Thursday, 18 January 2018

Terrible Twos, Threes... and Fours?

So it's been a while...

Like a lot of things I've tried to do over the last few years, they have tended to take a back seat thanks to the demands of two young lads who are now just a couple of months away from their 3rd and 4th birthdays respectively.

'Being a Dad' is still one of the greatest things in the world, but it doesn't half have it's moments.

I'll probably try and get through a few of them on here as time goes on, for now though I'll just talk about the 'terrible twos' and '...threes' - I'm not sure what the label is for threes after the terrible twos but you may as well keep it as terrible for that age too!

It does seem to be the rebellious age where the likes of my Alfie, now just three months away from his 4th birthday (what on earth is the label for the fours then?), and he has certainly developed the naughty boy side of his personality, whilst thankfully still maintaining enough of the good boy traits too to keep you sane.

Stubborn refusal to do what to us is the simplest of things and mainly to stay away from potential 'accident in the home' situations, oh it drives you mad!

"Out of the kitchen", "Get down those stairs", and "Leave your brother alone" tend to be the main ones.

Just when you think you have it mastered and they know who is boss they then defy you again and soon get up to no good. Is this just happening in my house or do other parents have this too??

Now all of the above I've got used to and deal with, but the one thing that drives me mad is the fact that every morning it seems without fail is the waking up process at the crack of dawn.

The 'Alfie Alarm clock' seems to go off at 6am or earlier every day. "daddy, daddy, daddy"...repeat about 20 times...I find myself making some noise that's supposed to be a 'yes Alfie?' reply, and what comes back? 'daddy, I've had a poo!' oh great. So being woken up well before I wanted to wake up now there is the added grim reality that this day is going to start with a pile of shit to clean up!

There is a thought though in the back of my head that I'll be able to get my own back in a few years (not to shout that I've had a poo to them although that could well follow in later life!) when they won't want to get up, but for now I just want that extra half hour lie in!! I cannot wait for my boys to be able to just get up, tootle off downstairs and watch their TV programmes whilst I continue to sleep. Will it ever happen?

The other main one at the moment is Alfie being at the "Why?" stage. Everything I say is responded to with a "Why?" by Alfie. Can someone tell me how long this goes on for, I can't take any more of that word!! I know it's all a learning process but even things like saying 'the sky is blue' are met with a "Why?" or "It's 4 o clock"..."Why?" says Alfie!! Err...because it is!

Like butter wouldn't melt.

We're also going through the silly face and "no" stage too with both Alfie and Harry. Oh yes little brother Harry is certainly learning that one quickly for sure!!

So is it just us or does every parent know where I am coming from with all of the above, and what words of advice or wisdom can you pass on to get through this annoying time???

By the way, I do think the world of my kids...honest!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

How Dandelions make you laugh...

So, following my first post on 'Being a Dad', I thought I'd do a follow up piece pretty soon after.

There are a number of random things that happen with my two lads that make you laugh, the type of thing that you just wouldn't think would make them laugh so much.

One example happened last year when I simply picked up a dandelion for my son, and proceeded to blow it as you do, the reaction from Alfie was classic. Alfie, like other babies took about 6-8 weeks to give us his first smile, but all that seemed a galaxy away when at just over 12 months he had us laughing with his own laugh, which all revolved around the blowing of that dandelion.

Carrying round in the garden and then picking up some more dandelions gave me more ammo for that quality laugh, and he didn't disappoint.

Thankfully my wife had got the camera rolling and away we went, and that killer of a laugh followed, and we've had so much fun with his laughs ever since - in the kitchen making silly noises to him (as you do as a parent!), in the bath washing those 'dirty feet' and being tickled - such good fun indeed, and hopefully lots more good times to come on that side of things too.

Hearing them laugh certainly puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day and also with the modern technologies available, gives you great memories and potential for embarrassment at future events involving them, and I guess that would just be a bit of payback for all those times when they woke you up in the night and denying you the sleep that you crave!!

Hopefully those laughs will continue, I know there will be plenty of world wars going on in their lives as the older and younger brother, and we're ready for that (he says...) but above all we want those laughs to continue as long as possible!!

What's been the best laugh your little one has come out with? Did it take you by surprise? Have you tried since and it just didn't have the same effect next time round??

So many questions....

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Being a Dad - The First Post

So, two years in to having a one year old and two year old boys, I have been wanting to do a blog about 'Being a Dad' and now I've managed to free up a spare 5 minutes to be able to do what I've been intending to do for the past two years, and a bit!

Firstly, let me just make clear that I know how much effort, had work, time and shear blood, sweat and tears you mums have to go through with babies and children. This blog is not intended to take anything away from that side of things, more a way for me to write about the experiences of 'Being a Dad'.

Two years ago in April, I became a father for the first time and how very proud was I??? So, so proud, of our (my wife Michelle and me) little creation, who we named Alfie Banks, we just always took a shine to that name, and stuck to it despite some over-enthusiastic thoughts about naming our baby boy maybe just eleven names from the history of Chester City FC and Chester FC - however, reality got the better of me, and just went for Alfie in the end - I probably would be have been the victim of the quickest divorce following the birth of a child if my original idea had been forced through!!

Alfie just minutes after he was born
I won't talk much about the birth, that pretty much stays private, but what I will say is that the every member of hospital staff in the delivery room were fantastic, and a surreal atmosphere once little Alfie had his welcome to the world took place. It was as though the whole world had just stopped, and it was just myself, Michelle and Alfie - with the hospital staff giving us a deserved moment of privacy whilst they were finishing up their own bits and pieces.

That feeling of 'this is it' hit me, our little fella was here, crying away - and it would be the only time we'd be happy to hear him cry I'm sure - but he was with us, with his typically black steely eyes looking at you but knowing he couldn't really see you. Those eyes that will see their colour shine through in a few weeks' time. He could hear us from the outside for the first time, and when you think about his experience you could understand why he'd be crying as for the last 9 months he'd been floating round in a nice warm environment, without too much interruption or noise, but now here he was, hearing everything. Imagine being locked away and then all of sudden released into a room full of people!

Our little Alfie, wow. Everyone probably says this about their own baby, but he was a beauty, and pride was just overflowing in my veins as to what we'd created between us. That pride has never stopped running to this day two and a bit years on, and I'm sure it won't ever stop either.

Harry minutes after he entered the world
It seems crazy to think that 12 months on from that day, we had another little boy, this time Harry Banks, and that pride just doubled in an instant and these two boys as well as my wife were the heart and soul of my life, and despite all the hard times ahead in life, that will always be the case.

Many people have commented on how 'it doesn't get any easier' or to 'make the most of them as babies as time flies so quickly' and yes, it has done that's for sure, and I'm not expecting an easy road through both of their lives, but we'll always look to give our lads the best life possible and hope that they show the same respect and love that their mum and dad show, that will be our number one aim as well as giving them every opportunity in life.

The one thing that has certainly hit home since they were both born is the distinct lack of time that there now is in our lives - sacrifices have been (and had to be) made to ensure that the support is there. As I said at the top of this blog, I know how hard it is for Mum during the hours when I'm not there and I have every respect for what she has to do and put up with whilst I'm busy at work myself - I know the two are very, very, different kettles of fish, and the one thing I'll always do even after a major busy day is make sure that I help once I'm home and that I get to see my boys before they go to bed. I'm the type to cherish every moment with them.

'Being a Dad' was always on my agenda in life, although I hadn't realised it would be when I turned 40, they were right, life really begins at 40! I hope I can be a great Dad, being brought up my Mum pretty much 99% of the time sort of makes me feel that I missed out on having a Dad around, which makes me more determined that anything to be the best Dad I can be to them. I'm lucky to still have my Mum around, many haven't and I can imagine it to be such a heavy, heavy loss when that happens, but my respect for bringing me up the way she did again wants to make me bring my own lads up as well as she did with me.

I must admit at this point, I don't really know where I'll go with this blog, but hopefully it hits a chord with other Dad's out there who are as proud as I am, and are happy to read my experiences as though it was their own, I'm sure many will have been in the same boat as me in the last 2 years and years to come, so please feel free to add comments and maybe follow this blog if you feel like it.

Alfie (left) & Harry (right) looking forward to dinner!
I'm sure I'll end up talking about play groups, holidays, birthdays, first times, and lots of other special experiences I've had with the lads and I'll hopefully hear about others' too.

I'd love to hear about other 'Dad' experiences like mine, or even from Mums - any are more than welcome!!

When I get another spare five minutes, I'll maybe do another piece for this blog - I've pencilled in November for my next spare 5 minutes!!

Jeff aka Banksy