Heartbreaking Letter

I have just stumbled acros this letter to santa from a 7 year old girl, which makes me very thankful that wifey and I are not divorced and that we spent xmas together as a family with our daughter.
Like any little girl, she wants puppies, an iPhone, money – but her #1 request was “custady pappers that says I can see my dad more oftan.” Sadly, she’s more likely to get the puppies and iPhone than time with her father.

Wifey’s Birthday

It’s my wife’s birthday soon and I have been looking for gifts for her. She says she doesn’t like surprises and would prefer  cash, but does she really mean that? I like giving surprises. Although looking back over past purchases my track record is pretty patchy.

Early on in our relationship I bought her a stripper pole. She had been flirting with the idea for months. But she was seriously underwhelmed when she got one for her birthday. And suffice to say it lies under our bed never used,  although I still live in hope.

The other year I got her a gym membership. She had been talking about getting back in shape and I thought it would make a lovely gift. But she said it was insulting and scowled at me all night.I should have learnt my lesson about that one because she didn’t appreciate the cook book I got her for Xmas, or the bathroom scales.I know. I know. In retrospect not the best gift for wifey. But I thought she\'d like the colour.\r\n\r\nMy wife said they were gifts that said you are fat, lazy, and cant cook. Not things I actually think about my beloved but I can see now why she believed that I what I thought. The car sat-nav I got her two years ago didn’t go down much better. She is useless at directions and so I thought she’d appreciate it.

I think choosing bad gifts must go in the family because I still remember the year my grandma got me 3 pairs of socks, the wrong size, and 1 can of Lynx which said \’not to be sold separately\’ on the side (obviously one of a multipack) all wrapped in Minnie mouse wrapping paper. I was 27.

So after seven years of marriage maybe wifey is right to ask for her birthday gift to be cash rather than a “surprise”. But then again maybe I will get her some flowers. Surely you can’t go wrong with flowers direct to the door can you?  After all everyone likes flowers don’t they? I have just to make sure I stick to a beautiful bouquet and don’t swerve into more unconventional territory. Like the time I bought her a cactus. And she got needles in her hand when she unwrapped it.

The Visitor

In London lives a mummy and daddy who want to sleep together in their own bed, Just the two of them. Together alone.

But every night when the night is dark and the world is quiet they are be woken by a noise. The spooky sudden sound of a door being opened. The tiny patter of little feet.

They have heard those feet before. And they dare not look. Fearful of what will happen, they hide their heads under the duvet and hold each other tight.
All is quiet.

“I think she’s gone away’ whispered the woman.

The man slowly pops his head out from under the duvet. And his heart jumps. She is standing there. A nightmarish shadowy figure at the door. A little asian looking girl.

She is silent. Just staring at him. He recognises her. He has seen that spooky face before.She is “the visitor”. The Grudge who moves through their flat at night. In Japanese she is known as Ju-On.

ju-on

With x-ray eyes, she can walk the corridor in darkness.

He puts his head back under the covers and tries to calm his beating heart. Praying that she will go away.Hoping that its just a nightmare.

Hoping that he can go back to his dreams.

But he can feel a presence in the room. She is moving closer. And closer.

They stay absolutely still. With the forces of their minds, they will her to go away.

Suddenly they can feel the otherwordly duvet moving. And a body climbs into the bed.

Every night the visitor does this. Every night they swear they won’t let it happen again.

But the Grudge knows. The Grudge knows they are weak.

Potty Training

For years I’ve wanted a child. It took over 5 years and a lot of struggles and heartache to make our daughter.  But on Saturday when wifey announced that she was going to a day spa  and  “don’t  you remember you agreed to look after baby for the day”, my first reaction was fear, closely followed by horror.

She told me weeks ago. I vaguely remember wifey saying she wanted a day off  but I was watching football at the time and didn’t pay full attention. She is a cunning one wifey. She used to make her controversial proposals just after sex, when lying in bed with my soppy grin and serotonin flooding my body I’d happily agree to anything.  But we rarely have sex now, so football is the new post-coital.

Its not that I don’t love my daughter its just that as millions of mums and dads will testify to, they are bloody exhausting.

I function best as a daddy when I can give her a short period of fun attention. Read her a book, jump on the bed together, dance to a rave tune. Babysitting all day is a different matter. It’s also a totally inappropriate term when there is no sitting involved. More like, baby sit down-get up -run around-sit down-get up-try and read the paper-get up.

As she left there was anther wifey curve ball – “remember we are potty training so no nappies, just watch her and when she looks like she is doing a poo or a wee move her to the potty.” Great. I can’t even watch the telly now.As baby plays with her tea set I watch her like a hawk and look for the signs. But I can’t see any. So after ten minutes I elect to sit her on the potty.

She sits there reading her book. Quite content. She’s obviously been observing daddy’s toilet time. After 5 or so minute she gets up. I look inside the potty. Nothing. 30 seconds later she has shat all over the carpet.

She looks at me.
I look at her.
“Uh oh’ she says.

It’s the first of many accidents.Between potty time we watch animated penguins dance for over an hour on You Tube. We go to the park and go up and own the slide over 20 times in a row. We read the same nursery rhymes dozens of times. We jump on the bed. I bath baby, feed her and she is sick. (On reflection, jumping on the bed after breakfast was not the smartest move.) She also pees in the kitchen, and the lounge twice. All before 10.30 am.

By the time wifey arrives back home at 8 that night glowing from her facial and all day pampering I am a broken man. But overjoyed. “She peed in the potty. She peed in the potty. It was only a little one. But she peed in the potty” I excitedly tell wifey, slightly delirious.\r\n\r\nI choose not to mention the 9 times she didn’t.\r\n\r\nI love football because in a game of football you have high drama, periods of boredom, tears, joy, elation, disappointment, frustration, excitement, all packed into 90 minutes. Child care is similar. Except its like watching or playing 10 games of football back to back.

Respect to all mothers of the world and all stay at home dads. I salute you.

A Short Interview With Myself

How would you describe yourself before having kids?
Happy
How would you describe yourself now?
Even happier. It gives you the licence to be a kid again. You can play with trains, jump on the bed, make funny noises, make up words, watch kids tv all day  All things my wife would never let me do before we had Baby.
What books did you read pre-wife’s birth onwards?
I didn’t want to read wifey’s pregnancy books so I escaped into fiction. The Omen in retrospect wasn’t the best choice.
What’s in your daddy bag?
Some nappies, some baby wipes and a small bottle of whisky.
What advice did your mother /father give you that you found very useful?Dad advised me to buy myself a shed. I know what he means but we don’t have a garden. So I make do by locking myself in the loo and pretending I have constipation.
How does your parenting style differ from your own parents?
They seemed to know what they were doing.
How has your relationship with your wife changed since having kids?
No sex.
Have you found your usual blokeish repartee being replaced with things like mummy chatter?
Our poker school used to be about drugs and women.Now its about nappies and the best school to send your kids.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you as a dad?Running through the park chasing little one shouting “Here comes the  tickle-monster” can be liberating. But when caught doing it by a gang of hoodies it can be a bit embarrassing.
How has fatherhood changed you?
I never used to cry before I became a dad. Now I’m in floods watching wifey’s chick flicks. I’ve found a love for Peppa Pig which I didn’t know I had. And I’ve never knew I could find such a thrill in someone having a dump in a toilet.

Problems of Being an Older Dad #112

In the last few weeks baby has morphed from a sweet happy baby into a screaming attention seeking little miss drama queen.
Next week we are going on holiday to Italy for a week and I’m nervous. Unlike my parents who never really had a child free holiday, being the wrong side of 40 I have had over 20 years of childless holidays. To me a holiday means lie ins. Relaxing by the pool. Doing nothing all day. And sex. I fear that none of these will be on the agenda.

Snow

Somebody is up before dawn yelling “Snow, snow, snow. Let’s play.”
That somebody is me.

Wifey pulls the duvet over her head. ‘Let’s sleep.’ she moans.
But I can’t.

A layer of whiteness covers the streets. A sprinkling of magic that hides the dog sh*t and the McDonalds wrappers. I pace the house waiting for baby to wake up and looking longingly at the whiteness outside.

This is the first snow my daughter will have ever seen. It will be one of those memorable moments like her first walk or when she first saw Iggle Piggle in In the Night Garden. As soon as she is awake I point out the snow to Baby M. She looks at it like a weary teenager. And walks over to the table picks up the remote control and tries to switch on the TV.

Despite this lack of enthusiasm I persevere. I wrap her up and take her outside into the snow covered garden. Our winter wonderland. I want to capture her reaction. I want to see the look of amazement as she crunches the snow under foot. And looks at a world transformed. Her reaction is – screams. Screams, tears and more tears.

We go back inside.That’s kids for you. They never fail to surprise you. She is now playing with her doll. I am off again outside to throw snowballs and make a snowman.

Dogs Are Smarter Than My Toddler

Baby M is growing up quickly but she is still not as as smart as the average dog. According to new research the average dog can understand about 165 words, including signs, signals and gestures. They can also count to about 5.

Stanley Coren, a professor at the University of British Columbia and leading researcher on dog behaviour is so smart he has letters before and after his name. He has been doing doggy tests, and says the average dog can count, reason and recognise words and gestures on par with a human 2 -year-old.

Dogs can certainly drool like a teenage boy on heat.

“They may not be Einsteins, but are sure closer to humans than we thought,” he says.\r\n\r\nThe smartest dogs, he calls them the “super breeds,” are on par with a 2½-year-old, recognizing up to 250 words.\r\n\r\nWhile dogs ranked with the 2-year-olds in language Coren found that in terms of social inteeligence, our furry friends fare even better.\r\n\r\n”The social life of dogs is much more complex, much more like human teenagers at that stage, interested in who is moving up in the pack and who is sleeping with who and that sort of thing,” Coren told LiveScience.

And, no, not all breeds are created equally.\r\n\r\nThe smartest dogs? The borzoi, chow chow, bulldog, basenji and — finishing dead last — the Afghan hound.

Daddy Goes Clubbing

My body aches from all the dancing. The tunes are still rattling around my brain. My ears are ringing. My body is full of nasty chemicals. But despite that I have a big smile still on my face.

I have been out. I have been partying.Partying at a children’s party organised by the lovely Perform Party people.

The theme was Under The Sea. It was led by a pretty smiling Rochelle who in her in a blue and green silk mermaid style dress wouldn’t have looked out of place in an Ibiza nightclub. With patience and a real joi de vivre she took us parents and kids on a musical journey.\r\nWe played with a coloured parachute (the last time I did that I was at The Big Chill at Shoreditch Town Hall in 1995). And we did a fish dance which wifey and I managed to turn into a nostalgic “big fish, little fish cardboard box” rave dance of yesteryear. It was great fun. Me and the missus dancing round the gym. Her banging a tambourine and me twisting my melons man as I shook maracas like an insane Bez.

I even think baby enjoyed it although most of the time she was looking at herself in the full length mirror or hiding behind a curtain or watching mum and dad dancing insanely with a “are these really my parents?” quizzical look on her face.We don’t allow baby to eat sugary things so afterwards me and the wife ate too much cake and crisps, and drank fizzy drinks as baby tucked into her organic lasagne. It was a lovely way to spend Sunday morning. We really must go clubbing more often.

Perform put on parties for kids ranging from 1 to 12 they also do performance based classes. For more info visit their website.