Sunday, 27 December 2009
Here we go with the Frazzies 2009 (from the Frazzled Daddy Academy)
And the winners are...
‘The Hero to Zero’ Frazzie... Tiger Woods
In 2009 he had it all, in 2010 he has the most expensive divorce in history and an awful lot of ribbing on the Tour to look forward to
Runner up... Kanye West at the MTV Awards for disrespecting Swifty. He was so wrong he even made Beyonce cross. Bad Kanye.
‘The Most Embarrassing Dad’ Frazzie... Mr Ronnie Woods
I’m glad my 68 year old dad didn’t run off with a 20 year old who then tells all to the papers
Runner up Mr Noel Edmunds for the hideous Noel’s HQ on Sky 1
‘The Most Money Spent On A Date’ Frazzie... Mr Barack Obama
For taking the first lady to Broadway to fulfil a pre-election promise (the date reportedly cost $24,000 due to the security and travel costs)
‘The Nice Try Old Son’ Frazzie... Mr Richard Timney
The husband of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith who made an expense claim for a couple of mucky movies. He got like totally busted.
‘The Object of Jealousy’ Frazzie... Mr Stuart Townsend, boyfriend of Charlise Theron.
Already an Oscar winning actress and renowned beauty, in December she won the heart of every Frazzie Academy member when she poked fun at the ridiculous pomposity of FIFA at the World Cup Draw. Mr Townsend you are one lucky guy.
‘The Most Original Use of Standard Dad Equipment’ Frazzie... Mrs Tiger Woods (golf club)
‘The Giving Us Hope That Even If Our Kids Fail Every Exam And Have Zero Talent They Might Make A Few Quid’ Frazzie... Jon and Edward Grimes
Runners Up... Olly Murs and Jamie Archer
‘Dad of the Year’ Frazzie 2009... Captain Chesley Sullenberger.
The pilot of a US Airways Airbus that, in January, suffered a catastrophic bird strike and lost power. Despite having a silly name Captain Chesley managed to land the plane on the Hudson river in New York saving every one of the 155 passengers and crew.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Picture the scene, it's the day before the day before Christmas and you realise that you've forgotten that all important pressie for your nearest and dearest.
Here's what you do Frazzled Daddy style (ya check me)...
Borrow something from a friend that you know your partner will hate (Chuck Norris boxset, hideous clothing etc).
In mid-Jan, after your partner has long since put the offending article on a shelf/in a drawer and expunged all memory of it from their brain, simply return the item to the friend that lent it to you.
In mid-Feb say something like 'darling where's that lovely tiger print, crushed velvet top I bought you at Christmas?' or 'ooo let's watch that kung fu boxset that Father Christmas left in your stocking'. Then sit back and watch them panic when they can't find it. They'll feel so guilty about mislaying the pressie that they'll probably buy you something fab to make up. Or at the very least you might get a bit of sex, you just never know.
Happy christmas xxx
Friday, 11 December 2009
One of the ridiculous side effects of being a daddy is how unprepared I am for my heart strings to be plucked. These days I seem to cry and just about everything. I'm like a woman from a 1950s Hollywood B movie who needs to be slapped in the face by a tough grizzled chap and told to pull myself together.
This is not good.
I am most vulnerable while watching a film or TV show (usually X factor but not exclusively) or listening to the radio. It doesn’t have to be something tragic that gets me going, often it can be something really uplifting or corny. Recently, I found myself reading a Sunday supplement and was marvelling at the opportunity afforded to me to buy a hand-painted, ceramic wall plate with a rendition of the poem Footprints on it. Before I knew what had happened I had read the words on the plate and was found by Mrs B in the foetal position sobbing “it was then that I carried you” over and over.
Nowhere do the tears flow more though than during a movie, especially a kids’ movie, particularly a movie made by those bastards at Pixar. One of my eldest son’s favourite films is Cars, a film about a cocky, brash racing car called Lightning McQueen who, after meeting a group of salt-of-the-earth country folk, sees the error of his ways and becomes a kind and honest racing car. The film’s denouement centres on a race that McQueen has to win to become the greatest racing car in the world. Everything is going perfectly for him until the last lap of the big race when ***SPOILER ALERT*** he spurns his opportunity to win (and win the prizes that our society values most i.e. money and fame) in order to help an old car to cross the finish line with a bit of dignity (and win the prize that really counts for the most i.e. respecting and valuing another person/talking car).
I watched this film with my son sitting on my lap and thank God he wasn’t looking at me because any shred of respect that he still has for me would have been wiped out in an instant. The tears were streaming down my cheeks and at the end of the film I had to pretend to go to the loo so I could sob in private and throw some water on my face.
‘Daddy, why are your eyes all puffy and red Daddy..?’
‘Oh, er, it’s just my er hay fever son.’
‘Hay fever in November Daddy..? Really Daddy..? Or are you stupid cry-baby Daddy. I have lost all my respect for you and I’m only four. You make me sick Daddy, in fact, I’m going to stop calling you Daddy from now on and will henceforth only refer to you by your first name You’re dead to me now.’
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
I was queueing up at the till in Boots the other day when I noticed a shaven headed young man in front of me waiting to pay for three jumbo packs of Durex 'Tingle'. I, however was waiting to pay for a pack of pull-up pants (4-5 years). Never before has my life as a father been brought into such sharp focus.
When I got home Liz told me I had bought the wrong pull-ups.
She laughed when I told her about the Durex 'Tingle'.
It was a depressing time.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
The photograph you can see at the top of this blog of a child’s leg in a cast. This is my son, my youngest, my still-yet-to-be-one-year-old boy.
About three weeks ago he fell down the stairs at home and broke his leg. It is what the doctor’s call a ‘green stick’ fracture. The bones of babies are so new and malleable that they don’t break like an adult’s would. Instead imagine bending a green twig, rather than breaking in two, it will fray on the bend. This is the kind of break that Sam has. Or rather had because by the time you read this, the cast will be off, the leg will be mended and the guilt of the event might be fading.
As I write though the guilt of the event has not faded. I can still hear the thuds of his body falling against the steps. I can still see the tell-tale fleck of blood from the gash on the top of his head. I can still feel anxiety in the pit of my stomach as we realised that something was wrong with his leg. I am a Bad Parent, the sort that ends up on television being shouted at by Jeremy Kyle (actually, the list of reasons that I, or my family, might be on television being shouted at by Jeremy Kyle is growing by the day).
I couldn’t bring myself to write about this until now as I have felt the guilt of the Bad Parent for the last three weeks. Like the chains of Jacob Marley the plastered leg has served as an awful reminder that I’m a Bad Parent. Everywhere I turn I am confronted by the physical reminder of being a Bad Parent. Every time Sam tries to stand up and can’t, or crawl around and bashes his cast into something, or gets his massive leg stuck in his trousers when you’re undressing him, or has a wash because he can’t have a bath in case the cast gets wet I feel the guilt of a thousand Bad Parents burning into my soul. That’s if I have a soul, which clearly I don’t because I’m such a Bad Parent.
The one crumb of comfort seems to be that there are other Bad Parents out there, a whole load of them. Just type ‘my still-yet-to-be-one-year-old boy’s leg broke when he fell down the stairs’ into Google, or Bing (no search engine bias on this blog), and you receive more stories from other Bad Parents than you can possibly read. Neighbours and family have fallen over each other to regale me with the stories of the horrific injuries that their children have received. Injuries that have resulted in broken bones and busted teeth and hours and hours spent in casualty departments. Try it out with your friends, the second you mention an injury that has happened to your kid, prepare yourself for a list of even worse things that have happened to other people's sproglets. It's like being in a version of Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen sketch: ‘A broken leg from falling down the stairs..? You were lucky. We used to dream of a broken leg from falling down the stairs.’
Now that the cast is coming off though a tiny part of me feels just a little bit sad. Christmas is coming and the Brown family Christmas photo could have been a fabulous reimagining of Dickens’ Cratchet family complete with an unusually realistic Tiny Tim.
Monday, 23 November 2009
Not saying 'please' and 'thank you' often enough.
Picking his nose and eating it.
Not listening to everything his mummy says.
Leaving pants on the floor.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
My wife is trying to make our son support Liverpool. I’m a Man Utd supporter. She seems to find this very funny. It is not.
I blame myself for neglecting this area of my son’s education. I was too busy making rockets out of cardboard boxes and gluing tiny pieces of paper to other slightly larger pieces of paper to realise what was going on. Looking back I realise that I had left him exposed to the potential manipulation of some malignant force in his life i.e his mummy. My advice to other father’s would be that your child must have a rudimentary knowledge of your team’s best goals, sexiest players and most amusing chants by their third birthday at the very, very least.
However, all is not lost and thanks to a combination of ridiculous promises, outright lies and untold bribery, you too could save your child.
Just follow these easy steps in this handy cut-out-and-keep guide to brainwashing your eldest son.
1. Buy a ton of tat from the football team of your choice. In my case this has included Man United pyjamas, a Man United clock, a Man United football and a Man United football kit.
2. Create a wondrous and magical character imbued with traits of love, kindness and generosity who will give the tat to your child. Think Santa and then times it by a hundred. I came up with the “football fairy” so feel free to use that or come up with something else. For instance, Newcastle United fans might like to come up with the Sports Direct.com@Football Fairy.
3. Drip feed your child the footie goodies. You don’t need to give them everything at once but it is important that each item comes with a personalised note from the Football Fairy expressly forbidding the supporting of any other team.
4. Cry yourself to sleep in utter self-loathing at how pathetic you are.
And so far so good. My boy still thinks that Manchester United is a person but you know, from tiny acorns and all that. I just thank the great football fairy that he’s stopped banging on about Stephen bloody Gerrard.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
If you are aware of this cultural arse gravy then you must be a parent or BBC childrens’ commissioner. If you happen to be the person responsible for commissioning/writing/directing/making-teas-for-the-actors on this show then know this my friend, you are going to be fast-tracked to hell in a rocket powered wheelbarrow.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, it is a show on the Cbeebies channel set in the fictional hell town of Riversea Fingle. Each day a different grown-up (and I use the word in a very loose sense) drops their kid off at Granny Murray’s house so she can look after them while they bob off to work.
There are several reasons why this production gets on my frazzled teats but let’s kick right off with the lead character, the aforementioned Granny Murray. Now she ain’t like no granny I’ve ever met being clearly in her late twenties or possibly early 30s. Her sole reason for existing seems to be to dish out her special brand of advice to the other saps of Riversea Fingle. But really, would you trust a woman who'd not only got herself knocked up at an obviously early age but also managed to raise her son or daughter to procreate with similarly youthful pip..? Of course you wouldn't.
Also, Granny Murray's insistence on calling me her 'honey pie', when our acquaintance is cursory at best, is proving rather tiresome.
Secondly, Mickey John who takes us on his journey from Granny Murray's house to school is obviously a massive fraud. Instead of getting to the job he claims to love by the most direct way (i.e. down Granny Murray's street and across the bridge), he clearly takes a rambling route to show off the fact he can rhyme words like ‘down’ and ‘frown’. Perhaps you should spend more time at school Mickey John because then the idea of playing blind cricket might not seem so "confusing" and "upsetting". It's Rudy I feel sorry for, that's all.
Most disturbing of all, it seems quite obvious from the expressions of fear on the children's faces that none of the people claiming to be their parents are in fact who they say they are. I think we have to ask some very serious questions about this..? Is Granny Murray actually running a safe house for a kiddie sweatshop..? Is there a large room behind the front door of that beautiful terraced house, filled with under 5s sticking pins into their bleeding fingers just to get another shipment of t-shirts off to China..? Perhaps the ‘parents’ are just mules who kidnap the kids from their real carers just to satisfy the obvious cash lust that lurks deep within Granny Murray’s blackened heart.
Obviously my son absolutely loves this show and every time I have to sit through an episode and laugh and sing along, another little piece of me dies inside.
If there's a TV show that your kid makes you watch just let me know, comment below or email me email@example.com
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
I've always been much more of a bonfire night person myself. The crackle of the fire, the whizz and the bang of a rocket, the toffee apples, the tomato soup (Heinz of course). Trick or treat has always seemed, I don't know, a bit grabby. I think Fry and Laurie said it best when they said...
So listen, my boys will probably never have my blessing for trick or treating but, all things considered, my eldest had the most kick-ass outfit I've ever seen.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Sunday, 25 October 2009
To most he was a brilliant author of seminal kids books and short stories; creator of chocolate factories and witches and fantastic foxes and unexpected tales. However, to me the guy is just a plain, up and down fatherhood wrecker of the highest order. Frankly, he’s made any enjoyment of fatherhood very difficult indeed by raising the model of fatherdom to near unattainable proportions.
Exhibit A: Fantastic Mr Fox
OK, so you’re right that a man who feels jealous of a fox isn’t perhaps much of a man but how the hell am I ever going to be able to cock-a-snook at authority figures in the way that Mr Fox does..? From a position of almost certain death he somehow conspires to get his own back on his enemies (showing them enough compassion to not resort to their murderous tactics), show his kids the exciting time of their lives, provide his family and friends with a feast the like of which they have never seen, and have a vision of a utopian underground community where all are equal and none will go hungry. And he does all this in about two hours. I mean, give me a frickin’ break here Roald, how the hell can I live with that..?
Exhibit B: Danny Champion of the World’s Dad
This guy really makes my skin crawl. He’s basically a layabout who vicariously lives through his doe-eyed boy. He’s a mechanic right but he doesn’t seem to do much work does he..? He’d rather hang out with his son making up stories about the countryside and nature and saying things like 'let's go fly a kite' and then be able to make the kite out of a few twigs and an old blue shirt and everything would be blissful and perfect. He really makes me sick and to top it off he uses his poor son as an accomplice for drugging and kidnap. But my son, and thousands of other little boys, think this guy is an absolute hero. Jeez.
Exhibit C: Roald Dahl himself
My son Joe was giving a compendium of Dahl’s work for his birthday. The introduction is by Roald Dahl’s daughter and in it she gives a little glimpse as to the kind of father he was. I was given this to read by my wife who passed it to me while wiping a tear from her eye and telling me it was the most wonderful thing she had read. Here's a small extract.
“He was always open to the possibility of an adventure. Even when he drove us to the school bus in the morning we would take a detour to follow a fire engine with sirens wailing.”
I could do that, I thought to myself after putting the book down. Next chance I get, I’ll take a detour from where we should be going and follow a fire engine. The boys will love it, we’ll laugh excitedly about the adventure we’ll be enjoying. I’ll be a hero, I’ll remodel myself as a father in the image of Roald Dahl.
A week or so later I got my chance. We were on our way to the shops, I saw an ambulance with sirens blazing. I sped off after it in hot pursuit shouting, ‘we’re off on an adventure’ over my shoulder to the boys in the back. Thinking about it now I could have shouted this in a bit more of an exciting way and a bit less of a weird way. As I accelerated, a car pulled out in front of me, I braked hard and cursed loudly at the driver in front. The ambulance sped off out of sight and both my sons burst into tears. It was a very demoralising three minutes.
I'll see you in hell Roald Dahl.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Wandering around the house without any trousers on.
Talking with his mouth full.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
I think my son Joe might support Liverpool. This is the worst crisis to rock my parent life.
When I was a kid I didn’t have a say in the football team I supported. My family are from Salford and the North West and everyone supported Manchester United ergo I support Manchester United. It doesn’t matter that I was born in Leicester, lived in Sheffield and went to school near Cardiff because I HAD to support Manchester United. To be fair though they’ve been an easy team to support, apart from the 92-94 green and yellow away kit and those hellish Ralph Milne wilderness years but lest said soonest mended as far as that is concerned, I think.
The fact remained though that I wasn’t able to support Leicester City, Sheffields’ Wednesday or United, or City’s Cardiff or Swansea simply because by the time I moved to any of these places I had already checked into the warm and rather fragrant hotel of MUFC. In fact, I was probably lounging on the kingsize bed in the Steve Coppell suite wearing my monogrammed pyjamas and wondering how many miniature shampoos I could pinch.
A couple of weeks ago Joe came downstairs while I was watching a Champions League match and asked if he could watch it too. Man United were playing and we cheered them on together. Truly it was a wonderful father and son moment, forever bathed by the warm, sepia sunshine in the garden of my happy memories.
The next day we were kicking a ball about in the garden and I said that we should pretend to play for Manchester United. All was going well until Mrs B came outside and said that she would play football with us only she wanted to play for Liverpool. Immediately Joe said the words that burned through my soul...
‘Daddy, I’m going to play for Liverpool too.’
Just in case you are unfamiliar with the lie of the land re: Man United and Liverpool then here’s the short hand.
The two teams do not really see eye to eye very much.
I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard fan by any stretch but supporting MUFC has shaped my life. I have a fascination with the number 7, a love of men called Bryan and, and I’m not proud of this I’m really not, a freakish, knee-jerk hatred of Liverpool FC (it is not hard as hell Mr John Barnes thank you very much).
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the nine circles of hell as depicted in the first part of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The Inferno begins with circle one, Limbo, where the unbaptised and those who haven’t accepted Christ into their life reside. Then we go from circles 2 through to 9 where the very worst of the worst of history spend eternity in perpetual damnation. Dante has it that at the bottom of the ninth circle, the very worst that humanity has offered, is Judas completely encaptured in ice and distorted in all conceivable positions. Then trapped beneath Judas is Satan himself. However, all Man united fans know that there is another, tenth layer beneath Satan’s buttocks where the most dismal creatures exist. Barely human these tenth circle hellhounds go by the name Liverpool supporters.
Now, so much Anfield poison has been dripped into Joe’s ear that whenever we kick a ball together I have to be Manchester United and he has to be Liverpool.
I realise I only have myself to blame because I’ve let things slide. Really basic thing too. Other Man Utd dads that I know already have their three year olds reciting United’s current first team, chanting songs about Scholes scoring goals, even reminiscing about that night at the Nou Camp in 99.
So realising that drastic problems call for drastic thingamajigs, I know now what I have to do. I have a plan that I must see through. It won’t be pretty but it just might save the boy that I love from a fate worse than death, namely having to support Liverpool for the rest of his life...
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Frazzled (that’s funny daddy, what’s frazzled?) Daddy (oh that’s you, you’re daddy aren’t you daddy? I’m Joseph aren’t I? J-O-S-E-P-H that’s how you spell Joseph, isn’t it daddy?)
Dispatches (what’s dispatches daddy?) from the frontline (what’s a frontline? Is there a back one daddy?) of fatherhood (Who’s Farmer Hood daddy?)...questions, questions (what questions daddy? Daddy? Daddy? Why are you weeping Daddy?).
We were listening to the radio the other day and one thing led to another and before I knew where I was I had to try and explain why the radio sounds quieter the further away you are from it. He’s three for christsakes how does he know that physics is my Achilles heel..? How does he know that I could never ever, no matter how hard I tried, understand anything that Mr Kokinos said during physics class? Maybe if I’d had a teacher with as slightly less amusing and rude sounding name I might have done better, who knows. However, I didn’t and I didn’t and now my boy, my own flesh and blood is able to land such powerful punches on my already fragile and frazzled sense of daddydom. I mean what is up with that..? Oh god, now I’m asking questions.
So, the other day I thought I’d write down every question Joe asked in 24 hours.
Pretty soon I realised that I’d need more paper to chronicle this than existed in the world so I decided to write down every question he asked in one hour.
Then I got real and decided that a five minute period would be best.
Also please bear in mind that all these questions were interspersed with a sporadic rendition of the new Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune. If by some miracle you haven’t heard it then I hate you because in the annoying league it’s possibly only just pipped by the Wiggles.
FYI If you haven’t heard of the Wiggles then you’re reading the wrong blog.
Daddy is the bath ready? x4
Daddy, will you get in with me? X4
Why is the hot water coming out? (Pointing to the hot tap)
Why is the steam coming out?
Why is the hot water coming out?
Is the water going faster?
Can I get in the bath yet? X7
The following are part of a game we play in the bath where he asks me what I want for a specific meal while I try – very much like Dr Zarkov in the movie Flash Gordon – to think of happy thoughts, songs from the Beatles, anything to help get me through.
What you like for breakfast daddy?
What you like for pudding? (I didn’t point out that you don’t have pudding for breakfast, although I nearly did)
What you like for lunch?
Daddy, can you get me out of the bath?
What you like for pudding?
What you like for lunch?
After my sleep can we do the puzzle?
What’s Sam (my other son who’s eight months old) doing?
Is Sam going to roll over again?
Do you need your diary daddy?
Daddy where are your stickers?
The funny thing is that when there’s silence in the house or Joe stops speaking and asking questions for a moment I say, like one of Pavlov’s hounds, ‘you OK Joe?’.
Monday, 10 August 2009
This weekend we were visiting friends, which necessitated an hour long car journey. From the off Joe started a lot of low level questioning about where we were going, who we were seeing, were we there yet, could he play cards (solitaire) on my phone, were we there yet, what does a red queen go on, no daddy there is no black king, were we there yet, can I go for a wee in the three lane traffic jam, no daddy I can’t hold on, were we nearly there yet, oh there’s a black king... you know the kind of thing. None of this was shouty or moany it was just the stuff that was coming into his brain. It just so happened that I was trying to navigate North London in rush hour whilst trying to keep tabs on just how badly England were doing in the fourth test and pointing out to Liz the flaws in her argument that England should have batted first (I mean what choice did Strauss have on that wicket, eh?).
Now I don’t think we really pay enough lip service to the levels of stress that this basic kid harassment can create. So, even though I didn’t raise my voice at all in the car it’s clear to me now that like a pissed off volcano I was building up to go flat out spazoid.
It all happened very quickly. We stopped outside our friend’s house. Liz and I busily collected crap from the car like phones and ipods and keys and papers. I opened the boot to get out presents for friends. Joe was in back holding shoes in one hand and small tin bucket in the other. In Joe’s brain the possibility of wearing the bucket as a shoe was just beginning to dawn. Liz opened Joe’s door and told him to put his shoes on. In Joe’s brain the reality of wearing the bucket as a shoe was being assessed as a genuinely achievable goal. Joe told Liz that he wanted to wear his bucket as a shoe. Liz told him that he could do that when he got inside friend’s house. Joe shouted at Liz that this time frame was not acceptable. I encouraged him to get in the house. Liz told him that she was sick of this and that he must wait in the car. I shouted at Liz and then at Joe. Joe cried and kicked the hell out of the back seat. I cried on the inside.
Within one minute and 4 seconds the family unit had imploded then exploded and then covered itself in petrol and torched itself to death. At this point Liz took Samuel into the house and I sat in back seat to deal with Joe. I had it all in my head how it would pan out. I would shock him into stopping screaming by using my stern voice just once, I would then tell him calmly but clearly that his behaviour wasn’t good and that he had been naughty. He would then sit quietly in the back for two minutes really thinking about what he had done. We would then embrace and join the others for tea and crumpets.
Obviously it didn’t quite work out like this.
I used my stern voice which, due to him not stopping screaming, escalated quickly into my insane, out-of-control, shouting-at-the-top-of-my-voice voice. He shouted back and hit me and I told him/screamed right in his face that he was the naughtiest boy in the whole world. Crucially, I had forgotten about the child locks in the back of cars. Believe you and me, you cede your moral high ground pretty blummin' quick sharp by having an irrational and shouty row with a three year old while simultaneously trying to exit a car by trying to climb out of the back. My legs are long and my car is small so instead of looking like the wise and mature father of my fantasy I ended up looking like a stupid, angry, sweaty, sweary clown. Why do the props of life thwart me so..?
So, I don’t know if shouting at my kids scars them but it sure as hell scars me.
Key: Me (Daddy), Liz (mummy), Joe (4 year old number one son), Samuel (8 month old number two son)
Let me know how much of an idiot I am or cheer me through your own inadequate parenting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org