It’s the end of my youngest son’s first half term of school. It’s been largely uneventful save for a couple of minor issues, oh and there was a little problem with a bit of a fight.

My dad was one of those dads who always told you,

“If he hits you, you hit him back”.

I’ve not said that to either of my children. It’s not that I don’t believe in punching someone in the face if they’ve just done the same to you, far from it, I just believe that you should judge every situation as it comes i.e. How big is he? How much did it hurt? Did I deserve it?

In any case that belief is for adults only, not for children, especially 4 year olds like my H! Instead we have adopted the approach,

“If someone upsets you go and tell the teacher.”

We haven’t even mentioned ‘punches’, as far as my kids are concerned no-one wants to punch them in the face. That’s how it should be!

Despite all this I got called aside by H’s teacher at the end of one day and she spoke to me while a sheepish looking H cowered around my legs.

Apparently a kid in Year 1 (year above four year old H) was saying horrible things to him and generally being verbally abusive. My seven year old eldest would be very upset and tell the teacher immediately, H smacked him in the face without a word.

Now I don’t know if it’s being a dad as opposed to a mum, but I felt a pang of pride swell up from somewhere inside me that I just couldn’t control. Of course on the outside I was horrified, I said all the right things and chastised H and told him that was not the way to behave. And on the whole I agree with my outside appearance. But that pang inside remains whether I like it or not.

A few days later I was telling one of the other dads in the school playground. A bespectacled fellow who doesn’t appear to have any aggression in him whatsoever. His response to the story was.

“Good on him!”

I didn’t agree with him openly and still towed the party line that I was shocked and appalled. But inside I felt glad that I wasn’t a monster.

I found out through the grapevine later that the boy who H walloped is known for being a bit of a bully. Apparently getting a slap from a four year old has brought him down a peg or two and he’s treating others with a bit more respect now. My outward words of warning for H have certainly taken effect too and I don’t think he’ll be walloping anyone again anytime soon. Perhaps all’s well that ends well?

Death by Calpol

“Do you think if I was going to kill myself I’d use Calpol?”

I loathe pointless unenforceable bureaucracy!
So we’re all ill, I go to Tesco and buy Benylin for the missus, Benylin for me and Calpol for the kids.  Go to the till with some other shopping, cashier putting it through when she suddenly stops.

“I can’t sell you this” pointing to the Calpol.
“You what?”
“It’s your third product containing paracetamol, it’s a suicide risk”.
“You what?”
“The till has stopped me selling you the Calpol because you already have two other paracetamol products.  It’s to protect you”.
“From Calpol?”
“Do you think if I was going to kill myself I’d use Calpol?”
“Don’t you think I’d die from sugar overdose before the paracetamol killed me?”
“Nothing I can do sir, the till won’t let me”.
“OK, put it to one side and put it through in the next transaction”.
“I can’t do that”.
“I guarantee that would work”.
“I can’t”.
Person in the queue behind me, “Give it to me I’ll get it in my shopping and he can give me the money”.
Cashier, “That’s not allowed, he’s still getting three paracetamol products”.
Me, “With which I’m going to top myself?”
“OK, give it back to me I’ll get it at the next till”.
“I can’t do that”.
“OK, give it back to me I’ll put it back on the shelf for you”.
She bizarrely gives it back…
“I’m now going to buy it on the till next to you”,
“You can’t do that”.
“Watch me”.

I know it’s not the cashier’s fault and that she’s just enforcing the ‘rules’ but seriously?!  Even if I did want to kill myself with Calpol what on earth has Tesco got to do with it?    Also, the two pack rule applies regardless of the amount in the packet.  You can actually buy own brand paracetamol in Tesco in packs of 90.  You are allowed to buy two of these which gives you 180 pills.  If you bought them in 16s they’d stop you at 32.  If you really did want to kill yourself in a hurry and only had enough time to complete one transaction then there is a way!

Thrifty Fathers Day

“We only spent £3 Daddy and H’s present cost twice what mine did.”

Back in June we had Fathers Day. Usually spent in the garden, preparing a barbecue for my father and not sitting on my arse where I should be.

My favourite part about Fathers Day is the lead up to it. The boys getting excited about ‘Daddy’s Big Day’, me partly pretending to be excited but also more enjoying seeing them excited. In the week before I receive the best gifts, the ones they make at pre school. A particular favourite of mine was a card made into the shape of a shirt and tie. Definitely a keeper!

Since they are both now in school, however, these little self made treats are no more. Apparently the school prefers to concentrate on such things as maths, English and science, so bloody old fashioned!

Still, one great thing the school does is organise a Fathers Day gift sale. The school’s an academy so this is one of the ways they raise money for themselves. Basically they have all the available gifts laid out on a table, the children choose one, pay for it and they then get given the gift completely wrapped. The gifts aren’t expensive, they range in price from £0.50 to £10.00 from a packet of Maltesas to a small set of cheap screwdrivers.

At the last event I gave T £20 to get me a couple of gifts from H and himself. I gave both boys some guidance,

“Now I’m grateful for anything, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing you see but please definitely not a key ring…and no pens..”

I’m not being ungrateful, it’s just that a key ring is only useful when you have keys to put on it. Unless we put a new door or a gate somewhere then we don’t need anymore keys, hence I don’t need another keyring. As for pens, I am not exaggerating when I say we have at least 1,500 pens in the house. I used to own a firm and we were doing a trade show and needed gifts for about 100 people. We decided on pens with our company name on. We left it to the last minute and only then did we realised that the minimum order was 2,000 pens. Fortunately the pens are of incredibly poor quality so we are getting through them at a rate of about 100 a year.

Also, I must admit I would have been more than happy with the Maltesas. It wasn’t a packet, this was a box which I could have probably made last about an hour.

The boys came back after about two minutes of searching for the perfect gift for their Daddy and T placed £17 change in my hand.

“We only spent £3 Daddy and H’s present cost twice what mine did.”

Come Sunday I’m obviously excited to see what my thrifty sons have bought me for £1 and £2 (leaving room for the school to make a profit). Now your probably thinking that I got a keyring and a pen, but you’d be wrong. The £1 gift was actually a coaster with ‘Top Daddy’ written on it. I love it, it’s by my computer and I use it every day!

And the other gift? Yeah, that was a pen…

Stinky Dog!

“L is relatively healthy and fit. Admittedly she does only have one eye and is stone bloody deaf…”

We have a gorgeous 14 year old dog. She’s happy and tolerant of the children despite the fact she has dropped to the bottom of the pecking order in the house.

You obviously don’t mean for this to happen, but babies and toddlers just require so much attention, where as a seven year old dog (as she was at the time of our first) pretty much just gets on with things.

Now our old dog, L, is a West Highland Terrier. Westies are a small, long lived breed whose only affliction suffered from the curse of being a pedigree dog is a greater risk of skin infection. So L is relatively healthy and fit. Admittedly she does only have one eye and is stone bloody deaf but she doesn’t let that stop her rushing around like a mad thing. The one condition that she does have that is rather bothersome is that she stinks. Of course that bothers those around her more than it does her but it is nevertheless quite a frightful pong that emanates from her general direction.

It’s not her breath, her teeth are and have always been in fantastic condition. It’s not her arse, she’s on a raw meat diet which means her shit barely stinks, let alone her farts. It’s just an old dog odour which seems to seep out of every pore.

She is washed as often as you can safely wash a dog, she has special prescription only (outrageously expensive) shampoo and she has been treated for all fungal conditions which may affect her. She even has her own type of deodorant. All of these make a difference for about an hour after they are applied.

So, in order to try and stem the continuous apologies I make to anyone who comes into the house (“Come in, apologies about the smell we have a very old dog”) I decided to do something about it.

I bought an air freshener, Febrezed the sofas and applied shake n vac (yep, you can still get it!) to the carpet to try and save the lounge from the smell of our poor old pal. There seemed to be absolutely no difference. If anything the smell of old dog is stronger.

So I then bathed the dog again in her outrageously expensive shampoo, washed her bed and threw away an old unused toy. Still absolutely reeks of old dog.

If anything it’s getting stronger, it’s no more the smell of old dog, it smells like something an old dog might have deposited somewhere. I treat the dog with dog deodorant, move all of the sofas checking underneath for rotting dog food or dog piss. Nothing.

I then close up sniff every inch of carpet and sofa and sniff the dog all over. All good. Still stinks of old dog in the lounge.

I then vacuum the carpet again and wood floor, dust everywhere possible, mop the wooden floor, vacuum and clean the fireplace, clean all the windows and steam clean the carpet.

I then finally realise it is stronger in one section of the lounge. I have finally narrowed the source down to the corner of the lounge where our wooden cabinet is. That makes no sense, that’s where I’ve put the air freshener. It then dawns on me, it’s the bloody air freshener I bought in the first place, ‘summer berries’ my arse…Sorry L.