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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Birds, bees, needles & lots of spots

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It was during the recent trauma – and closeness – of our vigil with Ellie during her week in hospital with ‘the pox’.

She slept a lot of the time, day & night, due to her illness & the medication she was taking. She’d just recently awoken, & we were doing ordinary things, like watching children’s TV or videos, & chatting.

We got to talking about our being in hospital when she & Jake were born, when out of the blue she said:

“Doctors make babies, don’t they?”

Umm…

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The Magic of Christmas?

Christmas is many things, but there’s one aspect of it that you don’t hear much about in the consumerism-obsessed, slick advert-soaked world of the media.

I’m sure though that it’s one that most parents will be aware of: that extra little weapon it adds to our armoury in aiding our  little darlings in their eternal battle between Good and Naughty:

“Father Christmas is watching!”
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Film Appreciation

Now where was I?

Oh, yes: ‘Frozen’: Jake & Ellie’s first trip to the cinema! Last year.

Yes: bit of a gap; I know I wrote “tomorrow”. I’ve had a lot going on here lately…

As I said, they love films, & have done since very young. Early favourites were ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ & ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. More recently they’ve both loved ‘Tangled’ & Jake has fallen in love with ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’. And actually I may have as well!

We needn’t have worried about their ability to sit through the film without being noisy or running around: they loved it! Jake especially was rapt throughout, almost entranced.
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Death: The Sequel

Words. Just words. Just 4 of them. No big deal, right?

Well, yes: when those words are “How do we die?”

And when they’re spoken by a 3-year-old boy, to his Mummy & Daddy.

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We’re having THAT conversation – now?!

We’d just finished their Saturday morning dance class – ballet & tap – which they’d really enjoyed.

We were sitting around drinking juice & hot drinks & eating crisps in the cafe there, which has now become something of a tradition.

There had been general chat about the class etc. but now, as there often is when children are focussed on eating & drinking, there was silence.

A silence suddenly broken by Jake:

“How do we die?”

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Further evidence that my children are smarter than me

The 4 of us have been beset with niggling coughs & colds, on & off, for the last few weeks.

Last week on the way back from pre-school Jake was having a little coughing fit.

I tried to be nice.

“Oh, Jake: you’ve still got that nasty cough! Don’t worry, we’ll try to make you better.”

“But you can’t, can you?” was his immediate reply.

No hint of malice or bitterness, just a matter-of-fact observation.

He’d no doubt noticed that Mummy & Daddy had been coughing & sniffling as well, & that our best efforts at treatment hadn’t made our ailments go away, let alone his or Ellie’s.

I was stumped. What can you say to that?

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Let’s catch up!

The last month has been a bit of a strange one here, for me.

A month ago today we moved house, finally escaping from the little place that was only meant to be temporary but in which we ended up staying for over a year.

There’s the usual unpacking & organising, & we’ve only had the internet & ‘phone since Monday.

My routine has changed dramatically too in the last month. I’ve found myself not able to do much in the way of blogging, or tweeting, until late at night – by which time I really just want to watch a bit of telly & go to bed.

That’s a shame as, especially since term break, we’ve been having a very active &, overall, very happy time. In the last week we & the twins have enjoyed a great freeplay session at the children’s gym, a new softplay centre, the circus, the fun farm, a day at Folly Farm, the local holiday park & the beach, as well as their new playground.

Jake & Ellie seem to have changed a lot in the last month too: for the good, I hasten to add!

Every now & then 1 or both of them seems to take a big leap. Being twins they spur each other on too: when 1 sees the other doing something new they want to do it too!

Jake seems to have completely lost his fear of heights: nothing seems to faze him now! I’ve been amazed at what he takes on, & what he can do. The frightened one now is more likely to be me: “Jake, are you sure about that?!”

It’s a telling truth that he – and Ellie – can now do physical things that dear old Dad cannot…

I hope to get back into a habit of regular posting again, including about some of our recent exploits.

In the meantime here’s a lovely scene from ‘our’ new garden. It’s great to finally have the room to eat outside again – not to mention the weather for it!

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And yes: Jake shouldn’t be on the table, even for raspberries. In his defence I think he was pretending to be a baby – along with the obligatory “goo-goo” & “gah-gah” noises. That’s been a popular game around here recently for some reason!

Overcoming

My wonderful twins Jake & Ellie have been inspiring me.

I’ve been so impressed with their determination.

They want to do almost everything they see anyone else, especially older children, doing.

Even if – especially if? – it scares them.

They seem to think that almost nothing is, or should be, beyond them. Such self-belief, such confidence!

Perhaps not always grounded in reality, but it’s there nonetheless. And it seems to be working for them.

In April, for instance, they launched themselves into climbing a tree, completely independently.

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They got stuck, & cried. I lifted them out – then they climbed straight back up again!

On Saturday we had the rope bridge. The first chance they’d had to climb it for weeks, normally they’d attempt it, get scared & I’d help them across. This time they charged over as if it was the easiest thing in the world. There were a few shouts of “I did it!” on the other side!

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On Monday they insisted on going on a zip-wire for the first time. After being too scared at first, they went back & loved it.

Then last night they spontaneously did rock-clambering for the first time, & really took to it – again with their determination overcoming their fears.

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They’ve seen something they wanted to do, overcome their fears & just gone & done it.

Life is full of obstacles. Things that it can throw at us can be daunting, overwhelming even. Or, in Ellie’s words: “a bit scary”.

There are things that we should do in order to have a better life, & things that we must do.

From things like providing for your family – emotionally, mentally, financially – to things like fighting cancer.

Jake & Ellie are determined, & strong. They fight their fears, & conquer them.

They are an inspiration. I have challenges to face, challenges which sometimes seem overwhelming. They have spurred me on to see that I can overcome my fears, that I can be determined, that I can fight & that I can win.

If these little 3-year-olds can do that then so can I. And so can we all.

Emma has. Cancer came at her, and she fought back. “Cancer we’re coming to get you!” is her war-cry. She’s been through a really hard time – but she’s winning.

She’s faced her fears, she’s fought for herself & for her family, & she’s coming out on top.

Jake & Ellie overcome. Emma overcomes. And so can we all.

So I’ll see you on the other side. And together we can shout “I did it!”

This post is my entry for today’s ‘Shoulder To Shoulder To Day’ blog-hop: bloggers coming together to support Emma Day in her fight against cancer, especially while she was receiving treatment in isolation & unable to be with her family.

There are some great posts there; to read them, or to add your own,  just click here

Shoulder to Shoulder to Day

Ellie the HR Executive & Jake the Politician

Heard around the Jallie Shack this week:

“You work in an office, don’t you Daddy?”

“No, not at the moment, Ellie. But I used to”.

“When you were young”.

Technically she’s wrong, but it often feels that way…

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Jake threw the mother of all tantrums yesterday. At school pick-up he wanted to sit ‘in’ (behind) the driver’s seat; Ellie had got there first, & I’d promised it to her anyway as he’d had it when I dropped them off. Getting him in the car-seat was a Herculean task! The drivers we held up, most likely also parents on the school run, were very understanding.

At home a bit later it seemed as if he was trying to make it up to me. He walked up to me & kissed my cheek.

“I like your ear, Daddy”

Then looking up at a picture on the wall: “I like your picture, Daddy”

Well, it was a really bad tantrum!

He already seems to know that flattery can get him everywhere. I think he’ll go far, that lad…

Wot So Funee?

“Wot So Funee?” is a blog-hop, so for more funnies just click the pic!