Tag Archives: parenting

The End

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting a great deal, or at all, recently.  Everyday life takes up too much of my time and it’s for this reason that I’ve decided that Dad at the Deep End is coming to an end.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing about my kids, parenting and life in general.  I hope anyone (not many) who has stopped by has found my writing in some way interesting or amusing.

I may return in the future to write about parenting in some shape or form in the future.  Until then, thanks for reading and if you are interested in me writing for your site or elsewhere, then please contact me.

Bye for now.

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Step In or Step Back?

The whole family had our regular dental check-ups last week.  While my wife was in the treatment room, I was seated in the waiting room with the rest of our lot.

The twins were over in the kid’s corner playing with an etch-a-sketch type device.  All was well until two other boys – one about the same age as our two and his older sibling – arrived on the scene.  They had no interest in any of the other toys and stood and watched as Thing 1 and Thing 2 created pictures using the attached pencil and different shaped stampers.

Eventually the new arrivals became tired of this and the younger boy made a grab for the toy.  I was sitting close by and could see and hear everything that was going on.  Before I had the chance to even consider intervening, Thing 2 held on to the sketcher, saying, “Hey, don’t that.”

I was pleasantly surprised by our younger twin’s reaction, having expected him to acquiesce to the other kid.  Instead, he remained calm, didn’t shout and didn’t hit.  It was the first time I’d really seen him standing up for himself against a kid he didn’t know.

That however, didn’t put other two kids off.  Both grabbed at the stampers and tried to make their own mark on the picture.  Our two responded by drawing and then rubbing out everything that appeared.  A situation with four boys, playing with one relatively small toy, was unlikely to end well.

Sure enough, within a matter of seconds, Thing 2’s little face crumpled and he moved away from the small table, returning to where I was seated.  It turned out that during the grabbing and banging, the edge of the etch-a-sketch thingy had come down on his pinky finger.  I don’t think was in any way intentional on the part of the other kids – it was simply a consequence of the rough ‘play’.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how to react.  My natural instinct was to become involved and speak with everyone concerned.  Had there been any hitting or bullying going on, that’s definitely the course of action I would have taken.

However, on this occasion, it didn’t seem right: first, I wouldn’t have been comfortable disciplining somebody else’s kids, particularly when their parents were seating nearby, though acting as though they had no idea what was going on.  Second, we won’t always be there.  There will be times when our kids will be challenged by other kids in one way or another and they will have to stand up for themselves.  My or my wife’s continual involvement or interference isn’t going to help them develop.

In the scheme of things, this incident was nothing more than a petty squabble between some kids.  However, it provided me with a taste of the type of situation my kids will encounter on a more regular basis, as they widen their social circle.

 

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Dad First, Coach Second

We’ve finally reached that stage where all four of our kids attending after-school (or nursery) activities.  Doodle started a karate class just before Christmas, with his sister already going to cheerleading and gymnastics and the twins at weekly football sessions.

I haven’t been to see MM at any of her classes – she insists it’s mum only and I’m not offended in the least…honest.

However, I do normally take the boys to their clubs and I really enjoy doing so.  It’s great watching them get fit, learn new skills and interacting with their peers. That’s not so say though, that there aren’t problems along the way.

Taking up a martial art was Doodle’s idea.  We had been looking for a while for some kind of hobby that he would not only enjoy, but perhaps help with his aggression and his discipline and behaviour at school.  Overall, it’s been a success – he’s learned a few of the basic moves and at the start of each week the first question he asks is when can he go back.

Our two youngest kids are enjoying their football.  They attend coaching for kids of their own age group and have a great time.  The coaches are very imaginative and deliver enjoyable, well planned out drills and exercises each week.

Of course, the boys are very much of the stage of learning their new activities.  It’s perfectly natural then that they will make mistakes or take time to learn new skills.  Thankfully, their coaches are not only experts in their respective fields, but they are also experienced in working with young children – they therefore know how to motivate them and get the best out of them.

Sitting on the sidelines, I watch with great interest as my three boys are put through their paces.  While I’m proud of all them (and my daughter when she attends her classes) and I try to encourage them as much as possible, there are times when I become a bit frustrated.  This is usually as a result of one of the boys not listening or paying attention to their coach or instructor.  At such times, I will try to catch their eye with a wave or, if they are close enough, I will call out their name in the hope that they will come out of their daydream.  Sometimes it works, but on other occasions, you just have to let them get on with it.

Not all parents have the same attitude.  At the football class in particular, one or two parents – ok, fathers – are just a bit over the top.  I’ve seen a couple cheer loudly when their little ones do something well, yet seen the same people berate their kids when things don’t go to plan.  Such extreme reactions don’t sit comfortably with me at all.

I do offer bits of advice post-training, though with the karate I can only really repeat what the instructor has said as I have no experience of martial arts.  I also encourage all of my kids to practice their skills, as I think understanding the importance of regular exercise, hard work and trying your best are vital not only for extra-curricular activities, but for everyday life.  However, unless an individual is qualified to do both, then the roles of parent and coach should remain separate.

I can, up to a point, understand why parents become so wrapped up in their children’s sporting ‘careers’.  Every parent wants their kids to do well, particularly when up against their peers.  However, putting too much emphasis on victory and success at an early age, could lead to youngsters being put off and missing out on the most important element of all – enjoyment.

 

 

 

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Ten Hopes For 2013

I’ve probably mentioned somewhere before – most likely around this time last year – that I’m not a big fan of new year resolutions.  Most people seem to have no intention of following through on these and it all seems like a bit of a waste of time.

However, at the risk of contradicting myself, I have written down some hopes and wishes for 2013.

  1. Our family remains healthy and happy (obvious I know)
  2. MM continues to show the increased level of confidence she had gained during 2012.
  3. Doodle’s behaviour at school improves further.
  4. Our twins enjoy their last few months of nursery and settle when they start school.
  5. We have plenty of opportunities to spend time together as a family.
  6. We are able to get away on holiday a couple of times during the year (nothing fancy)
  7. My wife has plenty of time to study but also time to herself away from the demands of being mum to four kids.
  8. MM learns to swim and her brothers start to move closer to doing so.
  9. I have some idea about where my long-term career lies.
  10. I continue to write and enjoy it.

Happy New Year

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A Full Christmas

I’m sure I’m like many parents when I say that I have mixed emotions regarding the build-up to Christmas.  There’s no doubting it’s a great time of year: Christmas lists, nativity plays and putting up the tree are great opportunities to spend time with the kids as their excitement levels steadily increase.

The downside, for us, is trying to organise presents for four kids.  We have to identify suitable gifts, then find time to order them (thank goodness for the internet) or buy them and when all of that’s done, we need to store them all somewhere.  That’s before we even consider extended family.

Thankfully we (ok, my wife) are on top of things this year and at the time of writing we only have one or two purchases to make.

On a personal level, this is probably my eagerly anticipated festive period of recent years.  Due to job, and the unsociable hours which go with it, this will be first Christmas Day off in three years.  I have the added bonus of also being on days off on Christmas Eve and Hogmanay, though New Year does little for me.

I’m sure for many, working on Christmas Day is second nature, but I still find it a bit weird, despite having done so several times.  While the first-half of the day is great – the opening of presents etc – as early evening approaches I start to think ahead and I’m careful not to eat too much or become too relaxed.

So this year will be a pleasant change.  Having 24th December off too means I will wake up fresh on the big day, though if previous years are anything to go by, the kids will be up as early as 6am.  There will be no appeasing them either, if they know Santa has been and gone.

On Christmas Eve, the six of us will be attending the afternoon show of a pantomime.  Christmas Day itself will mean a meal at home and seeing other family at different points during the day.

While the whole day will be a wonderful experience, I’m also looking forward to night-time.  When the kids finally go to sleep, I’ll be lazing on the couch watching TV and eating junk, rather than going to work.

Merry Christmas.

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I’m Glad I Can’t Sing

Now that MM is a bit older, she is allowed to stay up later on Saturday nights as a treat.  She curls up on the sofa with her mum to watch the X-Factor and has quickly become hooked on the music, the judges and the hype.

I think I’ve commented in a previous post that I’m not a fan of the show – success seems to be based more on popularity and less than actual talent.  A hard luck story goes a long way too.  Not a week goes by without someone hoping to win the competition for their grandmother’s-neighbour’s-uncle’s-dog’s-brother who died just a few days/weeks/months before.

At the start of the current series, on a night off from work, I caught a segment of the show focusing on a woman who I believe was in her late 40’s or early 50’s.  She arrived at the auditions believing that she had the potential to have a singing career.  Backstage the presenter, Dermot O’Leary was interviewing the teenage son and daughter of the women, both of whom were there to support their mum in her quest for stardom.

Unfortunately for the lady in question, she was eliminated from the competition…with good reason.  Her singing was poor and her attempts at dancing were arguably even worse.  Like many of the applicants to TV talent shows, she seemed to be in denial about her limitations.  As the cameras scanned the audience in the auditorium, there was a mixture of sniggers, horrified faces and looks of pity.

Worse was to come.  The cameras returned backstage where the female’s son and daughter seemed more than aware of the reality of the situation – their mother was humiliating herself, and in turn them, in front of millions of TV viewers.  The embarrassed faces and the tears in the poor girl’s eyes said more than any words could.

My initial reaction would, I’m sure, have been the same as many others – how selfish of that women to do that to her children.  She’s prepared to have them lined up for public ridicule in order for her to have her 15 minutes of fame.

It’s not that simple though, is it?  We all, throughout our lives, have numerous hopes, ambitions and dreams.  That doesn’t stop when we become parents.  Of course, some of these aspirations change – instead of wanting to be professional athletes, actors or as in the example given, singers, many people instead want to achieve promotion, start a business or retire.

On becoming a parent many of these goals are no longer personal goals.  Instead, many of our wishes are for our children in the short, medium and long-term.  From my own experiences, I don’t think it’s exaggerating to suggest that I spend as much time thinking about my kids’ futures as I do about my own.

However, that doesn’t mean we give up on life.  Yes, our free-time is no longer, well, free and at 36 I’m starting to think that I’m probably not going to become a footballer.  That though, doesn’t stop me thinking that I can achieve a huge amount in the years ahead.

My biggest personal aims relate to my career, which you’ll probably know if you’ve read previous posts. It would be great to make a living from something I love doing, like writing for example.  I am certainly going to have a go and if it doesn’t happen for me, then I at least will have the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve tried.  I would also like to think that I will be able to try to achieve my dreams without having a negative impact on my family and their lives.

That’s perhaps where the wannabe singer on TV let herself down most – not with her poor singing voice but in not considering her two children who were there with her.  She should have considered the potential impact on her kids, given the exposure that a show like the X-Factor brings.

However, in her defence, perhaps nobody ever had the heart to point out to her that her voice wasn’t the best.  Even if they had done, it doesn’t make her a bad person, or parent, for wanting to achieve her dreams.

 

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Two Years and Counting

We’ve just returned for a short-break in south-west Scotland.  Once again we stayed in a caravan at a holiday park, much to the delight of our kids.

The weather was mixed but we made the most of the better days, being out in the fresh air as much as possible and particularly enjoying spending time at the beach.  Despite the ‘cool’ temperatures, we even enjoyed a dip in the sea.

As a result of our location, internet access wasn’t possible, meaning I couldn’t post to mark a significant birthday – this blog being two years old.

I’m still enjoying the site as much as ever and I’m finally starting to post as much as I would like – let’s hope it lasts.  Over the next twelve months I will try to write about a wide range of subjects, including my twins starting school next August.

In the meantime, thanks again to anyone who has taken the trouble to read, comment or like anything on the blog.

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