Monday, 8 December 2014

The House is Quiet

I know that we all as parents like to tell each other that we long for the times that the house is empty and free from noise and chaos.  We claim to long for these moments as with the kids around it is highly unlikely that we can experience this.  I long for the day that my girls realise that it is not a necessity to watch daddy take a dump every morning!

When you live with little ones you are sure to have little people who follow you everywhere.  I literally cannot go into the garage to put something in the recycling bin with out a little voice from Eden behind me saying "me coming!"  It does not help if I say to her that I will be back immediately; no she is still coming.  I guess this isn't so bad as I always have a companion when I do chores around the house.  This unfortunately does not mean that my companion is good at helping with the chores, no,  she can be more of a hindrance.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard Julia yelling at Eden to stop helping here with putting the laundry away.  This is Julia's job as both of the girls clothes look the same to me.  The problem is perpetuated by the fact that most of Eden's clothes are hand me downs from Bella.  So I am so confused as to who's is what that I would just leave all their clothes in a pile on the floor and tell them to randomly select what they want to wear for the day.  Apparently, according to Julia, this is not effective parenting; I don't understand, thus she puts the laundry away.  I hang it up and take it down, purely because her wash-line management leaves much to be desired!

Back to Eden and her attempts at helping Julia with the basket of folded washing.  The problem comes when Eden's enthusiasm to help takes over from her facility to listen to mommy's instructions.  I can just see the thought process inside her little mind; taking one out at a time is so slow, lets take them all out at once!  With that the full basket of folded laundry will be tipped over.  Nine times out of ten Julia will be able to save most of it from becoming un-folded.

Her next course of action is to put each persons respective clothing items into their own pile on the bed.  Once again Eden can help with this under strict supervision.  The problem comes when Julia has finished this exercise and is ready to take each person's clothing to their respective cupboards.  Due to the fact that she suffers from the most common mommy ailment there is, chronic fatigue, she forgets what will happen the moment she leaves the room.  Eden will play one of her favourite games, make one pile out of all the little piles and maybe throw some of the washing onto the floor.  As is a common problem with humanity, history will repeat itself, thus this is a common occurrence in our house.

When I feed the dogs in the evening, Eden is right behind me and occasionally Bella will also grace us with her presence.  As Bella's motor skills and ability to follow instructions are slightly better than her younger sister she is easily supervised.  With Eden I have to plan how we go about feeding the dogs, Buddy and Holly.  If I let Bella go first then we may get issues with Eden wanting to put food in both bowls and they will end up fighting over the only scoop.  Thus what I do is let Eden go first knowing that she will spill a good few pellets on the ground around the bowl, thus buying Bella and I some time.  If she finishes cleaning her mess up before we are ready I send her off to call the dogs out of their kennel.

This is a funny exercise in itself as of course the dogs are not going to listen to her.  So it ends with Eden wagging her finger at them and telling them they are naughty.  What this enables Bella to do is finish putting food in the other bowl uninterrupted.  Then we get the dogs over, where I make them sit and shake before they are permitted anywhere near their bowls.  It took Eden a while to realise that the shake is only for the dogs front legs.  I have on occasion had to stop her trying to shake one of the dogs back legs whilst they are in the sitting position!

This type of organised chaos is par for the course in houses with young children and this is why parents like to wish for an empty house for a few hours or god willing a day or two.  I think we tell each other this just to fit in with the perceived general consensus of what we should want.  I say this as my 'prayers' are about to be answered; and I am so miserable!

On Wednesday this week at lunchtime all my girls are flying to the UK.  I will have an empty home with no pitter patter of little feet, laughter and screams filling the empty spaces.  There will be no one I can call on for a quick cuddle.  I will have no one to irritate to the point of tears.  I will not have a little person tugging at my pants asking for a kiss.  I will have no one to play hide and seek with.  What will I do with myself?  Probably get drunk at night so I don't have to cry myself to sleep in my big empty bed.  I will not have to contend with a wayward foot or arm in the middle of the night and I won't be there to see the first smiles in the morning when Bella and Eden wake up and see us.

No, be careful what you wish for, luckily for me I fly out on Saturday to join them but at the moment Saturday might as well be an eternity away.  I will ask them to leave me a bag full of cuddles and hopefully these will see me through the five days of loneliness...Buy my book here

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Before we start lets clarify what a spanking is; one sharp moderate strike to the bum which will leave a mark for no longer than a few hours.  This does not fall into the category of beating which is dished out in anger and involves numerous strikes with force.

If you are a parent then I am sure just like all parents you dish out punishment on a regular basis.  The severity of the punishment is dependent on a number of factors.  How many times have you given a warning to the child, how severe is the misbehaviour, how much sleep haven't you had, is the discretion a repeat offence that the child has received punishment for before and a multitude of other factors.

As a parent you would have no doubt tried every recommended disciplinary method that the 'experts' (a lot of the time the 'experts' do not have children of their own!) suggest.  Due to the quite common situation that no one child is the same as the other, you will find that the various methods don't always work out as they should.

When Bella was younger, under two, we introduced her to the counting method which precedes any form of punishment.  This is a simple process whereby we would notice her behaving in an undesirable fashion and warn her to stop before something undesirable would happen to her.  Undesirable for her would range from a verbal scolding, to time out and a spanking if all else had failed.

Upon noticing the bad behaviour we would request her compliance with the instruction to cease and desist.  When she invariably failed to observe this instruction we would begin counting backwards from three.  Now being the clever little monkey that she is she would count with us so we could see how clever she is.  Thus every time that we counted for Bella she would only comply after one.  Eden on the other hand has learnt very quickly about what happens to non-compliant children and will generally cease and desist the moment I have said three.

What I have found through my own experience is that the younger they are the more you have to use spanking to get them to comply.  I feel that this is due to the fact that you cannot reason with a child under a certain age.  This age cannot be pinpointed as each child is different.  The way I have seen that we can move away from spanking with Bella is courtesy of the ability that we now have to reason with her.  The term reason is used very broadly as I am sure that I will feel that Bella is being unreasonable at times right up until she leaves home.

How I noticed that she is ready to move away from spanking was a few months ago when I was scolding her in her bedroom for some or other lapse in discipline.  I was trying to chat to her first before resorting to a spanking.  I asked her something and she rolled her eyes at me and didn't answer.  I reacted by telling her I didn't want to talk to her and that she must get out of my sight.  She was devastated to say the least.  She went through to Julia and whilst sobbing uncontrollably told her that daddy said get out of his sight.  After a little while when I went through to her she was extremely remorseful and willing to listen and respond as expected.

What people fail to understand with regards to the whole spanking issue is that it is not the spanking that causes them to comply it is the belief that you will spank them if necessary.  You will not damage them permanently, you may leave a slight red mark but this will heal.  The red mark will also not compare in the slightest to the other scrapes and bruises that they inflict on themselves during the course of the day.

Your little terrorists will bring the worst out in you.  Just the other night Bella had really been pushing my buttons for a good few hours.  As we are moving away from spanking her I was really reluctant to resort to this.  I had given her numerous warnings that she was heading in this direction.  After one too many indiscretions I grabbed her by the arm and led her to the bathroom to receive what I told her she had been asking for.  When we got to the bathroom she put her hands over her bum and said no daddy.  I asked her why I should not and she replied that I shouldn't as it would hurt.  So I took her balloon that Julia had given to her earlier and popped it in front of her.

I know it was mean of me but it had the desired effect.  She was crushed and went sobbing to her room.  Julia poked her head in to find Bella crying and hyperventilating at the same time whilst clutching her heart.  After five minutes I went in there and explained to Bella that the pain she felt is the same that mommy and daddy feel when she misbehaves.  We now have an understanding that when she is getting out of line I must remind her of the balloon incident and she will stop; I have yet to see this work in practice.

It goes without saying that as a parent you are really reluctant to inflict any kind of hurt or pain on to your child; physical or psychological.  However there are many occasions when you are required to so that they learn what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.  What the parenting books do not tell us parents about the discipline issue, is that no matter how justified you are in dishing out your chosen form of punishment, you will feel a lot worse than your little one.  You will spend hours wondering if you are in fact the worst parent on the planet.  You will feel guilty because you yelled at your child and you will wonder if you are the only one that is such an ogre.

Then one evening you will be sitting on the toilet trying to get some peace and quiet, then from one of the neighbour's houses you will hear sweet sounds to your ears.  These sounds will help you feel that you are a normal parent like everyone else just trying to do their best.  What you will hear will be something along the lines of the following, all shouted at the top of their voices. "WHY DO YOU MAKE ME SHOUT AT YOU LIKE THIS! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO THROW THINGS AT YOUR SISTER DO YOU WANT ME TO SMACK YOU? GO TO YOUR ROOM UNTIL YOU CAN BE A NICE CHILD!!!!"

You will smile to yourself and think we are all in the same boat.  As long as you give your little one a cuddle and explain to them why they got punished they will still love you just as much if not more than before.  The reason we punish is because we care and before you had children you would never have understood why your parents would tell you before they punished you as a child that it was going to hurt them more...

Monday, 17 November 2014


As with how life works, we tend to forget the trials and tribulations that we go through very quickly.  This is why after women have had a child they are willing to have a second or even a third.  They forget about all the discomfort that went with being pregnant.  The cravings, flatulence, aching body, swollen ankles, itching skin, sleepless nights and countless other ailments.  They also seem to forget what it was like squeezing a baby through their nether regions.

I have witnessed this forgetfulness on numerous occasions when our girls were babies.  We would be out somewhere and some women would walk up and oogle the baby longing to be the one with an infant.  Or even better watching Julia react to women who would come up to her when she was a few weeks from popping and say how much they missed being pregnant and how lucky she is.  How to get a woman to commit murder 101: tell her how lucky she is to be in constant discomfort!

This forgetfulness seems also to apply to us dads.  I was very willing to help Julia out when we decided to have a second child.  I failed to remember what it was like to live with a pregnant woman.  How my prized member went to being the star of my show, to being dropped from the cast in a few short weeks.  How the hormone roller-coaster took over my household.  These were all things that slipped my mind at the first offer of unlimited action.  Call me fickle but I am a boy at the end of the day!

This forgetfulness amongst us parents also extends to our children.  Maybe we as parents are so forgetful due to our constant state of fatigue through the sleepless nights, and living with humans who just seem to have a direct link to an absolute endless supply of universal energy.  We seem only to recall the happy occasions and not some of the more trying periods that we experience whilst trying to raise our offspring.  This is probably courtesy of our modern lifestyles where we so easily can capture our happy moments with a variety of devices that we have at our disposal.  So whenever we look around our houses, we see pictures of happy contented babies and children.

This clouds our judgement and causes us to fail to remember that the baby/child is not always happy or content, as the walls in our homes and on facebook would have us believe.  We forget that the smiling , sleeping baby also has the ability to cry non-stop for hours on end.  Or that we have to walk up and down for an eternity just to get them to sleep.  We forget the endless debates with the toddler as to why they should eat their dinner and how NikNaks or Mars Bars are not a suitable meal.

We get so excited when our little ones start to display their own individuality.  We forget that with this new found individuality comes a whole host of other issues for us, the doting parents.  Now you no longer have the option of just getting a bowl/plate out and putting the child's food on it.  No, each day the child will have to tell you which bowl/plate will be suitable for them to use.  You are also guaranteed of choosing the wrong one if you have not consulted them first.

This individuality will extend to their wardrobe too.  Mommy would have laid out the clothing for the next day, which will have been chosen after a thorough weather check.  In the morning your little one will have their own ideas about what outfit is required.  Don't for one second think that you will be able to discern their thought process in their choices.  We have had fights about why Bella should not wear her Wellington's in the middle of summer.  Sometimes you just have to let them do what they want or you truly will not leave the house any time soon; a toddler can argue indefinitely.

With Eden my forgetfulness has caught me out.  She has been slowly learning to talk over the last few months.  This has proved quite exciting for all of us in the household.  She says cute things and makes us smile when she says "I Love you," out of the blue and for no reason.  All this cuteness meant that I forgot what learning to speak brings with it.  It brings an inevitability that all toddlers will learn.

When they learn to talk it is only a matter of time before they will learn the dreaded word "Why?"  I had forgotten all about this until a week ago when I was chatting to Eden and she began three consecutive exchanges with "Why?"  Now if she asks me something and I answer then without fail the next word out of her mouth will be "Why?"  When I answer this she will again question my answer with "Why?"

You can feel like your toddler is trying to make your brain implode with this tactic because it will just go on and on and on.  They will even ask you why they have made a certain decision.  For example; I will ask Eden what she wants for breakfast.  She will tell me she wants Wheat-Bix.  I will give her, her requested item only for her to look at me and say "Why?"  In my fatigued state I will unfortunately take the bait and tell her that she asked for them to which she will reply, you guessed it, with "Why?"

After ten minutes of her asking me why after every reply Julia will come into the kitchen to find me huddled in the corner in the foetal position screaming "Make the bad person stop!!!"  To which Eden will reply "Why?"

Monday, 10 November 2014

A Hero for a Second

As parents of young children we often feel a whole host of emotions on a daily basis.  The swing between these emotions is constant; happy, sad, frustrated, neglected, downtrodden, blessed, numb and many more all brought about by our own choices.  We chose to breed thus we are the cause of this rollercoaster even though we like to blame our little terrors.  I personally am still going to blame the girls for a long time.  At least until they figure out that it was us who chose to produce them and not some accident.  Well with Eden accident might be slightly more applicable as we conceived about six weeks before we were going to officially start trying.

One thing that we must not forget to appreciate is that we have the ability to help our little ones experience a host of emotions on their journeys.  Whilst they are young, appreciate the fact that you can easily help them experience intense moments of awe.  This ability will diminish exponentially as they grow older and wiser; not sure if wiser is the correct adjective.  Whilst they are still ignorant of so many things in this world use it to your advantage because you can bet your retirement on the fact that when they are teenagers the tables will turn.

I look at my two girls and the ability to amaze them brings me so much pleasure.  Last night Bella drew a picture for me.  She left it lying next to my work bag presumably so that I would discover it in the morning.  I didn't know about this until Julia told me that I must not forget the picture.  I looked at it and discovered that she had traced her hand.  I placed the folded piece of paper back where I had found it.

This morning Bella told me that she had left a picture for me by my bag.  I seized my opportunity to help her experience some awe.  Instead of going over to the picture and pretending never to have seen it before, I looked at her and said that I can guess what she drew.  I looked at her intently and placed my fingers against my temples and then said that I see shapes that go up and down and have round ends.  I then dropped my fingers looked at her wide eyed and said "You drew your hand!"  The look on her face was priceless.  She could not believe that I had guessed what she had drawn for me.

At the moment Bella is rather in awe of her parents ability to know things that they should not know.  As it goes with this time of year, Bella is participating in a Christmas concert with her class in a few weeks time.  Thus the children are spending a lot of time practising the songs that they are going to be singing.  We suspect that the children have been told not to tell us what they are singing but I am sure the teachers knew that the kids suck at keeping secrets.

The other night Bella told Julia that she didn't want a bedtime story, she would rather practise one of her Christmas songs with Julia.  The song that she wanted to practise was 'We Wish you a Merry Christmas', who would have guessed that they would sing this.  After a few renditions Julia says "Lets try another song," and breaks into a screeching version of 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer'.  Bella was floored.  She wanted to know how on earth Mommy knew what one of the other songs that they had been practising was.  She was very impressed with her mother indeed.

Not to be out done, I asked Bella in the morning if I might be permitted a chance to tell her what the third song her class would be singing was.  As we are an overly religious country it didn't take a genius to figure out what the third song will more than likely be.  I took a calculated guess and broke into a melodic interpretation of 'Silent Night.'  Once again we had a very suitably impressed four year old in our midst.  As they get older you to put more effort into creating the awe.

With Eden on the other hand it is much easier.  At the moment simple things inspire awe in our youngest.  One of my favourite ways is to wait until I have a suitable amount of flatulence on board and then to politely ask her to pull my finger.  The problem with this is she is so impressed that she immediately wants to pull my finger again, but alas the trick doesn't work like that.  Equally impressive to young Eden is my ability to fall asleep immediately if she puts her dummy in my mouth.  Of course the opposite works, in that I will wake up as soon as she takes it out.  She will even use the dummy trick if she comes through and finds me lying on the bed 'sleeping'.  She will then get her dummy and force it into my mouth and pull it out at once knowing that I will instantly wake up.

As much as you want to inflict the same psychological pain and torture that they cause us, do take time to inspire awe in your little ones while you can.  If fuels their imaginations and the belief that they live in a world full of magic and impossible outcomes.  All too soon our harsh cruel world will drum this out of them and it is always a wonderful thing to be someone's hero, even if it is only for a second...

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Grandparents perpetuate our suffering!

Maybe it is how we as parents will one day get our own back on our children for all the suffering that they inflicted on us when they were growing up.  We will team up with our children's kids and strive to make their lives hell when they choose to breed one day.

Granny and Granddad get away with murder when it comes to our kids.  Your little monster wants a sugary treat and Granny and Granddad hand it over without getting authorisation from us the parental units first.  They do this as they know that they will get to enjoy the child and will more than likely not have to deal with the creature that emerges after the sugar rush has died down.

This creature is irate, angry, irrational and generally not very pleasant to be around.  You cannot reason with a child who is crashing after a sugar high.  There is nothing that will fix them and we as the parents just have to deal with the results of Granny and Granddads well laid plans.

The grandparent’s torture extends further than just providing your little critters with sugar rushes.  They will purchase them things that need to be assembled.  As with our modern world these days things are about efficiency and cost cutting.  Thus nine times out of ten a new toy or piece of furniture will come flat packed in a box.  This means that the manufacturer saves on storage space and on labour costs as the idiot who opens the box now becomes the companies labour.  As usual with these items it says 'easily assembled' on the box.

This is a lie!  I am sure there are many people who will tell you about the trials and tribulations experienced whilst assembling these 'easily assembled' items.  Christmas Eve is meant to be a fun and relaxed time for the family.  Before the kids go to bed it might be but afterwards stress levels sky rocket.  This happens as countless parents of young kids find themselves trying to assemble the gifts that require assembly.  It is easier to try and do this before the morning as the little devils will not leave you to do it in peace once they have received their items.  A bicycle looks much better standing with a ribbon by the tree than flat in a box.

Our last Christmas Eve was spent trying to assemble a Wendy house and a bicycle both well thought out gifts sent by Grandparents who wanted us to suffer.  It is probably a good idea for these things to be assembled when the kids are not around as if they watch they may pick up a number of unsuitable words.

This year is going to be no different in our house.  My mother has gone out of her way to make our lives difficult.  As far as I can recall I was not that much trouble as a child but my mother seems to disagree with me on this one.  A few months ago when we were discussing the girls moving into the same room at the end of the year my mother said she would get them bunk beds for Christmas.  What a nice idea, if they came assembled! The beds do not so I have something awesome to look forward to; 8 hours of torture as I try and decipher the instructions that have been translated from Chinese by Google!

Granny must have been thinking that she could have done better in making Julia and my life difficult.  Last week Granny phones me to tell me that the taxman was kind to her and she would like to get the girls something else.  I am thinking books or DVD's, no assembly required.  No I am wrong.  With a snigger she tells me she is buying them a 10ft trampoline with a net!  Of course when it arrives it is in a box with 'easily assembled' written on the side!

We have derived a little bit of humour from this situation.  The boxes for the bed and now the trampoline are in the garage and the girls, especially Bella are very curious as to what they contain.  I have told them that they should learn to read as the contents are written on the side.  This is not Bella's only concern with regards to Eden moving in to her room.

She has gathered that when this happens then they will get bunk beds.  What she is extremely concerned about is how we will manage to get these big bunk beds into her room as the passage and the doorway are quite small.  I helped the situation by telling her that they can have the bunk beds but they will have to sleep outside in the garden.

So take heed of this warning and be wary when you see your children's grandparents approaching your kids with gifts as their motives may not be as pure as you think.

I Will Fart On Your Dreams - Available here

Monday, 3 November 2014

Hello Bloggerverse

As you can gather from my handle, I have sowed my seed and my wife has borne the fruits of my loins.  Just over five years ago now Julia and I decided that using sex just for pleasure would not suffice so we made the fateful irreversible decision to breed.

Fast forward the nearly five years and we now have Bella who is nearly four and a half and quite bizarrely we also have Eden who will be two in December.  I use bizarrely as you would think that we would have learnt from our first faux pas, but alas as humans we let history repeat itself on a regular basis.

To gain insight into the sleepless turbulent torture filled years leading up to this point you may get my book ‘I Will Fart On Your Dreams’ which is available on Amazon here:*Version*=1&*entries*=0

In the book I tell the truthful side of parenting, not the romanticised crap peddled by the baby industry trying to make us believe that parenting is all roses and cuddles.

Believe me now when I tell you that there are highly trained Special Forces operatives that would be left cowering in the corner if left alone with a young child.  I have written the book to help prepare unsuspecting parents for what will really happen once they take the parenting plunge and for people who choose not to breed to feel justified in their choice.  The irony is that each little critter is unique and thus each of their torture methods will differ.  What my book will enable you to do is be prepared for anything and everything.  The blog will be updated regularly to help keep a chronological record of Julia and my slow unavoidable demise at the hands of our children.

 What is it like to live with a four and a half and a two year old I hear you ask.  There are not enough adjectives in the English language to describe what our household is like.  Bella can now talk and communicate quite effectively.  Of course when I say effectively, I mean as effective as a four year olds logic will allow.  For example; Eden fell on one of her plastic toys that she had left lying in the middle of the floor.  Of course as fate would have it the plastic toy was obliterated by our youngest in the fall.

If the two children were world super powers nuclear war would have started immediately; no mediation and happy endings.  Bella was highly upset with Eden’s clumsy behaviour and was having nothing to do with the concept that just maybe it was actually her fault in the first place.  The reason we tried to get Bella to see that just maybe she should take some responsibility is due to the fact that she is the one who left the toy lying around.  Trying to use a disaster to illustrate to a toddler why mommy and daddy say things should be done a certain way will not always work.  Bella could not or would not join the dots to see that if she had put her toys away like we ask her to do then the breakage would not have happened.

Conflict resolution is not what four year olds excel at.  According to Bella, Eden immediately became public enemy number one as she had done it on purpose.  The reason being is that she had been running around like a hooligan and thus because she chose to run around in this fashion then obviously she broke said item on purpose.

Eden showed immediate remorse for having broken Bella’s toy and adorably ran up to her trying to hug her and say sorry.  Now this seems cute and appropriate behaviour for what she did but we fear that she thinks that she can do what she wants as long as she gives a hug and says sorry.  To illustrate this here is a little example.

The other morning I was in bed and Eden was with me.  She woke up and decided that if she is awake then clearly I should be awake too.  This is very common amongst children.  I was awake but thought I would pretend to still be sleeping to see what she would do.  Eden proceeded to slap me in the face as hard as she could whilst yelling ‘WAKE UP DADDY!’  Every five or so slaps she would stop and hug me and say ‘Sorry Daddy’ and then carry on with her endeavours to wake me.

You would think that having already lived through Bella’s two’s it would adequately prepare us to deal with another one; no this is not the case!  Of course the Universe would be in on the torture plans and thus will make sure that the two children are like chalk and cheese.  I do understand Bella’s frustration with her little sister.  The child is a walking hurricane.  She will enter a room do a lap of that room and leave it looking like a disaster area.  She is compliant when you get her to clean up but that is done in a similar fashion to her personality; pick up all the toys and pile them into the toy box!

Our lives in the Farrell household are truly never boring and I am sure this trend will carry on for many years to come.  While the girls are too young to stop me from sharing their exploits with all and sundry on the internet I shall do so.  So blogger-verse here is the first of many and all you parents out there I hope from reading what I have and will write that you realise the most important thing about parenting; you are not alone in your madness all parents are suffering.

May the force be with you!