Monday, 10 May 2010
Hello all, just to let you know that in an effort to provide a greater Frazzled Daddy universe, I am moving the blog from blogspot to here
So, please come and have a look around. All the old blogs are there plus some new ones. There's also podcasts and recommendations to be enjoyed and/or hated.
It'd be peachy if you come over to play. Go on, the water's lovely and so am I.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
It costs British parents £1.8 billion every year to repair the damage their kids create.
That’s right BILLION. Not million. That’s one point eight thousand million.
It’s nearly as much money as the British government spent on International Development in 2001. All that money just due to kids breaking stuff, drawing on stuff and stuffing stuff in other stuff.
And yet it only works out as £85 per household per year. Now that seems like a great bargain. I’ve just tried to work out how much my kids have cost me over the course of their lives in damage related accidents and it is way more than what it should be if we were average (£340).
New carpet due to pot of green paint poured over
Sofa recovering due to pen marks
2 new car stereos due to things being shoved in tape deck and more than one CD thrust into player that only takes one at a time.
New mobile after being dropped in coffee cup.
Countless t-shirts, and jackets that have been thrown up on.
New mattress on bed after springs shot due to excessive trampolining.
And this list is just the tip of an enormous, stained and trashed iceberg. What about the books that get torn up – my books mind not theirs, the games that get smashed or lost, the DVDs that get scratched beyond merely being able to wipe it with the bottom of your t-shirt to make it work, the gardens that have to be relawned or flowerbeds that need completely replanting or how about the money spent on counselling to save broken relationships.
If I counted it all up I’m sure that the final bill would be close to about three grand. Or at least it would if I had actually repaired any of the damage caused, which of course I haven’t. I just live in a stained, bashed up house with a beaten up garden that I stand in and admire in horrible, tattered rags covered in sick and wee.
I would have taken a picture of this scene of family bliss for you but my son has broken my camera.
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
I think this might be a generational difference but I don't think I lie to my son as much as my parents lied to me. I don't mean devastating, family secret, your-mother-is-really-your-sister type lies. No, I mean the little ones, the white ones, the "if you eat an apple pip an apple tree will grow in your tummy" ones.
In fact, I think I have only ever used two LWL (little white lies) on him.
1. Father Christmas only comes to good little boys and girls.
2. Monsters are scared of the half empty beaker of milk on his bedside table (this, in my defense was an on-the-spot LWL after he had woken up in a cold sweat screaming about monsters being in his room. It did the trick, by the way.)
I can remember a whole host of LWL dished out by my parents including "picking your nose will make your face cave in", "if the wind changes your face will stay like that", "if you swallow an insect they'll lay eggs in your bottom" (actually that might have been my sister that told me that), and "too much telly would give me square eyes", to name but a few.
I was witness to a friend of my dad's telling his 4 year old daughter that if she didn't eat all her greens that he would phone up the tramp they'd seen the day before and get him to take her away. He did this over a family Sunday lunch and I can't begin to tell you how deathly the silence was at the table after that particular ultimatum.
My friend Stephen tells a story that he used to bring stray dogs home when he was a kid, his mum always smiled when he did and told him that sadly they couldn't keep the dog but she'd take it to a farm where it would be looked after. He subsequently discovered that she took them to the vets to be put down. He has been in therapy ever since.
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
I’m afraid that like Simon Bates before the film on an old rented VHS cassette, I must issue a warning about the following blog.
It contains rude words.
If you are easily offended, are the ghost of Mary Whitehouse or are a Victorian lady who has left her smelling salts at home then go because you are not going to be able to handle the flipping plops that I am about to lay down.
OK. I don’t ever offer guidance in this blog. I am the very last person to give anyone any advice. I am an idiot, a klutz, a shemozzle and a bozo. If you ever find yourself in a position where you think you might need some counsel from yours truly then find a priest or a shrink because your life will have gone way off beam. However, as you asked here is a nugget from my brain.
Be careful about what you say around a four year old because they start repeating things.
Last week my son was playing a game and was losing. Without any drama or fuss he gave a long sigh then said the word ‘bollocks’.
Now, it’s not the worst word in the world but I’m afraid I reacted quite badly. All I seemed able to do was to say, ‘I’m sorry, what did you say?’ over and over again. Every time I asked him he sighed again and repeated the aforementioned ‘b’ word. I think he said it five or six times before I was led away, eye twitching like Herbert Lom in a Pink Panther movie. It is, or course, what I say absentmindedly if I get cut up in the car, or my team miss a penalty, or I can’t get the lid off a jar. I had to tell him that it wasn’t a very nice word and that daddy was naughty for saying it. So far he hasn’t said it again.
Now though he is drawing people that look like enormous phalluses (see above).
Monday, 8 February 2010
My son's class chatted about 'machines' the other day. The picture above is the machine he invented. I asked him what the machine did and he told me it was a Squashing Machine. Oh, I said and what does it squash. People, he said, it squashes people until they're dead.
Saturday, 6 February 2010
So John Terry has been stripped of the England captaincy. Fabio Capello’s decision was swift, merciless and ‘for the good of the team’. It took approximately 12 minutes into their face –to-face meeting for the England manager to inform Terry of his decision. I guess the question that is on everybody’s lips is will William R Johnson act just as quickly..? William R Johnson is the CEO of Heinz, the company that makes Daddies Sauce, the condiment that bestowed the mantle of ‘Dad of the Year 2008’ upon John Terry’s broad shoulders just 18 short months ago.
There will, no doubt, be confusion created by the continued silence from Heinz’s Pennsylvanian HQ today. When will they comment on this alleged serious breach of trust from the recipient of one of Western civilisation’s most important parenting standards..? I’m sure a lot of people reading the tabloids will feel angry, disillusioned even and will be saying, “hey Daddies Sauce, what the flipping Christ we’re you playing at..? How could you have so badly got it wrong with JT..? I mean is that really the sort of behaviour that a Daddies Sauce Dad of the Year would display..?”.
Well, just hold on buddy.
Let’s just examine the evidence a bit more forensically shall we..?
Let’s not jump to any hasty conclusions based on rumours and conjecture.
First off, JT’s daughters are only three so he wasn’t even in contention for the Dad of the Year award until 2007. Unfortunately in 2007 and just before his Blenheim Palace wedding to his childhood sweetheart (now wife) he admitted to her that he had been unfaithful. At the time he said: “I really regret what I’ve done to Toni. I’m not going to cheat on her again.” OK, so he was probably out of the running for the award in 2007.
Last year, the News of the World made some allegations about JT arranging a behind-the-scenes tour of Chelsea’s training ground in exchange for ten grand. In a statement Chelsea rejected the statement but the Heinz bods might have thought that that plus the allegations about his dad probably ruled Terry out of the 2009 prize.
However, in 2008 there was nothing, not a scandal or allegation in sight. JT was as clean as a whistle and so absolutely deserved the award. I mean, there was the tiny matter of him picking up a £60 fine for parking in a disabled parking bay outside a Pizza Express. But then who’s more important for God’s sake..? John Terry or some disabled nobody..? Actually, if you think about it the council were at fault on this one because by rights they should have provided JT with his own parking bay outside the Pizza Express. And as the fine was only about the same as he gets paid every 15 minutes because JT is so brilliant and important no wonder this pathetic indiscretion didn’t count against him.
No, you see in 2008 John Terry was the perfect choice to be Daddies Sauce Dad of the Year. Either that or the award is a piece of pointless PR fluff and about as meaningful as Kerry Katona being twice crowned ‘Celebrity Mum of the Year’.
But that can’t be true, can it..? I mean, she’s an exceptional role model.
Monday, 1 February 2010
Last week I asked my eldest son what he had done at his best friend’s house.
My brow furrowed.
We killed each other.
That was the last I heard before I swooned to the floor and had to be revived with smelling salts.
He has talked a lot about death recently, well actually that’s not true he has talked a lot about killing. Mainly killing me or his mum or his friends but always the constant is the killing.
We’ve just moved house and he found a box that had an old Star Wars electronic battleships game that he has become obsessed with. It features some tinny recordings from the movie to accompany the action on the battle zone. So now the soundtrack of his childhood consists of the sound of explosions, followed by the sound of him shouting, “got him. I killed him”, followed by Darth Vader saying ‘impressive’ as if he’s grooming him to become a bad Jedi.
After I played battleships with him the other day he was in tears at the end because I wouldn’t tell him who gets killed in the film. I said we’d watch it together one day and didn’t want to spoil it.
Oh please tell me who gets killed, Daddy
Erm, well, I can’t really remember.
Oh please Daddy. Oh please Daddy
Oh well, erm there are casualties on both sides.
Oh please Daddy, please Daddy, who gets killed Daddy x 10000
I can remember seeing a documentary about American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer a few years ago where they interviewed the people who knew him in his early life. Remember kids, no good ever comes from spelling Geoffrey with a ‘J’. Apparently Jeffers showed a propensity for death at a young age by killing a lot of animals and then burying them in his garden. Those that spoke of this were quick to point out that in retrospect they should have recognised this behaviour as an early warning signal for his future killings.
Now I know that a ton of kids go through the ‘killing’ stage but every time he asks me about death, all I can think is that in some courtroom in the future I’m going to tell this story and some flashy, punk-ass lawyer will ask me why I never saw the signs.
On the other hand he is also obsessed with the musical Hello Dolly!
Oh dear god no!
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
My son loves watching the telly.
That sentence probably doesn’t convey the strength of his feeling enough.
For my son, telly is like heroin.
Actually, that’s probably overstating it just a bit. I should really have thought about this before I started writing. OK, let’s just say that his affection for the goggle box is less than a drug addict’s need for smack but certainly more than the tenderness he feels for either of his parents.
So far it’s been a very happy relationship. He doesn’t watch it all the time. He doesn’t even watch it all the time he wants to. However, occasionally as a way of encouraging some good behaviour in other areas of his life, or if I fancy a bit of peace and quiet, he’ll be allowed to have a gawp. For heaven sake both his parents have made a living out of TV so the roof over his head, the clothes on his back, the expensive toys that he refuses to play with have all been paid for by TV.
Up until now my son has favoured one of two viewing pleasures.
1.Movies (generally an animated classic such as Jungle Book, Toy Story, Monsters Inc etc)
Over the last three years our viewing landscape has been a world inhabited by yoga performing sprites, creatures with names like Macca Pacca and YoJo Jo, and silly grown-ups who dress up and fall down a lot. It has been fun and colourful and unthreatening. I can leave my kids in front of CBeebies safe in the knowledge that as soon as my back is turned it’s not going to start swearing or drinking or bringing up “issues”.
Now though my eldest is in the process of migrating from CBeebies to CBBC and I simply don’t know how to cope. It’s like watching the first broadcast after an apocalyptic nuclear strike has all but wiped out humanity. It’s dreadful, his mother and I are jabbering wrecks forever having to monitor what he watches and handing out ridiculous censorship rules like some kind of nightmare-ish Orwellian Government. We’ve already panicked and banned him from watching Tracy Beaker, although Joe obviously watches it when we’re not with him because he recently called me a super loser and I’m pretty sure his grandmother didn’t teach him that.
Monday, 11 January 2010
As baby routines have come under the spotlight today I thought I'd create my own. Yes, it's the Frazzled Daddy Baby Plan or how to cope with the first crucial 33 minutes of a weekend morning...
5.57am Wake up as oldest son keeps opening up your eyelids. Try and ignore it.
6.02am After failing to ignore a full five minutes of eyelid opening, ask eldest what he wants.
6.03am Get up, go downstairs and turn on the TV for eldest son.
6.04am Go back to bed and try and fall asleep. At this point you could also fall asleep on the sofa although you do leave yourself open to more questions and eyelid opening.
6.07am Wake up at the sound of your youngest stirring. Pretend that what you actually heard was the sound of a bird on the roof.
6.11am Wake up with worry that a bird might be clogging up the guttering on your roof. Realise the bird was a figment of your own imagination to ease your conscience. Ignore the increasingly loud noises coming from your youngest’s bedroom. Fall asleep.
6.14am Wake up after having dream of youngest falling out of cot and rolling out of their room and down the stairs.
6.15am Give partner a nudge and tell them that they have to sort out youngest as it’s your turn for a lie-in (you’ve got a 50:50 chance of being correct and to be honest your partner could be into the kid’s bedroom before they realise)
6.16am Go back to sleep
6.22am Wake up to the sound of massive row breaking out downstairs. Try and ignore it.
6.23am After failing to ignore it and with hostilities escalating put on yesterday’s clothes and go downstairs.
6.24am Respond positively when asked if you enjoyed your lie-in. Put on kettle.
6.25am Encourage eldest son to watch god awful kids’ TV with you.
6.26am Realise that you’re 36 years old and you’re sitting in yesterday’s clothes watching an episode of Thomas that you know all the words to.
6.30am Remember that none of the kids have had any milk and weigh up the possibility of going back to bed.
Today Frazzled Daddy went “over the top” and became a media entity in its own right, I went on the radio. No doubt books, movie rights and a range of hideous merchandising is only a heartbeat away but rest assured that I will not forget you, the little people, when I go global. Well, I might.
The fabulous London institution LBC called me to ask if I had anything to say about the balls-out war that has broken out in the world of parenthood. In the red corner, the grandmaster of gurus, the behemoth of baby boffins, the heavyweight champion of itineries... GINA FORD. And in the yellow corner is the challenger, the archduke of dads, the prince of proportional representation, the leader of the Liberal Democrat... what’s his name, er oh yes... NICK CLEGG.
Just in case you missed it, Nick Clegg “launched a scathing attack” on Gina Ford’s childcare methods likening them to an Ikea assembly manual that can make parents feel strangely passive. In fact, read it for yourself, that’d be much easier.
OK, for any of you who haven’t read any Gina Ford and who don’t understand what the hell is going on then consider yourself very, very lucky and go about your day.
When I read the article I felt a huge affinity for what Nick Clegg had said. I remember very vividly the few weeks before our youngest son, Joe, was born and the frenzied accumulation and poring over the Contented Baby books. All our friends had read it and we had to and more than that we had to follow it because then we would be doing things “right”. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, after a lot of sleepless nights, that we realised that our son didn’t quite fit in to Gina Ford’s meticulous regime and that perhaps a different and more flexible approach was required. Once we’d made this extraordinary revelation things got a lot better for us.
So well done Nick Clegg for speaking your mind, for telling it how it is and for encouraging people to trust their own parental instincts.
As ever, let me know what you think by leaving comments and remember don’t listen to anything I say because I’m an idiot.