“Are you alright, Tim?!”
That’s my daughter calling. She’s stopped calling me Daddy. I know it’s my name – and I wouldn’t mind her doing it if she wasn’t simply trying to wind me up. It always works.
“Call me Daddy,” I reply as calmly as I can.
“OK, Tim. I’ll call you Daddy, you pooey man.” ?
“Only my friends call me Tim,” I try to explain. “You have a special name for me, Daddy.”
“OK, Tim, you pooey wee wee man, Daddy!”
What are you meant to do? The more I tell her not to do it, the more she does it. The more I ignore it, the more she does it.
Maybe I should just get over it, but I can’t help but wonder if I let this slip, it’s only a matter of time before she starts shouting: “I don’t know this man, I’ve never seen him before in my life” to passers by in the supermarket.
I’ve thought long and hard about how I’d deal with that situation, and I still don’t have an adequate response.
Top Dad Tip: If dining out, order yourself a salad and fill up on carbs when your toddler refuses to eat and you can have theirs ?
It’s been a long old two weeks of paternity leave, and I must admit I’m quite looking forward to getting back to the light relief of the corporate world.
Managing people is challenging, at times frustrating – but it’s nothing compared to looking after a 3-year-old day and night for 14 days. I have been broken. I am tired, ill and feel like I have been outsmarted in every way you can be.
A few days ago I got stuck in a sub post office branch.
I knew I shouldn’t have gone into the replica retail outlet at my local playfarm – I’m 6 foot 4″ and the door was no more than 3 feet high. But my daughter told me I had to, so I did.
She laughed quite a lot as I wriggled and wrestled with the MDF structure in front of at least 20 onlookers.
She was inside the post office, so I guess it must have been amusing for her to see her father in such a red-faced and undignified state.
It was – I dare say – equally amusing for the assembled parents watching from the café as my trousers slowly began to fall down as I writhed to free myself.
Eventually I escaped. I stood up and turned around – the congregated parents looked down at their cups of coffee. Dignity intact.
“Let’s go on the big slide, Daddy” exclaimed my daughter, immediately moving on from the incident that had just occurred.
And instead of insisting we scuttle out tail between our legs in shame (as an Englishman should after an episode of acute embarrassment) I did what she said.
Well, to be more clear, I said “Come on let’s go home…” and she screamed – one short sharp yelp – the signal I have learned means I must obey her or face a full threenager tantrum. ?
Top Dad Tip: Did you know loyalty club members get free hot drinks at Waitrose and Ikea? Why not take the kids to a shop as a day out and enjoy a beverage while they cause trouble? ?
As I sat atop the “big slide” in a sack waiting for our turn to bump towards the play farm floor, I wondered to myself… have things got out of control?
Here’s a typical 60-second cycle. “I want a carry” (pick her up). “I want to go on Daddy’s shoulder” (put her on my shoulders). “I want to walk” (put her down). “I want a carry” (pick her up). “Put me down”. Repeat.
Non compliance = tantrum. Compliance = severe physical discomfort/ loss of sanity.
I’m hoping a return to work will help restore some equilibrium (and allow me to see my wife and baby), but I think that all depends on what my daughter has planned.
Right now she’s playing her cards pretty close to her chest…?
Dad’s Thumbs Up
This is the bit where I recommend cool stuff that I have found useful, or just think you might like because it’s fun…
Kiddimoto scooter balance bike, £129 from Kiddimoto
These beautifully crafted wooden balance bikes are the epitome of toddler chic. Made by a British brand with loving care and flare, the bikes are the perfect way to get your kids on the move.
You might remember the company from a Dragons’ Den pitch back in the day, but since then they’ve gone from strength to strength producing a wide range of wooden bikes.
My favourite is this replica scooter that not only looks super cool but is beautifully designed, sturdily built (for the way toddlers treat stuff) and really easy to use. ?
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Story time is one thing, but I can guarantee you’ll have even more fun with one of these really smart personalised books.
Visit the website, enter a child’s name and address and a unique story is created and posted to you that makes them the star of the show.
My daughter couldn’t believe it when she saw her name written in the stars when we turned the page (among many other clever references). These are really good quality books that will enchant children up to 8 years. A perfect gift. ?
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