Resilience

I see my hidden goal

As ensuring that my nurturing turns strong children turn into strong adults. I try to do this in the most subtle ways possible, taking every opportunity to reinforce subtle lessons with real life examples.

I don’t think I’m doing anything out of the ordinary, but I am conscious of who my cubs are, and how the world may view them as adults.

Inequalities

Over here we’ve finally had some solid data on pay differentials. Industry was compelled by the government to post pay grades, gender percentile and other qualitative data that basically, didn’t look good.

On average, women are paid less; people of colour are paid less. Not looking good.

On the plus side, my two are still in single digits age wise, and working a job isn’t what it used to be years ago. Nonetheless, I need to build my pack strong.

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Her

My daughter is a brainbox. Recall, attention to detail, enquiring mind, tick tick tick. Her desire for knowledge never fails to amaze me. Remembering me promising her things could ease off a bit though…

Historically, I’ve made her make her own giant leaps; from climbing up onto a chair before she could walk to riding without stabilisers, watching her tears of frustration turn to tears of joy when she finally mastered it. Watching her realisation, that effort brings rewards.

Now, when asked ‘How did you know to do that?’ by anyone, her answer of ‘the idea was in my head’ renews my pride.

Him

He’s still only 3, so the transition out of nappies to peeing standing up ‘just like daddy’ was a great moment. All those uncomfortable, accompanied trips to the toilet served a purpose.

Goal

As parents, we ultimately do our best. We have our ideal of what we want them to be. The nature/nurture argument plays into things as does free will.

My goal is to give them both the tools to know their worth in the world; to know that the path to success is rarely straightforward and that their ultimate power, lies within.

How they use those tools will be down to them.

Shape your thinking; shape your world.

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BSD

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Independents day

Ok I’m back and hopefully so is my writing bug. Let’s see how this goes.

I like to teach the cubs life skills whenever I can and today was a big one; cooking breakfast.

She’s 8 next month and has shown the maturity to use kitchen knives responsibly in the past. It’s time to use the hob to make porridge.

Safety first

Sharps are one thing; flame another. She gets a thorough briefing.

  1. No loose clothing. We go into the reasons why, without unduly scaring her. It’s also an occasion to deliver a lesson on ‘stop: drop and roll’
  2. Rear rings only. I rarely use the front ones when they’re here for safety reasons. I tell her that this stops her clothing getting too close. She double checks her clothing.
  3. No flame until it’s needed. Just before the pot goes on.
  4. Long spoon. An absolute must. A belt and braces way of keeping away from the flame.

Pride

She hits the ignition; her life changes for ever.

She turns to talk to me and reach for a bowl. I stop her; keeping her attention on the job. One thing at a time.

She counts aloud as the porridge thickens. Perfection; hob off.

I help with dishing out, as the pot is heavy. (Does the coagulation of a thixotropic material proportionately increase its mass? I’ll save that one for her graduation)

Finishing touches

She added the finishing touches to my bowl; honey, nuts, banana, blueberries, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger. Her bowl was less extravagant but she nailed it (apart from the turmeric but hey; curried porridge can be a thing…)

The look of satisfaction and pride on her face is immeasurable.

‘Best porridge ever daddy?’

Absolutely.

BSD

Breakfast questions

‘Dad..?’

Yes?

‘If you had to put your 3 most precious things in a safe, what would they be?’

That’s a good question; let me think…

Well you..

‘Yes..’

Your brother..

‘Yes. 1 more..’

……….

And a double pack of Custard Creams with a long use by date.

‘What about mummy!’

She can buy her own biscuits.

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BSD

Easter Hols

And the cubs are off with Mum for the first half  of the holidays, then they’re back with me for the latter half.

She’s jam-packed activities for them which is great. I’m getting regular FaceTime updates.

A call comes in from the Jurassic coast; a great location and day out for budding adventurers.

“Daddy! Mummy got me this from the gift shop. It’s a mood ring!”

She thrusts her finger towards the screen.

“It says I’m despair but I’m not. I’m just tired”

Ok then.

tired out

BSD

Going dry

Not about me not drinking alcohol, although I’m still not, mostly.

I’m talking potty training.

I don’t remember it being this challenging nor do I remember feeling these levels of frustrations. I guess it’s easier when there’s two of you.

Youngest cub is making the transition from pull-ups to big boy pants. It’s quite the journey.

Later this year and all too young, he’s going to school and the last thing I want is for him not to be dry when he gets there.

Expert opinion states that you shouldn’t force a child into being dry, but rather you should look for signs that they are ready to start using the potty or the toilet.

For about the last year he has been asking questions about the toilet or opening the door at inopportune moments to stare at me. I took it as a sign.

Nursery staff commented a while back that he had spent most of the day dry so we all agreed to progress things.

On the last Nursery day of the week, when I collected him I also collected a selection of bagged up pants and trousers.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

This week’s grocery shop included 10 pairs of big boy pants; I intend to crack this over the Easter holidays.


Before breakfast, I change him from a nighttime nappy into normal pants. Over the past couple of weeks he’s become quite good at taking himself to the loo. His step and seat adapter are all where he can reach them.

Sans porridge, he starts wriggling and squatting. He says he needs a wee. I tell him to go. He asks me to come, as he doesn’t want to go upstairs alone. Ok.

As we stand in front of the bowl, getting the step and seat in place he stands awkwardly and a growing puddle appears around his feet. He’s a bit upset.

I reassure him that accidents happen and that maybe he should get there a little earlier next time to avoid the agony of ‘almost’.

I clean him up, put on fresh pants and trousers before we return to our favourite breakfast distraction, learning French on he kindle.


The demand for ghost stories have gone up recently. She’s not convinced but he loves them.

I have a great story book that’s almost suitable for them. I read one yesterday and they seemed to like it, so much so they’ve asked for another story this morning.

I head for the lounge with the book and settle in the sofa. I tell them both to come in close so they can see the illustrations.

She’s in; he’s out, preferring to stand by the arm of the chair. I’m suspicious.

Do you need a poo?

“No” he says, before making a straining noise.

A quick check confirms that we need to scoot. Too late.

I’m frustrated and do my best not to get angry; I sort my emotions before I speak. He seems to comprehend that the wee urge needs to be addressed but still seems to poo on demand.

The psychologist in me understands that I can do damage here if I handle this incorrectly. Nobody cracks any new skill straight away.

I think that what got to me is that I asked him if he needed a poo and he’s said no. That’s a cycle I do need to break.

Time for some classical conditioning and a great deal of patience.

And disinfectant.

Pirates, and a case of the coughs.

I’m back.

I’ve had a bit of a break because, well, I was tired. I’ve been doing a lot of self improvement lately and that takes its toll. I’ll probably write about it shortly.

Not today though; today, is all about my budding thespian.

School play

My eldest cub has been bouncing off the walls for a month. She had been cast as a major part in the school play, ‘Pirates of the Curry-Bean’.

Curry-Bean……

Caribbean……get it?

I probably didn’t have to spell that out but it fills the page.

She was RedBeard; a major speaking part. For the last few weeks she’s pushed her learning of her lines. She’s practiced so, so hard to the point that her 3 year old brother was fluent in all the songs.

I gave her the nuggets of my experience, having played one of the Three Wise Men in numerous nativities and Joseph in one. This makes me a pro.

Tips

Proper practice prevents poor performance. She learnt this first. It was our mantra for karate and my mantra for everything.

She sang in the bath; she sang in her room. She sang at bedtime, accompanied by him; she sang in the car. I loved it.

The big day

Actually the night before.

They’ve been at their mum’s this week so technically the next time I’d see her would be when she entered stage right.

I wasn’t having that.

Thank you technology; FaceTime engaged.

We chat, I wish her luck before assuring her that I would be at both the lunchtime and the evening performances.

She responds by informing me that her brother, well on the way to being toilet trained, is having a wee in the bath.

Ok.

Maybe he’s more nervous than she is.

The big day (for real)

And I wake up with a hacking cough.

Where in hell had this come from?? Disaster!

Understand this; I’m a big fella; when I cough it sounds like a nuclear detonation giving birth to an adult volcanic eruption. It’s pretty loud.

Water. As much of it as I could drink without killing myself.

Drugs. Cold and flu remedies to be precise.

Cough sweets. Not good enough. Give me the industrial stuff – weapons grade if you’ve got it.

Timing. Tablets taken too early would lose their effect at a critical time; probably during a soliloquy. Time to work the clock backwards.

Tablets take 30 minutes to work but then last for 4 hours; taken too early I’d be protection-less at the commencement of the performance, ruining the show and scaring smaller children; too late and it wouldn’t kick in until the epilogue.

Take one in 10 minutes then another in a subsequent 5, thus staggering the impact whilst allowing for any delays in curtain up.

I may have overthought it.

The (revised) plan

Arrive 45 mins early; eat lunch. Take tablet(s); drink drink. Have wee. Take cough sweet (industrial). Drink. Nice.

Seat at the front, with other cub and mum; relax.

Curtain up

Apart from Captain RedBeard taking time out to wave periodically to loved ones during an orchestrated battle, it was amazing.

Proud daddy had the loudest clapping (thankfully not coughing) in the audience.

BSD

What’s crippled daddy today?

Was it a Minion walkie-talkie?

No.

Was it the inexplicably golden painted, Thomas the Tank Engine?

No.

Was it Cat Boy (????)

No.

In a twist away from the usual culprit, Triceratops, it was Velociraptor, in the dark hallway.

I was only heading up to tell the Cat in the Hat and her brother to stop singing ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’ and go to sleep.

At least it wasn’t the family jewels this time.

BSD

Snow day

And we’ve dug in; but daddy has made an oversight.

We’ve been under some strong weather for the last few days now. It’s no surprise, as the meteorologists have been calling it for a week or so now.

Beware the Beast from the East. So named by the Met Office, scaring old folk and the young in equal measure.

Cold weather is blowing in from the Baltic states and bringing snow with it. It’s quite deep in the east of the country, whilst the rest of us get snow drifts. We all get the high winds and the associated chill that takes -3 down to about -10.

Now any Canadian readers are probably laughing their socks off right now, as these conditions will probably constitute the norm for you folk. Here, we talk about the weather so much its a surprise that we are always so unprepared for it.

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School is closed, so I make the decision to keep the youngest off of nursery too, as I’m off work which means that I can switch off the alarm and have a lie in.

Morning arrives and the Saturday routine comes a day early; they jump into my bed and we watch a movie. For once, I’m quite well rested so I watch with them.

Breakfast is 2 hours later than usual – and feels great! I need to adopt this lifestyle full-time.

Reality

I don’t buy into panic buying. No weather system lasts long in this country so I just did a normal shop. But, whilst making the porridge this morning, I realised, that we’ve run out of milk.

We’ll have to go out.

I break the news to the cubs, who usually liking the snow, decided that the wind chill was a factor best observed from the warmth of indoors. We’re going to have to go to the local shops.

The Cat in the Hat (see World Book Day) begins negotiations at the breakfast table.

‘Maybe we could do without milk?’

We can’t. We have to go out.

‘You should probably go without us’

That’s illegal. I’d be jailed.

‘For how long?’

We’re going.

‘But the cupboards are full!’

Not of milk

‘But it’s really cold dad!’

You like the cold

‘My tastes have changed; I’m older’

We’re going

‘Can’t we just use the internet?’

They won’t deliver that small amount of product.

‘Who’s they?’

The 12 Disciples

‘?’

When I was your age, we used to have milkmen. They delivered the milk before morning.

‘Even in this weather?’

Yes

‘Did they die?’

Sometimes.

We’re still going. It’s not far.

‘Wait; we’re walking??’

A wicked smile appears on my face.

Yes; driving is tricky right now.

‘And walking is safer?’

Yes

‘Do the Police know about this?’

They’re busy. We’re still going.

My son looks on; amazed at it all. She’s backed into a corner.

I never thought grocery shopping could be this funny. Bit weird negotiating with the Cat in the Hat though.

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BSD

 

 

World Book Day

Has to be one of my favourite days of the year.

Most schools in Britain encourage children to attend school dressed as their favourite literary character. The cubs love it, especially my daughter. They’re with mum this year and she has a creative flair, so all is well.

My daughter has a passion for any Dr Seuss stories. Last Christmas, she received the entire collection. She loves them, and will read for hours.

On the last W.B.D, she went to school dressed as the Fox in Socks. This year, she’s the Cat in the Hat.

Her mum WhatsApps a photo of her to me, before they journey to school. I’m so impressed as she looks, amazing. I compliment mum on her costume creating skills. Historically, she had created a Wonder Woman (or Lady Woman, according to my daughter) costume from scratch, and had also created a number of Angels for a school play.

She confesses that she bought the costume from Amazon.

Oh well, no matter.


On the way home

Britain is going through some adverse weather at the moment. As usual, the country slowly grinds to a halt and the news is full of people trapped in cars, after ignoring warnings, and folk skiing down the high street.

I pick them up slightly earlier in a vain attempt to avoid the traffic on the way home. School has phoned to say they are closing due to the weather.

The nursery doesn’t subscribe to W.B.D yet but it’s been a day of excitement and at the snow-covered school gates, parents are met by gleeful dinosaurs, fairies, Worst Witches, a B.F.G and what I suspect may be a Ninja Turtle.

My own Cat in the Hat comes bounding over and delivers the greatest of hugs. She’s tired, as she’s been looking forwards to this day for a while now. Best of all, she got a book token for her amazing costume.

She asks me if she can wear her costume tomorrow, before falling asleep in the car; happy.

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PS. images in this post are links to the products I’ve mentioned. Clicking the link will earn me commission. Except for the pic of the cubs. You can’t have them. 

BSD