Tag: Fathers

June Chat with a Dad: Ah Dad

I’m pleased to share June’s Chat with a Dad with you folks.  Here is a man who writes with his heart, especially when talking about his lovely family.   A man who also is funny as well as heart-warming.  There are many men who happen to be dads who blog out there, but not all of them I find as moving as his.

This one is aptly called  Ah Dad …

Tell us something about yourself and your little one(s).

I blog. And I’m a Dad. And most of the time I try to make the latter my priority.

Ok, seriously. I blog because I’m a Dad. A father to two of the most amazing creatures alive. I know every Dad says that, but if you know them you’ll most definitely agree. I find myself often wondering what the hell I did in a previous life to deserve this blessing. I must have been Ghandi or something.

There’s Son who’s 13, whom I call Dude, as I am the cool parent, and Princess who’s 11. And I call her Princess for obvious reasons.

The secret to their amazingness is they get most of their genes from their Mother, whom is my greatest confidant, best friend, soul mate, life partner and the air I breathe. Fortunately for them they look like her too.

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What was your little one(s) birth story(ies) like?

Well, it was tough. There were bucket loads of anxiety, uncontrolled sobbing, a lot of pushing and shoving and a few frustrated confrontations.

And the wife had to go through labour, as well.

I didn’t pass out. Not once, and even cut the umbilical cord of Princess, as Son refused to come out of the warm, comfortable swimming pool in Mom’s tummy. He was born via emergency caesarean.

The birth of your child changes everything about who you think you are. In that moment when they place the screaming infant in your arms, emotion floods your system. A mixed cocktail of love and compassion and pride and fear…

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

How tough natural birth would be on a Dad. Some things cannot be un-seen.

Other than that, I didn’t expect to fall instantly in love with a new born human. And maybe I would have paid better attention to my own Father, who at the time of me growing up, seemed totally insane in most of the advice he was dishing out.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

It’s the hardest thing to do and I’m not even sure I’m doing it properly. I don’t have a physical demanding job, but travel extensively abroad. I’ve always enjoyed doing arbitrary things with them.

For me, the most important thing about being a Father is not what you do that matter, it just spending time doing it. It’s managing a different relationship, and like all relationships, takes commitment from both sides.

I do think that as the adult in this specific relationship, we should always make the first move.

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How do you manage child-free time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

Our kids are older, so we do more things together as a family without having to fall within the boundaries of feeding and nap times.

The wife and I seldom feel the need to spend time alone, as we normally talk, reminisce and do other things we love when the kids go to bed. I suppose as they get older, and go to bed later; we might require specific arrangements to get away from them.

Nonetheless we usually have a date weekend at least once a year.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little one(s)?

The fact that I call my son, Dude and he reverts with Dad, which might seem pretty obvious, but English not being our native language, makes this form of greeting quite special. We also tend to quote “Whatchadoin?” from Phineas and Ferb, which is our favourite show.

Princess thinks I’m her hero. What more could a father ask for? She likes sitting on my lap, even though she might be technically too big for that sort of thing. I’m not complaining.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Having kids.
Having someone love you unconditionally.
Having someone whom I love unconditionally.
Having someone teach me more about myself every day.
Having someone who makes me want to be a better version of myself.

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If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

Not being able to own a Ferrari, because some consider it impractical for a family of four. I don’t think a Ferrari with a roof rack, with two kids strapped on it, will fly with the authorities.

But being away from them, and feeling that gigantic hole in my heart as I sit on a plane, that is the one thing crappy thing about being a dad. You know those moments when you realise part of your essence is missing.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-Dad would you take it?

This one is easy. No. Never. Not in a million years. Not if they paid me a gazillion dollars. (Wait that might persuade me… Any takers?)

I’m a Dad, which is the male form of a parent. And we all know men cannot multi-task. If I had to manage everything that happens in the daily life of my kids, I’ll go insane and probably murder someone in the process.

There is a total misconception of the “idle” life that stay-at-home parents have. And in our house, the wife is the glue that keeps everything together. The fact that she’s a teacher as well, only emphasise the statement I made in question 1.

Besides I don’t like hard work. And looking after kids for the whole day; seems like very hard work. I do love them though…

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Don’t kill your children, it’s considered a crime.

Kids are just small humans, waiting to grow into adults, so as parents we should learn to listen to them. Allow them to have a voice, an opinion, so that you have the opportunity to guide them in forming a better one.

And love your wife. (For she might be reading this.)

Untitled4If you could give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

 Don’t stop at 2. Have more kids. And have patience, sh!t loads of it.

Thank you so much Ah Dad!

Now head over to his blog, it definitely is worth a read!

And certainly worth a follow over at twitter too.

I’ve linked this post-up with #PoCoLo

Post Comment Love

All About The Flowers

As I’ve mentioned, my husband and I aren’t big on Valentine’s Day.  Last year I baked a cake and we ordered a Chinese take-away.  This year we talked about having our own fruit de mer, but when my husband said he’d have to go out first thing in the morning to get the seafood fresh, I tried to convince him that it wasn’t worth it.  But he was adamant, not knowing that fresh seafood was not the only reason why he wanted to go to the shop first thing in the morning.

He wanted to get us fresh flowers and apparently, during Valentine’s Day, the lovely fresh flowers are known to disappear real fast and if you buy them mid-morning all you’ll ever get are left-overs.  Come to think of it, this may be the reason why I never got any roses on Valentine’s Day, not that I ever complained or that it mattered.

So there he was along with other husbands/boyfriends rushing to get the first blooms and all they found were crap ones.  When they asked a member of staff, it turns out that the delivery van was late! I found that funny, of all days, he was late to deliver the flowers on Valentine’s Day!  He probably just made a side-trip to deliver his flowers to his wife/girlfriend.  Anyway, seeing the disappointed/panicked faces of the bewildered husbands/boyfriends – the same staff took pity on them and told them that there were actually about five fresh bouquets at the garage.  Before she even finished her sentence, my husband was out in a flash.

To make the story short, he got the best two bouquets from the bunch.  Of course I was really touched, I finally got my lovely red roses, but what really, really, made my Valentine’s Day is that he didn’t forget his daughter.  You see, little T loves flowers too.  I guess she sees her dad buy me flowers every now and then.  She once told me “I want Dada to buy me flowers too” I told her I’m sure he would oblige if we asked him.  I’ve been meaning to, but keep forgetting.

We heard him park up in front of the house, still in our pyjamas, Little T and I watched him from the window.  When I saw the flowers I said to her “Dada has bought us flowers!  It’s for you and me”  Her face broke into the sweetest smile and when he came in, I quickly said “Dada, thank you for buying me and Little T flowers“.  And winked at him, just so he’d know that I was going to share my flowers with her, not knowing that she had her own!   So here she is, smiling for the camera with her tousled hair and first ever bouquet.

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My husband said “I just wanted to be the first one to ever give her flowers”  Wasn’t that sweet?  She was ever so pleased and even asked me if she could arrange the flowers herself.  I let her.  Now her beautiful flowers are in a vase in her bedroom.  She likes to look at it and say “I love my flowers!”

As for the fruit de mer – it was absolutely delicious!  Never mind if we didn’t talk about anything romantic and instead ended up talking about history.  Actually we were talking about Hilary Mantel’s multi-award winning book “Wolf Hall” which I haven’t read and he liked.  He mentioned about how Cromwell lost his wife and two daughters in the sweating plague at that time.  What was sad about this is that he never really knew his youngest daughter and his only memory of her, is a little girl in wings (which he made for her) and refused to take off.  He never even had the chance to have her portrait taken, so there was nothing for him to remember her by, except that one memory of a little girl in wings.  It broke my heart.

This post is linked up with PODcast’s What’s The Story.

And the Oliver’s Madhouse

How was your Valentine’s Day?

Memories of my Father

My Dad wasn’t your typical Dad.  Maybe because he had me and my older brother at a really young age.  They both just graduated from University when they had us.  They were like kids playing grown-ups with two young children, which wasn’t really bad at all – I remember loads of fun and laughter.

Holy Week was serious business in my maternal grandmother’s house.  Us kids weren’t allowed to be boisterous during the Holy Days, even though we weren’t really expected to take part in the fasting and praying, playing noisily was a big no-no.  My Dad knew how miserable we were, so he used to take us to the beach with our other cousins and there we were made to run around and scream like loonies as loud as we can.

He took us camping and also built us a tree-house and his version of a Wendy house for me.  During the week though, we hardly saw him because he was busy playing grown-up and was working like any regular Dad with a 9-5 job, which always extended till late at night.  But during the weekends, he always took us to parks and played football with us.  Once in a while, he would even take us to listen to his friends sing at a Folk House near our home.

He was (is) a very intelligent man who was a scholar all through-out his schooling and graduated of course, with honours.  I inherited my love of books from him – he was (is) never without a book.  He was the only Dad I knew who answered all your questions without even thinking much.  We used to call him a walking dictionary/encyclopaedia.  We were taught English at a very young age and would mix it with Tagalog or our local dialect which used to exasperate him.  He would tell us to use one language at a time and speak it properly.  He said it was important not to ruin the language by speaking Taglish (a combination of English and Tagalog).  If we were to speak English, to speak English only.  If we were to speak Tagalog, speak Tagalog only – never to mix.

He was a hippy, who cut his hair and traded in his sandals for leather-shoes, as expected of a “responsible” Dad.  But now that he is retired, I’m happy to say that he has traded back in his sandals and has grown his hair long again, even though it is now more white than grey – much to the embarrassment of my mother.

The last time my daughter saw my Dad, she was only about five months old.  Yes, she does see him and speak to him whenever we Skype.  I wonder what she thinks sometimes Who is this man with long-white hair and whom my mother insists I call Lolo?  He is rather funny.  Yes, my Dad also has a weird sense of humour.

Happy Father’s Day Dad – I really miss you!

and

Happy Father’s Day too to my daughter’s Dad!

She is one lucky little girl to have him as a Dad.

I’m a lucky woman too

to have my Dad as my Father =)

June Chat with a Dad: The Secret Father

Here in the UK, Father’s Day is celebrated on the 16th of June, so in honor of Dads, instead of doing my monthly Chats with Moms, I’ll be doing a June Chat with a Dad instead.  And my first feature is a really cool and funny Dad who is known in the blogosphere as the Secret Dad.  If you want to know more about him, read on and then head off to discover the secret life of this Dad on his blog.

Tell us something about yourself and your little one(s).

My professional life has largely been as an emergency humanitarian aid worker (which means I get deployed in international disasters like floods and earthquakes). When I was much younger I did some incredible jobs such as working on a farm (superb), working in a high performance car manufacturing business (brilliant) and on the conveyor belts at a chicken factory (cold).

My three favourite people on the world

My three favourite people in the world.

My daughter is 3 and my son is 15 months. They are both incredible and quite different personalities. I love them both dearly, and differently. My daughter is a force of nature – beautiful, charming, charismatic, funny and loving at best. And at worst a screaming banshee of emotional turmoil. My son on the other hand is a chilled out little soul, perfectly content to play on his own for hours on end. He is so quiet we often forget where he is. In fact where is he…….?

What was your little one(s) birth story(ies) like?

I am actually in the process of writing a blog about the birth of our first, my daughter, because it was such an incredible experience. The arrival of my son was a very different affair. My wife went into labour on Boxing Day and had a beautiful, straightforward water birth. It was such a calm experience after the craziness of my daughter’s birth. I often wonder if these birthing experiences had an impact on their early personalities (see above).

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

That it would be really hard work. I mean REALLY hard work. I actually doubt that there is anything that could have truly prepared me for how challenging it can be – except perhaps for attaching a pneumatic drill, with no off switch, to my hip and carrying that around for 4 years.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

With great difficulty. While I am in the UK I have become better at keeping my work hours fairly reasonable so I can be back in time to get the dinner ready / help with the dinner, play with the kids and take them through the bedtime routine.

However I travel a lot with work and that is a real process of negotiation between my wife (who also has a professional career), my company and the rest of the family.  This leaves very little time for me, which if I am being honest I often do find hard to reconcile.

How do you manage to arrange child-free time with your wife/partner? Do you have date-nights?

While having children cemented our relationship and bought us closer together in many ways, having children has also negatively impacted on our relationship in many other ways.

There is often little opportunity to connect in ways that we used to. A lot of our day to day conversations are very pragmatic and centre on logistics and planning. We rarely have time to check in with each other on an emotional level and talk about hopes, fears and dreams like we used to. Sleep deprivation can be tough for everyone too, and it can make the smallest things seem like major obstacles.

However, we are just starting to get out again now that the little one is a little older. Up until recently we hadn’t been out together on our own for about 2 years. The thing is I found that I didn’t really want to. By the time I was getting any spare time, I was just using it to catch up on jobs around the house, personal admin or simply catching up with sleep.

Recently though we went out to a rock concert together which was great and we have found a trusted babysitter, so we are hoping to get out some more in future.

Any favourite anecdotes about your little one(s)?

I am generally a pretty good, organised and hands on father, with strong emotional intelligence that can cook for, look after and nurture his kids.

However…..

My favourite anecdote is describing the look on my wife’s face when she walked into the room after a calming and reflective week away on a residential leadership course.

She came home (unplanned and hours early I must add) to find toys, cushions and books strewn everywhere. She came in to find my daughter head first in the laundry basket, cackling and laughing as she was throwing clothes out all over the floor. She came in to see my son screeching and head banging the wall to relieve teething pain. She saw me burning dinner in the kitchen. The smoke alarm was going off. The room was thick with smoke.

Even though I was in the middle of it, the look at my wife’s face made me realise that to her it probably looked and sounded like a war zone. Her face was a picture, and to this day it still makes me laugh to think about that.

What is it about fatherhood you love?

I love the moment I walk into the house after a trip away or a day at work.

My daughter will be the first to come running, arms pumping furiously, huge dimpled smile, curly hair bobbing. She will crash into my knees, sticking like a limpet to my legs and screaming with joy.

My little man will come crawling soon after, head down, hands slapping on the floor, little bottom waddling like a duck, big gummy grin, squealing with happiness, arms outstretched imploring for a hug.

I literally get bowled off my feet with a tide of pure, sticky joy.

It is at these moments that I’m reminded that fatherhood is the most important job in the world.

It is these moments that I want to last forever.

If there’s anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I dislike having lost my old self; the old me who used to stay fit and healthy playing soccer three times a week; the old me who used to cycle everywhere; the old me who used to go running; the old me who always had time for people; the old me who used to be so spontaneous and carefree; the old me who used to be an excellent friend, son, husband and brother.

I guess it is about coming to terms with the death of my old lifestyle and the old me. I have read that you need to set time aside to mourn the passing of your old self when you have children, and equally set time aside to celebrate your new role as a parent; and I think that is true.

However I still have to come to terms with the fact that the old me has gone now. In truth it has taken a lot of time for my own expectations, and those of others close to me, to adjust to this new reality – the reality of fatherhood.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-dad would you take it?

I love my kids, really I do, but no, I couldn’t do that, not at the moment. It would drive me insane! I wouldn’t rule it out in the future though and I would like to reduce the hours I currently work, so I get to spend a little more time with them

Best advice you’ve ever received about fatherhood/parenthood?

The best advice I ever heard, and would like to share back is simply to trust your instincts. By all means read books and listen to advice and opinion, but at the end of the day there is no one who knows your child like you do. You are THE world expert on your child. That is a powerful and empowering statement, when you think about it.

I also wanted to share the best thing I ever heard about being a parent. As an eternal pragmatist (and optimist) I know this following statement may sound a little pessimistic (to some readers) but it truly spoke to something inside of me.

“Neither the good times, nor the bad times, will last”

That statement has got me through some pretty dark times, particularly around the arrival of my second child, when I was getting NO sleep and my day job was becoming incredibly stressful. It helped me reflect that it wasn’t forever and that it was just a phase. I saw light at the end of the tunnel when I accepted this.

And it has also been good to reflect on this statement during the lovely times, when everything is perfect, because it has helped me to live in the moment, take nothing for granted and enjoy everything while I can, while it lasts.

If you could give yourself advice before becoming a dad what would it be?

Quite practically I think it would be to give my first child (my daughter) a little more space, and to pay attention to her body language with a little more mindfulness. It was only after 3 months that I started to realise she was giving me important information through her body language.

Up until that point we had struggled with what we thought was a colic-y, temperamental, emotional child. In hindsight, we probably misread a lot of her cues, and she might have simply been tired. We (think we) got it right with number two though……..

Also a key reflection is probably that I should have liked to have become a father a little earlier. At 38 I was quite old to be a first time father and it breaks my heart to think my father never met either of my two little ones (he died just before my daughter was born). I know he would have loved them, and they would have loved him.

I also would have liked to have become a father a little earlier because not only would I have been able to deal with the lack of sleep much better (I had incredible stamina in my late twenties and early thirties) but I realise that my time with them is precious, and I want to spend as long on this planet with them as possible.

You can connect with The_Secret_Father via twitter or email

The_Secret_Father@Hotmail.com

Or check out The_Secret_Father blog for more tongue in cheek posts and musings on modern fatherhood.

Thank you so much The Secret Father!

Dads are the best!

As I was lying in bed last night, I suddenly realized that I might be alienating Dads because of my Interview with Mothers section – that isn’t my intention of course, especially since I think Dads are the best, especially Tamsin’s Dad.  I once said to him that he was born to be a dad.  I’m not just being biased but some men are born to be dads and some are just – well, not.  Just as, some women are not born to be mothers and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It doesn’t make them a bad person, it’s just the way they are.

PicMonkey Collage

See, he does EVERYTHING with her.  At the beach, he’d patiently go rock-pool exploring with her, or just sit with her and wait for the waves to tickle her toes.  And at home, he’d get down on his knees and really play with her.  Not just mindless playing which I admittedly am guilty of doing sometimes.  But with actual plots and dialogues with all the toys – example:  The Octonauts are on a mission to save the Cloud Babies! (all Cbeebies characters by the way) – that sort of thing.

What I want to say is, I would love to feature Dads too.  Perhaps, in the future I will.  The truth is though, I don’t really know much Dads.  I’m struggling enough to find mothers I know, what more with dads?  I could bully my husband for an interview and then what?  I will have to think about this.  Any suggestions?