Confession Time

There are an increasing number of stay-at-home & hands-on Dads – more power to them! There are many Dads of twins. And of course older Dads. But there can’t be too many who are all 3. That was one of the reasons I started this blog; in the hope that whatever experiences I had might be of interest to others: Dads, Mums, or those just looking.

How this all began.

It was supposed to be about me, me as a Dad, an unusual Dad, and how the experience affected and changed my life. I intended this to be a chronicle of an unusual parenting situation from an unusual perspective: my perspective, a bloke’s perspective. That’s actually what gave this blog its strange name. 1-DSCF3705

Best laid plans, and all that eh?

It turned out that it wasn’t about me – it never was, really – it was always about them: Jake and Ellie, my wonderful – now 8-year-old – twins.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been too personal here over the years: not much writing about how I’ve been, how I feel, how all this has been affecting me, despite my blog’s stated aims.

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Another reason of course is that I am a bloke, and generally we blokes aren’t too good at that sort of thing: opening up about ‘feelings’, and ’emotions’ – or at least ones that don’t involve shouting at a bunch of other blokes as they run around after variously shaped balls.  In that way at least I’m what you could describe as a ‘typical bloke’.

And I haven’t posted much here, for a few years now; certainly nowhere near as much as I used to. In this blog’s heyday I was posting daily.  A lot of that of course is just due to the twins just growing up. They’re 8 and in school, and are very active in out of school groups and activities: I just don’t see them as much or spend as much time with them as I used to, so there’s just less to write about.

DSCF5334There’s another reason however that I don’t spend as much time with them as I used to, and as much as I’d like to. I’ve alluded to it here a few times but have never written explicitly about it. I’ve always meant to, but there never seemed to be a ‘right time’ for it. There probably never is. Also I’ve always tried to be positive here, and present my experience of parenthood as a positive one, which it largely has been, and this particular aspect hasn’t been positive. In fact it’s been bloody difficult.

“C’mon, spill it man: out with it then!”. Alright; OK then! That sergeant-major is still in my head it seems: more about that another time maybe…

OK, so (deep breath): we’re separated, my wife and I. Have been for over 4 years now,  since Christmas 2013, about a year & a half after we moved here to Wales, soon after the twins started school, just as we were all set to move into the new family home – which I’d selected mainly as it’s almost literally over the fence from their school.

I’m not going to lie: it’s been, and is, difficult. Any readers of this blog will probably know that the twins were, and in many ways still are, my life. They’re the only thing in my life that has ever given it any meaning, really.

The reasons behind it? I’m not sure I will or even should go into that here. And that’s partly because I’m not really sure. I do know that statistically there is a higher than average divorce rate amongst parents of twins: it can be very stressful! “Double the trouble, double the fun.”

As for the future: who knows? We’re still officially married, and we even actually talk sometimes: amicably, mostly. We should probably do more of that sort of thing.

So, anyway, that’s my News. It’s out of the way, it’s off my chest. It’s not before time that I ‘came clean’ here; I probably should have a long time ago.

I’ve gone on long enough already; I’ll write more another time.

Thank you for reading, if you’ve stuck with me this far. More later 🙂

 

 

 

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My Sunday Photo 11/9/16

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OneDad3Girls

Little Things Can Change a Life

I went to my local grocery shop yesterday. I had a little money in my pocket (for a change!) and I needed food to eat; it’s just something we all do when we need to.

As I entered the shop I saw a friend going in at the same time.

Now I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m going through a hard time at the moment, a lot of which is about my being very limited in how much I spent there, & my making a beeline for the bargains section. Among other things.

It’s summer here in Wales, allegedly. We’ve had some nice days, but this wasn’t one of them. It was raining heavily, cold and windy.

In short, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

I greeted my friend when I caught up with her: “Hi Liz”; she replied in kind.

In my very British way, as I often do, I then said ironically, “Nice day isn’t it?”.

Because as far as I was concerned it wasn’t. But, you know, I was muddling on through anyway, as you do.

Her response? She turned around, with a big smile on her face, and said, “Yes, it is!”.

She seemed completely genuine.

It wasn’t! But to her it was. I was taken aback!

That changed my mindset.

Yes, the weather was terrible.Yes, this, that and the other. And I know my friend has problems of her own, as do we all. Yet it was still “a nice day”!

It was a nice day because she had decided it was. So it was!

Yes, I was broke. Yes, the weather was awful. Yes, this, that, the other, and everything else. But I could still decide it was “a nice day!”.

Yes, I have problems, at the moment it seems too many. But compared to most of the world’s people I’m lucky. I’m not starving. I have a roof over my head. I don’t live in fear of being bombed. I have friends. And I have my music.

Today is a good day! I’m gonna make it that way.

My Sunday Photo 24/7/16: Meet The Band!

Introducing…The Jallie Band!

Featuring: Jake on metal gazoo, and Ellie on mouth organ! And Daddy banging rhythmically on whatever is to hand. (Sounds of wild applause and cheering)

They were pretty good too!

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OneDad3Girls

The Treadmill

So…I’ve bought a treadmill.

Ellie, ever observant, noticed this – probably because Jake was standing on it at the time – and asked me “Daddy, why have you got that – ” Me: “treadmill?” “yes: ‘treadmill’?”

I actually have this slightly mad idea of using it as I play my favourite Xbox game, Skyrim, so that I walk as my character does, run when he does, & sit down in the Inn and drink ale as – well, actually I probably do enough of that already, & that’s probably why I need the thing in the first place…

I was explaining to her what a treadmill does and why I need it. I believe the words “big fat belly” may have been used, again. Possibly.

Her response took me by surprise.

“But daddy, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters that you’re kind”.

Wise words for a 5-year-old, and definitely a Magic Moment!

Although I do need to lose weight (as well?) 🙂

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

Are Video Games Good for Children?

This is a guest post by Edward Gould

There has been much made of violent video games aimed at the adult market which have found their way into the hands of teenagers, but what about games aimed at younger children? Well, it obviously depends on the other media that the children in question are exposed to, but the latest studies tend to point out the positive effects of screen-based gaming rather than negative ones. A 2014 study conducted by the University of Oxford among some 5,000 ten to fifteen year olds found that those who played video games faced fewer problems with emotional issues and possessed lower levels of things like hyperactivity. According to the study’s author, “being engaged in video games gave children a common language” which helped them to socialise. Of those questioned, three quarters played video games on a daily basis and they were found to be more likely to help people in difficulty, get on better with peers and enjoy greater satisfaction with their lives.

According to no less an authority then the British Council, which promotes the UK in overseas territories, video games can be of great educational benefit, too. Video games consoles played by preschoolers which require physical movement, such as Nintendo’s Wii system, can help to improve coordination and motor skills. Likewise, fast-moving games can lead to improved decision making processing and speed up children’s ability to think on their feet. Another study cited by the British Council focussed on the classic video game Tetris which was found to relieve stress in youngsters after they had been exposed to something upsetting.

Of course, most parents would rightly want to monitor what sort of internet activity their children are up to and this is no less the case when it comes to online gaming. Playing the role of a Marvel superhero is something that most kids like to when dressing up, but they can also get a similar experience online at Marvel Kids. Websites which are set up for children, like Marvel’s or Mattel’s allow parents that bit of reassurance they need to leave their kids unsupervised while they play.

However, younger children, in particular, ought to be monitored if they are on a general gaming website where some of the content for kids is mixed up with inappropriate material for younger minds. Child-friendly games at such sites can often be found in the puzzle section and these can be great fun for parents and children to enjoy together, so monitoring should not be thought of as a burden, rather an opportunity to have some fun interacting with the screen activity together. Word-based puzzles are good for improving spelling and reading. Indeed, many types of online puzzles can promote logical processing in children as well as other cognitive abilities.