Tag: stay-at-home

November Chat with a Dad: Mark of The Adventures of Sonny & Luca

I’ll keep this intro short, since this is a bit of a long interview but so worth the read!  For this month’s November Chat with a Dad, let me introduce you to Mark. He is the man behind the funny, fresh and very candid blog: The Tales of Sonny and Luca.  This blog, btw belongs to my top blogs written by a Dad.  If this blog isn’t on your list yet, I suggest you add this to yours too.

Tell us something about yourself.

My name’s Mark and I live with my partner Janet and our two boys Sonny (4) and Luca (3) in South Manchester.

I used to masquerade as a Sales Rep but was fortunately offered voluntary redundancy before they discovered I was a truly terrible salesman. In hindsight it was a blessing as Janet really wanted to return to work whilst I felt I was missing out on so much of our boys early years because of the long hours I was working.

Financially it was very difficult and we’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices but thankfully Janet found herself a great job as a Researcher which she really enjoys, and this allowed me to become a full-time stay at home dad, which is what I still am today.

 What was your little ones birth stories like?

Sonny’s was relatively straight forward and dare I say easy (only a man could say that!)

Labour was short and without complication, and Janet being the woman she is took everything in her stride. Unfortunately some of those strides were on a tennis court with her nephew when she was 8 months pregnant, much to my contempt. She strained a muscle, or rather a few muscles, and we ended up in A&E with her being lambasted by the doctors. I said nothing. I didn’t need to, she knew in my head I was saying “I told you so!”

Luca’s on the other hand was traumatic from the very start. She fell pregnant only three months after Sonny was born. Three months later she was pretty much bedridden for the remainder of the pregnancy with high blood pressure and severe gestational diabetes. From five months we were at the hospital two or three times a week for a multitude of tests, and were never more than a couple of days away from the prospect of an emergency c-section. During this time I was under the constant threat of redundancy, struggling financially, had a newborn to look after, and a house move to organise. With Janet needing to be stress free I hid most of the problems from her, then not long after Luca was born I suffered a mental breakdown. With hindsight it’s not surprising and I should have shared the burden with others but being a typical bloke I assumed I’d cope. Clearly I didn’t but that’s a whole other story.

 Thankfully Janet somehow managed to make it to full term and Luca was born a healthy yet small 6lbs; exactly the same as his brother.

 After both births I went to the toilet in the delivery room and inadvertently pulled the emergency chord thinking it was the toilet flush handle. On both occasions I caused untold panic in the Maternity ward!

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

So much. To fully appreciate every opportunity of sleep. That sometimes there is no fathomable reason for them crying. That every involvement you have no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time is priceless. That powdered milk and nappies are bloody expensive.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

 Luckily it’s not an issue for me now as a stay at home dad. If anything I have too much time with them, weekends can sometimes feel like unpaid overtime! With Janet working I try and make sure we all eat together at night and I take care of the dishes etc so she can spend what time she has in the evening playing with them.

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

Until recently we’ve managed it very badly. A few months ago we both realised how little time we were spending together without the kids so decided to do something about it. Thanks to a very helpful Granny we’re now trying to have at least one or two date-nights a month, whether it be going for a meal, the cinema, or seeing a band/comedian etc.

 It’s possibly more important for us as Janet first fell pregnant after we’d only been seeing each other for three months. We’d been going to see bands as ‘mates’ for a few months prior to us becoming a couple but still, our whirlwind of a honeymoon period appears to have included a weekend in Madrid, moving in together, and two babies? It’s a good job we get on!

For the last couple of years we’ve also managed a weekend away for my birthday. Janet’s sister kindly comes down from Edinburgh to look after the boys so we can have a couple of nights away. We only go up the road to Manchester but two tantrum-free nights of full sleep are wonderful. I’m not sure if when Janet’s sister first agreed to take the kids she knew it would become an annual tradition, but then if she had it possibly wouldn’t be.

 Any favourite anecdotes about your little ones?

There’s a few, pretty much all of them on my blog already though. My favourite and most embarrassing ones were Sonny’s fight with a Dyson Hand-dryer and more recently our impromptu R.E. lesson in a lift.  (Click here to read the Dyson Hand-dryer post).

Two weeks ago,  I entered a lift with the delusion of being a religious scholar, and left a broken man.

Here follows the transcript of what broke me….

*DOORS CLOSING*

Sonny:      “Why is that man hiding?”
Me:           “He’s not hiding, and it’s a lady”
Luca:         “I can see you!”
Sonny:      “Is he playing hide and seek?”
Me:            “SHE is not playing hide and seek, you’re being really rude, now quiet please.”

*LEVEL SEVEN*

Sonny:       “Is he wearing a costume?”
Luca:         “Like Batman?”
Me:            “No. It’s not a man, and SHE is not wearing a costume. Shush please, we’ll discuss this later.”

*LEVEL SIX*
(C’mon now, why is this lift stopping, no one is getting in!)

Luca:         “Is she a Power Ranger?”
Sonny:      “Is it Emily?”
Me:            “I’m really sorry! No she’s not a Power Ranger, she’s wearing something called a Burkha, now be quiet PLEASE!”

*LEVEL FIVE*
(Seriously, why is this lift stopping on every floor?)

Luca:         “What’s a Burkha?”
Me:            “It’s something people wear.”
Sonny:      “Can I have a Burkha?”
Me:            “No.”
Luca:         “I want a Burkha too!’
Me:            “You’re not having a Burkha. You’re not a girl, or a Muslim.”

*LEVEL FOUR*

Luca:         “Do you want a Burkha Sonny? I want a Burkha. Daddy, can I have a Burkha?”
Me:            “No one is having a Burkha, now quiet! PLEASE!”
Sonny:      “Burkha’s are silly. What’s a Muslim?”

*LEVEL THREE*
(Who the hell is pressing the buttons? Every damn floor?)

Me:           “We’ll talk about this later. I’m so sorry!”
Luca:        “I want to be a Muslim”
Me:           “It doesn’t work like that.”
Sonny:     “What’s a Muslim?”
Me:           “Someone who believes in God. ”
Luca:        “Granny likes God!”
Sonny:     “Is Granny a Muslim?”
Me:          “No … do you know what, yes, yes she is!”

*LEVEL TWO*

Sonny:      “The Wise Old Elf’s a Muslim.”
Me:            “No he’s not.”
Sonny:     “But you said he was!”
Me:           “No I didn’t.  Right, out of the lift boys!”
Sonny:     “This isn’t our floor. You said we were going to the 1st floor!”
Me:           “OUT! NOW!”

Click here to read full post.

What is it about fatherhood you love?

I love watching them grow, develop, and discover new things. The precious moments when they laugh uncontrollably at the strangest of things. When we’re playing on the floor and I’m lost in their weird and warped imaginations. And from a selfish point of view when they assume I know everything and then believe whatever gubbins I tell them.

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

Lack of sleep! I miss having the time to do my own thing, and the constant feeling that I should probably go to bed when it’s only 9pm. I’ve also had to put a temporary (I hope) halt to my love of discovering new music until I can find time to listen to it. Football! I miss being able to watch a game of football on the TV without the constant barrage of “is it finished yet?”

Wow, more than I realised, I wish you hadn’t asked now!

 Is there anything about being a stay at home dad you like/dislike about?

I feel really grateful to have shared so much of their early years. We’ve been able to have days out when everywhere is wonderfully quiet. We’ve visited the zoo, museums, art galleries, playgroups, parks, the list is endless. I’ve been so lucky to have shared so many of their ‘first’ moments, and to have been able to play such an active role in their development (for better or worse?)

 The only thing I dislike a little is the lack of adult interaction. I say only a little as it’s become quite apparent I’m far happier in the company of children than I am adults. It’s only when I’m offering the builders ‘fizzy pop’ I become aware of how unbalanced my child/adult time has become.

Best advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood.

I’m not sure I’ve ever received any.

I was asked recently to contribute to a light-hearted open letter to Prince William about fatherhood though, so this is some advice I gave on the subject.

 Sit on the Floor and Play. Eat, drink, and play. Talk, and play. And never forget to PLAY.

If you can give yourself some advice before becoming a dad, what would it be?

 It’s hard to answer this without it being riddled with clichés. Savour every minute you have with them. Don’t spend the first year or so wishing for them to reach the next stage of their development as it’ll come too soon anyway. And sleep when they sleep. NEVER miss an opportunity to sleep!

 There’s clearly a theme running through all my answers and it revolves around the LACK OF SLEEP!

Thanks so much Mark!  

C’mon everyone head off to his blog NOW for more tales from this funny-and ever-so-cool dad.

You can also connect with him through twitter

and don’t forget to like his FB page too!

October Chat with a Mom: Melissa of Motherhood is An Art

Melissa the lovely mother behind the blog Motherhood is an Art is one of my favourite bloggers.  I love the way she writes her posts and tells a story and she is indeed, a very good story-teller.  She does not only write about motherhood, but she also writes about family history.

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

My name is Melissa. I am a stay at home mom in Wisconsin (United States). I have an 8 year old daughter, 6 year old son and 3 year old son.

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It’s so hard to get a good picture with this many kids!

What was your child’s birth stories like?

My daughter came 3 weeks early when my water broke in the middle of the night (I woke up and thought I peed the bed), my middle son was induced a week early because I was so uncomfortable and my youngest was determined breech a week before my due date so they had to manually turn him around by maneuvering him through my stomach. I ended up being induced with him a week after my scheduled due date. All of the births went well with only a slight problem with my youngest. Due to his extremely large head I was having a very hard time delivering him so they attached a vacuum to his head to pull him out. As they were pulling there was a loud pop and blood sprayed everywhere. Everyone had a shocked look on their face so of course I thought they tore my baby’s head off. Thankfully the vacuum had just slipped off.

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

I am by nature a planner and somewhat of a control freak. When it comes to raising children most plans go out the window and there is not much you can control. You have to be ready to go with the flow!

How do manage your “me-time”?

Ummmm….I don’t! It was much easier to do with one child but now with 3 kids my “me time” is pretty much non-existent (unless you count all the time I spend in the kitchen cooking and cleaning by myself)!!

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your little ones?

I have so many favourites but two of them revolve around tooth brushes. My middle son went through a phase where he ate ketchup on everything. One day he even asked if he could start brushing his teeth with ketchup instead of toothpaste.

I once bought some extra tooth brushes to have on hand. My daughter asked why I did that and I told her in case someone was to get sick or drop their toothbrush in the toilet. She nodded her head and said, “Yeah, that’s happened to me before. I dropped my toothbrush in the toilet. Don’t worry though, I rinsed it off.”

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Bency brushing his teeth and Iris using her toothbrush after it probably just fell in the toilet!

What is it about Motherhood you absolutely love about?

I love creating art with my kids and watching them blossom!

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

It never stops! It doesn’t give you a break! You have to be on the alert at all times because you never know what these kids are going to throw your way!

What’s a typical day like for you and your Little Ones?

I try to wake up before everyone else so I can have a few cups of coffee, browse the internet or watch the news. Next the chaos sets in with getting everyone ready for the day. Once the older kids are off to school I start my cleaning while the youngest plays toys. By mid-morning we are off to run errands or go to story hour at the library. After lunch we read books and watch some television. When the older kids get home from school the chaos starts up again and we are in constant motion with homework, dinner, baths and bedtime. By the end of all that I am usually exhausted and flop down on the couch!

Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?

Every time I have ever complained to my Mom about a certain phase one of the children is going through she always says, “These may seem like major frustrations (picky eaters, refusal to potty train, etc.) but trust me the frustrations only get more major as they age.”

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Cesar, Bency and Iris.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming a mother, what would it be?

Always go with your gut instinct. You know those children better than anyone else in the world. You know exactly what is best for them so don’t be afraid to speak up.

How do you manage your time between work/blogging and your little ones?

Once again….I don’t! I did really well for a year by blogging in the early morning and then having the rest of the day to get stuff done around the house and spend time with the kids. Lately I just haven’t had enough energy to keep up with it all. Hopefully, I’ll find my groove again soon!

Thank you so much Melissa!

Do connect with her on Facebook too.

•Edit:  Sadly, Melissa does not blog anymore.  Hopefully, she’ll take up blogging again in the future.