Friday, 26 February 2010

Good Night from Scotland.

I work away from home for a week each month. I take a 4 hour train or plane journey up to Glasgow, spend my days training and my nights in a 3 star hotel for a week. It’s not so bad really, but it is quite lonely, so after work I head to the hotel where Helen and I set up a video chat. It gives me a chance to see and say goodnight to Jack before he heads to bed and I go out to dinner.

Normally I only get three or four sentances from Jack during the whole conversation. He’ll tell me what he’s eaten, and what he bought from the charity shop while at Nanny’s. Occasionally he’ll ask where I am and when I’m coming home. On Monday night he said, Daddy I want you to come home right this second. He was sad when I told explained to him that I wasn’t home until Thursday. That’s a really long time. After a few words he runs off to watch his cartoons or whatever, I just get to hear him wrecking the place in the background while Helen and I chat. When it’s bed/dinner time Helen beckons Jack back to say goodnight.

On Wednesday night this week we were going through the usual routine. Jack had wandered off to watch Ben10 and Helen and I were discussing my dinner plans. I was differing from my usual restaurant choice so I needed to leave a little bit earlier. I said goodbye to Helen after which Helen called Jack over to say goodnight. All I heard was a little voice somewhere in the back ground shout. GOODNIGHT DADDY! I was happy with this but Helen urged him to come in front of the camera so I can see him.

Helen: Come say goodnight properly Jack. Come here so Daddy can see you.

Jack: But I already… I heard a huff and running footsteps. Then a little face appeared briefly on my screen and somewhat curtly said, I already said goodnight. then disppeared again.

Good Night Jack.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


If you want to make a life-time enemy then you get Jack's face wet. If you want to make a slightly less than life-time enemy, mess with his hair.

Jack loves his hair and will defend it. Last week he came back from nursery with something very sticky and blue stuck in it. I never did figure out what it was but it wasn't easy to get out. Jack was almost in tears when I had to cut out a small chunk, thankfully the rest of it came out with a little shampoo.

While he loves his hair he doesn't love so much caring for it. At bath time we've had to resort to a technique similar to that used by psychiatrists in treating phobias. Jack hates having wet hair, he said because It makes it all girly. Like yours. Your hair is all girly... He's never liked my Shaggy Hair. Not so long ago if we spent any time in the rain without his hood up we'd get half an hour of: My hair, my beautiful hair, it's ruined. I'm not kidding, he actually said that, still does sometimes. And I'm the one with the girly hair....

Jack has had his hair cut half-a-dozen times now and I think he's finally getting used to the idea but he's still against it, so we have to entice him. I don't normally like bribing him but when there's sharp instruments involved I'm a little bit more open to the quick resolution. The promise of a lollipop will typically do the trick, today we gave him a packet of chocolate buttons to eat during the process.

Getting a three-year-old boy's hair cut is expensive when you consider the labor that's involved. Even when Jack puts up a fight it's never more than 15 minutes from start to finish. With him turning and twisting about in the chair the poor barbers can't give him any sort of real cut, they just do their best not to take a piece of ear.

So today Helen decided that she'd give it ago herself. Armed with a pair of scissors and a crash course in dog grooming she set to it. The end result isn't too bad but I'm always sad to say goodbye to the mad-scientist look.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Bike riding.

Jack got a bike for Christmas, with the continuous raining, snowing and below freezing temperatures that we've had here in England since Christmas the bike has been parked in our hallway since it's short maiden voyage Christmas day. For the last couple of weeks Jack has been itching to ride it. He'd wake up and check the weather and say.

Aw, it's no good outside. It's never good outside. Stupid rainy weather.

Yesterday I promised Jack that even though the weather wasn't great, as long as it didn't deteriorate we'd try for a bike ride after we got back home from our errands. Jack kept and eye on the outside all day long and as soon as we stepped outside Jack tugged on my coat and said.

Daddy it's not raining look.

So we made some adjustments to the seat height and set off. All in all it went fairly well. We rode down down the street about a quarter mile and then back with him gabbing and giggling the entire way. He's ridden many vehicles before but this bike has a few features that he's not used to. He did well, he peddled, steered and braked, seemed to pick up the braking concept pretty quickly. He did fall over once when he drove off the curb, he wasn't happy but we got past it and he rode on. When we got home he enthusiastically told Helen all about it, how he went really fast and then fell off the hole and hurt his arm because he wasn't watching where he was going.

Before anyone anything I know he should have been wearing a helmet, I forgot it.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The good old days.

This morning Jack needed to use the toilet, but couldn't because it was occupied. We have two toilets in the house, but anyone with young children knows that if the child says he needs the toilet, you're on borrowed time. In an attempt for a quick resolution Helen suggested that he use the potty which was only a yard away but Jack protested.

No Daddy hates the potty. Which is true, some months ago I explained to him that it was silly to use the potty instead of the toilet. During that conversation, I may have implied at that time that I hated the potty.

It's ok this time Jack just use the potty.
Ok. He dropped his trousers and got to work. It's nice using the potty again. Just like the good old days.

Jack has been thinking about the past a lot today. He reminisced about our trip to Scotland in September, according to him he was just a baby then. I was surprised at how much detail he could remember about that trip. He remembered that he went to the Zoo, and that he hurt himself on one of the playgrounds, I'm sure Helen will never for get him swan diving off the monkey bars. He remembered even that he'd purchased a Grabber on the way out, it was a little dinosaur head on a stick with trigger activated jaw action. He also remembered that it broke to pieces only a few days later.

I've often amazed at exactly how much memory he retains, he can tell you when and where each of his toys came from, and usually everything that happened or was said to him around the purchasing event. People always say that kids are like sponges. I think because as adults we remember so little of our young childhood with it being so long ago we forget that for someone who's life is just starting it's only just passed by.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek had been the longest running favorite of the games Jack likes to play. He's always up for a quick game whatever the circumstance.

Playing Hide and Seek with Jack is not for the easily bored, Jack's hiding skills are a bit... underdeveloped. Jack used to hide in one of two places, his bed, or our bed. Helen or I would pretend to struggle finding him, during which Jack would often give subtle clues to his location such as "I'm in the bed." or something equally vague... When it was our turn to hide we would often get scolded for not hiding in either bed.

Over the... year... Jacks has got better at hiding, in that he doesn't so willingly proclaim his whereabouts, now we have to follow the sound of uncontrolled giggling, but we don't get told off any more. His choice of hideouts has expanded, the beds are still the favorites but there are at least three other places he will hide too. Just the other day I found him hiding behind the bedroom door with one of the robes pulled across him.

He's still much better at seeking, he struggles to locate something of which he doesn't already know the exact location on the best of days, so if we hide somewhere we've not hidden before he'll never find us. He's pretty easily distracted too, I've more than once been forgotten about.

But practice makes perfect, so no doubt by this time next year, with the amount of practice he gets in, Jack will be a world class Hide and Seeker. I love playing with him, it's nothing but giggles and strange phrases all the way through. It's a real insight to the way his mind works.