Come along for the ride!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Yeah but, no but …….

Joseph always starts the day with a ‘platter’; some fruit, a cheese stick and a yoghurt or similar.

To introduce a bit of familiarity when he started school last September, I took along a small ‘platter in a bag’ when collecting him.

Anyway, this has now become the norm, it’s expected. Unfortunately, it’s the very first thing out of his mouth when I collect him. I see him, he runs over, I hug him and ask how he is, how his day went and he replies with ………. “where’s my snack?”

I pointed out that this wasn’t a very polite way to start. It would be nicer to say, “hi Dad/Mum, I’m fine, how are you? Can I have my snacks please?”

Anyway, I had pretty much forgotten this conversation; until yesterday.

Joseph came over to meet me and we did our usual chase through the school grounds, pausing at the gate to hold hands along to where I’ve parked the car.

I unlock the car and he simultaneously reaches for the handle and opens his mouth to speak. He said this;

“Where’s my sna ………………” (very long pause and looks up at me realising)

“………… how are you?”

He asks how I am at the same time as letting go of the door handle and his arms fall to his side.

This combination I find hilarious and burst out laughing, drawing looks from passers by at my not overly quiet guffaw.

He knows he has hit the mark on this one and that we both know perfectly well what he was avoiding saying.

Nice one Poops.

You got me good and proper

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Honest injuns

As Joseph was getting ready for bed yesterday evening, he casually mentioned that one of his friends had elbowed him in the mouth. Naturally my heckles were up immediately but managed to calmly ask what happened. He went on to explain that he went to tell the teacher’s assistant who told him not to moan.

This annoyed me more than the elbow because we have explained that hitting is wrong; that he should tell one of the teachers rather than hit back and end up in trouble.

I told him that I would be speaking to the teacher’s assistant when I collected him from school the next day and this seemed to please him. I asked him to explain exactly what had happened with his friend.

“Well, I was trying to take a toy off him and he hit me in the mouth with his elbow”, he explained.

“Oh, there you go then”, I said. “If you’re going to try and take things away from people, you have to expect them to put up some resistance”.

Anyway, we brushed teeth and I lay on the bed as usual to read a story. As I was about to get up, he started talking again.

“The teacher didn’t tell me not to moan”.

“What do you mean?” I asked, slightly puzzled.

“That’s what she says to other children”.

“Well, what did she say when you told her your friend hit you in the mouth?”

“I didn’t tell her”.


“He didn’t mean it, it was an accident; I never told the teacher”.

“Well, I’m glad you told me”, I said, exasperated! "I was going to march into your classroom tomorrow and tell your teacher off!”

That is what’s known as 'a close one'.

Poor little guy though, his lip is sore, plus he says he took a tumble in the playground. This looks to be totally true as he has the biggest bruise on his elbow, sore to touch and fully deserving of that magical potion, Nurofen for Children.

Sugar free, natch.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In sickness and in health …….

Well, there you have it. I said I wouldn’t let an entire week go by with only one entry and what do I go and do?

Exactly that.

As always however, I have an excuse.

My lovely wife had a fairly considerable operation last week and as a result has been doing the washing up and housework much slower than she usually does. Instead of being able to slob on the computer keeping you all informed, I’ve had to oversee her tasks rather closer than normal.

I jest of course.

M was only in hospital for 2 days but it felt a lot longer. Getting two children bathed, ready for bed, then ready for school and nursery the next morning takes even more military precision than when there’s the two of us.

Then there’s the drive over to the hospital to see her, drive back, collect children, take them back to see her, back home …… well, you get the picture.

The worst bit however, is lying there in bed unable to sleep, horrible thoughts going through your mind that you can’t seem to quiet.

What if this, what if that?

Thankfully, she’s just fine.

Very tired, very uncomfortable but also very relieved (as am I), that she made it home in (almost) one piece.

I’ve said it many times before but I will say it again; as long as you have your health, nothing else matters a jot.

Take my word for it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Yassu filemou

I seem to be entering a phase of anniversaries at the moment and today’s absolutely has to be mentioned, although I admit it has no bearing on my being a Dad.

Twenty years ago today, I climbed aboard a plane and headed off to the Greek island of Rhodes and would end up spending approximately 18 months there, with a break for Christmas.

20 years?

Where the hell did they go to?

I made a point of digging out some photographs at the weekend and although I recognise the 18 year old staring back at me, it almost isn’t me.


My parents always said, “enjoy your first 21 years because life whizzes past after that”.

Of course, the arrogance of youth stopped me from taking any notice of them then, but they were right. The years since my 21st have zoomed past, just as they said.

The frightening thing however, is that they also told me how much more quickly time passes after you’ve had children. Taking into account they were spot on with their previous comment, I’m assuming they’ll be right on this one too.

Look out 2027, here I come.

Ready or not!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The cycle of life

Another bee-yoo-ti-full day no?

We went to Richmond Park for a picnic, kicked a football around, went for a walk through Isabella’s Plantation (which is wonderful) and generally mooched.

Mooching, particularly through a colourful garden makes me smile, mostly because lately, I have been doing things which I remember my parents doing which didn’t seem all that fun as a kid.

I have been admiring different flowers, their colours and smells. I have also taken to driving slowly past stunning looking properties in lovely locations and mentally deciding what it would take to move there.

I am my father’s son!

As we were leaving, I saw various other parents, grandparents, children running around, and I had one of those “million thoughts in a second” moments where I pictured Joseph and Annabel approaching middle age and M and myself getting old.

I then stupidly thought, “Why oh why do I have to get old and croak it?”

I’ve honestly never given it much thought before today. I mean, I have thought about the children’s future in a financial sense, but I wanted to know why our bodies give up after 70, 80 or 90 years?

What a shame.

You work, your children grow up, you retire and have your time to yourself, but your children are busy with their children and so on and so forth.

It sneaks up on you too.

One minute you’re a party animal, the next you’re married and your hair seems to be getting a bit thinner, then you’ve become a parent, you get tired slightly quicker, but it’s all so subtle, bit by bit, day by day; if you didn’t stop to think about it, you might not notice it at all.

Thankfully though, your children flash you a smile and the thought disappears as quickly as it came.

All that really matter is the here and now.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter weekend

Lummee, what a scorcher eh? Our terrific weekend looked like this;

Friday – Chessington World of Adventures

Yes it was very busy but it was fun. We thought we were being all clever by getting there slightly earlier than the advertised opening time, but so too had half of southern England!

“They won’t get us that easily”, I cried as we zoomed off to the far side of the park and managed 3 “go’s” on almost deserted rides before the crowds inevitably caught up with us. We all had a great time though, not to mention the exorbitant price of entry was eased by the use of some vouchers I won last year.

A free day out, marvellous!

Saturday – Hastings, East Sussex

A trip down memory lane this one. From watching the West Hill lift moving slowly up and down the side of, erm, West Hill and throwing stones into the sea, to eating cockles, Missy going on a miniature train ride and Poops and me racing 8 others in a two-seater go-kart for 5 minutes; awesome!

Me (shouting): “Are you having fun?”

Joseph (slipping down in his seat): “It’s very bumpy isn’t it Dad?

Sunday – over to M’s mother’s for a slap up Lebanese lunch accompanied by a delicious bottle of Arak, the national Lebanese drink, similar to Greek Ouzo or French Pernod. Lunch was followed by a period of complete inactivity. Well, I fell asleep for half an hour is what I mean.

Monday – gardening at home for the entire day and all sat down watching Toy Story 2 before bedtime.

Tuesday morning?

Shattered but happy!

Please note authentic Seagull poo next to train's brass dome!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Runaround ........ NOW!

They say that children are just little adults. Well, I don’t think that’s true, but it is both interesting and amusing to watch them in certain social settings.

Yesterday evening for example.

Joseph had been invited to a classmate’s birthday party, so off we traipsed at 5pm to one of the local soft play centre’s which he loves. An hour of running himself into a frenzy, pausing only to swallow down a beaker of orange squash, hair matted onto his forehead, cheeks glowing with rosy circles and eyes slightly manic with eagerness to get back into the action.

These play centres are similar to the adventure playgrounds I played on as a boy, with two main differences. These being;

1. They are now indoors and

2. Everything has either a crash mat in front of it or is covered in thick padding.

I can’t entirely decide which would be the more fun of the two were they sat side by side for comparison? There’s no doubt that in today’s climate of libel and suing, the adventure playground (as they used to be called) had to evolve as it has done. The likelihood of finding a 30 foot rope hanging from a tree branch with a car tyre at the end of it is ever more distant.

Anyway, Joseph wanted to try the “big slide” which he has never been down. After climbing up to show him the way, I climbed back down again and called up the helter skelter type slide for him to come down.

“No”, came the answer.

“Why not?”

“I’m scared”.

“Come on”.


So, up I climb again, sit him on my lap (hey, at least I had a good excuse) and off we pushed.

Crikey, it was bloody fast, not to mention the 180° left turn at the bottom.

The outcome? He loved it.

He raced to the top but again, paused at the top.

“Come on”, I shouted.


“What’s wrong now?”

“I’m scared”.

“You can do it. Climb in and push – I’m waiting at the bottom”.

With that, I hear him slowly swing his feet into the slide, a pause and then hear the whooshing of him hurtling down towards me.

Out he flies, off the bottom of the slide and into the hundreds of waiting balls to break his fall.

He’s pleased with himself and we both whoop loudly, but there’s something wrong, something he needs to put right. He goes up once more and again a pause at the top.

I say nothing; just wait.

I hear him climb in; here he comes hurtling around the hairpin bend at the bottom.

He is wide eyed as he turns the hairpin corner, he lands but immediately turns to me and announces, “I wasn’t scared that time Dad, I wasn’t scared”.

I have pride seeping out of every pore; silly that something so seemingly small could do that, but it’s true.

Another rung on the growing up ladder of life.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, the social interaction between children.

They are summoned into the party room where their food boxes are laid out, along with their balloons, hats and drinks.

One quick aside, it always makes me smile how Joseph is the only child to finish off his vegetables before anything else, while all around are polishing off their pizza or burgers.

As usual, the parents all stand around chatting, watching their offspring mingle. The slightly older children are regarded with slight awe and the younger ones are looked at with mild disdain. The object of this time seems to be eat your food as quickly as possible knowing full well there is dessert (always good at parties) and the even stronger possibility of ice cream in one form or another.

Joseph wasn’t disappointed on this occasion; cake and a Mini-milk ice lolly.

There is always the bit of upset when he realises that there’s no more time to play; it is in fact 7.15pm by which time he is usually bathed and ready for bed by now but the contents of his party bag smoothed this little wrinkle out nicely.

Home, washed and changed, into bed and asleep within approximately 2 minutes of putting his head on the pillow.

Sweet dreams Poops.