Tiny Lies Tall Tales

It’s a little bit on the funny side that, as responsible parents, we tell children lying is bad. There is never an explanation of the different categories of lies there are. Big, horrible, lies that are designed to hurt others and make a situation dreadful for no reason other than a love of chaos. You know the sort, ones spread around by spiteful people with the sole intent of causing misery for their own amusment.

White lies, ones intended to protect a person’s feelings from some minor emotional truth. Which goes a long way to explaining why certain people tried out for The X-Factor when the only notes they could carry were in their wallets.

Surprise lies, which are not ones that happen when you get caught in a situation you shouldn’t be in. Rather you know about a surprise party and when the focus of the event asks you to meet up you spin them a yarn to avoid ruining said surprise.

Then their are parental lies, which we all know about. Santa. The Easter Bunny. The Toothfairy. The Man who will come and take you away to an orphanage if YOU DON’T JUST SIT DOWN AND EAT YOUR FUC….

I digress, only slightly. The parental lies, aside from the last one, are meant to sprinkle a little magic in your children’s lives. More importantly you can tell ones that sprinkle a little imagination into their heads.

Such as what I’ve recently done with Stacey, Nugget’s elephant teddy bear. One day, as I was getting ready to go to work, Nugget came running up to me with her elephant and held the teddy up to me.

“Stacy wants to go to work with you today, daddy,” Nugget said, smiling.

I shrugged and opened my satchel wide enough for Stacy to be dropped inside. Zipping the bag closed again I knelt down and gave Nugget a kiss on the forehead.

“I sure hope she doesn’t cause me any trouble in the office,” I said to her. “Remember the story we read a few nights ago about the elephant in the park.”

Nugget did her cute little mischief laugh she does. Hands up in front of her mouth, chuckling away while her shoulders move up and almost cover both ears. She ran away delighted with life.

Of course I’m a nutter by trade and was already thinking about some of the stuff I’d tell Nugget at dinner that night. But then we live in a golden age of technology. A time when taking a picture and showing it to somebody instantly is as easy as taking our your phone…with a camera on it…and taking the picture.

I’m not sure were I was going with that. I’m tired.

Anyroad, off to work I went. When I got in I did my usual email reading, chats with the lads on my team and my morning cup of coffee. Then I set up picture one.

Stacy is a coffee addict too

Empty mug, teddy head first in it. Snap. The story then behind this picture would be that Stacy drank all my coffee.

Next up, after doing a bit more work (because obviously I can’t be just taking pictures of a stuffed animal all day and get paid) was Stacy helping me do some work.

Despite the simplicity behind the picture, setting it up was hard. They say never work with children or animals when it comes to photography. Well let me tell you stuffed animals are just as hard to work with. I mean you give direction, describe the scene, and still the bloody thing keeps dropping the pen. But, picture secured complete with the story that Stacy had written down some notes on my pad.

Of course, me being me, I wasn’t above taking pictures away from the privacy of my desk.

Moar Cwoffee

Off to the kitchen area I went, Stacy the Elephant in hand. One of my co-workers even asked what I was doing. I told them I had taken a bunch of pics of the elephant doing things around the office. I guess with a more sane person they would have been confused by this statement, while secretly sending HR an email to say that I had finally snapped. But I’m known for being how I am, that is certifiably insane (I’m only not certified because I slept in on the day of the exam), and they just laughed.

That night, shortly after dinner, Stacy was retrieved from my bag and Nugget sat on the sofa beside me. I took out the phone and opened up the gallery to show her the pictures. Using the art of the parental lie, I told her that while I was away Stacy had moved and done all these things. That only when I was looking at her did she become a teddy again. Nugget’s eyes opened wide as she listened, laughing with her mischievous laugh at the pictures, and looking at Stacy every few seconds just in case movement happened and she missed it.

That night Nugget went up to bed with Stacy and we could hear her on the monitor telling Stacy she had been so naughty but so funny at daddy’s office.

Because sometimes, just sometimes, it’s okay to bare-face lie to your kids. As long as your feeding their imagination in a positive way.

You give me (cabin) fever

The latest episode of Parenting Pobal is live!

47 episodes in and sure who knew we’d still have things to waffle on about. In this week’s episode we talk about some stuff you can do with the kids when the weather or illness means you can’t leave the house. Little tricks on how to survive Cabin Fever with two little humans that have the attention span of a gnat and the patience of a … gnat (look, they can’t all be winners).

There is also the story about how Derek thought he was dying after returning home from the pub one night – laughter ensues.

If you have a listen and have a few seconds to spare consider giving us a review on iTunes or Spotify 😁

You give me (cabin) fever

Trust us, the photo makes sense

Paje Vu

Definition of déjà vu

1: the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time

2: something overly or unpleasantly familiar. The team’s poor start to the season was déjà vu for its long-suffering fans.

Definition of paje vu

1: the feeling that you’ve definitely said the same thing a number of times to your offspring and yet they still need it said a number of additional times in order to hear it once

2: the sense that you have said something before but feel like you are saying it for the first time because you’ve managed to reach infinity on your internal counter and have gone back to the start of the numbers used for counting

Welcome to the science* post of our little website. I say science* instead of science because science* is the type of observations that has no actual basis or backup in terms of real science. Like Flat Earth Theory, but without the zealots and conventions.

See, recently I’ve noticed that I am repeating myself with the kids. Not just repeating myself but saying the exact same line over and over and over and over and over and over and…

Sorry, got stuck in a loop there.

The point is that as the eldest has hit her fourth year on this mud-ball she has definitely developed selective hearing. Selective being a nice way of putting it, by the way. I genuinely think that she has mastered the art of fully closing off her ear canals to block out all sound and has simply developed a sixth, seventh and eight sense to replace her lack of hearing. It is the only scientifically* sound explanation for how I have to ask her twenty-three times to pick stuff up off the floor in my normal parenting voice (which goes up a decibel level for every ten times the same lines has been said). Yet I can stand at the bottom of a well in another country and ask her in a whisper if she wants a biscuit and she will hear it in our home as if I had screamed it directly into her ear.

Hence, paje vu. I have convinced myself that it is a thing, it has to be a thing. It is the only real reason that makes sense. There is no way that a person cannot hear the same sentence, with the words in the same order, and the volume growing slightly louder with each utterance, forty-five times in a row. There just isn’t. It has to be a parental phenomenon, the feeling that you’ve said something before in the exact same way you are currently saying it. Only you haven’t said it before and you are only saying it once.

Otherwise kids have an amazing ability to control their senses that adults would relish. Can you imagine being in a boring meeting and being able to totally shut down your sense of hearing in order to survive the hour long presentation on why full stops, dots and periods are different things.

It also explains how Littles the world over are able to fart so badly you’d convince yourself they have an entire skunk up their backside, pushing a green mist around them so intense that your eyes water, yet they cannot smell it themselves. The scientific* answer: they can shutdown their sense of smell on command.

But fear not, fellow parents, I know you’ve all experience this sensation. Now you have a name to it. You’re not going crazy, you are repeating yourself almost indefinitely, because kids have mastered the ancient and wise art of Selective Hearing.

And here you all were thinking you were going crazy. No such luck, parenthood will make you insane for many more reasons than just this. Of course it doesn’t help that the younger follows everything the older one does, so he has started not listening a full two years earlier than she did.

But like all good science and science*, you need an example to quantify the experiment. So let me present experiment J below, taken from the field this very morning.

Experiment J

Test Environment Configuration: we’ve been up since about 7am because it is Saturday and the kids only sleep past 9am when it is a workday. The kitchen looks like a Smyths Toystore passed by and vomited on the floor. Both kids want to watch a movie on Netflix.

Parent 1: Pick up the toys.

Parent 1: Pick up the toys.

Parent 1: Clean up the toys and we will watch the movie.

Parent 1: Why haven’t you picked up the toys yet.

Parent 2: Did you pick up that parcel from the collection centre yesterday?

Parent 1: I’m not going to ask again, pick up the toys.

Parent 1: Why aren’t you picking up the toys?

Parent 1: You, pick up those toys. Other you, pick up those ones.

Parent 2: Seriously did you pick it up or not because if you didn’t it will be sent back on us.

Parent 1: Would you for the love of all that is unholy pick up the bloody toys.

Parent 1: I don’t care if you didn’t play with that toy, put it away or no movie.

Parent 1: Would you just, for once, listen to me and put the damn things away before we watch the movie.

Parent 2: Honestly, did you get it or not.

Parent 1: Why do you keep asking the kids if they picked up something from the collection centre? They can’t drive.

Parent 2: I’m not asking them, I’m asking you. Like I have done for the last four days. At least five times a day.

Experiment conclusion: turns out Paje Vu can apply to partners as well as parents.

Snotcicle

I’ve always loved how, if you look hard enough, nearly every season has a story or legend somewhere in the world. Even regions that don’t celebrate the same as their global neighbors have some sort of myth or tale that they tell, so that they can get in on the fun everyone is having.

There are the obvious ones, such as Santa and the Easter Bunny, that have been fully commercialized and then the less known ones (in so far as they may not be known outside of the culture they are from) such as Ne-bin.

Go on, Google that last one so you can say ‘Today, I learned.’

What they don’t tell you when you become a parent, however, is that you all get brought into another batch of myths and legends for different seasons.

Such as the legend of Snotsicle.

Snotsicle is a hilarious creature, that people rarely see if they don’t have kids. He comes out around Cold and Flu season (because sticking to the pattern of actual seasons is of course not something that happens in Parent World). This is actually part of the fun in and of itself. Not only do you not know when Snotsicle may make a visit, you don’t know when the season will land. Sometimes it happens right alongside an actual season and makes some sense, so middle of winter sort of thing. Other times the season will rock up during a heatwave in the height of summer, because…reasons.

But the legend is the same when told from parent to parent as they cry into their seventh coffee in the past four hours, the magical go-juice that keeps them awake long enough to witness Snotsicle arriving. When you get told that some kid who your own offspring were in contact with has a cold, you know that the season is upon you.

But who is this Snotsicle I don’t hear you ask since this is a written article so how would I know what you are saying when you read it. Snotsicle is the little creature that lives in the nose of all the children of the world. Waiting for the right season, whenever that may land in the actual grand scheme of things, to spring forth and cause chaos for all.

Or, to be more accurate, the adults.

See children apparently can make enough mucus and snot in their heads to feed Snotsicle when the creature hibernates. It’s the only logical explanation, consider what happens when Snotsicle arrives.

All will be calm and quiet throughout the house, no creature will be stirring safe for the click of a computer mouse. Then right as the adult has work to be done, a sneeze, an achoo, and panic has begun.

Only this morning I was sitting with Nugget having breakfast when she sneezed and two large, green, snot lines shot out of her nostrils faster than Space X rocket taking off. She dropped her spoon, looked over at me with eyes with with terror, and started panicking.

“Help!” she snapped.

I reached over and grabbed the nearest tea towel because I’m the dad, not the mum. Mums would run out, get some tissue, balms, creams. Everything and anything to make the nose wiping a smooth and relaxing process. Dads are practical. You need to get that gunk wiped away as fast as it arrived with as much absorption as you can get.

“But this is just a rehash of that story you told before,” you’re no doubt saying now. Once again I have to guess since I have no idea what you are actually saying while you read this.

You would be right in making that assumption, except the legend of Snotsicle is such that it differs ever so slight. You see, once Nugget sneezed I thought I was in the clear. Until the second sneeze happened, this time though coming from the living room. A sneeze, followed by three more in rapid-fire succession. Since Jellybean is never one to be outdone by his sister, his mantra is that lyric ‘Anything you can do, I can do better’ – and he takes that mantra very seriously. Running into the living room I was just in time to see that Snotsicle had jump noses, two bulbous danglers hanging from the cherub nose of my little boy. I was not, however, in time to put towel to nostril and remove Snotsicle.

Jellybean looked up and me and smiled.

“Nose,” he said, before turning and smashing his face into the back cushion of the sofa.

The end result being the cushion now looked like a snotty Turin Shroud, while the boy’s face looked like he had been Frenching with Slimer from Ghostbusters for twenty minutes. Many wet wipes later all is clean, but I keep looking at the cushion and wondering.

Is Snotsicle in there? Waiting for the sofa to sneeze and come out again? After all every season needs a legend, that’s what makes them fun.

Daddy Daughter Night

When we were expecting our first child to arrive we were asked the same question on a regular basis. A question I’m sure every expectant parent gets asked: which one do you want?

Hilarious, considering you don’t really have a lot of control over whether you get a boy or a girl. You can follow all the old wives tales, modify your diet because some website said it ensures the gender will go one way or the other, but at the end of it all you get what you get and you love them from second one of seeing them.

I used to joke with the lady friend that I’d prefer a boy for a our first, because boys are easier to train. Oh how we laugh at such a foolish statement now. Train a child…wishful thinking.

In reality though I gave the same answer to the question every time it was asked. That I honestly didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl, so long as they were happy and healthy that was the main thing. We got blessed on that front twice, despite the fact that you’d swear the younger of our pair was unhappy for the first few months of his life.

Ah early parenthood – such a magical time.

Anyroad deep down I would always wonder if I would be a better father to a boy first instead of a girl. Or maybe a girl before we had a boy. It is the standard self doubt that all parents go through, I have no doubt. What if the girl is a lover of dancing and you have two left feet? What if the boy is a football nut and you can’t stand the sport? What if the girl is into mixed martial arts? And so on and so on, the list of doubts is endless. The point was that I just wanted to be the best dad these kids got and considering they got me they were being dealt a rough deal to begin with.

Then upon seeing Nugget’s face all that left my mind and I just said ‘Screw it I will be the best me that I can be and that will in turn be the best dad for her.’

For you see the ‘best me’ has, over the years, evolved into this mad bastard who literally doesn’t give a shit about how the world perceives him so long as his actions entertain others, hurt nobody and don’t cause problems for those around. Sort of like having Deadpool as my spirit animal.

We fast forward a few years and Nugget has her first ‘girls night’ with her mummy and loved every minute of it. There was juice in fancy glasses, face masks, jellies, something on the telly and, most importantly, no boys. She loved it but being a child who never likes to see, or be, left out of things she asked for a similar night to take place. A daddy-daughter night.

Now the great thing about being somebody who doesn’t care about how they are perceived so long as it brings joy to those I care about I was all in. Face masks, sweets, orange juice in a champagne glass (Is this what the people of Bel-Air living like?), something on Netflix and time with my kid. What’s not to love about that?

I’m writing this article having just had our third such night. We even upped the ante a little and used hair chalk to colour our hair blue, just for added fun. A bit of chilling, jelly babies and cuddles. A night well spent.

The bit that makes it all worthwhile, though, was when, after tucking her into bed, she reached up and wrapped her little arms around my neck. I got the tightest squeeze you’d ever get and a ‘I had so much fun daddy. I love you. See you in the morning.’ whispered into my ear.

I’m regularly accused of having a blackhole in my chest that pumps some sort of sludge around my veins. But if that little thanks didn’t melt my stone heart nothing would…and of course it did.

Sure isn’t she already planning and plotting for her next daddy-daughter night.