Sunday, 24 June 2012

Fathers day lunch

A couple weeks ago I was invited to Jack's school to have a father's day lunch with him. I eagerly sign up and counted down the days.

The lunch was good, particularly the pudding, which Jack insists was much better than they normally are. For £2.52 it was a decent meal.

At 12 o'clock the school lobby was filled with dads. I enjoy seeing the other dads. It's interesting to see whose dad has shown up. The fathers are a very diverse bunch, there were lots of tradesmen, many in coveralls clearly having come straight from a job. Some were in suits or business casual. Some were grandfathers.

Watching the kids file in was hilarious.

The year one class arrived in a nice orderly line behind a teacher. She quietly instructed the to locate their respective fathers and take them to the cafeteria. The students quietly obeyed and those whose fathers hadn't turned up yet quietly lined up against the wall by the teacher.

The reception burst through the door like a tribal army. The room was filled with three foot tall savages shouting and crying and killing each other. Jack found me a dragged me to the cafeteria.

While were eating Jack educated me on lunch room edicate, we filed through the very slow line, collected our trays and requested our food, one of the fathers compared it to prison, figures. We chose seats and sat down to eat while Jack talked me around the room.
Those are the lunch ladies and if you have a problem then raise your hand and they'll sort it out. And if you don't like something the they'll make a pile for you. And you can't eat your pudding until they say you can and thats where the hole is in the roof and that's another hole and that's where I stuck the yellow one to the roof. And when you're...
Wait what?
See the green one there, and the yellow one there. I stuck the yellow one there. He pointed to the ceiling where a two small items were stuck to the ceiling. It was quite a high ceiling.
What are they?
Dinosaur Sweets
You stuck it there?
... Why is it stuck to the ceiling?
I just threw it up, and it didn't come back down.
...who stuck the green one?
Finlay: I DID! (Finlay doesn't talk, he shouts as loud as he can)
Did you get told off?
No, the lunch ladies were over there.

The food was good. I've eaten lunch at the school before and found it to be very, very bland. But this meal was really quite nice. I had a chicken and vegetable pie with vegetables and a chocolate rice crispies cake with custard for pudding. The cake was very nice, Jack insists that the puddings are normally that nice, and that once he got mustard instead of custard, but I'm skeptical. After getting permission to eat our pudding we finished our lunches.

What do we do now?
Just follow my lead.

I followed his lead an took my tray to the collection station. The Jack lead me back into the lobby.
Now I go and play and you go home. I want a hug.

I hugged him, he ran off and I found myself alone, so I headed home.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The digital family

Lately much of our family time has looked a little something like this.

Jack has recently taken to playing games on the PSP, he's particularly fond of one called Locoroco. It used to be that I'd play the games while Jack supervised as he struggled to understand how to make the games play. Now a days I'm more of a Winston Wolf type presence, he calls me in when he's in a jam.

I have a number of games on my iPhone and iPad that Jack plays and several apps that he uses.  Aside from typical things like the pocket phonics app, we have Brushes, for instance, that we use to draw mazes for each other as well as pictures. From time to time he'll have me set up the drum machine on GarageBand so he can spend a few minutes playing funky beats.

Helen and Jack have a number of games they play together on her computer. They sit together and discuss one of the puzzles or shoot things while trying to avoid shooting the diarrhoea... Jack and I play Sonic Racing together regularly as well, he's getting really good at it. There are even plans in the works to get all three of us racing, which should be good.

When I decided to go to university I did it with Jack in mind. I even started writing apps with Jack as my eventual audience. Not just the obvious 'providing a better life' outcome but I hoped that being a game developer I could create games that he could/would play. Much of my school work already revolves around him in some way, wether I'm designing games starring him, or letting him help me design them he's always involved in the project somewhere. I'm pleased that we both share a love of technology, I hope that it become a strong connection between us.

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sports day

We were invited to take part in Sports Day at Jacks school. I've been somewhat dreading the invitation, I'm not a sports person or even much of an outside person so the thought of doing both at the same time along side all the other childrens' football mad fathers was a little daunting. Still the odds were that I would only be looking at a three-legged race and that would be ok.

Egg and Spoon

On the day the weather was great, the sun was beating down and the air was deathly still. One hundred or so parents took to the tiny field in wait for the children to appear. I'd worn my trainers in anticipation, otherwise I had dressed in light clothes as I'm prone to heat exhaustion but some of the other fathers were prepared for war. Some wearing tight fitting low friction, low drag shirts and shorts along with £200 trainers and drinking lucosade I felt I wasn't taking it seriously enough.

Bag Tossing

The kids eventually filed out of the classroom all wearing their team coloured shirts. For about an hour they moved from sector to sector performing the various activities for each sector. There was running, jumping, hopping, egg and spoon racing, football manoeuvring, hurdles, bouncing, relay running, bag tossing, and balancing. Each team was scored for each event, Jack's team won the frog jumps, and the inning teams were announced at the end. I don't know if there were prizes.

Lots of the parents were complaining about the apparent lack of competition in the events. It was a very "everybody wins" environment but all in all I think it was done pretty well. While I'm all for competition I do understand why many organisations now a days have opted for the non-comparative approach. Many kids don't like to lose and no one likes to see a child cry. In my experience it's not the kids it's the parents that ruined schoolyard competition, kids will cry for a bit but then get over it where I've seen all out fist fights break out over a father disagreeing with a loss.

Stepping in Hoops

So sports day ended, Jack's team won one event and we went home. To my relief there was no parent participation at all, which is just as well, the sun was blazing and I was starting to feel a little unwell. Jack had a good time.


Frog Jump
Sent from my iPhone... as if by magic