Monday, 25 January 2010

Weeks Away.

I'm in Scotland this week fulfilling my monthly duties to the corporate machine. I'm a little shamed to say that I've become one of those fathers that dreads the time spent away from my family. While it's nice to have a bed to myself for a few days I do miss my family.

Helen and I set up a video conference each night when I get to my hotel room. This way we can see each other and chat while Helen handles Jack and I prepare to go to dinner, but mostly it's so I can say good night to Jack.  It's nice because even though I'm 500 miles away I still feel like I'm part of bed time.

Tonight I got back later than usual and Jack was eating his dinner. He was a lot more talkative than usual. Normally I get a quick summary of his day before he disappears giving me no more regard than a non-animated TV show, we get the same when we try to talk to him over the telephone. Honestly I don't think he quite understands any of this. I figure he must think that Mommy has just put a picture of me on the computer that occasionally talks to him in the same way that his My Pet Monster doll does. Tonight was different though, I got actual unprompted conversation. Maybe now he's starting to understand telecommunication a little more clearly.

While he was finishing up I got the run down of the daily events, the status of his chicken pox and a demo of his latest Ben10 action figure. During the few minutes when Helen had left the room he suddenly became conversational.

So what have you been doing today in Scotland?
I've been working, all day
I was in Birmingham.
I know, you took the train.
You said you were on the train.
I was on a train when you called me, but I wasn't on the same train as you.
It's no fun in Birmingham without you.
It's no fun in Scotland without you.
Where are you living when you are in Scotland?
In a nice hotel.
Is that where we're going on Saturday?
No, we're going to a wedding on Saturday.
After that can we go to fun? (fun meaning a kids play area)
We'll have to seem. I'll make sure to find you some fun at the weekend.
That would be really good, I like to go to fun.

By this time Helen came back into the room with pudding and Jack lost interest in talking to me for a few minutes. When he finished eating he we poked our fingers at each other and discussed my plan to eat mussels for my dinner. He didn't think it was a good idea.

You don't eat muscles.
I eat mussels, I love them.
But you can't eat them, not muscles under skin. I don't like it... and so it went on until he finally decided that I should eat a steak instead.

So here I am, spending the first of three nights alone in Paisley Scotland and I'm writing about missing my family. No doubt I'll wake up in the morning expecting to hear Jack announcing that his sun is up, or find Helen sleeping next to me. Some people might call that sad and I tend to agree with them, but I'll only be sad till Thursday.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A pox on thee.

A curious infliction appeared on the palm of Jack's hand two days ago. First Helen and I thought that he'd pinched it on something at nursery. It was obviously quite sore and as the hours rolled by it got bigger and sorer. What started out as something resembling a pimple grew into something more like a boil. Jack started referring to it as his bad hand and would let anyone even look at it.

Yesterday afternoon Helen and I examined it again trying to work out what it might be and the possibility of trying to pop it some how. During this conversation we noticed a small red spot on Jack's face. This got the wheels turning and throughout the next 2 hours our suspicions were confirmed. Jack has contacted chicken pox.

Chicken pox is incredible to watch in action. I noticed the spot on Jack's face around 5pm, by 7pm he had approximately 20 across his face belly and pelvis, I took these pictures this morning around 8am.

Now, only 24 hours later Jack is more spot than boy. You can practically see them spreading.

It's a good thing that it's a relatively harmless disease because there's a good chance that Jack has possibly infected at least one of his friends (sorry Isabelle), probably some kids at Nursery, anyone he came in contact with while out on the town with his Nanny on Tuesday.

All in all Jack is in good spirits, though he's already scolded me for calling him Poxy-face and Chicken Nugget. He's lost his appetite a little but got no fever and they don't seem to itch very much. In fact it's only the one on his hand that seems to bother him at all and even that's minimal. This morning he burst though his Nanny's front door and said, "Nanny look at me I'm all poxy." so he's clearly come to terms with his affliction, or it might be to the doses of anti-histamine we've given him.

It's a shame that he's caught it so early in life. Now he won't get a week off school. I'm tempted to see if I can talk him into a game of connect the dots but I'm not sure it's a good idea.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

It's Hero Time.

Jack has been wearing his Omnitrix all day today. He wore it yesterday as well, and through the night. We almost had a tantrum when I insisted that we take it off for bath time.

Jack's love for the watch was recently rekindled by his new Monday
session at nursery. A boy at nursery named Alex has for the last two
weeks been wearing his omnitrix. Jack tells me all about it when he
gets home.

Alex has an OMNITRIX! But it doesn't turn him into any aliens, it's
just a toy.

Shortly after arriving home Jack dug out his omnitrix, it's nothing
like Alex's. Jack's is only a fabric wristband with the Ben10 logo
stamped on it. It doesn't turn Jack into any aliens either he tells
me, but there is one that does turn you into aliens down at the shop,
Santa is apparently bringing him one of those next Christmas...

Jack never misses an opportunity to use his omnitrix, toy or not. If there's any situation in which Jack thinks he can be helpful he'll promptly name his choice of alien, dial it in, an slap it down shouting "It's hero time!" Usually Jack picks Fourarms, or Jetray. In which case he'll run around the room flexing his muscles or pretending to fly. Lately we've been getting bouts of Echo-Echo which results in a series of very loud, drawn out and high pitched shrieks. It's just as fun as it sounds. Thankfully the watch times out eventually and Jack is restored back to being a regular boy, that doesn't shriek.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Losing Time and McMondays

Helen said something to me the other day which made me quite sad. We were talking about Jack now going to nursery on Mondays during the school terms in preparation for going to school in September. We were listing through the things that had changed as this is just a term-time thing what we were going to do. After a conversational 'It'll be fine.' I said that part of me has been looking forward to it, it means not having to battle with trying to work and keep him entertained to which Helen replied, "It means there aren't going to be any more McMondays."
The more I thought about it the worse I felt. The McMonday was something that Jack and I started way back on my first Monday home with him, as you can probably guess it's a Monday lunch trip to McDonalds. It's a relatively cheap meal and Jack loves to get the free McDonald's toy and a balloon. We'd sometimes go spend twenty minutes at the park while we're at it. Even with me working from home it's been time that we can get out of the house and away from the TV. The 4th of January Jack started Mondays at nursery marking the end of this weekly tradition.
Working from home has been a challenge for me. While, given the situation, it's really the best I could have hoped for I'm still struggling to make it work and feel good about it. Mostly the challenge has been the switch to full time. For over a year now I've been working 24 hours a week leaving me time to spend with Jack. Mondays and Fridays, Mondays especially, have been our days together for what seems like forever. Anyone will tell you that after working part time for a little while you start to wonder how people manage 40 hours a week.
My decision to go part time was based pretty much on one thing. I don't like my job. When Helen's return to work began to draw near I was in a dark place with my job. On top of that the child care bills for 2 additional days a week we're going to be barely affordable. I remember saying to Helen that I outta just go part time and look after him myself for two days. Long story short, after crunching a few number that's exactly what we did. With my switch back to full time I find myself back where I was mentally, November and December have been difficult not only in my having to self-motivate to doing a job that I don't like but I've also got to ensure that being home with Jack doesn't have any affect on my work.
Monday's have been pretty rough. I'm usually quite busy on Monday's catching up from the weekend so Jack is more or less left to entertain himself, which he does quite well most of the time. We put on his favourite shows or get out the play doh or anything that will keep him entertained and effectively out of my hair while I work. It's quite a difference to our trips out to the local high street for a visit to the park and bakery, Jack doesn't seem to like it very much but he makes due.
Fridays aren't as bad, they haven't changed much at all other than I disappear every time my phone rings. Usually there are enough people around that I can sit in the corner and work while Jack runs around playing with the other kids.
It isn't just McMonday, it's Monday, a whole day with Jack that I'm losing. In the summer last year Jack and I used to spend almost every Monday at a Thomas Land or the park. We'd send Mommy off to work, watch a little TV and then discuss intellectually what we were going to do for the day. Normally Jack's only suggestions would be to go to the park or to a kids play area. We'd stop and have our McMonday on the way out, or the way back. I've had two Monday's on my own so far and I've really missed him.

I take some solace in knowing that I'll still have him on the school holidays. I'll probably take the days off as holiday. After May I'll be out of work all together so we'll still have the summer together before we both go off to school in September, then things change all over again.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Cabin Fever...

Jack is sitting in his chair right now singing Daddy-soogie-saddo and other variations at me. He's forever making up words. Helen and I attribute this to our calling him Jackaroo and such names.

The Christmas period has been a little strange for us. I've been off work for almost three weeks and Helen's been off for two. His Nanny has taken the time off as well so Jack's usual two days with her have been spent with us.

We've managed to stay pretty busy but on some days there's been a real lack of activities for us to do at home after the first week or so. Put it down to money, or travel conditions or whatever. Jack's had to come up with ways to entertain himself a little more than usual. The last few days we've really started to see the effects, everything is closed and it's very cold outside so aside from the occasional 30 minutes spent at the park we've been house bound. He's like a caged lion.

Yesterday Jack was a dog for a good couple hours. I played fetch with him for quite a while. He's been a doggy before, but never for this long.

This morning he told me that his snake was scared and needed a place to hide. He was scared of Mommies. Zombie mommies.
They have terrible claws and long tails and bad skin and and wipes all over their bodies...

I'm taking him out swimming this morning. He says that swimming is boring despite raving about it when his Nanny takes him on a Wednesday, besides he's just zipped upstairs and demanded that Helen get him dressed. So even if swimming his boring he's obviously still planning on going. I think he just wants out of the house.