Dad’s Bank Holiday Parenting Diary!

 

It is every Father’s dream. My first bank holiday weekend alone with my two kids Amy and Stephen (4 and 5 respectively). Their mother was away visiting the folks (hahaha, the poor soul) and I was free to have a fun time with my two favourite little angels (the girl at least). I was so excited that I decided to document the entire bank holiday weekend in a diary. This was going to be fun.

 

Day 1: Friday
It is Friday late afternoon and my wife has just left for her weekend away with the folks. I have been really looking forward to this. I’ve planned many shenanigans, fun games, fancy food (by kids standards) and maybe even a scary movie if they are good 😉 . All bets are off now that mother goose is out of the pen. Let us begin!

 

Later:
The incessant crying of both kids for their mother has finally seemed to subside, as they resign themselves to the fact that the larger, taller, hairier child has somehow been put in charge. I personally think Stephen, my 5 year old, is annoyed that me, and not him, was given the spot of supreme leader. Maybe if you’d stop wetting the
bed a little earlier you’d have stood a better chance Stephen. I’m pretty tired from all the crying and consoling of the kids, so after I put them to bed I may get an early night myself, and then tomorrow the fun shall proceed!

 

Day 2: Saturday
The children grow stronger and more self aware by the hour. The scared children of yesterday have adapted quickly to the new regime, perhaps too well. First it’s breakfast time and then an entire day of amusing adventures.

 

Later:
The tables appear to have turned. The kid’s did not want to partake in my designated activities and instead went rogue. This necessitated a much hated bath time, which couldn’t have been more difficult had it not being two kids, but a pack of ravenous labradors.

 

Later again
Here I am in the evening, my plan to watch a scary movie has been replaced with a many hour marathon of those damned two dimensional cartoon pigs. (It’s 2020, get some CGI for the love of God.) The little girl, my 4 year old Amy, is now the one to watch. I don’t know how, but through some sort of child/female voodoo she has managed to organise the entire scenario to her personal taste. She may not be able to string together a completely coherent sentence, or tie her shoes, but she has an innate ability to manipulate her surroundings to suit her whims.

 

Day 3: Sunday
This is supposed to be Day 3 but the children rudely refuse to stick with my preplanned writing schedule, so it will have to go in here instead.

After a surprisingly tiring day, I put the kids to bed and continued to watch Pepper the Pig (It kinda grows on you after a while. It’s a soothing repetitive story that reminds me of late night TV shopping.)

After a while I decided to switch to an activity a little more…grown up. With the kids safely asleep I began my favorite late night ritual, with no kids or wife to judge me. Or so I thought.

I was mid…activity…at the peak of pleasure when Stephen walked in and caught me..devouring an entire bag of gummy bears. The big ones. Stephen looked horrified, and quite frankly betrayed. For years I had been telling him how sweets were a special treat, once a week, and even then only a small handful.

5 years down the drain. But damn it, I’m a grown ass man. I can eat a whole bag of gummy bears if I want, you’re not my real dad!

 

Later:
The house is a mess, the kids are hyper, and my brain is fried. I had always wanted to be one of those fun dads who has a cool video on facebook of all the crazy things I did with my kids while the Mom was away, but I’m just too tired. Yeah sure, lots of things have happened, but none in a way that could be planned, choreographed and filmed, at least not in a way to form a good succinct facebook video. Luckily the real supreme ruler will be back tomorrow to relieve me of my duties and I may return to the role of lovable Jester.

 

Day 4: Monday
Their mother is here. I’m going back to bed now. Next time I get to take the weekend off. 😁

*just for fun!!

How I Became an Incredibly Fantastic Expert Parent!

 

I’m not one to toot my horn, but I am a fantastic parent. Really top notch. From discipline, to play time, to homework, and chores I have it down to a T. With my level of incredible success of course comes with it the inevitable questions. How do you do it? How do you manage to master the world of parenthood and the little hellraisers
that inhabit it?

Well sit down little ones, and I will let you in on 5 tips that made me an expert parent…..

 

1. I LET THEM MAKE THEIR OWN MISTAKES
The amount of time I, and presumably most of you, spend trying to keep children away from danger is astounding. Somehow kids seem to turn everyday items like a pen into a nose swab, a plastic bag into a vacuum chamber, and a bookcase into a structurally inept leaning tower of pisa. It is truly exhausting. But, in the immortal words of Jim Carrey’s the Riddler “NO! Don’t kill him. If you kill him, he won’t learn nothin.” (You may have to replace the word “kill” with “save” for this to make sense.)

Everytime you save your child you are denying them an important lesson. I realised that I will not always be there to save them. So…just let it happen. It’s the only way they’ll learn. Trust me, nothing says “Don’t stick your fingers in the electrical socket” like an electrical socket giving your kid an afro that a 70’s disco would be proud of.

 

2. I READ ABOUT PARENTING…ONLINE
Don’t waste your time “learning by doing”. There is no better way to gain knowledge than reading helpful tips online. You want to stay away from books (Who has the time to delve into a 1,000 page novel when you have little tykes running around?

Anyways, kids can’t be that complicated) and instead read through sites like wikihow, buzzfeed, and even reddit to attain their terrific, unrestricted, opinions on parenting. So put your kids to bed, or put them in front of the TV, surf the web and know that if you cram enough theory into your brain you will have the complete knowledge necessary to deal with any parenting situation.

For every single scenario there is a life hack, theory or formula to tell you what to do. And if there isn’t? Well then you just haven’t read enough.

 

Joanne Power Photography

 

3. I LET THE CHILD LEAD THE WAY
Why would you tell a child when to go to bed? They know when they’re tired. Ever try to get them to eat vegetables? Why not let them decide, they know what they like.

Who are we to say what they should and should not eat, or should and should not do.

Sure they might eat an entire bag of gummy bears and stay up all night barfing, but if that’s the way they want to live their lives, then let them.

 

4. I ALWAYS STAND UP FOR MYSELF
Kids can say mean and horrible things. “You’re mean, I hate you, you’re a terrible parent”. It is important to not let them away with this kind of transgression. The best thing to do is to respond in kind.

Argue with them, share witty comebacks, and know that the longer it goes the better. They will eventually fall asleep quicker than you
and then you can bask in your glory of your victory.

Kids, you see, are very fickle creatures. They may say they hate you and other very mean things, but it’s all only in the moment. Throw them a lollipop the next day and all is forgiven. An adult, on the other hand, can keep a grudge. Use this to your advantage and keep the child in line.

 

5. I REALISED…THEY ARE JUST KIDS
They may look like tiny fully fledged humans, but they have neither the intelligence nor dexterity of a fully sized adult, or a similarly sized dwarf. They are easily swayed.

Once you treat them as the subhuman inferiors they really are, things tend to fall right into place.

That boys and girls is how I became an expert parent. I mean, sure, we won’t know the actual results of my theories until they have grown, assuming of course they survive that long.

It could backfire…I suppose…but I can’t change now, I’m in too
deep.

Perhaps the best bit of advice I can give is to spend some time with your children, listen to them, talk to other parents with a proven track record, and above all else stop reading parenting listicles on the internet. They’re almost never any good!! 😁

 

*just for fun!!

14 First World Problems My Toddler Has!

Kids are great aren’t they? They give you endless amounts of joy and you often sit and wonder what your life would be without them. That’s on a good day, and I say because the days they are a blessing are singular, and happen maybe once, max twice a week, and it’s usually when they’re asleep. The truth is kids can be real jerks, in nappies, when they’re actually happy to wear them and not pee on your furniture or on the pet cat. As an aside, I now know why cats roam, for months on end.

Nowadays you hear about ‘first world problems’; problems that in the greater scheme of things are actually insignificant, like ‘argh, just received my brand new Land Rover and the sales person spelt my name wrong’, or ‘my three iPhones battery life sucks so bad I have to use one of my five smart phones during the day’.

Recently I saw on a friend’s Facebook status that she was ‘so over this jetlag’ since arriving home from their long overseas holiday. I responded with ‘First world problems. Must be nice to have them!’ My now unfriended friend responded rather curtly that she found my comment to be rude and inappropriate because jetlag is a very real problem and not pleasant at all.

In my opinion the only thing worse than an adult with first world problems is a toddler with 101 of them; how on earth does someone that has their butt wiped for them have any problems?

My toddlers’ first world problems

1. The battery died on the iPad and she couldn’t beat her highest score

2. Every time she asks to go to the toilet on a journey the DVD player in the car stops and the movie starts from the beginning

3. That the sushi he had for lunch didn’t have enough avocado, which he specifically asked the ‘man with the white hat’ to not put in

4. That we couldn’t pause a real-life game and rewind it to the “funnest” bit

5. That we refused to forcibly pull out teeth so the tooth fairy could bring him €5

6. After asking, no insisting, that we take a photo of him he doesn’t want to be ‘stuck’ in my mobile phone

7. That we’re not divorced and she can’t have two houses, two bedrooms and two swimming pools

8. That he can’t climb into the TV and be on Blaze and the Monster Machines

9. I won’t let him really drive my car. He’s three!

10. I won’t allow her to brush the dogs fringe with my toothbrush

11. I won’t allow him to cut my hair with real scissors, not play-play ones

12. The ratio of her green to white Oatees is wrong

13. When I pick him up from bed by his arms and not his feet and don’t carry him upside down to the living room, to avoid narrowly missing his head on the cement step and cracking it open

14. That he can’t bath with clothes on and can’t go naked to the restaurant

What keeps your toddler up all night?

6 Ways My Toddler is the Boss of Me

I remember when I couldn?t wait to be an adult. I would make the rules; eat when I want (& what I wanted), dress how I choose, come and go as I pleased and basically do exactly what I wanted to do all of the time. And while my twenties did sort of live up to this expectation in many ways, once my first child turned two the tide turned. And in a big way!

As any mum of a toddler knows, you?re not really in charge of anything anymore. They are. And although I bravely fought this reality, I finally had no choice but to give in to the demands of my new boss.

1. My sleep schedule.

It’s a lot easier to control sleeping when it comes to babies and a crib. They can?t just get out and walk around, however, when little ones move into a big kid bed it’s a whole different story. When toddlers wake, so do mums. When they refuse to nap, mums don?t rest either. And bedtime. When our sweet growing toddlers decide they will not go to sleep, well they don?t. I?ve spent hours going back and forth at bedtime; reading just one more story, singing one more song, tucking in and turning the lights off only to see their smiling faces looking at me as I exhaustedly settle down on the sofa. No mum, it’s not your time yet.

2. My entertainment guide.

Gone are the days of cuddling up on a cold, dreary day and watching a scary movie or a romantic one to help me dream away the day. Now my toddler makes those decisions. With a little one around, there are a lot of television shows, movies and even songs that become taboo. I?m not really sure how many more times I can watch Frozen but what choice do I have.

3. What’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

My mum served dinner and we ate. It didn?t matter if I didn?t like it or God forbid wasn?t in the ?mood? for it, I ate. I?m not so strong or maybe my tolerance for crying isn?t as good as my parent’s was. Toddlers have words and have discovered how to use them ? often to get their way. This couldn?t be truer than at meal time. If I serve cereal, they?ll inevitably want oatmeal. PB and J for lunch, um no, not today mum. Sometimes even if I ask what they want once I serve it they?ve changed their mind.

4. Friend time.

Mums often yearn for time to chat with other mums or hang out with old friends. These opportunities can be rare but when they occur my toddler decides just how long they?ll last. It could be ten minutes or two hours but when a toddler decides they?ve had enough well?..it’s time to go. I?ve waited hours for them to settle to have a quick chat on the telephone but as soon as I pick up the phone all hell breaks loose and I?m hanging up. Oh well!

5. Even my Pitbull knows who’s boss.

Yes, from my supposedly dominant dog to my sweet cat, my toddler will pull tails, fold ears back and even put make-up on our pets. In fact, I came home from the market to find our dog dressed up as Elmo for Halloween, his face painted red and wearing my husband’s red T-shirt. The pets don?t even try to fight it.

6. And last but not least…..

What makes this all possible is that my toddler, just like so many other toddlers, is completely and utterly fearless. Threats, coercions, bribes – none of it means a thing. They just continue on as my little tyrant ruling the house until?..well I don?t know until when, but I?ll keep you posted.

The 7 Stages of My 2-Year-Old in a Restaurant

Taking a child to a restaurant is a challenge. We need more child friendly restaurants! There are some children who are perfect. I just wish mine was like that. Of course, I?m the one with an excitable and impatient 2-year-old who isn?t interested in listening to mammy. What does that get me in a restaurant? These 7 stages!

Stage #1: Excited

It’s a trip out and the first emotion has to be excitement. My 2-year-old wants to know where we?re going, what we?re doing, and who we?ll meet. Depending on the restaurant, she’s excited about meeting the staff who will have colouring books and balloons at the ready. Even a place we?ve been to before is exciting, because something tends to change.

Stage #2: Curious

What’s that black mark on the floor? Why is that woman over there eating an ice cream? What’s going on behind the door that says ‘staff only? (not like we can read the words)? These are all questions my 2-year-old likely asks inside her own head. She wants to be everywhere at once, and isn?t going to settle for anything.

Stage #3: Impatient

Food is ordered and now it’s time to wait for it to come. Of course, once the food is ordered, the 2-year-old expects it to be on the table right away. We can just take the picture off the menu, right? This leads to the impatient stage. We want food right now and we will scream until it comes.

Stage #4: Placated

That is until the drinks come. Now they?re here, we?re a little more placated. We?re happy to have a few mouthfuls and go back to the colouring book we were given earlier. Or we?ve found a toy in mummy’s bag or realised we can flick juice all over big brother. It’s fun for a while, until?

Stage #5: Frustrated

We need food again! The juice isn?t enough and we?ve just remembered that we were expecting our chicken fingers and fries. To make matters worse, big brother has his spaghetti and daddy has his burger. We just don?t understand why some food is already here and ours isn?t. There are tears, while mummy and daddy try to explain food will be here within the minute.

Stage #6: Happy

Finally, food is here and we?re able to finish a meal in sort-of-peace. Of course, there is some throwing of food on the floor and trying to feed others the soggy fries that we have. But there is happiness because we have a full tummy. And dessert followed the chicken fingers, which means ice cream is all over us and in our ?treat tummy.?

Stage #7: Sleepy

The final stage is definitely one of the other Dwarves from Snow White. Not that we?re fed and our tummies (because there are three, don?t ya know) are full, it’s time for sleep. But we can?t get to sleep in the high chair we?re in and we refuse to colour while mummy or daddy pay the bill. So, that means crying again and fighting with the high chair restraints until we?re out and able to escape to the car. Once there, we crash.

Yes, these are the stages of my 2-year-old in a restaurant. Like Ireland, which is able to get all four seasons in a day, we get every single emotion in the space of a couple of hours. But we wouldn?t have it any other way as parents, right?