Papa don’t preach

Smiley Megan

Look at that wee face. Go on, have a really good look. I’ll give you a minute or two…

Now, imagine you’re trying to tell her off. For pulling her sister’s hair maybe. Or for putting her feet up on the dinner table. Or for climbing up and standing on the coffee table. Or, as happened at the weekend, for BITING her sister on the chest, hard enough that three days later it’s still bruised (Heather kind of brought that one on herself by persisting with a big bear hug which was clearly unwanted, but still…)

I think one of the hardest things we have to do as parents is disciplining kids before they’re really old enough to understand that they’ve done something wrong. Especially when rstern words and finger wagging result in nothing more than an ear to ear grin that’s cute beyond belief, and you have to fight with every fibre of your being not to smile back.

Or worse, laugh.

I think it gets a bit easier as they get older though, and begin to understand that they’re being told off for a reason. That’s certainly been the case with Heather, and I hope it proves to be the same for Megan.

Of course, there are always going to be times where giving a telling off is difficult for one reason or another. That may be because the specific transgression is something you remember doing yourself in the past, or it may be because the situation is so ridiculous it’s hard to keep a straight face. Like the time I took a chunk out of the dining room table with a table tennis bat (I won the point though) and got a very stern telling off for it. Until, that is, my mum uttered the immortal line “DO YOU THINK TABLES GROW ON TREES?” and retreated to the kitchen to laugh at the absurdity of what she’d just said, which instantly cleared the air.

In an ideal world the kids would never do anything that warranted a telling off in the first place, but we all know that’s not going to happen, and to be honest, that’s a good thing. We want to raise confident, independent kids who are capable of thinking for themselves, and inevitably that’s going to involve a lot of ups and downs along the way. I guess it’s a price worth paying though.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Fun fun fun in the sun sun sun

Sisters in the sunLiving in Scotland, we don’t tend to see the sun that much, so it’s important to make the most of it when we do get some. And I think it’s fair to say we’ve done just that over the last week or so – and even better, I had a few days off to enjoy the sunshine with the girls.

For Megan, of course this was all a brand new experience, but other than trying to eat a few pebbles you wouldn’t have known it. I think it helped that she had Heather to show her the ropes. It was an absolute joy to watch them playing together, whether it was in and out of the play house, running around on the grass or rocking on the see-saw.

See-sawThat last one gave me a few heart-stopping moments, though, as Heather rocked a bit too vigorously for my liking. Megan was loving it though, and she kept hold with both hands so I stayed back and let them get on with it. It would be far too easy to step in and take the fun out, in case anyone got hurt, but I’m a firm believer that kids need to learn their limits by themselves (within reason, obviously) so I bit my tongue and watched from a distance.

The absolute highlight, though, was on Sunday afternoon at the house of some friends. We’d stayed over the night before, and had intended leaving mid-morning, but with the weather so glorious and the company so good, it was just too easy to hang around a bit longer. And anyway, the paddling pool was out, and it would have been a shame for it not to get put to good use, right?

Heather certainly made good use of the pool when she decided to cool off by sitting in it. I think it was colder than she expected, though, because she leapt up and started pulling at the straps of her swimming costume. “Don’t take that off” we said, “run about and that will dry you off” we said. But take it off she did. And then, naked, decided to dry off a bit more by bouncing on the trampoline for a bit. Which amused everyone, adults and kids alike.

She must have flitted between pool and trampoline half a dozen times, giggling all the while, and I expect enjoying the fact that everyone was sharing her amusement. It really was hilarious.

Gem got some video footage, for embarrassment purposes at some later date. DEFINITELY not suitable for YouTube though!

Oh to be 3 years old, and completely unselfconscious again…

Sisters in the house

Walking on the stones

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Click click click click click

Earlier today I read a BBC News story about a new(ish) phenomenon – baby time-lapses. The basic idea is that you take a picture of your child every day, then build that into an online gallery or even a time-lapse video which you’ve then got the option of uploading to YouTube. The article mentions one such video which has had seven million hits in the four years since it was first posted.

Now, I’m happy to admit that I can be a sentimental old sod, and I can totally see the appeal of doing something like this. I even had a similar idea myself (which I may still do) of photographing every piece of art our girls produce, and sticking it on here as a virtual gallery. I may actually go through with that, but the idea of these time-lapse videos makes me uneasy for a number of reasons.

I have no idea how many pictures have been taken of our girls – more than were taken of their parents by the same age, definitely. Most of them are “catch the moment” type pictures though, most likely taken with a mobile phone. A lot of the time the girls won’t even know we’ve taken a picture. And yet, Heather’s already gone through at least phase where she refused point blank to pose for the camera. We reckoned it was photo fatigue – too many pictures meant she wasn’t interested any more. And if that’s how she’s reacted to random spur of the moment pictures being taken, I can imagine how she’d deal with a staged picture every day. Without resorting to force (or bribery!) to get her to cooperate, the project would have had to be abandoned some time ago.

My other concern is over-sharing. Now that might sound silly, given I’m writing this on a blog that could be viewed by anyone in the world. And you’d be right. But… I know how many folk read this blog and believe me, it’s nowhere NEAR seven million. And I think that makes a difference – I know I’m really only sharing with friends and family. If I know I’m getting more visitors, maybe I’ll change what I post.

Also, I’m fully in control of this site. Everything. I couldn’t say the same about something I posted on YouTube, particularly the comments that are made. I can moderate what folk say about my posts here, but could I do the same on YouTube? And would I have the TIME to deal with the volume that appears to have been generated?

I worry about the effect this will have had on those kids – being photographed every day, being thrown out on the internet for all and sundry to comment on, and all at an age where you’re too young to have any say in the matter.

Of course maybe I’m just overreacting. And maybe being a touch hypocritical too?. At the end of the day, everyone’s different, and everyone parents differently. Maybe these parents wouldn’t approve of some of OUR choices (for example when the kids went into front facing car seats).

But no matter how great a record it wil be of their childhood, this isn’t something I would force on my kids. Now… where are those paintings?

 

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Ready to start

So… new domain is purchased, existing blog posts (from Lunch Hour Waffle) migrated, theme configures, banner image selected, sidebar set up…

I think the only boy in the house is officially good to go!

Obviously it’s not a finished article, there’s a new bio to write, and no doubt I’ll think of something I was going to add/remove/change about 10 seconds after I post this, and of course there’s the small manner of adding new content (after all that’s what it’s all about, right) but yeah, I think everything is in place to unleash on the world.

Exciting times!

Let me know what you think of the new look…

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

A change is gonna come…

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about this blog and what I really want to do with it. The catchups I did earlier in the week reminded me why I started it in the first place – to document what I’ve been up to, and particularly the ups and downs of fatherhood. I want somewhere I can record all the daft little things that Heather and Megan say and do, the things that in twenty years (or even twenty days!) time will have been forgotten about because our brains aren’t wired to remember them, they’re too insignificant.

Well, I don’t want them to be insignificant. I want to remember as much as possible about how my girls grow up, because they’re changing all the time, and sooner or later this moment, this time, will be gone forever.

At the same time as I was mulling this over, Susan Mann tweeted about her nominations for the 2012 MAD Blog Awards, something she was understandably excited about. So I clicked through and scrolled down the list of nominees, and the further I got, the more I noticed all the nominees had something in common – they were all mums. Which seemed a little… well, odd, given that MAD stands for Mum and Dad. So where were the dads?

I put the question to Susan, who pointed out there are lots of dads up for awards in the BiBs, and suggested I start up my own daddy blog. Which struck a real chord. And then she retweeted me a link to Tom Briggs’s excellent post about the lack of dads in the MAD awards shortlists. If you read the post, and then the comments at the bottom, there’s a real sense that dads are under-represented in the blogosphere, and those that are there need to up their game to compete with the mums. Nice bit of role reversal there!

Anyway, all of that sounded like a call to arms to me, and I’ve decided to step up to the mark, and make a few changes around here. I think the clincher in all of this was thinking up a new name – I’ve never been 100% happy with “Lunch Hour Waffle” anyway, it was just the best thing I thought of when I started up a year and a half ago. So I won’t be sad to see it go.

Not that I’m revealing the new name just yet – first I need to register a suitable domain, and hopefully get all the rubbish I’ve already spouted transferred over. I just need to decide whether or not to include the “the” at the start in the domain – if anyone has any advice on the matter I’ll gratefully take it.

And then, hopefully, I’ll be inspired to post around here much more regularly. Will it happen? Who knows – but I know that if I don’t change anything, all those “kids say/do the funniest things” moments will continue to drift away into the ether, forgotten forever. And that makes me sad.

Watch this space…

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!