Where the Wild Things Aren’t…

Getting home late has formed into quite a habit now, this is usually down to the horrendous Manchester traffic. As i get home i know the kids are already home, they’ve hopefully eaten and have began to settle.

As i walk through the front door, i usually have the mentalist bounding up to the door to greet me with a hug, a high five or a scowl depending on her mood. But today, im left alone, void of any contact with the mentalist. Strange i think to myself, maybe shes getting older.. i give out a shout for both the brats to judge their location. My eldest is probably watching another re-run of top gear, a half hearted shout back from the lounge confirms my suspicions. But no response from the mentalist, worry hasnt kicked in as yet more… curiosity.

Dumping my work gear, i make may way to the foot of the stairs. Giving another louder shout to the mentalist, this time i hear a muffled ‘Yeah.. daddy?’

Judging by her tone shes either preoccupied with her ipad,  in her tent  or sick. Not a good sign i think as i head up the stairs to her room, calling out to her as i climb “you ok..?”, no response just a slience, definatly not good i think to myself.

As i walk in to the room, surrounded by the usual array of teddies and clothe littering the floor, i glance to the bed… empty.  I look towards the tent in the corner, and see movement, Bingo! I get to my knees part the openining and crawl inside all the while thinking how this cant be good for my knees. i crawl in and sit, i have the mentalist sat opposite blanket in hand surrounded by an army of teddies.

“Well hello there, nice to see you, do you come here often?” i ask. She sits up giving a little giggle, and then promptly sits back cluthchjing her blanket. I can tell shes troubled, her furrowed brows give it away. “So… you want to talk about it?” i begin as she looks at me, playing with the ribbons attached to the ends of her blanket. “No daddy…” she replies, i try again ” Go on honey, tell me… whats wrong..” She looks at me,  replying with “don’t say his name.. ” i instantly respond with “Whos name??”  She just nods her head. Now my mind starts working overtime,  are we heading down the  paranormal, does the mentalist have the ‘Gift’ the ‘Eye’ the ‘power’ the ‘sight beyond sight’  ?!?!

I ask again, this time a little more firmly “who’s name??” she sits up and whispers “Max..” to which i respond who in gods name is Max?!?! prompting the mentalist to burst into tears, “…I’m afraid.. daddy… He’s going to come for me!!?!” she says sobbing loudly. so after much consoling, comforting and reassurances that she’s safe and no one is coming for anyone. She begin’s to tell me her tale, a tale most intriguing, below is her account (not for the faint hearted)…

I was sitting in class (at school) and a big boy came in (sobs) he had horns.. (sobs) and he had claws .. he was.. he was jumping around looking for (sobs) his crown. He kept digging and looked in my drawer,  he found it in the reading corner, he put it on and then went to play outside (continued sobbing)

“So..” i begin , “why do you think this Max is coming for you ??” which is promptly responded to with “…Don’t say his name!?!”. Okay i think, this is basically scaring her, but  a boy with horns? A crown? rings a bell, so i ask her a few further questions when she’s settled down. ” So my mentalist.. does this boy have monster friends?” looking at me a little intrigued she nods. With that i pull out my phone,  bringing up Google i show her a few pictures, “is this what the boy was dressed like?” She nods, about to cry again, so i leave it for a while. Letting her play and get on with her evening after reassuring her that no one is coming for her or buttons!

It turns out the class are soon to be reading Where the Wild things are which mainly consists of a young boy dressed in a furry onesie, retreating into his imagination for adventures with the wild things (monsters) which make the boy their king, hence the crown. Obviously the school decided to do a little role playing to kick start the class’s imagination, but may have back fired on some of them (or maybe just the mentalist)

Anyhoo, shes totally fine now,  luckily a movie was released not so long ago based on the book, i showed her the trailer and she now realises hes just an ordinary boy in a onesie ! (thank the lord!)

Does make me think though.. it would have been interesting to go down the paranormal path… or would it?

max_wild

Before i sign out, ive opened up a little sister site/blog. Where i will start to publish some of my works. Nothing too fancy, just the odd script or short story! so if you do like your short stories or like reading the odd script or two, please do come on down !

The site:

This is Mr J Signing out

Where the Wild Things Aren’t…

The Stars of Tomorrow

So exactly when did watching you tube videos of someone (usually fully grown adults, complete with hairy wrists) opening kinder eggs and playing with playdoh become a form of entertainment?

The mentalist seems to have a new hobby or at this stage should I be calling it an addiction? She’s fascinated with these channels. Watching endless kinder eggs being opened and little toys constructed as well as watching a multitude of shapes being formed on those playdoh channels! I mean, where does it end? The answer to that is… It doesn’t?! There seems to be hundreds of videos dedicated to such things.

Now here I am working at the dinner table ( yes, yes it’s a weekend and I shouldn’t really be logged in, but hey needs must and besides its the best place for optimum wifi ) and what do I witness but my very own mentalist emulating these YouTube videos. Buttons being part of the audience (obviously) as she talks through her recent playdoh creation ( hey, don’t ask me it all looks kind of the same. A big glooopy multicoloured mess) ‘welcome, boys and girls to my YouTube channel’ she begins adjusting her spectacles. ‘I hope you enjoy what we have today’ hmm she knows this a little too well, which makes me wonder… How many of these videos has she watched?!

As she continues to talk through her playdoh set and the various tools she uses to form a mountains of multi coloured gloop, she turns and hands me her ipad. ‘Now, pray tell what am i doing with this thing?’ She smiles her little toothy grin and replies ‘ can you make a video of me daddy?’ Hmm, should I or should i not I think to myself. Either way I won’t get any work done, as il either be sat there recording her efforts or be met by constant whining as to why her creative efforts are not being recorded.. So lose lose!

Fine! I resign myself to being camera man, but I do take a little moment to resign myself to the fact that my mentalist is going to be a bit of an attention seeker! So here I am holding up an iPad listening to the mentalist waffle on about playdoh, she carefully constructs a round figurine complete with multicoloured blobs which vaguely resemble hands and feet.

After a lifetime of waffle and careful moulding she finally finishes her latest masterpiece ‘now here…’ She continues presenting her piece to the camera ‘is my daddy…!’

Cut!!! That’s a wrap !

This is Mr J signing out

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The Stars of Tomorrow

The Ghosts of Childhood Past and Future

Now I wouldn’t say I’m much of an attention seeking individual, nor would I warrant any attention of any sort I’m more the male version of plain Jane. A Simple Simon? Tim nice but dim? Something in that vain quite possibly (of course I’m being modest, I’m glorious (I kid of course))

See, growing up I do think I was more the reserved, shy, keep myself to oneself kind of child. I had a few friends, I wasn’t the popular sort more the nerdish, geeky guy, mop like hair and a little too much tooth in that toothy smile.

Thinking of how I was and watching my mentalist, currently prancing around with buttons. Carefree, boundless, energetic and completely happy I often wonder how different we are, was I this happy as a child? Now don’t get me wrong my childhood is nothing to complain about. I honestly do think I never wanted for anything, I got all I wanted. My father is and was stern but his bark often worse than his bite, and growing up with my siblings was an experience in itself. Did we get along? Nooo, not in the slightest, but I think this forged the strong bonds we have today, regardless of what we did and said we were always close and still are to this day (at least I think so anyway!)

I do wonder how similar we ( the mentalist and I) are. She’s so carefree and happy. Whereas I’m
More the quiet, calculating super villain. Anyhoo I digress, where was I… Ah yes childhood, would I change mine? Not in the slightest, of course there were ups and downs. But they’ve helped to mould and forge who I am today, am I happy being the person I am? Most days.. Yes

So what do I want for my brats as they speedily veer in to their teens and soon into adulthood? The answer to that of course is happiness, to grow up knowing they were loved, cared for, and look back on a childhood which included all the above ( love, laughter and happiness) what more could a parent ask for.

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The Ghosts of Childhood Past and Future

The trials of an imaginary friend!

So it turns out the mentalist may have an imaginary friend (or so I thought) or is fast on the way to becoming an authoritarian figure of sorts, well an imaginary friend other than her stuffed beloved giraffe buttons ( where we still cant go anywhere without the pleasure of his faded, well worn bobble headed rear)

Now buttons has been the mentalists side kick for a good few years, always by her side during those tea parties. this is sometimes attended by a whole host of stuffed animals and myself from time to time. we tend to drink tea and talk about our day at work and school ( who needs a support group when you can unload all your problems onto a stuffed sheep?!)

But as of late it looks as though buttons seems to be taking a back seat, she seems a little more wrapped up in playing with her iPad and talking to Abraham, her ‘friend’.

Just the other day I was working away in the make shift office I have adjacent to the mentalists room when I hear ‘no Abraham, stand in the corner!?’. Hmm.. I thought ‘a little ominous… Meh! ‘ and continued to work. Not long after, as I’m typing away trying to get in to the groove, “no! Bring it to the carpet! Sit down Abraham!”

Meh, I’m sure you misheard…I tell myself as I continue working. “No Abraham lets play shopkeeper shopkeeper”. I pause and listen intently, yet again there is Abraham refusing to play shopkeeper. So naturally i start getting a little worried, diving in to the mentalists room I find her on the bed with her stuffed animals at the foot of the bed. Seeing this almost cult like gathering I ask ” what in gods name is going on here, you’re not summoning anything too unholy are you?!” I’m met with a response can only be described as giggling. As I sit on the bed looming over the mentalist followers (of sorts) i ask what she’s doing.

It seems the mentalist has started emulating her days at school, at home and Abraham appears is probably a boy at school in her class (who by the sounds of it, is not very well behaved)
That cleared up I go back to the office to write another bunch of reports and colour in various spreadsheets, as I walk and begin to get comfortable at my desk I hear a further “Abraham ! Go stand in the corner…”

Darg nabit! Abraham! Do as your told!
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The trials of an imaginary friend!

Glasses for classes

In an earlier submission, the much loved yet crazy mentalist had an eye test. This test was a little cause for concern as it could possibly mean she may have to wear glasses.

So off she went to have her eyes checked by the professionals, I did see her off in the morning and lo and behold she returned with not one pair of glasses but two. It appears the mentalist has something known as ‘Astigmatism’ which basically means…

Astigmatism is a common and usually minor condition of the eye that causes blurred or distorted vision.
It occurs when the cornea or lens is not a perfectly curved shape. Most people who wear glasses have astigmatism.
– quoteth the NHS

Now, cause for panic? Maybe in the first 10 minutes. A few questions racing through my head, oh you know the obvious things like.. ‘WHAT?! ASTIG WHAT?!’ Dargnabit!! Speak English, enough of this medical mumbo jumbo!?

Can she be cured?! What is this circa 1970?! .. You get the picture, anyhoo after all my fears, questions were put to rest. It appears the mentalist is fine, she will probably have to wear glasses but she looks darn good in them (imagine putting glasses on a red panda… That kind of cute) so she doesn’t look half bad in them.

The trouble tends to start when she manages to leave them somewhere and has no recollection of where in gods name she put them.

The conversations are often in the same vain :
Handsome rugged father (me): I see you’re not wearing your glasses
Mentalist: (smiles, looks coy)
Me: can you put them on please
Mentalist: * silence*
Me: anytime today would be great
Mentalist : but daddy …
Me: here we go..
Mentalist : I don’t know where, they are I had them.. Now they’ve gone ?!
Me: so you’ve lost them?
Mentalist : *shrugs*
Me: have you tried retracing your steps?
Mentalist: what does that mean? Are you joking? You joker? (Edit – more on the whole joker thing soon)
Me: ive told you … im batman..let’s go find them!

And off we go in hunt for the fabled glasses of the mentalist! This usually results with me on my knees crawling around, under various tents, beds, castles trying to find them. Which in turn leads to an aching back, due to the mentalist wanting pony rides. And the constant need to jump from a height and land on my back!

We do find them in the end,in the most awkward places, like in one of the vases, or one of the pots in the kitchen and even in a Wellington once. So there I am, all tuckered out usually laying flat on the floor from the hunting, back broken but victorious In a manner of speaking !

The mentalist puts her glasses on and shuffles off while I lay there in thought… Am I hungry? I deserve a treat! Do I? Well I did help the mentalist find her glasses? Sold! Bring on the cake!

Once that’s settled with my inner self, I attempt to roll to my feet. When in walks in the mentalist with a book

Mentalist : can we read daddy?
Me: of all the rooms, in all the house you had to walk into mine?
Mentalist: *giggles* but it’s my room daddy?!
Me: (looks around) so it is..?!You win this round!
Mentalist: falls to the floor laughing
Me:(I should do stand up)
Me: wait.. Where are your glasses?
Mentalist: (stops laughing, smiles) *shrugs*
Me: *facepalm* (with a healthy dose of laughter in the background)

This is mr j signing out

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Glasses for classes

The Wait…

I wait outside the school gates, surrounded by the usual groups and cliques. The air thick with activity and chatter, a few laughs, a few giggles and the odd squeal breaking the constant stream of babble.
Any second now I think to myself, trying to anticipate that one sound I am longing, nay dying to hear. My brain counting down the seconds… 3,2,1… Grrr… Nope… 3..2… Rrriinng… And so it begins!

The waves of children slow at first then amassing into a wave of heads and boisterous activity. I wait in line patiently for the reception class doors to open, standing behind parents that have been there waiting. As the doors open, the parents start shuffling forward all trying to get through a tiny gate some having the common decency to wait and queue patiently, others tend to squeeze through the tiniest gaps on order to get through the gate, some use their not so secret weapon their other children ! They casually push and coax their offspring to make their way to the front and collect their sibling (note to self have more children.. Scratch that train my cat to go forth and paw at the reception doors, further note to self .. Get a cat.. Oh and pick up milk )

As I queue patiently, while children and parents weave and push past me, I always tend to look for those parents who cut the line. It’s just interesting to watch, the technique and the response of the parent they’ve just pushed past.
There’s the ‘I’m on the phone’ technique, so I’m oblivious to any such queuing system or line, line?! What line?’

There’s the ‘shuffle and merge’ il just stand along side the front of queue, shuffle along and merge with queue as it progresses forward. ‘What?! I’ve been here all along!’

There’s also the (as mentioned before) send your children to do your dirty work. Push past the various other parties, parents and go collect your sibling. ‘Ah kids will be kids right?!’

So as I wait patiently and finally get to front to collect my dear mentalist. I am beckoned by the teacher ‘uh oh’ I think to myself. A whole host of scenarios run through my head … ‘Is she hurt.. Nah?! They would’ve called me otherwise!’

‘Has she been fighting?’ Nah she talks a big game, well as big as a 5 year old can do! But she’s a biter not a fighter. So she’s bit another child? Yes? No? Maybe?! She doesn’t really bite ?! Does she?!

As this plays over in my head I finally get to the teacher, and she asks me to take a seat. I do catch the mentalist from the corner of my eye sitting there all smug! I shoot her a glance and she responds with a toothy smile. ‘Great! I think, whatever crime she may have committed she looks quite proud of herself’

I give the teacher my full attention, as she talks to me my fears and worries are put to rest! Turns out they had eye tests, and apparently the little mentalist needs a further appointment. I begin to wonder what it would be like to have a bespectacled mentalist. But hey! As long as she hasn’t branded a fellow classmate with her teeth. With that we leave hand in hand, off home for more fun games and shenanigans!

This is mr j signing out

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The Wait…

Does Time Fly?

“But I don’t want to read!” She screams as I sit at the dining table waiting for her latest little tantrum to blow over. I watch her stamp her feet and crawl under the table in protest. Great! I think to myself as I munch on the almonds and nuts that were supposed to be a light snack for my little mentalist

Now this gets me thinking, where in gods name has my sweet girl disappeared to? Where is that sweet adoring little toddler that use to hang on my every word?

Well she isn’t that bad, but does tend to have a lot more little tantrums. As she makes herself at home under the table my thoughts turn to her younger years. I still cannot believe my youngest is now going to be turning five and my oldest thirteen! The phrase ‘time flies’ gets thrown around a lot, but for me it’s only at moments like this it really hits home and I begin to realise just how true that is.

My brat storming into his teens, my youngest turning into a little diva (okay, okay she’s not bad) its at this point a question brings itself to the forefront of my mind. A question I really don’t want to pay attention to nor is it something I want to answer, but the question still remains …. ‘Am I getting old?!’

The answer to that question I’m still not ready to answer, I’m sure I’ll have to address the whole age thing one day.. But not today, not this month, Not this year (you get the picture). So as I sit there contemplating my age, she pokes her head out from under the table and with a giggle invites me to her new digs and it’s at that point I realise, i may be getting older but it’s my brat and my mentalist that keep me young…

This is Mr J signing out

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Does Time Fly?

Life, Death & Horrid Henry

Saturday afternoon, we sit at the dining table munching on various pieces of fruit. The ‘we’ consisting of the mentalist and I, ceebeebies blaring in the background. I try to distract her enough to change the channel and switch to the Come Dine with Me marathon.

As i try to distract her with fruit and topics of conversation, she starts to regale me with stories of her adventures. These stories constantly changing, and jumping from one place to another often involving her teddy buttons, some of her class mates and even dear old daddy.

It is when she starts talking about her dad she falls quiet. Lost in thought, contemplating and thinking over and upon her most inner thoughts. I watch and study her as she sits there, not really paying attention to the television, i await the inevitable… “Daddy..?” and there it is… The question! The question based upon her recent bout of thought and contemplation. “Yes sweetheart?” i respond, turning the TV to mute.

“Daddy… Are you going to die?” She asks innocently, I’m a little taken aback as to the nature of this 4 year olds questioning. I pause, thinking how i should respond… “What makes you ask?” I enquire, trying to decipher what is going on in her little head. She pauses, gives a shrug and asks again “Are you going to die?” At this point, I think back to whether or not ive contributed anything which may have encouraged this line of questioning, I don’t think I have?

So as she stares at me I try and formulate some sort of answer in my head. But is that the best approach, I ask myself. After a couple of minutes of silence I decide to answer with the truth “yes, I will die one day”. She looks at me thinking over my answer “But you can’t ? You’re new?!” This makes me chuckle, and in turn makes her laugh. As we settle down to continue our conversation I do tell her that we all will pass away one day, some sooner than others, that it’s all part and parcel of life. To which she acknowledges with a brief nod of her head and a request to watch horrid Henry !

Well that went well I think to myself as we settle onto the sofa, time to relax I think as we start watching Horrid Henry.

Well.. We manage five minutes of it anyway before the inevitable ….”Daaad….”

This is Mr J signing out

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Life, Death & Horrid Henry

The Art of War

I sit contemplating my next move, surrounded by the remnants and ruins of the Great War. Beads of sweat beginning to form on my brow, streams of day light flooding into a once tidy bedroom reflecting off mirrored butterflies, light hitting me causing me to shrink away and adjust my seating position

My mind beginning to work overtime,
playing various scenarios in my head, thinking about the consequence of each path i choose to take.

Deciding the best course of action is not going to be easy, the air thick with anticipation and a hint of vanilla ( note to self must buy more perfumed diffusers). a sudden tranquility comes over me.. A peace.. The kind I haven’t felt in a long time (well a couple of hours at least ), I let it wash over me allowing it to calm my nerves and focus my thoughts on my next move, bringing forth some wisdom from the greatest war strategist of all time Sun Tzu.

‘The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting…’

I know now what I must do, I sit contemplating my move. Playing it over and over in my head (well for about 30 seconds) before I realise… I am no longer alone. I feel eyes upon me from afar, watching me, I close my eyes and listen.. Listening for movement, I hear soft steps, footsteps muffled by carpet. The steps are getting closer, eager to put my plan into action I restrain myself waiting for the opportune moment for I fear this may be my only chance. The only chance I will have to restore the balance in my kingdom, to return it to it’s former glory. To once again become the rightful ruler of my once beautiful and peaceful kingdom…

The steps begin to close in fast, the distances between the two of us closing. My eyes shut, my mind and body working as one to pounce and end this once and for all. The steps halt, she’s close and about to make her move I open my eyes to see her in mid swing, the fabled buttons the stuffed giraffe in hand coming close.

I react with lightning speed, grabbing her close and tickling her till she gives in and I am victorious! As my foe lays there smile on her face her cheeks glowing a bright red, I remind her of the terms of her surrender. The one who emerges victorious will be crowned king and will get to watch the iPad, the defeated will clean her room and put her toys and crayons away! I’m met with further laughter as my greatest foe rises in defiance and runs out the room ipad in hand !

I am left again surrounded by Lego and remnants of what was once a barbie doll… I think….

As I sit there I hear a faint giggle … I’m not alone …..

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The Art of War

Conversations with a 4 year old

Weaving in and out of the crowds of school children, i am lead, nay dragged by an eager mentalist trying to beat her older brother to the car.

As she hops from kerb to pavement into various parents walking in the opposite direction. I attempt to engage her in conversation, “so, how was your day…” I ask as she continues to hop, skip and jump her way to the car. Oblivious to the various obstacles and people in her path, but she’s too focused to get to the car to give me a coherent answer.

I load them up in the car, strap them in and set off on our journey home. Whilst in the car, she promptly empties her school book bag and shows me the book we will inevitably be reading later that night. I try once again to get her to tell me about her day “so… My young mentalist, what did you eat during lunch? Bugs? With a side of monkey brain?” Queue some hysterical laughter ending with a shrug of the shoulders and a “I can’t remember?”. “What?!” I respond incredulously “how can you not remember??” At this point she stays silent looking out the window, as I verbally prod and poke for attention she gives me the old “I don’t want to talk to you anymore daddy… I’m thinking…” With that we drive the rest of the way home in silence (which takes around 5 minutes).

We get home, I let her out of her seat and she skips to the front door, swiftly followed by myself and her brother. As I open the door I ask “would you like a quick snack my dear mentalist? Some fruit? Lobster? A yoghurt maybe?” She looks at me with those puppy dog eyes tilts her head to the side to complete the effect and asks innocently “can I watch my ipad?” I give her my best ‘oh hell no!’ look. Which promptly results with the mentalist stamping into her room with a scowl on her face. Apparently (so sayeth the mentalist while crawling into her pop up castle) I never let her do anything she wants, nor do I ever let her watch anything she wants to watch…

I wait outside the castle patiently waiting to be invited in, she pops her head out and advises I should knock. So I oblige and I am invited in, not the most spacious of places I make myself comfortable. “Sooo… Do you come here often?” She giggles and I know I’m forgiven, so we sit, we drink imaginary tea and eat imaginary cupcakes. And finally we talk about school, what she’s learnt, new rhymes she’s picked up and what her friends have been doing.

This is nice I think.. As she talks about her recent painting endeavours, showing me her once white tshirt now covered in blue paint. But it’s at this point I can no longer feel my knees or my legs, I need to prep dinner I think and she needs to be fed a snack “so tell me again, what did you eat at school?” I’m met with a frown, crossed arms and a subtle response of “I’m thinking daddy…”, “okay well il leave you to it then my dear mental one ” as I crawl for the exit. “No daddy let me finish thinking ….” I sit reluctantly as I watch her think, dolls in hand having a tea party. I think to myself (as I try and retain feeling in my legs) whether I’d have to do the same again tomorrow, and how this castle ain’t big enough for the both of us…

This is Mr J signing out

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Conversations with a 4 year old