Tag Archives: kids

Cheering Her Way Back

I’ve written before about my only daughter, our oldest kid.  For this blog I’ve called her Mini-Mummy, with good reason.

MM can be a shy little thing around adults and other kids.  While that was something she had previously been able to overcome, we had become concerned over the past twelve months.

MM stopped going to the gymnastics and dance classes she had previously attended.  She had gone to both for quite some time and really enjoyed being there.  However, through time her enthusiasm seemed to ebb away.

Though we believed this was partly down her having had enough of both, it also seemed she had lost a bit of confidence.

As well as not going to any after-school activities, she was also becoming increasingly ‘clingy’ to her mum.  There were even times when MM would be reluctant to go out with me and her brothers.  My wife began to read up more on separation anxiety, and considered making an appointment for MM with our GP.

This behaviour seemed to be in contrast with the rest of her personality.  At home she is bright, happy and outgoing, at school she performs well and seems to be fairly popular with plenty of friends.  There hadn’t been any one incident, or situation, which had caused this issue.

Thankfully, things have improved.  While her mum is (and always will be) her best friend, she is prepared to, every now and then, let go of the apron strings.  No, my other half doesn’t wear an apron but you know what I mean.

MM will now go out without her mum, and her confidence appears to be growing as a result.  She has also started attending a cheerleading class once a week.  Though she was a bit hesitant at first (there were a few tears) she has been brave enough to overcome her worries and now looks forward to Tuesday nights.

We aren’t out of the woods yet.  MM won’t go on sleepovers, not even to her grandparents or aunts and uncles.  She isn’t keen on her parents going out at night either, regardless of who the babysitter is.  While we hope she can overcome such anxieties, we aren’t going to push it – she’s trying and we need to remember that.

It’s amazing how much more grown up she has become recently – she is confident using the internet, sings along to songs she recognises on the radio and has started going walking with her mum.  We need to remind MM that she’s six, not sixteen.

Hopefully she will continue to enjoy attending cheerleading – it’s good for her to be out of the house and mixing with other kids.  There are also the other obvious benefits of regular exercise and increased confidence.

It can be frustrating, and a bit upsetting, to see a kid with so much to offer hampered by her own insecurities, but hopefully the problem will lessen as she matures.





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The Great Supermarket Avalanche

It was sometime during the second-half of 2005, I can’t remember exactly when.  We went to the local supermarket with MM who, at the time, was just a few months old.

We had a trolley and MM’s car-seat fitted nicely at the top.  Before we went food shopping my wife decided to have a look upstairs at the clothing department.

The upper floor is on a mezzanine level, accessed either by the lift or by a travelator device – the kind of thing the contestants used to run up at the end of gladiators.  We opted for the latter, so there we were, the proud parents, with new baby in the car seat and supermarket trolley.

That’s when the problems started.  The trolley wasn’t empty.  We had with us a large, plastic jar, initially used to hold sweets.  We had held onto it rather than throwing it away, using it store small coins, 1p 2p’s etc.

The supermarket has a machine into which you deposit your coins, and in return receive the equivalent amount, only in ‘real’ money – notes, pound coins etc.  As well as buying our weekly food shopping, we had planned on using the machine.

We were the only people on the travelator as it made its way upwards.  Suddenly, I heard a dull thud, and looked into the trolley to find that the plastic jar, not surprisingly since we were heading up a slope, had fallen over.

We did later wonder whether the impact in the trolley had opened the lid, or it just hadn’t been secured properly.  Regardless, the lid did indeed give way and before we knew it, literally hundreds of copper coins came flooding out.  Some remained in the trolley but most escaped through the gaps and either landed around our feet or rolled back down in the direction we had come from.

You can imagine that, by this point, we were beginning to feel a tad embarrassed.  However, within seconds things got a whole lot worse – the coins which had landed on the travelator had caused it to jam, and we came to a stop.

Of course, when we stopped we were in full view of the whole of the ground floor of the store – two adults, one baby in her seat, a trolley, an empty jar and coins everywhere.  We can laugh about it now, but I can assure you, at the time our red faces would have lit up the whole shop.

Fortunately, help was at hand.  A female checkout assistant and a male colleague had seen what happened and ran up the still stationary travelator to our aid.  For any other customers still watching, there was then the bizarre sight of the four grown adults on their hands and knees lifting coins.  Goodness knows what MM thought as she sat in her seat, high above a busy supermarket.

Thankfully, our trauma was soon over, and we carried on with our shopping, though I think we gave the coin machine a miss that day.


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Mums Can’t Be Sick

Just before Christmas I suffered from a rather nasty bout of flu.  No, not a heavy cold, and no, not man-flu, of which my wife says I am a regular sufferer.

This time it was the real thing: sickness, diarrhoea, sore limbs, dizzy spells and blinding headaches.  I spent much of the time flat out on the couch and could hardly even acknowledge my kids when they were in the same room as me.

Thankfully my good lady helped bring me back to health.  As well as stocking up on paracetamol and various other forms of medication (including horrible but effective re-hydration salts), she helped restore my appetite with toast, sandwiches and banana and honey smoothies.

Most importantly however, was the fact that my wife did everything else…and I mean everything.  Her list included: organising Christmas presents, putting up the tree and decorations, taking the kids to and from school and nursery, making dinners, cleaning the house, carrying out my domestic chores (yes I have some) and completing an assignment for her degree course – more about that another time.

This of course allowed me to focus on recovering, or more specifically, to lie on the couch in a drug-induced haze.  While I was out of action, life carried on around me.  While my wife was stretched to the limit, she survived, as she always does.

However, during the course of the week she said something which I thought was very interesting:

“I can’t afford to be sick.”

This wasn’t meant in a financial sense.  No, what she basically meant was that given her role and responsibilities, life in our house would pretty much come to a standstill – and she’s right.

I’m not putting myself down here.  I work full-time and believe that I’m a fairly hands-on parent who’s actively involved in my kids’ lives and I do my fair share around the family home.  When it comes to all the little jobs, however – the tasks which although almost unnoticed, keep our house running smoothly – my wife takes over.

I shudder to think of the chaos that would ensue if I had to iron the school uniforms, make the packed lunches or even go near my daughter’s hair with a brush.  I was missed during my ‘week off’ (I’m sure I was) but if my wife were to be struck down by the flu, the implications for our cosy wee world would be far greater.

While I’m looking at this from the perspective of our family, ie dad works, mum stays at home, there will be many examples of the roles being reversed and the kids’ father being indispensible.

My respect extends to single parent families.  I can’t imagine how lone parents, unwell and suffering like I did recently, manage to drag themselves up, and carry on.  I suppose some probably don’t even give it a second thought – they just do it.

Unlike many others, I had the luxury of being able to lie back and get well, while the rest of the world went on without me.





Filed under Parenthood

A Big Year Ahead

I really can’t be bothered with New Year and all the celebrations it brings.  Despite being Scottish and it being a very big deal in this part of the world, I’ve never bought into all the hype about the end of one year and the start of another.  A lot of the ‘excitement’ is generated by alcohol manufacturers and their advertising agencies – the way I see it, no matter how good or bad your life is on 31st December, there is unlikely to be a dramatic change simply because the clock strikes midnight.

Having said all that, I think it is natural that as we enter a new year, we have a think about our lives, where we are heading and where we want to be headed.  I’m not a resolution type of person, but it will be interesting to see where I, and we as a family, are this time next year.  I just hope I remember to have a look back at this when we approach 2013.

For the first time in 3 years we won’t have the excitement of a first day at school.  Our two oldest will begin Primaries 3 & 2 in August, while the twins will commence their second year at nursery.

MM should continue to handle with ease anything that school has to offer.  We are also hopeful that she grows in confidence and decides on a new out-of-school activity.  It wasn’t so long ago she was attending dancing and gymnastics 2-3 times per week.

Doodle, despite some aggression and occasional behavioural issues, has made a fair amount of progress at school.  Hopefully as he continues to mature, these problems with become less frequent.  His number work at school is very impressive and hopefully when we speak with staff at his school again, the focus will be more on academic performance.

Things 1 & 2 will be entering their pre-school year – hard to believe given how small they still are.  It’s also a bit frightening to think that 2012/13 will be the last academic year when we have kids at nursery.  We notice changes all the time in our two youngest, new words, how they handle situations etc, their noticing things around them etc.  Our biggest worries for the boys will continue to be health-related.  Thing 1 is always a concern with his egg allergy, and at this time of year his asthma is never far from our thoughts.  My wife still has some doubts about Thing 2 and his speech – she thinks he may need speech therapy before he goes to school, but hopefully not.

On the subject of my wife, she began studying for a psychology degree back at the end of the summer.  I had planned to write something about this at some stage, and may do so yet.  She will begin a couple of new modules in the months ahead and assuming has the time she needs to study, she should continue to fly through her assessments and essays.

As a family we will hopefully manage to fit in at least couple of holidays during 2012.  As MM told one of her grandparents the other day “it will probably be a caravan.”  She’s right – we will more than likely we will again stay at a caravan park or parks due to reasons explained in a previous post regarding accommodation and facilities.

I’m hopeful we will also enter a brave new world – camping.  After buying a tent at the start of last summer, the horrible weather (lots of rain) meant that we didn’t have the opportunity to use it.  We will start off with a night away, relatively close to home, and see how it goes from there.

Most importantly, hopefully we will continue to spend plenty of time – at home and further afield – as a family.  My hours of work mean we are quite fortunate in that all 6 of us can be together on a regular basis.  Long may it continue, whether it be reading books, playing in the garden, going for lunch or to one of the many parks we have reasonably nearby.

I suppose I should finish by talking about me.  After child and family, there will be one other issue which will undoubtedly dominate my thoughts.  I’ve already written about my job or career prospects and I’m hoping that by the time I read this back, I will have more of an idea about what I’m going to do in the long-term.  I think I’ve been waiting for some kind of sign from above regarding what I should do – it’s yet to materialise.

I’ve gone into previous years with the same attitude but I’m beginning to feel as if time is against me.  If I keep on thinking and debating much longer I’m going to be in my 40’s.  My dilemma is pretty much the same: do I study for some type of business/academic type qualification, or do I do something entirely different?  I feel as if this route is the ‘safer’ option, but there are no guarantees with any job or career in the current climate – there’s also the cost of any course I undertake.

On the other hand, I love writing and it would be great to think I could make any kind of career from it, even part-time.  However, I’m a bit reluctant to put all my eggs in one basket when it comes to something where there is such a small chance of success.  Whether this is realistic, or simply negative, I’m not sure.

The other option is to learn something completely new, e.g a skill via a short course, and set up a business in the months or years ahead.  I would love to work for myself but it’s about having the right idea and going for it.

I’m hoping that my thoughts become clearer.

Elsewhere, I am hoping to run a half-marathon later in the year.  I’ve competed in a few previously but it’s been a while so it will all depend on my training.  I’ve no doubt I will be posting about running at some point during the year.

Slowly but surely, my driving has improved.  I’ve never been a danger, just not overly confident.  Hopefully I will continue to progress and I would also like to learn more about how cars actually work and have an understanding of potential faults or problems.

Home improvements will be high on the list this year.  In the next few months our kitchen will be given a massive overhaul (long overdue) and some decorating is required after we swapped bedrooms around in the last few months.

Lastly, regardless of what happens with any writing career, I will carry on with this blog.  I really enjoy writing about my kids and life in general, and hopefully I will come up with some interesting articles over the next 12 months.

Some more traffic to the site would be good but I’m not overly concerned about that.  I’m very grateful to anyone who takes time to read anything on my blog.

Happy New Year.


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The Fear Of Being Found Out

All four of my kids attend either school or nursery, meaning my wife and me are no longer in total control of what they do or who they speak with.

That’s not what concerns me though.  At the moment, everything is fine – I’m their dad, and in their eyes I’m pretty much infallible.  I look after them, I can answer any questions they have and deal with any problems that arise.  Anything from fetching some juice to ‘escorting’ wasps from the house (I don’t tell the kids that I splat them), then daddy can handle it.

It isn’t always to be like this.  Slowly but surely the cracks are going to appear and my kids will realise I’m not some all-powerful being – I’m only human, just like everyone else.

I will struggle to answer questions they ask.  They’ll start to have a better understanding of their schoolwork than I do.  They will realise that I’m not a great driver.  My job, if I’m still in it, won’t seem exciting or even interesting – though it may motivate them to apply themselves at school so that they don’t end up like me.

Am I ready for all of my weaknesses and failings to become obvious to my children?  God no.  I know every parent goes through it, but that doesn’t make it any easier – nobody wants to look like a loser in front of their kids.  They’ll have school friends whose parents have better jobs, better cars, bigger houses etc.  And how long before my oldest doesn’t want to be seen in public with me?  If she doesn’t already feel that way.

Unless of course I am perfect – then I’ve got nothing to worry about.

Nah, didn’t think so.



Filed under Dad Stuff

One Year On

It’s hard to believe that this blog is already a year old.  I set it up while on a family holiday in the north-east of England last year.  To be honest, I knew I was going to write about my experiences as a dad, but I hadn’t really planned it out much more than that.  I’m quite proud of some of what I’ve written.  Ok, some I’m no literary genius but that doesn’t matter.

I don’t get that many visits to the blog, though I don’t have a lot of time to promote it.  There have been times when even writing a new post has been a struggle.  Regardless of these minor problems, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing and have no intention of stopping.  At the very least it will be good to look back on everything I’ve written in years to come.

I have a few ideas for future posts and will hopefully get on with it sooner rather than later.

So much has changed – we now have two kids at school and two at nursery and my wife can now start to look at life beyond nappies and feeds.  As for me, I’m still working night-shift in the same job but that won’t be forever……will it?

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Flies On Toast

Our 4 year old niece was round at our house last week.  She noticed a tiny fly circling the living room and seemed a little concerned.  When my wife tried to reassure her, my niece said it was ok, she liked flies.

My wife then jokingly asked if she wanted to eat flies on toast.  My niece grinned, looked at my other half as if she was stupid, and then uttered the classic line:

“Don’t be silly…..I don’t like toast.”

How we laughed.

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