Meanwhile, at dinner..

“Daddy; would you prefer a dog or an Osprey?”

………?

BSD

Can you dig it? yes you can!

Day two of half term, and I’ve got this covered.

Proper planning has led me to have most of this holiday covered. As I’ve stated before (probably to myself to be fair) proper planning prevents poor performance. Anyway, last week I found out that our local museum was hosting a fossil event, where for a small fee participants could engage in some palaeontology.

Right up my daughter’s street and my son is happy to play along too.

Being a proper planner, I allow an hour for us to get there. It’s a 5 minute drive so we’re stupidly early; oh well.

A quick wander around in the bleak mid-winter to find a cash-point sees us pretty happy to be back indoors and wandering around the museum. 30 minutes to go. You enter the museum through the gift shop; nice one folks; I see what you did there.

As we queue, my youngest slowly rotates, next to a display of plates and glass ornaments. I put a stop to that.

There’s a guy upstairs sitting behind a table of fossils so we stop for a chat.

He’s fascinating and has a real enthusiasm for what he’s doing. She’s enthralled. He eyes the gentleman up suspiciously, as only my boy cub can, and keeps his distance.

We’re reliably informed that there are more goodies downstairs, so we head for adventure, headlong into a cafe.

Nice going museum; I see what you did there. The fatal attraction of a fridge full of cakes draws them both in and they turn to look at me.

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What came over me?

Not sure what I was thinking, I let them choose whatever they want. She goes for a modest slice of cheesecake whilst he opts for a slice of chocolate cake. Not like the one above; oh no. there was no strawberry on his choice. Instead, the chocolate cake he chose was bedecked with sugar-coated sweets; the kind I bought for a penny in my childhood. It was almost as if the creator wasn’t satisfied with the sugar content of the plain chocolate cake, then decided to push the tooth rotting factor up to 11.

I bought it anyway as we had 20 minutes to kill.

I decided to share the cake with him, convinced that he would struggle with the volume and richness. I underestimated him. I think I had one or two forkfuls, but tired of the battle to wrestle it away from him after the second attempt.

To his credit, he managed to funnel about 90% into his head with 5% spread around his face. The other 5% appears later.

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And we’re in!

I hadn’t imagined quite how popular the event would be. One minute we were alone, the next we were awash with parents and children. It was nice to see so many people out and about and the collective excitement level was contagious.

There were four stations for enquiring minds to visit; an expert, a mask making station, a microscope bench and a simulated dig. I thought the latter looked like two cat litter trays but I kept that to myself.

They were straight in; the added bonus being that they could keep one of the fossils that they found. Four fossils each later (in quite a short time) we discussed the lesson of sharing and leaving some for others whilst reburying their three least favourite.

Advancing to the bench of microscopes for a close up of some minerals we queued behind a three deep moving mass of buggies and bodies. This was very popular, but not with us. As she has three microscopes at home, we decided to show our fossils to the expert upstairs and create some masks.

Home run

He was busy. I really underestimated this. No matter; we went to the masks. One Triceratops (her) and a T-rex (him).

With crayon, felt-tip, marker pen and glue stick it took an absolute age for them to colour in their choices. For reasons known only to her, she decided to use the finest tipped pen to embolden her creation. He was a bit more pragmatic and broad-stroked a fisted crayon across his picture. Not surprisingly he was finished in no time. She slumped further in her chair when I told her that she would have to do the other side too.

Staples, glue, elastic and a healthy dose of imagination later and the cubs were transformed into whatever dinosaur young are called. Happy.

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Unnoticed, we’ve spent two hours here. It’s been brilliant.

As we get up to leave, she notices a thick brown stain on the bum and leg of his beige trousers. She recoils and points all at once but before she can comment, I run my finger along the stain and then pop it in my mouth. I turn and tell her..

We have to go now; he’s done a poo.

I thought she was going to faint.

I do like chocolate cake.

BSD

When to step in…

It’s half-term here and the cubs are with me.

Whilst the wearing down of my energy levels begins, I’m eternally grateful that they’re here.

Once they’re fed, they’re playing boisterously with one another. Watching them, I reflect on the rough and tumble that I had with my sisters growing up; it was great fun.

I also think back to my risk tolerance, which was obviously a lot higher back then.

They fight, wrestle, kiss and cuddle but every move seems to bring their heads dangerously close to every corner in the room that I’d never noticed before.

I flinch a lot but I try not to step in. I’m a great believer in learning from experience, as long as that experience doesn’t involve surgery.

They’re fine.

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They then decide that they need to be outside. I can’t agree more. It’s about 3C with ice still on the ground, but there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

Nah; I don’t believe that either. It’s horribly cold. I send them out anyway.

She’s off with the keys and heading for the garage; she wants her archery set. I’m not out there to supervise and wonder if I need to be. I trust her. The only rule is that there is no shooting if her brother is down range.

I guess we’re at the crossroads where I have to relinquish some of that responsibility to them, well, more to her as she is older and know that whatever will be will be.

Helicopter parenting can do more damage than a bump on the head.

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Here are two occasions when I have stepped in; I was ironing in my room and they were in her room; the following sentences had me running:

“It’s time for the sacrifice!”

and

“We can either chop your head off, or half of your head off”

I think she’s been doing history at school.

BSD

 

Normal service

OK. I’ve calmed down. The last couple of posts were a mixture of anger and frustration, but I’m better than that.

In order to lighten the mood, I’ve amalgamated the 3 posts that have been sitting in draft.

Whole lotta đź‘… going on
The usual Friday bedtime routine consists of me explaining to the cubs that they can’t sleep in my bed. Sometimes I mean it. This time I did.

They have a workaround. First thing on Saturday morning, they jump into bed with me and we have a cuddle and watch a movie. This time, I even let them consume a bag of popcorn in my bed.

Bad idea.

At a glance, I would say that their success rate for popcorn to mouth was roughly 50%. Give or take a 5% margin. Once the film finished I told them that I wanted all the uneaten bits cleaned up while I was in the shower.

Whilst brushing my teeth, I heard a commotion followed by silence. I resisted the urge to look.

When I did emerge, the bed was clean, the duvet turned down and they were nowhere to be seen. Nice work cubs.

That evening at bedtime, whilst reading Dig dig digging for the millionth time, I thanked them for tidying my bed.

“That’s ok dad; once we’d got the big bits we just licked the rest clean”

I sat silently, asking Jesus why he’d let something like that happen.

Getting my own back
Tonight’s routine was a little muted. They’re both under par so there was little resistance.

Tucking in the eldest, she remarked that she felt awful with the flu. Her temperature was elevated and she had a headache.

“Dad? How does flu spread?”

Well it’s a virus that is very clever once it gets in your system. It can hide, it can change, known as mutation and will act differently in different people.

“Yes but how does it get into your body?

This is where it gets really interesting; it’s so clever that it knows it prefers to be inside new people to survive so what it does is to make you cough and sneeze and it’s then carried in the thousands of water droplets that come out of us when we do. If you breathe those water droplets in the virus gets into you. It can also survive for 24 hours on hard surfaces like door handles. You’ll then come along and touch that door handle, then touch your face. The result is the same.

She silently takes it all in and begins to process it.

“So when we were in the car with you daddy, that’s when we got it?”

No. I kept licking your face while you slept.

“DADDY!!”

Sprint finish
” Dad; I think you need a new workout. I’ve made one for you”

Ok sounds good. What’ve you got?

“Well you start of with 25 star jumps..”

Ok; then?

“Then you move onto 25 press ups..”

Sounds good. Anything else?

“You should touch your toes 3 times..”

Sounds like a spell now but go on..

“Then finish with a small run; say 13 miles”

I’ll pass.

BSD

Unexpected revelation

I still have flu. It really sucks. This isn’t a moan-fest. It might just be a tender look into myself.

I think the biggest reason being ill and subsequently off work sucks so much is because it’s highlighted the emptiness of my nest.

I have the cubs from tomorrow and all over the weekend and I can’t wait. At the same time, I’m also willing myself to be better so I can make a decent job of looking after them. I’m aware this is wishful thinking. I’ve already silenced the man-flu-ers with a 6 pound weight loss in the last week.

I’m rambling.

The last week has been a GroundHoggy existence of sleeping and falling asleep, punctuated by scant eating.

Unseen elements 

So this empty nest thing is the single parent conundrum. Do you get a place that is big enough for your family or something more compact and bijou?

I went for space. I have one of each and they’re getting to an age where they want their own space so it was a no brainer.

The flip side of having the bigger place is that as the non-main-caregiver (how 21st Century) is that for the majority of the time, you kick around it on your own.

I’ve noticed this more because I’m not at work.

The elephant

So the revelation is that the empty nest seems emptier

Hang on

I’ve literally just had a nap. I was rambling so I shut down for a bit. Hate this.

The elephant. cont.

Is that to be ill when one lives alone is, well, lonely.

I’ve spent a lot of time in bed lately just trying to shake things off and for the last week there’s been a pile of clean laundry on my bed.

It was folded and waiting for me to put it away but has since been fashioned into a pile, about the height of sleeping person to which I have been propping myself up of a nighttime.

I hadn’t thought much of it as I’d done it unconsciously over a few days. Plus, research says that sleeping with your head slightly elevated whilst suffering from flu is beneficial to breathing.

I think I miss the ‘Do you want anything?’ type questions and the fact that at some point, food would arrive.

I did a slow cooker thing that lasted 3 days but now I need to stand up and cook.

I’m not going to.

Let’s kill this

Well folks this is a ramble fest. Sorry.

The moral of the story is, being ill sucks when you’re single.

100% more optimism will be available in my next post.

BSD

Time to reflect.

It’s that time of year again where I like to take stock of the last 12 months. It’s a thing I do that allows me to press on into the oncoming new year with vigour and determination.

I try to weigh up the good and the bad in an attempt to learn the lessons that I was supposed to.

Sometimes I’m a slow learner.

The cub’s mum

We had more downs than ups. It’s still new and the wounds are still open I guess. This morning we managed to have a row after I asked how she was; the accusation? I phrased the question incorrectly.

I backed off. Part of my philosophy; it takes two to have an argument and I’m not playing.

stress

The lesson

This was one of a few flash points that we collectively experienced over the last year. So how do I avoid them in future, and why should I?

The easy answer is the stress that arguing brings. I just realised that my teeth were clenched whilst typing!

Some disagreement is inevitable, but it’s the handling of such that is all important; the reasons to avoid it are pretty obvious:

  • Poor health
  • Poor relationships
  • Unhappy cubs

The last one is crucially important.

I’ve spoken before about the fact that I will never speak ill of her in front of the cubs. It’s not fair; they only have one mum and they deserve to hold her in high esteem. I will do nothing to change that image.

This is where the teachings of the ‘7 Habits’ come in; seek to understand, before being understood.

In future, I’ll choose my words more carefully; consider my tone and watch my timing. Communication, not confrontation.

Failing that I’ll ignore her until the end of time, plus 15 minutes.

My home

I’ve mentioned already that I’m not overly happy where I am at the moment; it’s too far out for where I need to be, most of the time.

home

The lesson

Stop moaning! It’s warm, it’s dry, there’s food in the fridge. Some folk have none of those.

I’m sure that I will move in the not too distant future but for now, this is one blessing that I am counting.

Relationships

I’m single. I have been for a while now; the longest while in over two decades. For once, it actually feels ok.

love

The lesson

Historically, I used to bounce from relationship to relationship, without a break, without ever reflecting on why the last one didn’t work. Sometimes, perhaps inevitably, I’d go on to make the same mistakes again, and again.

I had to stop and ask myself why this was.

  • What was I compensating for?
  • what was I afraid of?
  • what was lacking in myself that I sought from a companion and could that ever be the successful driver of any relationship?

I know that I need to be the complete article before I can share that place in my heart.

I believe in the Law of Attraction; thoughts become things etc.

I also believe that the Universe will keep giving us the same lesson, until we learn it. I’m just thankful that the Universe is very patient.

I’m getting nearer to those answers by spending time with myself, discovering who I am, after all this time.

In the meantime, the most important relationship is the one I’m proudest of; the one with my cubs. They give the most amazing cuddles.

I’m sure that when the time is right, she’ll find me, or we’ll find each other. Then I’ll have to change my pen name.

Finances

Tough! as they no doubt are for us all. Everything seems to be going up apart from our wages.

green shoots

The lesson

Take control and keep control.

If you’ve read my last post on clearing my debt, you’ll know that I plan to smash this one in 2018.

My ultimate goal is to have 3 income streams. Something recommended by the successful out there. I’ll give you more on that one in 2018.

Health

I know the benefits of exercise, especially in the world we live in today. You absolutely have to do it. I use it to defuse stress too. See my first point, above.

why train

The lesson

Schedule my workouts!

I schedule everything else important, so why should this be any different?

I’m fit; I’m healthy and I’m thankful; truly, truly thankful.

More of the same next year and maybe something to aim for..?

So that’s about it for now. The planning is the next phase and the important thing is to set my goals early and write them down.

Commitment is everything!

XperiaZ3 762

So that’s it for now. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I know what I need to what I need to stop, what I need to start and what I need to keep doing in 2018.

Bring it on!

BSD

A quick breakfast discussion with the cubs

Son: My sister is not a he…

He’s just getting to grips with gender, after caller her ‘him’ for about six months now.

Correct

Son: He’s a girl!

Almost right

Daughter: I’m a she!

Son: Yes. And I’m a boy!

Yes

Son: And daddy is a man!

Correct

Daughter: and mummy is a lady; isn’t she daddy?

Daughter: Daddy?

Daughter: Daddy??

Bath time

BSD

Learning the language; a Saturday short..

We’re all in the kitchen; its breakfast and I’m making the porridge. 

She’s knuckles deep in the mixed nuts, separating the almonds and he’s milling about, generally under my feet. 

I don’t usually like them being in the kitchen when I’m cooking but they’ve gravitated back; I haven’t seen them for a while so I allow it. 

He is learning to read and is able recognise certain letters, especially those in his name.  His current phase is to mistake any word that begins with the first letter of his name for his name. It’s an interesting premise. 

He points to the washing machine:

“That’s my name!”

No darling; it’s not. 

“Yes it is!”

Well no, it’s not, because…..

“IT IS!” 

He’s becoming upset. 

Darling; you’re name isn’t Mixed Load. 

“That’s not my name!?”

He sounded quite indignant. 


BSD

Heart truly touched!

02:09 this morning, I was woken up by the sound of singing. 

I lifted my head off of the pillow to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. 

Yep. Definitely singing. 

My initial, waking thought was one of terror, until remembered that the cubs were here and they had decided to share a bed that evening. 

The feeling quickly turned to one of a protective dad, but as my confusion cleared, that clarity reassured me that it was my daughter’s voice. 

All sounded ok; I lay my head down. 


The next morning, I roused them with the usual rendition of ‘Good morning; good morning! You’ve slept the whole night through…’ and a barrage of kisses. 

As they both came around, I asked if one of them had been singing last night. 

“Yeah that was me..” said my daughter. She pointed at her brother. 

“He couldn’t sleep and asked me to sing him a lullaby. I couldn’t remember one so I hummed to him instead until he went to sleep.”

I’m still sighing now, 13 hours later. 

BSD