My daughter has put a spell on me
My daughter has put a spell on me
I’ve always been a huge fan of magazines, from BMX action bike when I was an 8 year old BMX racer to Jockey Slut the music magazine that declared it was for Disco Pogo For Punks in Pumps. The Face magazine, always by my side during hedonistic uni days. Then came Vice, the free hipster glossy that aimed to represent the London world I was living during my twenties.
Common to most of these magazines (besides most of them going out of print) was a weekly / monthly chart of some sort.
I thought I’d start my own regular dadwithtwokids chart.
“Things that get me frustrated 10”
1. Losing socks – We have a huge pile of odd socks which grows bigger after each wash. It’s taking on a life of its own, I may soon start charging it rent.
2. Toys with pieces, Jig-saws, puzzles etc – Pieces get lost after the first use, therefore pointless toys. Please santa no more.
3. Felt tip pens – tops never put back on, used to draw on anything apart from paper.
4. Apples – One bite then discarded. Half eaten apples found festering all over the place
5. The top coming off babies milk bottle – Milk spillage everywhere. Just love the smell of spilt milk. How can you not cry over it?
6. Watching the same DVD over and over – I now know everyword to the Lion King, Toy Story et al. I dream in Disney.
7. Standing on bits of lego – The most painful thing you can encounter at 3am whilst tip toeing in after a DJ gig.
8. The length of time it takes us to get ready to go out – Being punctual is a thing of the past.
9. Climbing – I’m forever in a state of panic especially when I see Theo balancing one footed on-top of a table.
10. My lack of patience!
Things that make me smile 10.
1. Watching Rose and Theo play together – Their love and bond is strong. Although this will probably change once they hit teenage-hood, then they’ll hate each others guts.
2. Their imagination – So pure and creative, delightful! Rose decorating Theo’s cot with coat-hangers could’ve been exhibited in the Tate Modern.
3. Family hugs on the sofa – What more could you want? Maybe a bigger sofa?
4. When they dance to the beginning of the film ‘Rio’ – Theo giving his blocker boots a good work out. He is the new Lional Blair.
5. Theo speaking Russian – My one year olds favourite (and more or less only) word is a very Russian sounding ‘Neeaat’
6. Seeing the world through your children’s eyes – Unpolluted, happy thoughts. Why not rub play dough in your hair?
7. Rose singing the theme tune to ‘Little Einstein’ – Oh so sweet. But she does get the chorus slightly wrong and her timing could do with a bit of work.
8. Getting woken up in the morning by two little smiles – It’s the only thing that can get a positive repsonse from me in the morning. Once I teach them to make tea it’ll be even more rewarding.
9. Rose’s honesty – ‘Have you wee’d in the bath’, ‘yes’
10. When they are both asleep at the end of the day……..
Snow is a childs best friend. What’s not to like? You can throw it, roll in it and as my daughter has been doing eat it (at least she was until I told her that it was full of dog wee).
Our East London neighbourhood has this Sunday afternoon come alive with happy snow vibes. The local park was full of people running about laughing, throwing snowballs and making snowmen. The park was one big snowman gallery, there was probably 30 snowmen built or being built. From the very tiny to ones that were over 6 foot. Some people had got really arty, one group making a very complex family of snowmen. A snow cat, snow dog and a snowman or rather lady huge snowy boobs! It was like a busy snowman convention. Transient snowmen who may or maynot be there in the morning, weather dependent.
Snow brought smiles to the faces of almost everyone. The men made of snow were created and they themselves created conversation. Even hard-nosed walkers of pit-bull dogs couldn’t resist this snow like love in.
There was even a Bangladeshi tv station interviewing people in the park (updating Bengali relatives back home to what they’re missing)
Even now at 6pm as the snow still falls I can still hear children’s laughter on the street, it’s a lovely thing and certainly beats police sirens and helicopters with spotlights on.
When it comes to snow England may fall apart at the seams, cancelled flights, transport mayhem etc, but we certainly know how to play with it!
And after playing in the snow what better way to end the day than a lovely roast dinner whilst listening to Jarvis Cocker on 6 music (their Sunday line up is absolutely amazing, check it). Rose finally sat down to eat after a long tantrum and Theo scoffed the lot then dipped pork crackling in his milk before eating. Yum!
Finding my blogging voice could take some time so pls do hold tight. I’m still very new to this blogging world so my page doesn’t yet look how i’d like it to, i.e a bit rubbish. And as I know virutally nothing about SEO etc, hardly anyone is reading. I may as well stop writing now, but onward I shall march
The toddler daughter was 3 years old last week. We had a lovely day with extended family at the museum of childhood in Bethnal Green which I thoroughly recommend . Being crap with birthdays, it’s taken me 3 years to actually remember her birth date. The various childrens groups we attend most days require a signature and childs d.o.b upon arrival. I was sure that a few funny looks was due to me always writing a different birth date for each child. Or at least that’s what I thought until the other day.
What occured in the doctors surgery made me think that perhaps the odd funny look I sometimes get is due to me being a man. My son Theo had his 12 month injections, the nurse said a friendly hello and give me a brief bit of ‘MMR’ chat.
The moment she said ‘Most children have it in the UK and America, basically all civilized countries’. I started to make a judgement on her general vibe. To continue her warmth she told me that perhaps I should phone the childrens mother and make sure it was ok to have the injection. Er, hello was I invisible or did I look under 18? Perhaps it was my pink converse and ripped jeans that made me look like a bit of a raggamuffin rude boy, irresponsible youth. But no actually it was simply because I was a guy.
“I probably wouldn’t have asked you that if you were a woman” The nurse said, probably noticing my thoughtful state.
Does any of this even matter? I’m not sure, but it did leave a bad taste in my mouth.
“Don’t lick the table!” I whispered with the firmest tone I could muster.
When it comes to visiting friends or relatives with children in tow I’m always slightly on edge. You pray that they’ll be on their best behaviour, not break anything, say or do anything inappropriate and not make too much racket. In reality I’m asking them not to be children for the duration of our visit.
You want to respect your guests house and I suppose deep down you don’t want people to assume that you’re a rubbish parent doing a terrible job.
When we visit people who have young children I’m slightly more relaxed because we’re comrades, brothers and sisters, members of a secret mason like society with secret handshakes.
Visiting older relatives not use to young children is another matter. They enjoy a quiet, peaceful and tidy life. I’m on my toes from the moment I walk through their door. I literally follow my kids around their house picking up things the moment they hit the floor.
We’ve just returned from an overnight stay with some dear relatives amazing people but fall into the above category. The last time we stayed my daughter refused to speak to anybody the whole time, holding her toddler mood firm. Not even the offer of chocolate cake could coax her out of the intense mood trance.
So when she actually started to make conversation with our hosts a few hours after arriving I was over the moon! My son had a milk spillage over dinner, but apart from that all was frighteningly smooth.
To make matters even more content at 6.30pm my daughter tells me that she is ready for bed. She never goes to sleep this early, so I was waiting for the catch, but there was none. I took her up, read a bedtime story and within minutes she was out for the count. Theo went down a few hours later and they both slept peacefully through the night.
It was so smooth that I wasn’t at all surprised to find myself faced with a lunchtime incident the following day.
We’d taken the children to see a ‘Wind in the Willows’ exhibition and decided to have lunch at the museum. The kids loved the exhibition and the delight on their faces on discovering badgers in waistcoats was priceless.
Once in the cafe, my daughter asked to go in a high-chair then demanded out once in it, she then changed her mind once more, firmly stating that she definitely wanted in (it was like some sort of boardroom takeover discussion). But then her foot got stuck in the bottom of the chair, que loud screeching which led to raised eyebrows and disapproving looks throughout the room (always just what you need in these type of situation).
When everybody had settled down with lunch placed before them, Rose decided that she wanted to eat a packet of crisps and nothing else would suffice.
“Come on Rose, your brother is eating his lunch, it looks really yummy.” I pleaded.
“No, don’t like it, I want crisps.”
The conversation stayed on this theme for a few minutes as I tried to stay calm. My calmness disappeared when she threw herself underneath the table whilst flapping her arms and legs about like a parrot having an epileptic fit.
During the whole time I was more than aware of the busy lunchtime hum around me. I felt personally responsible for ruining peoples lunches and felt like going up to each and every person to apologise for the mini drama. I could also tell them that she’s usually a brilliant toddler and that I’m an ok dad.
“Here you go then, here’s the crisps”. I told her firmly. My discipline was a complete joke really as I’d done everything that they say not to, i.e. give in to your childs demands, bribe them with junk food.
Rubbish parenting, I put my hands up, i’m guilty as charged.
I could’ve gone down a different route but that lunchtime I took the easy way out for a peaceful lunch.
What would you’ve done?
The question ‘Should we leave London?’ arose soon after the arrival of our daughter Rose. When Theo came the answer seemed obvious. Of course we have to leave London. It’s not a good place for children everybody told us. Children need fields to run around, fresh air etc. Then there was the crime, overcrowding and lets not even get started on schools.
The panic set in like a Daily Mail reader worrying about immigrants ‘taking our jobs’. If we stayed in London would our kids end up knife fighting at weekends and rioting during the week? There was concern.
After the initial panic we sat down, took a deep breath and tried to think things through in a calm and level headed manner. Why did we come to London in the first place? Would the way it’s enriched our lives do the same for our children? Can children and cities co-exist positively?
Upon arriving in London I was immediately blinded by it’s colour and audacity. A hectic metropolis full of bright lights and shiny takeaway joints. Dixy, Tennessee and Kennedy fried chicken all battling out for business.
I’d never imagined that such a multi-cultural place existed. I was suddenly surrounded by people of every shade, creed and nationality. New types of people, language and colour gradually created through an unforseen social experiment.
Global minds, local souls.
In our area we’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to toddler groups. Each day there’s a different type of group in the morning and afternoon. Music, sport, play, art etc etc and all free! The children get to play with children from an array of different cultural / religious backgrounds, all the kids having the time of their lives.
Margaret Thatcher famously said that there was no such thing as society. She was wrong. Whether you live in North, South, East or West we are all in a sprawling, filthy, difficult, wondrous mess together, our place, our messed up, vibrant society. A metropolis made up of a collection of villages, yet joined unusually like Siamese twins who share their vital organs but have different personalities. The difference between places is amazing, Chiswick has a notably different character than Wood Green and Hoxton is definitely not Peckham. But difference breeds familiarity. The Edgware road runs about ten miles from Mable Arch to Edgware, centre to suburbs, connecting three boroughs, and at least 20 identifiable ethnic communities, but it’s all London and we are all Londoners. Nobody thinks of himself or herself as a Hackneyite etc you live in London, regardless of place, you’re a Londoner, you belong even if only on a temporary basis. Don’t misunderstand me, in many ways I love Devon (where I’m from), but I’m personally more suited to a place that’s got hundreds of languages, just as many cuisine’s, and probably more problems.
If we were to move for the sake of our children they’d probably move back as soon as they were old enough anyway!
Although after saying all of this, it looks like we are going to sell up and move from Zone 2 to Zone 4 which is almost suburban living. This isn’t out of choice but rather what can we get for our $.
Of course it’s all about personal choice, perhaps by writing this i’m trying to convince myself that i’m making the correct decision. City living with children will bring up many challenges such as the school issue but we’ll deal with them as they arise and as long as the kids are happy it’s all good.
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I’ve always held a strong anti dummy / pacifier stance. I couldn’t stand seeing a baby with its mouth filled full of neon plastic. Lazy parenting was my assumption.
Several reports conclude that they can cause delayed speech as well as dental problems.
But alas, viewpoints can and do change. I suppose now I should include myself in that lazy parent group.
Our daughter Rose escaped the strong pull of the pacifier. She almost joined the ranks of addicts but as much as her mother begged / moaned, I held strong. The heaviest temptation was always around the 4am mark when the baby had been crying for a couple of hours and we both held clumps of hair in our hands, along with bloodshot eyes. But regardless of a few nights like this, we eventually came through unscathed until it ceased being an issue.
Theo was a completely different kettle of fish. Unlike Rose who like her namesake was full of gentle sweetness regarding settling down and sleeping. Poor Theo often had a hard time getting himself fully relaxed.
We tried everything, gentle singing, stories, dim lights, rocking him etc etc. In the end after a particularly difficult night it was decided that we’d try out a dummy / pacifier.
Of course Theo embraced it like a long lost brother. The immediate delight was a little scary!
We have rules though. He is only allowed to use it when we put him down to sleep. It’s kept in a little box beside the bed and tempting as it sometimes is, it’s never used for any other purpose. Now instead of crying for what seems like hours, we put him down with the dummy in his mouth. The result is instant quiet and calm. His face is blissful. I can’t help thinking that this is much better for him than all that time spent stressed out refusing to go down. Or perhaps i’m using this viewpoint to justify my dummy u-turn?
The time has now come for him to move on, give up the dummy and kick the habit. Do we make him go cold turkey or slowly wean him off (maybe give it to him only for the night sleep?). Apparently its much easier to wean them off a pacifier than it is their own thumb. This is great news because I use to have a real bad thumb sucking addiction when i was a young child (along with a rag I use to carry around which i named ‘Goo-Ga’) but that’s a completely different story.