Wednesday, 17 March 2010

One vomit and you're out

Ciaran's not been too well today.

Nothing serious. He just threw up over his breakfast at nursery.

Ellen dropped him off at the usual time - around 8am - and I got a call from the nursery about half an hour later to say he'd vomited and could we pick him up as soon as possible. Preferably right away.

The nursery have a very clear policy on unwell children. One vomit and you're out the door. For 24 hours. And then you can come back again, unless you vomit again...repeat the cycle.

Ciaran's been on the downhill slope since Saturday to be fair.

He awoke at about 7am on Saturday morning - Daddy on early morning backside duty - with one eye open and one shut and what looked like early onset of conjunctivitis. He also had a heavy cold and runny nose.

Later, we took the kids to Milton Keynes.

As I placed the unwell Ciaran carefully into his stroller, Ellen remarked that her second born had come to resemble "the sick, manky cat in the street that your Mummy tells you never to touch".

He wasn't looking his best. Sure. But who does when they have a cold, let alone conjunctivitis?

We'll keep on giving him his eyedrops and the cold should run its natural, messy, very messy, tissue-ridden course.

In the meantime, the little blighter is soundly asleep in his little nursery, accompanied by his little blue teddy and his little white muslin in his little wooden cot that Daddy built.

You see. I have a soft side, really.

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Sunday, 14 March 2010

All Mothers are working Mothers

Mothering Sunday today.

And being the model son that I am, I gave my Mum an early morning ring to wish her well on this lovely day.

Upon enquiring about her plans, Dad told me she was spending the morning in work catching up on some pressing business. I guess my card was right. She really was the world's number one Mum.

All Mothers are working mothers, as the saying goes.

Except for one day of the year, that is. Today. And don't they let you know all about it. All day.

The boys also treated Ellen.

Ben made her a nice card at nursery, which took pride of place on the mantlepiece. Ciaran co-contributed, with his brother, to the purchase of a generously-sized card, which also took pride of a different place on the mantlepiece.

Meanwhile, just to make Ellen feel extra special, I slaved all morning in the kitchen treating her to a homemade Sunday roast.

I spent ages preparing the chicken, marinating it evenly in olive oil, sprinkling over sea salt and thyme from the garden, and then adding my marinade of garlic, butter and lemon juice.

I served it with red onions, carrots, stuffing balls, yorkshire pudding, broccoli, peas and gravy and followed it up with some non-homemade Key Lime pie for pudding.

It all went down rather well.

Come the end of the day, I think it's fair to say the pampered Ellen was feeling just a tad more energetic than I was.

Bring on Father's Day.

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Saturday, 13 March 2010

"Daddy, I no need you"

How do you solve a problem like "Mummy, Mummy, I want Mummy"?

Lately, Ben has become just a little bit clingy to Mummy and just a little bit unclingy to Daddy.

I've been ordered out of rooms at bedtime and met with marauding tantrums when Mummy nips out to the shops. I was even told this week, "Daddy, I no need you."

It was inevitable that Ben would spend a lot of time around his Mummy when Ellen gave up work 12 months ago, and perhaps also, kiddies at this age generally prefer the more caring tones and endeavours of their Mummys.

But, still, I didn't expect things to become this one-sided.

Expectations aside, something had to be done about this and Ellen wisely suggested I take Ben out for a walk in the woods this afternoon so we could spend some quality time alone together.

We broke the news to Ben. Yep, straight into a tantrum. Big tantrum.

Face bright red, tears flooding down his face. Not even the peace offer of a banana would calm him down. So I picked him up and bundled him out of the house. He was going on this walk with Daddy whether he like it or not.

I carried him down our street and up to the woods - about a 1 minute walk away - still wriggling and screaming.

I was wondering whether the neighbours thought a child abductor was on the loose as I carried him chest-high up to the steel gate at the neck of the woods and plonked him on the ground.

We ventured tentatively into the woods and I said to him, "Hey, Ben, what can you see?" No reply, but the screaming had reduced to a feeble sob.

I decided to switch from Daddy-mode into kiddy entertainer-mode to try to snap him out of his pernicious mood - ie. OTT voice and ridiculously animated behaviour.

It worked a little, but he still said he wanted to go home to Mummy.

Only when I said, "Ben, you're the boss. Where do you want to walk?" did the sobbing stop.

Face like a blank canvass, he began to peer up at the trees and pay attention to the sounds of the woods, telling Daddy he could hear birdies and asking "What's dat?" when a little grey squirrel shot up a tree as we dared to stand on a twig.

Ben was actually beginning to enjoy himself and there wasn't a skirt in sight.

An old wooden bench came into view and Ben spied it in no time. Yes, he called it a chair, but after a quick grammar correction, I agreed to go and sit on it with him.

We then headed off to gather some twigs, Ben still in charge, and after pelting Daddy's leg a few times with the twigs, Ben decided it was time to go home.

I didn't argue.

I thought it best to cut my losses, abandon the walking route I'd planned and preserve the fun time we'd had in the hope that, next time, Ben would understand that Daddy-Ben time wasn't so terrifying.

We walked home at a leisurely pace - a toddler's pace that it is - and I broke the good news to Mummy.

Daddy-Ben time had been a success. Eventually. And only when I put Ben in charge.

Have I got a little control-freak in the making?

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