Tomorrow…they will be a day older

Beautiful child. Takes after his mother.

'Da-ad, I've got something stuck between my teeth'

Sunshine Girl

Tomorrow, they will be a day older. And I will regret today.
All the nagging, the shouting, the sighing and exasperation.
Tomorrow, I will feel guilty for wishing their lives away; for counting the years until they’re old enough to pack up and leave home.
I hope tomorrow never comes.


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38. ‘This hurts me more than it hurts you, Son.’ I never knew what that phrase meant until I became a parent

'Does my Bruv look big in this?'

Of our three children, Child 2, the six year-old boy, is the most caring, the most helpful, the most sensitive. He is also the most exasperating. He can be the biggest pain in the backside since red-hot pokers were invented. His mood swings make PMS look like Happy-Clappiness Syndrome (can’t think where he gets it from!) And these swings have a roundabout way of Completely Ruining the Day.

That’s what happened on Saturday. We all ventured out to the local park – myself, the Successful-But-Off-Duty Other Half, my nine-year-old stepdaughter, Child 2 and the three year-old.  Scooters and a football, a backpack filled with the farmers’ market bread, cheese and russets. The epitome of the Perfectly Pleasant English Family On A Gorgeous English Spring Day.

And then the clouds came in. Metaphorically. I’m talking metaphorically.

'If I can't keep it to myself I'm taking it home'

Child 2 wouldn’t share his football. Child 2 had a tantrum when his sister caught him in a game of tag. Child 2 wanted the apple that Child 3 was eating. Child 2 decided that his Favourite Food In The World – chocolate ice cream – was now a stinking pile of dog you-know-what.

Each time, his mother had told him to behave, chill out, stop spoiling things. I tried to ignore it. But when he ignored his mother, it was time for Yours Truly to have a quiet but forceful word. And for a milli-second, he calmed down, lightened up. The sun was out again. Continue reading

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How to keep your kids safe in the sun: Make sure you pack the Factor 50

'Put me down, Dad, I'm going to be sick'

This time last year, we were heading off to the sunshine. Before I lost my job, you understand. We had money then. A couple of holidays a year. Spent a fortune at Duty Free. Ah the bliss of a bulging pay packet; the security in believe All This Would Last Forever.

And then the curtains came crashing down. End of Act Work, Scene Naive. Onto Chapter Life Swap, Scene Reluctant.

We went to Majorca. Not the ropey bits around the edges, but the lovely, untamed, undiscovered bits in the middle. We’d rented a fantastic farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. It had a pool, stunning views and wonderful privacy.

Unfortunately, it also DIDN’T have any shops, and being in the middle of what is essentially a desert, it was blisteringly hot – and we’d forgotten to pack the sun cream. D’oh!

This might not have mattered so much if it was just me and the missus. We’d have been happy lying in bed all day and emerging at night to chuck hunks of rump on the barbecue and sup ourselves stupid on sangria and Rioja.  But it wasn’t just me and the missus – it never has been just me and the missus. We had our three little ‘uns in tow (they even came on our honeymoon four months later) and for some bizarre, weird and altogether mystifying reasons, they wanted to behave like children and splash around in the pool and frolic in the sunshine. Continue reading

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#silentsunday TFISundayNight: Joy, Love, Enjoyment, Fulfilment – all in one beautiful picture

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‘What’s that yellow thing in the sky, Dad?’ Hello sunshine, bye bye reluctance. For now…

There have been times these past six months when I never thought we'd ever see a sight like this again

It has been a long time coming, but our part of Britain finally basked in sunshine this weekend and families flocked to our local park with their picnic blankets and Pimms.

It sometimes felt that the darkness, cold, wind and rain would last forever and that the Sun was something you only saw on TV in Wonders of the Solar System documentaries.

But it’s up there, folks. It’s got it’s hat on and it’s finally come out to play.  (How long before we start moaning about how hot it is?)

Hunks of bread, chunks of cheese. Perfect Ploughkids' lunch

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Reluctant Housedad’s #SilentSunday

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37. Ours is a VERY complicated family…but it works!

One of these isn't my daughter; and the other one isn't, either (but that boy is definitely mine!)

After a hard afternoon in the playground (yes, it WAS hard – sitting in the sun while screaming 3-9 year-olds swarm around you like excited wasps is NOT relaxing), I palmed off my middle son and took my youngest boy, stepdaughter and her playdate classmate or some much-needed refreshment at a local hostelry of my choice while we waited for the classmate’s Mum to pick her up.

As she sucked her lemonade through a straw, the classmate paused, and looked at my stepdaughter (Child 1) quizzically.

‘Why do you call him Beef?’ she asked, nodding at me. Continue reading

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