I enlisted the help of George and Esme to write this blog. I asked them to tell me their favourite things about Daddy and why they love him; in no particular order these were their answers…
‘I like daddy because he’s got eyes’
‘I love daddy because he reads us stories’
‘I love daddy because he teaches me things, like how to ride my bike.’
‘I like daddy because he always eats my chips to check if they are poisonous!’
‘I like daddy because if I go to a party, and there is jam in the birthday cake, daddy always eats it for me! Daddy is really kind for eating my cake! I love daddy but I DON’T love jam!’
‘I love daddy because we are going to build a tree house together.’
‘I love daddy to bath me because he always helps me to blow bubbles and practice my swimming’
‘I love daddy because he turns into the tickle monster and he’s really really fun!’
I’m hoping Esme’s standards increase when she searching for a potential partner in 20 years time; ‘you appear to have your own eyes and be willing to eat my chips and cake- you’ll do!’ This also came after she made a list of reasons she DIDN’T like daddy, including ‘he made me fall off my ‘grasshopper’ and I hurt my knee!’ (Grasshoppers are space hoppers and daddy didn’t ‘make’ her fall off, he was just standing in the vague vicinity when she did it so is entirely responsible as far as she’s concerned!)
Similarly Grandad and Grandpa got the following…
‘I love grandad because he lets me play his dinosaur game on the IPad!’
‘I love Grandpa because he can fix things’
‘I love grandad because he always has Jammy Dodgers in the car!’
‘I love Grandpa because he always wears a hat!’ (Flat cap obviously- we are in Yorkshire!)
‘I love Grandad because he takes me on the zip wire in the park and gets his bum mucky!’
Never work with children or animals…
My Father’s Day blog comes with lots of pressure- ‘The Mother of all Days’ made my mum cry (in a good way!) and is one of my most visited posts so I feel like this one needs to be good! Luckily, as with Mums, I am very blessed with the ‘dads’ in my life in the various forms they take.
Being a dad and being a mum do seem to be very different jobs (in our house at any rate!) Whilst both come with an infinite amount of responsibility to care for and ultimately keep alive small humans, the roles within these and the way the kids see us seem to be divided! A perfect example of this would be the weekend morning lie in… On my morning with the kids, we come downstairs, have breakfast and then in no particular order, do jigsaws, paint, draw, build a train track, build KNEX, build lego, play board games, build duplo, bake, get the play dough out, play with the cars and dress up! All before 9am. In contrast, on Jons morning, he somehow persuades them to sit still on the sofa and watch Return of the Jedi! All three of them! For 2 solid hours! Ridiculous!
I also seem to be the one they come to when they want or need something. I’ve known them leave the living room where they were sat next to daddy to ask me to get them a drink! George walked past Jon and came and opened the shower door where I was trying to get ready for a night out the other day to ask me if I’d help him find something! Jon is a really hands on dad and this isn’t a criticism of what he does and doesn’t do, but if there is a job that involves fetching stuff, getting stuff or wiping ‘stuff’ then the kids seem to see this a default mummy job! If I asked the kids what a ‘daddy job’ was I’m fairly sure they’d outline watching Star Wars films, chasing them around and having fun!
I don’t tell him enough but my children have a fab daddy in Jon. When Ted was born I overheard Jons mum talking to another relative about how good he was for changing nappies… my first response was to be horrified that in 2017 we were still congratulating men on the achievement of changing a nappy and to also point out that half the shit belonged to him! But actually there are still plenty of dads out there who don’t get involved in the shitty nitty gritty! When he’s here we tackle the madness as a team. It’s not always easy… 3 young children mixed with everyday life bring stress and tough days when raising them and caring for them and keeping a house together whilst balancing jobs and other demands in life can feel overwhelming and relentless; but I always know we’re in it together and the good days definitely outweigh the bad! He notices when I’m on my knees and scoops them all up and whisks them off for an hour; he works incredibly hard to ensure we are secure and they have a solid future; he pulls funny faces through the window at nursery when he drops them off; he turns into the tickle monster when they are over tired and grumpy and on the verge of a melt down to distract them! He tries really hard to teach them things and impart knowledge (I once found him trying to teach an 18 month old George how to tie shoelaces… we’re working on age appropriate expectations!) The three monkeys and I love you very much and appreciate all you do… although you could empty the bin a bit more often! (I’m all for feminism and that but feminism means women have choices and I choose to believe that bins are a boy job!)
Picking a partner who would be a good father was easy for me though… I’d had the best possible examples of what a dad should be Iike growing up, although admittedly you may be struggling to believe this if you’re basing your opinion on the photo below!!
My poor dad had to spend 20 years living in a house with 3 women and all the hormones that come with that! He joked that even the bloody rabbit and dog were girls! And now he’s got even more to contend with as we’ve multiplied!
I know everyone says this, but my sister and I have the best dad ever! Fact! He is also a legendary grandad and our children are so very lucky to have him! Nothing is too much trouble for him, he will come and sort our garden or take the kids to school or come and help with bath time if Jons away! He decorates for us, takes the kids to the park, reads them a story and plays football with the bigger boys! My dad runs at everything at a million miles an hour and just gets things done (unless it involves using technology or the internet and then he will get the job done but only after claiming that ‘he didn’t even touch anything, he’s sick of the ‘bloody thing’ and muttering 5-10 moderate to severe swear words!) He has a head full of completely pointless trivia and can pretty much name any band and song from the first 2 chords or drum beats! I once pulled up at my parents house after work and saw my dad walking up the road with Esme in the pram, my nephew Jack walking along side, George on his shoulders and the faithful golden retriever Maisie plodding along next to him! He helps out on school trips at the school I work at and the kids love him; after accompanying our Y2s to The Deep, the recounts that they wrote were not about the fish or the aquarium but were about ‘Mr Emery’ and his adventures of the day! He is super grandad and the kids worship him!
Our kids have two amazing grandads who nurture and care and help to raise them. One of my favourite all time parenting moments was the photo below when my father in law came over one day to finish the decking in our back garden. A two year old George followed him round like a little shadow with his pretend tool box and copied everything he did. This also included the tea break! It was the perfect example of emulation and it created priceless memories that he still talks about today.
It would also be remiss of me when mentioning fatherly role models to not mention my own Grandad. My grandad was a miner and took early retirement in the mid 80s when my sister and I were kids. It was still pretty unusual back then for mums to return to work but our mum worked as a nurse and my Grandad took over our childcare! This happens a lot now but back then this was fairly unique and I imagine quite a steep learning curve for a Barnsley coal miner! My Nan still worked and he took on looking after us and doing things in the house- my favourite story that summed up this time was that he used to do the ironing upstairs so that nobody would spot him doing it through the window! Oh the shame of being seen wielding an iron for a Yorkshire man in his mid 50s! My cousins were also part of this merry band of childcare and I remind this time of our life with such rosy nostalgia! We spent hours watching Mary Poppins and rearranging the furniture to make the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and making my grandad be Burt while we pretended to jump through chalk pictures! When Jon and I got engaged and we told my grandparents we were getting married, my grandad jumped up, shook Jons hand and uttered the now immortal line ‘Well lad, you can’t be happy all your life!’ Ted’s middle name is Colin after my Grandad- we appreciate you may well get beaten up for it when people find out at school kidder, but please know that you are named after the most wonderful and noblest of gentlemen! My single biggest sadness in life is that we lost him before any of the great grandchildren arrived- he would have absolutely despaired at you all eating biscuits in the living room and nan giving you milk in your pretend tea pot and you running around like loons; but he’d have bloody loved it and you’d have all had him wrapped around your little fingers! I suspect Esme in particular would have played you like a harp! I know you are looking down on them and I hope you are proud.
So in a parallel with Mothers Day, Father’s Day will be a time where we remember and celebrate all the wonderful dads in our lives and those we wish still were. We’ll give out the gifts and eat too much food, but more importantly, we’ll take time to remember how lucky we are to be surrounded by such hard working, kind hearted and generous men who are helping to raise our children and continue to raise the grown up children! And finally, well done to all of you for having eyes; It’s an important attribute for being a good dad as far as Esme is concerned!!!