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 !

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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

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)

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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!

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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…

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Does Time Fly?

Parents Evening… And Strops

So it’s nearly half term, the mentalist I’d say has pretty much settled into the school routine. Saying that her crankiness levels seem to be hitting new highs, there are a lot of tears and sulking if she doesn’t get her own way. This tends to include the whole falling to her knees and screaming ‘daddddyyyy’! To which I calmly respond with ‘yes dear’ again to which she replies with ‘stop calling me ‘thaaaaa *sob* aaaaaaat!!’

But i think that’s more down to her being tired after a long day at school. I have noticed a few changes in her though, not anything too drastic but she tends to show off her little achievements. Like things she’s drawn or created ( which usually consists of random pieces of paper stuck onto another piece of coloured A4 paper), I often try to instigate conversation with her in order to find out what she did at school on that particular day or ask what she’s eaten. To which 90% of the time I get a smile and a shrug of the shoulders to which I incredulously reply ‘what?! You didn’t eat today?’ To which she giggles and tries to recall what she’s had and what she’s done , which usually results in her stopping mid sentence and running off.

So, the first term of school is over and it’s that time of the year where they call the parents in and give you a view of how your child is doing …. Yes the evening catered to parents, the eve of parents, most of you will also know this eve as the parents evening (*queue dramatic music*). So I stroll in, pleasantly greeted at the door by various teachers, the odd tables littered with drinks and biscuits that people are wary to touch. I tend to go straight for these tables as during most evenings that’s probably the first time I get to eat anything, besides I tend to get there quite early. So after I’ve helped myself to some biscuits and cordial. I look at the time and it’s time to see the teacher, this is aspect of the eve I think is where the nerves start kicking in. Will I get a glowing report? Or will i get the whole, your child is probably one of the most disruptive pupils I have ever encountered in my 39 years in teaching, and let me tell you Mr Jacobs I’ve seen it all!

I sit across from the teacher with bated breath, she smiles and puts me at ease. To my surprise it’s not such a bad evaluation, most of the things she tells me I’m well aware of. Things like her attention span, I know she has a short one and i get told about her addiction to playdoh (which again I am we’ll aware of). Other than that, I get told shes very well behaved and a pleasant member of the class. Which I do hope she is, I do try and instill a sense of being polite and respectful. So I’m glad she’s taken most of it on board.

Coming away from the evening, I do think to myself. Should I be reading so much into this? She’s only 4, she’s still growing, maturing, still trying to understand the big bad world. Personally as important as her development is, I personally feel being the age she is. It’s still a little too early to be worried about things like a short attention span and things. She’s happy, healthy, looks forward to going school, learning and embracing new things.

What more can a proud father ask for?

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Parents Evening… And Strops

Breaking Dad

It’s 7pm, I’m sitting in my man cave the lights are off, I switch the TV on as it starts up I start to reflect on the past, present and future… Of Breaking Bad! How it all started, how it progressed, escalated and most importantly…How’s it all going to end?!? As I start the penultimate episode, and watch eagerly, excited and nervous on what in gods name is going to happen to Walter white (or hank from Malcolm in the middle for those of you familiar with the show, love hank ).

Perviously on breaking bad …Here we go…

As I watch in anticipation, I hear the basement door creak open. I look to the top of the basement stairs and see a mop of hair staring back at me… I hit the pause button and turn my gaze back to the top of the stairs which now seems to be vacant of hair, I move my gaze further down the stairs and see a shuffling mentalist, buttons (her stuffed giraffe) in hand moving down the stairs. I await her arrival, she stands before me holding buttons by his tail, the end of his tail in her mouth.

Me: well hello, aren’t you supposed to be in bed?
Mentalist: what you watching dad?
Me: you know you shouldn’t really answer a question with another question
Mentalist: why?
Me: *sigh*
Mentalist: can I have a piggy back?
Me: nope!
Mentalist: I want to stay with you
Me: you can’t, look how dark it is outside, it’s bedtime !
Mentalist: are you watching Breaking Bad?
Me: I am
Mentalist: me too ( promptly sits herself down beside me )
Me: whoa whoa whoa, bedtime!! C’mon! up!! Besides I don’t really want you to be THAT good at chemistry!
Mentalist: can I have a donkey ride?
Me: nope!
Mentalist: can I dance dad?
Me: ok ok.. 5 minutes
Mentalist: watch me!!
Me: I’m watching
(Queue 5 minutes of slow ballet like movements with a lot of spinning around and falling to the floor)
Me: that was glorious! C’mon! BED!!
Mentalist: Can I have some water dad?
Me: sure there’s some right there
(Now at this point she sits and slowly sips her water, watching me intently as I watch her swirl the water in the glass)
Mentalist: Daaaaad?
Me:(frustration starting to build) Yes…
Mentalist: when I was a little girl…
Me: Never mind that …bed!!
Mentalist: will you pick me up?
Me: Noo my shoulder hurts.. and you weigh a ton!
Mentalist: *giggles*
Me: Right I’m going!
Mentalist: ok.. Can you play breaking bad for me, before you go?
Me: il give you breaking bad.. Grr…
(At this point I pick her up, swing her over my shoulder as she laughs maniacally)

As I walk up two flights of stairs, the mentalist singing some ditty from school, my thoughts return back to Breaking Bad.. My excitement returning, anticipation building…

I plonk her in bed, tuck her in kiss her goodnight and return to the man cave! I settle in, grab the remote, glass of water in hand ready to watch. Before I hit play, i hear the familiar now terrifying sound of the basement door creaking open, the mentalist runs down the stairs…

Mentalist : I forgot baby buttons
Me: well you have him now … Can you please go to bed?
Mentalist: can I have a piggy back?
Me: (holds my head in my hands)

For those of you not in the breaking bad circle as of yet, where have you people been?!? Give it a whirl, I promise you you will not be disappointed.

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Breaking Dad