feed a child there tends to be quite a bit of free time to mull over those other things in your life. As you would imagine, if you actually have nothing else going on in your life (like me), you tend to obsess about stuff that in reality is not worth obsessing about.This can be anything from not getting a reply to an e-mail to roadworks being done at the end of your road (which will be there by the way for six months) or even Cbeebies changing their lunchtime schedule.

But being a stay-at-home-parent you also have far too much time to think about stuff which is actually quite important and worthy of stress. For instance money, money again, anything and everything to do with your child and finally money for the third time.

Suddenly a situation which probably wasn't that bad becomes a giant screaming neon light of a problem. It's only when The Chancellor gets home that someone goes and unplugs the neon light and I return to normality. The next day I find something else to spend my time turning into a sign that would look good on a Tokyo street.

Today's obsession was to do with the wee man's diet. Now the wee man is a brilliant eater (for now) but I became worried he wasn't getting enough meat in his diet. It was only when I was in the shop explaining this to a poor sales assistant that I realised that maybe just maybe there wasn't anything to worry about. The sales assistant just looked at me wondering why I was telling him about the wee man's diet. As I began wondering too I quickly shut up and paid for the meat and got on my way. The guy I spoke to already thinks I'm weird or so I think and I now won't be able to get back into the shop without thinking of myself as a bit of a fool. There may be more than one shop in the local area where this is the case.


Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Wee Man, The Raver

We have gotten to the end of the day and all three of us are wiped out. The wee man more so than his mum and dad. We have just returned from a second birthday party for two of Multi Mum and Multi Dad's brood but more on that in a minute. We started the day with mundane duties in the shape of shower curtain shopping. Yes, I hit the heady heights of this and normally this wouldn't be blog worthy material. However the wee man who was excited by toilets and sinks and flushing the flushers multiple time couldn't believe his luck when we got to the shower section. Off he raced and managed to get into one of the showers and lock himself away from the world much to his delight. How we weren't kicked out or forced to buy a new bathroom is anyone's guess. After examining the quality of splash-backs and taps the wee man was ready to party.

The quite wonderful Multi Mum and Multi Dad had arranged a party for their eldest twins and a rough head count told me there were twenty other children there. Having gone out for a few beers last night I was a little tired but my tolerance levels were still high enough to deal with social interaction. And they needed to be. Twenty children sat down for a banquet of cucumber sticks and crisps. Seeing as I was hungry and I have little shame I stole from the table in full sight of the parents. You snooze you lose was my mind-set.

After eating the disco began and after a moment of slight worry the wee man was off dancing around and trying it on with the girls, at one point pinning one of them to the wall. We had to tell him that that kind of behaviour will result in prosecution. He was by far the best dancer in the place, it's just a shame that some parents may think of him as a mild sex pest...


Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Wee Man, The Bully

Ah the community swimming pool. A harbinger of fungal infections and unruly children. Or so I used to think. And who would have thought that when the wee man and I went it would be he who was unruly. Do you remember the signs that said 'No heavy petting', 'No running' and 'No pushing'? Well the wee man decided he was going to break a number of those rules yesterday.

We went along yesterday with Funny Mummy and her son. Things were going swimmingly at first, so to speak. The wee man was enjoying the water as was his little friend. But then the wee man realised he could get out and got very excited at standing by the side of the pool. Funny Mummy had sat her son on the side to have his legs paddling in the pool. With a devilishly grin the wee man went behind his little friend and tried to push him into the pool. And he didn't just try this once he tried this multiple times each time looking like Chucky from Child's Play. His little friend didn't look too pleased with being shoved into the pool as you would imagine if you have hand pushing your head into the pool. Embarrassing moment for me.

So to combat this I moved him back into the pool but we soon gravitated back to the side of the pool. Again out he got but this time he slipped my grasp and ran off down the side of the pool. With me wading quickly through water he was far too quick for me and I had visions of him falling and cracking is head off the side. Then he really did slip and he crashed to the floor causing a nose bleed and lots of crying. Rough housing and running by the pool all in one day, I'm surprised we weren't asked to vacate the premises. Hard work doesn't even begin to express sometimes what it's like with the wee man.

Was yesterday the end of the line for his friendship with Funny Mummy's son? Maybe not seeing as I'm sure he'll get the wee man back in some form or another in the future. Until then I am just going to have to be embarrassed.


Friday, 5 April 2013

The Wee Man The Torturer

Kronenbourg beer is quite strong. I didn't realise how strong until this morning. I attend a pub quiz most Thursdays with IT Daddy and some nice fiends of his. Our team does quite well generally leading to a free drink coupon being thrust in my hand as I arrive, magic darts. Last night I was on the Kronenbourg and this morning I certainly knew it. Moments after The Chancellor left for work I was lying on the sofa almost crying into the cushion wishing I had drunk some water before bed. I didn't hit it hard last night by any stretch of the imagination but I should have learnt that hangovers and children are not a good combination.

The wee man was not in a forgiving mood, climbing onto me he proceeded to pull my hair and poke a grubby finger in my eye saying. "Gaggy, gaggy, gaggy". I let out a small wail and tried to bury my head deeper into the sofa but to no avail, he came at me again "Gaggy, gaggy, gaggy". In a moment of dreadful parenting, I put on the TV and told he could go crazy with children's TV. This quickly shut him up and I found peace for ten minutes before the next onslaught.

Swimming this afternoon should brighten my day and hopefully will give the wee man time to run his batteries down before home.Tonight though I am out again with a former work colleague. After he sent me a message asking me if I was free I replied saying "should be, though I'll have to double check with The Chancellor." Shortly after this I though it necessary to tell him that I actually didn't need her permission and I am the man of the house. This didn't sound too convincing and on her return home from work last night "do you mind love if I pop out tomorrow night?" Oh the power she must feel. Oh the power. Permission was granted, even though I didn't need it and drinking will be had tonight.

Tomorrow morning neither The Chancellor nor the wee man will be in a forgiving mood and no doubt a job list will appear in my hand while I hold my head saying "Owwwwwwww." Sympathy cards can be sent to the usual address.



Thursday, 4 April 2013

To Nursery Or To Not Nursery?

I was amiss to not inform you about my Baby Centre blogs yesterday but one of them I want to follow on from today. http://www.baby.co.uk/mum_stories/is-my-son-missing-out-by-not-going-to-nursery/. The blog relates to the question of whether I'm making a mistake by not sending the wee man to nursery  The feedback I've gotten from the blog generally says that yes I'm making a mistake and if I don't send him to nursery then he will become a sociopathic killer. Well it didn't quite go this far but near enough.

There seem to be two camps here. First off, there seems to be those who think that nursery is a necessary social convention and without it children will grow to be isolated and weird. For these people the idea of parents not sending their children to nursery is alien. This is a perfectly valid opinion.

Then there is the second group who think of nursery as only necessary as a last resort of childcare. I fall into this camp. I also fall into this camp because I refuse to spend silly money on childcare when I can do it myself. If I was still working, the job I had would have only just paid nursery fees and I hated the job anyway, so what's the point? The wee man and I regularly spend our days out and I argue that he's seeing more of the world than he will ever see at nursery and he's interacting with more people than he would at nursery.
I understand that everybody's situation is different and money plays a key role in decision making. And I would also like to add that I'm not saying that people who send their children to nursery love their children less. I'm NOT saying this.

Most of the people my age didn't go the nursery because way back when nursery was somewhat different to what it is now and people want to get back to work sooner now, again a valid right. But we, mostly, turned out OK. There is far too emphasis in life and in the feedback to my blog about getting children socialised by a certain point. The wee man will go to play groups but I see no need yet to send him nursery for the sake of it. Rant over.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Marathon Man (First Trip To The Dentist)

The film Marathon Man isn't wholly remarkable. It's a standard thriller which has a convoluted plot about diamonds, Nazis and mistaken identity. However what it does have is a scene which made me never want to visit the dentist ever again. If you have seen Marathon man you'll know exactly what I mean. Dustin Hoffman's character is abducted and tortured by means of probing a cavity then having his tooth drilled into without anesthetic. If I remember rightly I was fifteen or sixteen at the time I watched this and I was about to get braces fitted, cue sleepless nights and terror.

Anyway I mention this because as I lay there in my dentists' chair yesterday I suddenly had flashbacks to Marathon Man. Cue clenching of hands and that terror again. It didn't help as he prodded my gums with bits of sharp metal, asking 'does that hurt?' After the interrogation for stolen diamonds had finished he informed me that I needed a filling and that as I've not been to the dentist for four years I could do with a deep clean. I would like to point out that I'm not dirty, in fact my mouth gets cleaned twice a day but even that wouldn't make me dentist clean.

The wee man also has been recently and looked even more terrified than I did as 'Mike' our friendly dentist, who looks like he's just left school, came at him with bits of metal. I had a great deal of sympathy for the wee man and I will happily stand by him if he tells his mother that he doesn't want to go to the dentist, there is strength in unity my son.

Despite having a wimp of a father and having not been inflicted with Marathon Man just yet the wee man duly obliged to Mike and opened wide for him (with a little help from me). Mike who I guess hasn't had much experience with kids quickly stopped at the first sight of the wee man having a fuss, claiming everything looked fine even though he barely looked in the wee man's mouth. If only my trip had ended like this. Instead I have to go back in two weeks and spend a good deal of money on getting stabbed in the gums.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

When Dads Do Lunch

The last time Funny Daddy and I were at The Baltic some tedious woman complained quite loudly about the quality of her Full English Breakfast. From where we were sitting the food looked pretty damn good and we almost reached over and took it for ourselves. So this time as we brought our boys downstairs to the cafe it didn't take us long to convince ourselves that we should sample what they had to offer. It didn't hurt that there wasn't a calorie counter in sight and our argument was that if the quality of the food was good then there wouldn't be that much fat or that many calories in it. A sounder argument has never been spoken in the history of life

We were not let down and found it even harder to work out what the silly woman had been moaning about. Bacon, sausage, black pudding, fried bread etc etc etc. all cooked well and all good quality. I'm drooling as I write and I can also feel my left ventricle slamming shut.

As our boys sat and ate their dry and sad looking food they started to lean over more and more to the point where drool could be seen gushing from their mouths. Being strapping men (well one of us) we would only let a small percentage of our foods off our plates and into the mouths of babes. These breakfasts were manly breakfasts for manly men not for little boys.

The wee man and his little friend both have a way however of getting things they want by giving a look that melts your heart in a second. They often charm the pants off women in cafes or restaurants and the looks they gave us today increased the quantity of tasty food they got. This will be an excellent skill to master in the future but beware anyone who they hypnotise... your phone may go missing but more than likely your sausage and bacon will leave your plate in a flash.


Monday, 1 April 2013

A First Taste Of Chocolate

During periods of time like Easter reality takes a bit of a break and we exist in a warm bubble where work and all responsibility don't exist anymore. A faux world indeed but a nice one none-the-less  The Chancellor has been off for four days making the days relaxed and I have a partner in crime when eating the various chocolate based products.

The wee man has enjoyed our tag team parenting and has even been given chocolate for the first time. His reaction was one of being...well...under-whelmed. I'm not sure what I was expecting from him, maybe glazed eyes, maybe he would become a monster in an instant, maybe he would run off nude into the street. None of these things happened, he just carried on as normal. We got more of a reaction of delight when we gave him some of our home made risotto for lunch today.

To say we have been lucky with food with the wee man is an understatement. The only thing he hasn't really liked has been pasta carbonara and even then he still ate it. He eats and eats with not a care in the world and he is well and truly his parent's son. I may be speaking too soon and by the time he gets to two or three he will only eat beans on toast and be an absolute monster. I can only hope the range of things he has had to eat will set him up well for later in life.      

Tomorrow our Easter bubble will burst and reality will return back into view. Though we'll be buoyed by a great weekend and the thought that it is only four days until the weekend again.